Throwback Thursday - Three Essential Albums from the Age of Wave

Berlin: Pleasure Victim (1982)

Berlin was formed in Los Angeles in 1978 by John Crawford (bass guitar). Band members included Crawford, Terri Nunn (vocals), David Diamond (keyboards), Ric Olsen (guitar), Matt Reid (keyboards) and Rod Learned (drums). Learned left during the first EU tour and was replaced by Rob Brill (drums).[citation needed] The band gained mainstream-commercial success in the early 1980s with singles including "The Metro", "Sex (I'm A...)", "No More Words" and then in the mid '80s with the chart-topping single "Take My Breath Away" from the 1986 film Top Gun.

Pleasure Victim was recorded in 1982 and released that year by independent label Enigma Records. After considerable attention received by the second single, "Sex (I'm A...)", the album was re-released worldwide by Geffen Records on January 26, 1983. The album marked the return of lead singer Terri Nunn to the group. To date, it is Berlin's best-selling album and was certified gold by the RIAA in September 1984 and platinum in February 1993. It is the only one of Berlin's albums to be certified platinum and the first that reached gold; two subsequent studio albums and a greatest hits compilation were also certified gold.

After "Sex (I'm A...)", two subsequent singles followed: "The Metro" (April 1983), considered a "masterpiece" of '80s new wave, and "Masquerade" (September 1983). These three singles all charted on the Billboard Hot 100.

The album's original release on Enigma Records sold 25,000 copies, an exceptionally high amount for an independent release.

In a joint review of Pleasure Victim's 1983 reissue and Soft Cell's The Art of Falling Apart, Michael Goldberg of Record panned the album, saying that Berlin's use of sex to sell their music (particularly noting the track "Sex (I'm a...)" and the inner sleeve photo of Terri Nunn wearing nothing but a mink stole) is unintentionally humorous, and that the instrumentation is riddled with synthpop cliches. He concluded "Like bad pornography, comic books and a Top 40 hit like 'Rosanna', one can wallow in the sheer trashiness of Pleasure Victim, though you wouldn't really want to call this stuff 'music.'"

Originally including seven tracks on both vinyl and cassette, Pleasure Victim is sometimes listed as being an EP album. Subsequent cassette and CD versions of Pleasure Victim added an eighth track, an extended version of "Sex (I'm A ...)." According to John Crawford, the album's reissue on Geffen Records is identical to the original Enigma Records release aside from "a little remixing". - Source

The Human League: Fascination! (1983)

The Human League are an English electronic new wave band formed in Sheffield in 1977. Dare (1981), the band's most popular album, yielded the single "Don't You Want Me", a No. 1 hit in the pop charts of UK, US and many other countries. After its UK success, their first single, "Being Boiled", was reissued and became a top ten hit at the beginning of 1982. They received the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough act in 1982. The success of "Don't You Want Me" is seen as the beginning of the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US. Other international hits include: "Love Action", "Open Your Heart", "Mirror Man", "Fascination", "The Lebanon", "Human" (a US No. 1) and "Tell Me When".

The only constant band member since 1977 is vocalist and songwriter Philip Oakey. Originally an avant-garde all-male synthesizer-based group, The Human League evolved into a commercially successful synthpop band under Oakey's leadership. Since 1987, the band has essentially been a trio of Oakey and long-serving female vocalists Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley (both of whom joined the ensemble in 1980), with various sidemen.

Since 1978, The Human League have released nine studio albums, four EPs, 30 singles and several compilation albums. They have had five albums and eight singles in the UK Top 10 and have sold more than 20 million records.

Fascination! was issued by Virgin Records in North America (though made available in Europe as an import) as a stop-gap release in between the albums Dare (1981) and Hysteria (1984).

The original vinyl release of Fascination! contained six tracks, including two versions of their single "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" as well as "Mirror Man", both of which were hits in the UK and the U.S.

Also included is "Hard Times", which was originally the B-side of their 1981 hit "Love Action" and also appears on the band's 1982 remix album Love and Dancing.

The featured version of "I Love You Too Much" is an earlier version of the song that would later be released on the band's Hysteria album in 1984.

The album was released as a digital download in 2008 with a bonus track, a dub version of "I Love You Too Much".

A CD version was released as part of the "deluxe edition" release of Dare in 2012, minus Hard Times, but with other extra tracks.

In November 2015 a Limited Edition Single-CD is released (only in Japan), same Tracklist as the Dare "deluxe edition". - Source

Wang Chung: Points on the Curve (1983)

Wang Chung are an English new wave musical group formed in 1980. The name Wang Chung means "yellow bell" in Chinese (黃鐘, pinyin: huáng zhōng; Wade–Giles: huang chung), and is the first note in the Chinese classical music scale.

The group found their greatest success in the United States, with five Top 40 hits in the US, all charting between 1983 and 1987, including "Dance Hall Days" (No. 16 in the summer of 1984), "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" (No. 2 in 1986) and "Let's Go!" (No. 9 in 1987).

In late 1982, Huang Chung returned to the studio to start work on their second album for Arista Records. However, their manager David Massey convinced Arista to close their contract with Huang Chung, and instead placed the band with American label Geffen Records, making the group the second UK-based act to be signed to Geffen worldwide after Asia (not counting then-New York-based John Lennon in 1980).

At this juncture, and at Geffen's suggestion, the band changed their name to Wang Chung, allegedly to make pronunciation easier for English-speakers. (This explanation of the group's name change is consistent with the claim by VH1's Pop Up Video that they changed it because people kept calling them "Hung Chung".) At the same time, Nick Feldman and Darren Costin opted to be billed under their real names; only Jack Hues would keep his pseudonym. The band spent most of 1983 recording their second album, Points on the Curve. Released in January 1984, the album yielded two moderately successful hits, "Don't Let Go" (No. 38 US) and "Dance Hall Days" (No. 16 US, No. 21 UK).

Points on the Curve is Wang Chung's first album since changing their name from Huang Chung and switching from Arista to the Geffen record label. It reached #30 on the Billboard 200 album charts on 14 July 1984 and features the #1 dance single "Dance Hall Days" and includes the hit singles: "Don't Let Go", "Don't Be My Enemy" and "Wait". - Source

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