Seth Surmises – New Clear Days

The Vapors – New Clear Days

Preconceptions: Seriously, I have bought this album five times in thirty years (vinyl, two cassettes, CD, and mp3). I had the US release of New Clear Days with the tracks Cold War & America replaced by Prisoners so I didn’t hear those tracks until about six years ago. I am prepared for the RC to be bewildered and annoyed by this one.

After Listening: I still don’t like your plastic shoes. I’d have thought they’d be out of fashion 30 years on, but here we are.

Fave Tracks: Spring Collection, Bunkers, News At Ten, Waiting For The Weekend, Letter From Hiro.
Least Fave: Turning Japanese was always my least favorite on this album. Perhaps if it wasn’t used in every bad comedy as a borderline racist musical sting it wouldn’t be so annoying.

Overall:  I can’t think of anything else I liked when I was 12 that I still like today. Not Battlestar Galactica, not Asteroids, not Bob & Doug McKenzie, not Pop Rocks, not Stripes, not even Leanne Murphy from Mr. Fiorello’s homeroom. This album is dated, but that is a good thing. It perfectly captures the way cold war paranoia crept into every aspect of life in the Reagan/Thatcher era, even pop songs about girls. Lyrically, it is like the more literate of the very first wave UK punk, but more competent, complex, and poppy. Musically, it’s reminiscent of early Cars and Peter Gabriel’s first solo album. On some tracks, the two guitars ditch the rock lead/rhythm formula to play complimentary and competing riffs and the bass lines are why the blocky 80s Sony Walkmen had a bass boost feature. I have always felt the success of Turning Japanese as a novelty song buried the rest of what should have been a pop classic of the 1980s. If I had to list my top five albums, this would be on it. Oh, wait, I did and it was.

Rating: 5.0

Extra Credit: Cocksparrer – Shocktroops, The Vapors – Magnets

Seth (40 Posts)

Seth (in a nutshell) is an aging punk rocker and five year resident of Cubistan, taking the office job after many years in music & fashion retail. He is a lifelong New England resident, with the exception of a year spent in Orlando Florida, the armpit of the universe. He is a skeptical cynic with a hairtrigger bullshit detector. Seth lives in Brass City, Connecticut with his wife, Vicki; his cat, Norwegian Black Metal; and his wife’s cat, who’s name he forgets.

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