I laugh every time I see this album cover. I don’t know why but, they remind me of one of those Sy-Fy movies where the alien is disguised as a human, just waiting for the right time to eat your brains while no one is looking! LOLOL. Even their music was sort of space-aged. The attitude these guys are giving in this photo is liken to that of “Men In Black (1997).” No doubt a dated photo 🤣. The group I’m writing about to day is called “Soft Cell.”
No Doubt, This Group Was An Acquired Taste.
They were a really popular, and yet awkward 80s group. Marc Almond & David Balls both are from the UK, and they mostly perform synth-pop and new wave music. Well, let me tell ya, no matter how hard they’ve tried, no one seemed to like their music, with the exception of one song that became an explosive hit! It’s really a shame that the public did not take to their music (including myself), because I think Marc had a really nice voice. Maybe his voice just didn’t fit with the kind of music David was putting together.
Record sales were so low that their record label wanted to break the group’s contract early. However, both the label and the group agreed on one last try. The decided to do a cover of an old 1965 song by Gloria Jones called “Tainted Love (1982).” The moment the recording was released, it shot up to #8 on the Top 100 Charts. The song turned out to be the one and only final hit of their career. They’ve tried create that similar formula in their later albums; but their albums never took to music fans. In fact, it was probably their “final nail in the coffin,” as every other album after their hit sounded too much alike. Here is the original 1965 classic from Gloria Jones “Tainted Love.”
Absolutely No Doubt!! The group called “No Doubt” was one of my many classic bands! I’m not prepared to say they’re forgotten about; but we’re just not hearing their music on mainstream media. You know, I used to confuse them a lot with a Swedish group called “The Cardigans.” By the way, The Cardigans had only one hit I liked, and it was called “LoveFool (1996).” Their lead singer, Nina Perssons sounds EXACTLY like Gwen Stefani.
I Used To Confuse Them With The Cardigans!
No Doubt is an American group from California, and they got together around the mid 80s. They’re uniquely stylish and eccentric in many ways. I think it’s safe to say that Gwen is one of the many female performers, who have decided to channel that Marilyn Monroe persona, which eventually became part of her trademark for awhile.
I can’t believe it’s been about 25 years already. It seemed as tho it was only yesterday since I first fell in love with their music. One of the things I really like about this group back then, was you can immediately tell how comfortable they are with each other. In other words, despite the change in band members over the course of their careers, you can tell they have that magic that creates close friendships. Friends in a band makes great music! Well, most of the time 😂
Now, as I’ve said before, No Doubt is an eccentric band, and it took me awhile to warm up to their music. I’m sorry but, on their first couple of albums (no disrespect) Gwen sounded like she was having seizures or something. I didn’t start liking their music until after about their third album I think called “Tragic Kingdom (1995).” On this album, they released an awesome song called “Don’t Speak,” which shot up to #1 on the Top 40 Charts! I was really diggin’ this song. Yeah, the lyrics are sad as hell, but it’s a great song that we can relate to, and we can listen to it without getting depressed 😂 Another great song from this same album is called “Just A Girl.”
Now, They Were Cookin’
From the album “Tragic Kingdom” on, they were cookin’. If I were forced to pick a favorite all-time No Doubt song, it would have to be “Underneath It All,” (clean version) featuring Lady Saw. I also think that “Hey Baby,” is a cute song too; it has a mixture of pop with dancehall beats. Today, No Doubt has got together with a group called AFI to form Dreamcar! But, I have to be honest, they’ve definitely lost that “No Doubt” sound. Now, the band’s music sounds like an upgrade to a dated 80s rock sound. Clearly you can hear they’re trying to rekindle the old parts of the band, and it’s not working for me. However, maybe you guys like it! Check out the new group Dreamcar on Spotify.
You know, despite all the controversy and rumors (and perhaps accusations of being an intellectual property thief) that surrounded her in the 80s; the one thing that cannot be taken away from Paula Abdul, is her very real talent. You can dish out your worst about Paula, but the fact is, she can dance her ass off! Whether she has a singer’s voice or not is debatable. She’s kind of like Madonna in a way. Madonna never had a “singer’s voice,” but she had music that young people of her generation connected to, which in tern sold millions. Paula is the same way I think. But even so, I think her dancing makes up for a less than dynamic vocal range.
I Always Confused Paula With Lisa Lisa!
I Always confused Paula with Lisa Lisa back in the day. The were like blood sisters. The only difference was Lisa Lisa has a darker complexion. Today, @ age 56, Paula has a long successful career as an actress, dancer, choreographer, recording artists, and producer. There is no sign of this woman ever slowing down. She definitely kept herself busy.
Throughout the years, as Paula rose to the peak of her career; she’s been plagued with all sorts of rumors. Rumors ranging from Paula steeling dance moves from other choreographers (particularly after her success working with Janet Jackson), to her being accused steeling bras worth in the 5 digits. Check this article out from The Daily Mail. When someone publicly accuses a celebrity like Paula (with her status in Hollywood), that’s when you know they’ve reached a level of real fame and money. By the way, I don’t know how I manage to find this rare rehearsal video of Janet and Paula on YouTube.
Paula came out with a lot of music I really liked. One of my huge favorites is a ballad called “Rush Rush” from her 1991 “Spellbound” album. I was watching an old live Patti Labelle performance on VHS, and I remember her saying that this song was originally written for her, but Patti turned it down. So Paula took it instead. Patti stated she was sorry she turned it down, as it hit #1 that same year! 😂 “Cold Hearted” is another dance favorite. Oh, man! I can’t forget about “Straight Up.” Almost all the kids was dancing to that song. Paula hadn’t had a hit since the early nineties; but it’s wonderful to see she’s still working doing her thang @ age 56!
I really loved “May The Best Man Win” kind of songs! Back in the 80s, a lot of male artists collaborated, or made some what duets (particularly in hip hop); friendly and fun songs about competing for the one girl they’ve liked. However, for those type of songs, I preferred songs more like “The Girl Is Mine,” by Paul McCartney and the late Michael Jackson. And the reason is because, lyrically speaking, it was about two guys expressing why one of them is more suited to have a relationship with the girl than the other; rather than your typical “this girl is fresh meat.” 😂
Friendly Girl Competition
However, the song “Say Say Say,” written by both Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney, was always an interesting song to me (lyrically), yet weird at the same time. Because, you got two expressing their honest feelings about not wanting the girl stringing them along, or keeping their relationship in limbo; however, the music video threw me off, as I see absolutely no relation between street performances and this love song! 😂 This had to be one of those moments they didn’t have creative ideas, so they just threw the video together to meet a deadline. 🤣
Well, I guess that really didn’t really matter in the long run; because the song hit #3 on the Adult Contemporary Charts, #1 on the Top 100 Charts, #1 in both France & Canada, the song did very well for itself. I think a half a century from now, you can listen to this song and still enjoy its rhythm an lyrics. That’s what makes a legendary hit! If you want to walk down memory lane, check out the video for this song on YouTube.
Damn! I forgot about these guys!! Recently, I was watching some old music videos on cable and A-Ha popped up! Man! I remember watching them on MTV, when MTV was just starting out!! I still have the 45rpm somewhere at home. Their song “Take On Me,” was released in 1985, and became their only #1 hit in their career. It was an extremely popular & catchy pop song. I think their song was the first pop record I ever purchased (I think). According to The Billboards, there was another song they produced that reached #20, but I personally didn’t like it. I don’t know, maybe some of my readers remember it. The song is called “The Sun Always Shines On T.V.“