Thursday, January 05, 2006

Various Artists/ High School Reunion: A Tribute to Those Great 80s Films / Rating 6.2

Case in point, the Bravery foisted the most egregious fake-Cure album ever on the public, and many bought it.

The Bravery? PFM writer Adam Moerder should check out VHS or BETA if he really wants to hear a tribute to the Cure.

The title of this tribute record Various Artists - HIGH SCHOOL REUNION - A Tribute to Those Great 80's films hints at what this record is potentially about but in reading the PFM review it isn’t until close to the third paragraph this concept is even vaguely expanded upon.

Admittedly my brain is on autopilot this week as my local community, friends, and I try to grasp and grieve for an entire family we all knew, loved, and lost this past weekend. That being said I feel particularly dense these past few days but if I don’t try to do “normal” every day things like keep posting and working, the sadness attached to this unspeakably brutal crime comes stomping back in again. So here I am back at my computer struggling to comprehend a simple music review and even after several reads I still felt a little unsure as to exactly what this record is and who all is on it.

First lets start with the stats. Here is a quick summery from the label:

HIGH SCHOOL REUNION is a 20-song CD compilation featuring indie-rockers Frank Black, Matthew Sweet, Lori McKenna, John P. Strohm (Blake Babies), Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses), The Caulfield Sisters, the Dresden Dolls, and so many more covering songs from some of the 80's most popular teen films; Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything, Valley Girl, Repo Man, and more.

Here is the track listing: I gagged several times while typing it.

"Somebody's Baby" - John P. Strohm - Fast Times at Ridgemont High
"A Million Miles Away" - Dipsomaniacs - Valley Girl
"American Girl" - Matthew Sweet - Fast Times at Ridgemont High
"Turning Japanese" - Blank Pages - Sixteen Candles
"Weird Science" - The Bennies - Weird Science
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" - AM - Breakfast Club
"In Your Eyes" - Lori McKenna - Say Anything
"If You Were Here" - Kitty Hawk - Sixteen Candles
"Little Bitch" - Nova Social - Sixteen Candles
"Love My Way" - The Modifiers - Valley Girl
"Bring on the Dancing Horses" - The Atomic Hep Cats - Pretty in pink
"Moving in Stereo" - The Commons - Fast Times at Ridgemont High
"Pretty in Pink" - The Dresden Dolls - Pretty in Pink
"Wave of Mutilation" - Kristin Hersh - Pump up the Volume
"Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" - The Caulfield Sisters - Pretty in Pink
"I Melt With You" - Underdog - Valley Girl
"Danke Schoen" - The Wading Girl - Ferris Bueller's Day Off
"Repo Man" - Frank Black - Repo Man
"I Go Crazy" - PC Muñoz - Some Kind of Wonderful
"Within Your Reach" - Bastards Of Melody - Say Anything

(So how many of you are looking at this tracklisting and asking yourself WHO???)

I wouldn’t call myself anti-80’s but having lived through it all once I don’t have a soft spot for Culture Club or leg warmers. I have zero nostalgia for most of the classic teen 80’s movies; no less their respective soundtracks. I never went to my 10year high school reunion so why would I want to own a record of so-so covers by an equally so-so line up representing a decade I am trying to forget?

PFM says: “the tribute is somewhat self-serving, featuring mainly artists who peaked during the 80s rather than newer, flashier groups paying their dues to their influences-- in other words, if you wanted to bridge the generational gap here, look elsewhere”

Now that I have the full tracklisting in front of me I couldn’t agree more with the above statement. As if this kind of comp wasn’t a played out idea beaten to death by emo/pop punk labels in the U.S. already but to add salt to the wound this is an incredibly lackluster line up of artists. Sure there are some familiar names but who the hell is this record trying to appeal to anyhow? People who love the 80’s?

BBBBBBLARGHHHHHHHHH. Get me off this ride already.

The only way anyone could peak my interest in these annoying dusty pop hits that won’t die is to really go for the bold and get creative. I wouldn’t mind hearing Sonic Youth doing a version of “Johnny, Are You Queer?” from Valley Girl or maybe The Melvins dragging “ I Melt with you” over the sonic doom coals.

Now that might enjoy.

If you are really stuck on this crappy 80’s revival bandwagon at least do it right. Check out the 1992 various artist collection called Tannis Roots Presents: Freedom of Choice. I don't think it is in print anymore but this is why God gave us Ebay.

PFM says: "how much better could these songs really be in the first place? Maybe it's my preset emotional neurons talking here, but anything passed the original feels anticlimactic and just too after-the-fact."

I believe there is always room for a brilliant cover of any song but I can’t say there is any track found on this High School Reunion record that rekindles my interest in the 80’s and if anything this collection has extinguished any chance of it completely.

Bring me the 90's and the tributes to grunge already. I am totally ready for Annie singing "Touch Me I'm Sick" by Mudhoney.