- 22 May 01
Tony Clayton–Lea's 1983
My favourite album of the year ‘Punch The Clock’. Every year Elvis Costello releases an album, and every year its my favourite. Why? Because the man writes the most perceptive lyrics – even in his most tender of moments. To quote from a long ago but not forgotten Declan Lynch compilation: “I hate Elvis Costello >= because he’s the best”. I hate Elvis Costello too.
New Order made their mark too. ‘Power, Corruption and Lies’, provided the emotion and the dance-steps – electronic-based music which stirred the consciousness. Their Dublin date however, was disappointing. Not so Big Country whose arrival was a major event. ‘The Crossin’ was the only album this year that kicked shit around the garden, is through the back door and onto the record deck invigorating guitar work and check-shirts went hand in hand with the most thoroughly rousing music since ’78. Great!
1983 was – media wise and worldwise – the year of the crooked David Bowie grid. ‘Let’s Dance’ brought more than a smile to my chops, due to it’s catchy raunch/dance stance. Bowie may be seen to be going through the motions, but what motions! ABC launched out for my money made it through with ‘Beauty stab’ see Martin Fry and ABC sizzle! Marc Almond scored a double: Bothy ‘The Art Of Falling Apart’ and Soft Cell’s Marc and the Mambas ‘Torment and Terrors’ showcased Almond’s talent for laying bare his despair. Almond’s artefacts have a perverse appeal that is sometimes frightening, sometimes voyeuristic, but always, always worthy of respect.
Last is my surrogate album of the year. It isn’t an ’83 release, but it’s so undoubtedly wonderful that it has to be included. ‘Songs For Swinging Lovers’ by Frank Sinatra, is the epitome of cool and sparkling sophistication. Frank Sinatra sings lonesome, often depressing, songs in a voice so fine and true-blue that it brings a lump to the throat. As I said, wonderful.