- 12 May 01
In 1987, it seemed as if every band inside and out of Dublin signed themselves off the dole and on with a record company.
In 1987, it seemed as if every band inside and out of Dublin signed themselves off the dole and on with a record company. I felt gratified for all those who obtained that once-elusive contract, but especially for Aslan, A House and Something Happens!, a triumvirate of considerable talent, imagination and ambition. With albums from all of these – and let’s not forget Tuesday Blue, The Gorehounds, and Hothouse Flowers on the way, 1988 could prove to be a ground-breaking year in international terms for young Irish bands.
Despite listening to more records than is healthy, the prize for the best album of ’87 must go to U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’. Some may see this choice as obvious, even mundane – but of all the groups and individuals I’ve heard this year, none could match this album’s extraordinary emotional power and spiritual strength.
The singles that spring to mind include The Pogues & Kirsty McColl’s ‘Fairytale Of New York’, The Smiths ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’, and Prince’s ‘I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man’. On the ‘live’ front, the best gig of ’87 bar none was at The Boxing Club, Drogheda, where I saw the Golden Horde transcend the physicality of pop music and take upon themselves an aura of oneness with the universe!
The year’s critically acclaimed hip-hop music passed me by, the cross-fertilisation of rap and hard-rock sounding both contrived and cliched to these ears. Ditto trash and the art (?) of sampling. Make mine roots, new country, and downhome rock’n’roll, please…
Joke Of The Year was Aidan Walsh, a man more laughed at, I fear, than laughed with. Some people should know better … My own favourite interview was with Raymond Harrington, an ex-Vietnam veteran, who put into proper perspective the importance of real life over the assumed relevance of pop music. Disappointments of the year? David Bowie’s lacklustre performance at Slane and the untimely break-up of the best British band of the ’80s, The Smiths. Prediction for ’88. It’s going to be another unpredictable year.