Album: Fun Fun - Have Fun (1984 Italy)
Song: Give Me Your Love
This track had me doing double takes just to make sure it was not a modern song parading as a retro song. Indeed, this song is genuinely from 1984, which is hard to believe as this is the exact synthwave sound everyone seems to try and recreate.
After the movie Drive came out in 2011 the music landscape was changed for a lot of musicians. For me, the first Mass Effect video game got me really interested in paying attention to synth, but when Drive came out, that was the exact moment I decided to finally buy Cubase and learn about making music like this.
I was definitely not alone though, and a lot of amazing artists seemed to emerge directly after the release of Drive that all strove to write such convincing 80s synth music that it would actually fool the listener. Sometimes even drastic steps were taken to degrade the sound quality to make it sound as if it were a distressed tape. Accurate synth patches would be used on modern virtual instruments, and period accurate production techniques were resurrected.
But as most video game fans already know, our memory of the past in in high definition. We tend to remember things looking or sounding better then they did, on average at least. Most of the time when you go back to something, you see a lot of the seams that you were never aware of before, and it almost never looks or sounds as full as you remembered.
That's what made me do a double take of this track when I first heard it. It SOUNDS like a modern group trying to sound like high definition nostalgia of the 80s sounded. That is a mouthful, I know. But consider how interesting a specimen this is, that is sounded like the future looking back, but in the actual past.
I could be wrong, or reading it to it too much, but I don't really care either way. This is a dynamite synthwave track, for any era.
Fun fact: the models on the cover were a Milli Vanilli situation. Drama!
Album: Aina - Target Practice (1985 Norway)
Song: Target Practice
Completely obscure Norwegian synthpop never sounded so good. Though her English is indistinguishable, I like the believe there is a little Norwegian poking through in some of those Scandinavian "ou" sounds.
While this is perhaps a fairly low impact song, I have found myself returning to it quite a lot when I am putting together last minute playlists for car trips. Nothing about the production leaps out at me, which leads me to believe it is entirely the performance. There is a thick presence to the energy of this track. It's punchy, and kind of wild, but overall it is just a catchy hook that really just digs it's hook in.
Plus that cover... Man alive. Aina looks like she could kick some ass, and I ain't hatin' it. I'm not sure how or why, but I think this cover, and the fact that is is Norwegian helps me like the song more. Shoot shoot shoot, right from the heart.