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The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s

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  • published
    24 Jun 2013
  • words by
    Tom Lea, Joseph Morpurgo, Chris Kelly, John Twells, Chal Ravens, Joe Muggs, Ruaridh Law, Peter Rix & Tam Gunn, unless otherwise stated
  • tags
    The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s
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79. SUICIDE
SECOND ALBUM
(ZE, 1980)

[listen here]

If you think Suicide’s second album sounds ahead of its time, imagine copping an earful of Alan Vega and Martin Rev’s searing punk minimalism in 1975, the year they recorded their first demos with a drum machine and two-track recorder. While they didn’t have the immediate impact of fellow electronic pioneers Kraftwerk, the duo’s bloodless and depraved take on rock and roll classicism fertilised multiple generations of underground artists, from ’80s minimal wave to the recent crop of hypnagogic pop. This astonishing album, which simply refuses to age, is the sound of trash blowing across downtown New York, of late-night B-movies on a flickering TV screen, of crumbling windowless factories and peeling billboards. Hear it? It’s the collapse of the American dream.

 

Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips/Moon Duo): “Suicide’s Second Album manages to be both cinematic and claustrophobic at the same time, and you can clearly hear the seeds of 80s electronic pop in its dark textures and rhythms. But it cut a trail that proved hard to follow, despite being produced by pop star super-fan Ric Ocasek. It has the benefit of actually being a product of 70s NYC, but, more importantly, the advantage of Alan Vega’s and Martin Rev’s unique vision and dedication to their art.”

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