Thursday, August 21, 2014

Men Without Hats - Folk of the 80's (Part III)

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Folk of the 80’s (Part III), the second studio album from the Canadian band Men Without Hats. The 1984 release spent four weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 127.

Side one opens with the gentle music box melody of “No Dancing”.

“Unsatisfaction”, however, was completely made for dancing thanks to a rousing rhythm and snappy synth-line.

Next the band poses the question “Where Do the Boys Go?” Anne Dussault provides backing vocals on this single which climbed to number 30 on the charts in Canada. Later CD releases of the album included an extended version as a bonus track.

The mid-tempo “Mother’s Opinion” tries to put a handle on a maternally dominated situation. At nearly eight minutes in length, this one is the longest on the record. I like the fusion of the guitars and synths here as well as the piano solo about halfway though. It does get a little experimental towards the end but it works in the overall context of the piece.

Side two opens with the instrumental “Eurotheme”, the B-side of the single. I could easily see this as part of a score to a futuristic sci-fi movie.

“Messiahs Die Young” was released as a second single, but without a video it did not make a huge impact on the charts.

“I Know Their Name” is about connecting people with memories from the past.

The album‘s title is derived from the next track “Folk of the 80’s”, a commentary on the generation at the time.

The album closes with “I Sing Last/Not for Tears”, a beautiful piano ballad that builds in intensity.

I do not recall coming across Folk of the 80’s (Part III) at my local record stores in 1984. I suspect the college radio station might have played some tracks from it. They fall right in line with the synth-pop music that I enjoyed in the early 80’s (catchy tunes with strong messages). If you want to check this one out, you can do so over on Spotify.

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