Retro Charts

So, this is the list of my favourite records how it may have looked at the time of my 15th birthday. Due to missing notes from that epoch it is based purely on recollection and therefore might not be entirely authentic. To stay in tune with the basic sentiment of the list the reviews added here are not taken from the British music press (I doubt that they would have had anything positive to say about them anyway) but from a German Teens magazine. And therefore are in German. Sorry, world.
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1. Alphaville
Forever Young
It may look a bit illogical that a band that more or less just copied English synthi pop bands tops this list with the originators placed behind them or not being featured at all. But there's not much logic in this list anyway. Nevertheless this is still one of the best albums made by a German band in the last 30 years. Which says a lot about the state of the German music scene of this era.
Tracks still ace : Sounds Like A Melody, Forever Young
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2. Duran Duran
Back in the 80s boy groups still were regular bands where each member played an instrument albeit in a kind of cute way. And they wrote their own songs. The concept behind this album is a bit diffuse. It either can be seen as a live album with all the crowd noise removed or a greatest hits album with some of their biggest (and best) hits (Rio, The Reflex, Girls On Film) missing.
Tracks still ace : The Wild Boys
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3. Depeche Mode
Black Celebration
This signified the start of my infatuation with DM. A year or so later this list would have featured at least 4 DM albums in the Top 5. Today I look back at this time with a smile, although I think there are worse bands to waste your teenage years on. This is certainly not one of their best albums but as it was their current album then it was my favourite at this point.
Tracks still ace : Stripped, It Doesn't Matter Two
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4. A-Ha
Scoundrel Days
1986   Review
Another band tagged as a boy group even though totally against their will. Their first album offered a world-wide hit with 'Take On Me' and a classic pop song with 'The Sun Always Shines On TV'. This, their second one, had a bit of melancholic, autumnal atmosphere about it but it lacked successful singles. Their comeback in the 00s was a bit of a shame really.
Tracks still ace : Manhattan Skyline
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5. Depeche Mode
Speak & Spell
This album still has a place in my heart. On this and the two Yazoo albums Vince Clarke crafted pop songs of perfect simplicity. An ability he sadly seemed to have lost when working with Erasure later on. The obvious homoerotic nature of some of the lyrics written by him certainly must have confused singer and macho in the making Dave Gahan a bit.
Tracks still ace : many of them
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6. Mike Oldfield
The Complete Mike Oldfield
Apparently I had my prog-rock, guitar solo indulgence phase very early. Hopefully that spares me from buying Grateful Dead records when I'm 40. This Best Of retrospective of the then quite successful Mr. Oldfield, thanks to some mayor single hits, was a double album with three sides filled with instrumental work. With lots of guitar solos of course.
Tracks still ace : To France, Excerpt From Tubular Bells
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7. Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Welcome To the Pleasuredome
Even back then I thought this would have been much better as a single album. Much of its fascination certainly came from its aura of excess, danger and debauchery. Astonishingly they never got banned for anything in Germany.
Tracks still ace : Relax, The Power Of Love
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8. Alphaville
Afternoons In Utopia
1986   Review
After loosing their main songwriter they had a bit of a problem with, well, writing songs. They tried to distract from it by using lots of sophisticated arrangements. It didn't work of course.
Tracks still ace : none
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9. Various
Top Gun Soundtrack
1986   Review
The most embarrassing of them all. A soundtrack to a Hollywood blockbuster movie! Glorifying the U.S. Army! Staring Tom Cruise! It featured a lot of dull, ordinary MOR soft rock songs symptomatic for mainstream music in the 80s.
Tracks still ace : absolutely none