Like faded pictures in a scrapbook — or from your high school yearbook — the '80s have become not only a slice of the past, but totally cool and awesome again. In honor of the decade that saw leg warmers, parachute pants, big hair, and MTV, Sony BMG and VH1 have released a series of CDs aptly titled We Are the '80s.
Featuring music from the two albums Scandal released — Scandal (1982) and Warrior(1984) — this version of We Are the '80s has eleven songs from the past and three previously unreleased songs of the same style. The synth pop band, led by Patty Smyth, enjoyed a short lived ride at the top of the charts in the early '80s, mostly due to the success of a budding MTV and the popularity of the innovative video cable station.
The album kicks off with what is probably the most recognizable song in the Scandal's catalog, the top single from their self-titled album, "Goodbye to You." The song has a poppy backbeat, synthesized instrumentation, and Smyth's voice delivering the lyrics of heartbreak and breaking free of a bad relationship. The video (shown below) is a testament to the early days of MTV with computer generated cheesy effects and swirls of psychedelic and pastel colors. Aside from watching it on MTV, my fondest memories of the song include dances in the school gym after a football game.
Because that was the common link in all of Scandal's music, they were songs with a message and rhythm that forced you to dance. No exception to the rule was "The Warrior." The top single from the album of the same name is a mainstay on most '80s compilation discs. Similar to "Goodbye to You," it was a bubble-gum version of a female empowerment song. Full of hunting and dancing metaphors, it sang to young woman who aspired to have a handle on their lives and hearts – or at least to this one.
Another memorable track is "Love's Got a Line on You," a softer, sweeter song looking at the more enjoyable parts of love and relationship – the part before the bitter breakups. As with all the songs contained herein, they speak to the same deep place Smyth appears to sing them from. They have emotional punch, which is a rarity in music from the decade that has a reputation for shallow and fluffy music.
The previously unreleased songs on the CD are "Grow So Wise," "If You Love Me," and "I'm Here Tonight." The first two are power-pop ballads, while third is a mid-tempo number, similar in style to "The Warrior." All three are excellent examples of what made this unique section of the '80s synth genre so popular.
Scandal returned to the stage last summer to be a part of the We Are the'80s Tour, which included Eddie Money and Rick Springfield, but according to a fan-based website, has no plans to continue on the road or make any more albums together. Reviews of other CDs in this series have been published on Blogcritics, including Rick Springfield, Eddie Money, and Flock Of Seagulls.
Check out the memorable video to Scandal's "Goodbye to You."