Monday, May 5, 2014

Ultravox - "Vienna" (forgotten song)

I helped Danette pick up a rental car yesterday and it had satellite radio (her favorite car feature and one we don't have on our daily drivers).  As I bounced around the stations, Ultravox's 1981 single "Vienna", the title track from their 1980 LP, came on 1st wave which is one of our favorite satellite radio stations because it features alternative 80s songs.

I have only the vaguest memory of "Vienna" from the early MTV period and I'm almost certain it did not receive radio airplay.  I can't remember the last time I heard this song -- it must have been 30+ years.  It sounds just a bit dated (sort of a synth pop version of Joy Division's "Atmosphere"), but altogether has held up surprisingly well.  I don't really know that much about Ultravox other than 1) they exist and 2) their European success never really crossed over to the US like their contemporaries such as The Furs and Modern English.

"This means nothing to me..."

Ultravox - "Vienna" (studio, live)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Queen & David Bowie - "Under Pressure" (the song remains the same)

With arguably the world's most recognizable bass line (somewhat unfortunately), the 1981 David Bowie & Queen collaboration "Under Pressure" might be my personal favorite song from Queen or David Bowie.  Although I respect both, I've never been a huge fan of either, and on this song I think the balance each other out and the result works, musically and lyrically.  Even the video was a welcome break from de rigueur  lip synced, faux-concert videos of the time.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this 2011 version by The Cribs, live in the studio.  To the best of my knowledge, it isn't on any of their official releases and is just a knockabout version they did for a music web site.  There is no shortage of cover versions of this song, but it does seem like a bit of a departure for The Cribs, who favor more obscure covers by cult bands like The Replacements, The Kaiser Chiefs, Comet Gain, etc.

Queen & David Bowie: "Under Pressure" (a cappella version)
The Cribs: "Under Pressure"