Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

New Directions with New Wave


The 1978-1979 period, following the punk revolution that developed from 1974-1977, was interesting because several new wave artists began crossing over to the pop charts, in which disco threatened to overthrow the entire mainstream. Blondie was very successful at satisfying the disco crowd as well as the new wave scene with songs that mixed both styles such as "Heart Of Glass." Talking Heads also appealed to the mainstream even though their music was unconventional with songs like "Psycho Killer" and "Life During Wartime." Their cover of Al Green's "Take Me To The River" set the tone for eerie keyboard effects and sinister bass lines that would become common in new wave music. Elvis Costello came on the scene as the literate spokesman of the new movement with songs like "Oliver's Army," "Alison" and "What's So Funny About Peace, Love And Understanding."

The Cars seemed to straddle the line between old world and new world rock but their debut album The Cars stands up as one of the most creative and cohesive works of the era. Their lyrics seemed like pieces of dreams mixed in a blender yet they also seemed to articulate clearly the rock and roll lifestyle and how love stories don't always have happy endings as in "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Bye Bye Love." A similar theme about getting burned by an obsession was "Is She Really Going Out With Him" by Joe Jackson. The Police shocked the establishment with their song about prostitution called "Roxanne." The most outrageous band to come on the scene with party music that had nothing to do with disco was The B-52's. Their song "Rock Lobster" sounded adlib like just ridiculous psycho babble over basic frat rock with a twist.



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