Artist – The Buggles
Album – The Age of Plastic
Year – 1980
Genre – New Wave
Ah yes, the infamous first video ever played on MTV. Does MTV even play music videos anymore? I guess it should be “Reality Show Killed the Video Star” now, but I digress. I read another review of this particular gem that said even in the world of modern pop songs, this song still sounds fresh and holds up. I completely agree. Why do I think that? I’m glad you asked.
The first reason is the instruments and production on this song. Former frontman of the Buggles and also Yes for a bit, Trevor Horn, is a production master and knows how to get a record to sound good. If you listen to every piece of this song, even beyond all the pianos and synths, you can hear a crisp, rumbling bass line and a guitar that really wails, especially at the end.
Back to that piano and synth. This is New Wave, so those are the instruments that are front and center, and they just blow me away every time. Geoff Downes, the keyboard player, is an amazing talent and he mixes piano and synth effortlessly. He plays exactly the right melody or right riff at exactly the right time in this song, and manages to keep it fresh and exciting. That’s something a lot of modern day musicians struggle to do. It’s those little riffs on the synth and piano that keep the instruments just as catchy as the vocals.
Ah yes, the vocals. Trevor Horn’s electrically altered voice is perfect for the message and tone of the song. It’s…the FUTURE! The whole song from beginning to end is just as catchy and hooky as any modern pop song, and perhaps even more so. I have to give a shout out to those unknown female vocalists who actually sing the chorus and the background vocals throughout the entire song. Horn does a great job, but it’s these ladies that have the iconic pieces of the song.
Ugh, the lead in to the chorus of this song is just too good. It’s the catchiest damn thing, and then the chorus hits and you’re hooked. You’re just done. Whoever wrote this melody deserves a medal for earworm of the century. As if that wasn’t enough, the background vocals at the end are so catchy, you know the “You aaaaaaareeee the radiooo staaaarrrr” part. All I can say is, SING IT GIRL! Because I’m singing right along with you at the top my lungs.
You might think the song ends here, but make sure you listen to the version I posted above, because there’s actually a really beautiful instrumental ending that plays the melody of the song in a quiet way that just gives me shivers. After that, well, the rest is history as they say.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why this song can stand with the best of what we have today. And who knows, maybe it’ll inspire some modern artists to build on what The Buggles started ;). Oh, look, I see we have some takers already!
Thanks for reading, and if you like this song or post, be sure to like and leave a comment. Also, I would love it if you shared it with your friends and passed the music around, and also if you could hit that follow button at the top of the screen!