POST-PUNK NEW WAVE
Immediately after the mid-70s, almost simultaneously in the United States and in England, the advent of the Punk Rock phenomenon was considered a sort of great cultural reset that freed popular music from the baroque and intellectualisms of so-called Prog-Rock, but also of certain Psychedelia and AOR. Genres that had dominated the scene at the turn of the 60s and 70s by imposing a virtuosistic and visionary conception, as well as a magniloquent of musicians, singers and their live shows.
Reset not only from a strictly sound perspective, but above all from a lyrical point of view, since the texts abandoned what is now too cultured, and the cerebral connotation returned to dealing with society, politics, youth discomfort, addictions with a very direct, very anarchic approach, or fully nihilistic.
In any case, highly provocative and polemical. In truth, the 70s had not been characterized – until then – only by the elitist music of groups such as Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, EL&P, and Pink Floyd. In Germany, the Krautrock of Faust, Neu!, & Can had taken root, mixing electronics with sound experiments which in part would later define the industrial sound. Many cues from the two masterpiece albums by Neu! we find again, for example, a few years later in the style of Joy Division and The Cure. Speaking of pure electronics, there was Kraftwerk who laid the foundations for what was to become by Depeche Mode and Human League style Synthpop.
And in the same years in which Punk knew its apex of planetary popularity, the White Duke Bowie produced together with Brian Eno – in the so-called Berlin period – a couple of albums that in some way already anticipated some stylistic features of the real New Wave. Therefore, the reset started with the Ramones – in the USA – and with the Damned – in the UK – was certainly a cultural revolution, but not as clear-cut and uprooting as has often been said.
In some ways there was a transition, a more nuanced transfer of many roots that had already germinated in the early 70s. And so all the music that came after the explosions of the Sex Pistols and Dead Boys assumed the New Wave label to define a real wave of new names and new faces that depopulated for a long time, giving new life to the most emotional and pulsing soul of the rock culture.
However without betraying the good left by the legacy of psychedelia, but also of traditional rock, disco and pop in general. In this wave, various currents and sub-currents stood out, partly strongly based on the power of the image as well as that of music: New Romantic, Gothic Punk, & Ska to name a few.
Often very different from each other, but all subsidiaries of that new approach which saw a certain rejection of the past even in the more independent management of production and distribution. In fact, it was not only a flourishing of new artists: hundreds of new record labels were born, untied from the powers of the majors and a new generation of producers capable of reading the wind that was blowing and the needs of the public was formed in the best way. Punk as such, in the end, did not last long and although the sound seeds it had scattered continued to bear fruit in the sound of many artists, it was above all its breaking dynamics that was functional to the renewal.
After all, the New Wave itself returned to having an intellectual connotation that was certainly not fragile in the texts of many representative authors who literally made school: Robert Smith of the Cure, Morrissey of the Smiths, Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke, Ian Curtis of Joy Division.
Authors remained influential for decades on thousands of other bands. But the distance between the angry spontaneity of the 80s and the long-winded refinements of the 70s was certainly consolidated in a fairly marked way also in this sense.
Magazine – Definitive gaze
Joy Division – Love will tear us apart
Gary Numan and Tubeway Army – Are “friends” electric?
Eurythmics – Sweet dreams
Bauhaus – The passion of lovers
The Cure – A forest
Television – Marquee moon
Talking Heads – Psycho killer
Christian Death – Romeo’s distress
Soft Cell – Bedsitter
Tears For Fears – Mad world
Duran Duran – Planet Earth
Visage – Fade to grey
OMD – Enola gay
Siouxsie and The Banshees – Israel
Stranglers – Golden brown
U2 – New year’s day
Cocteau Twins – Ivo
Dead Can Dance – The trial
Clan of Xymox – A day
Talk Talk – Such a shame
The Smiths – There is a light that never goes out
The Sisters Of Mercy – First & Last & Always
Suicide – Dream baby dream
Ultravox – Vienna
Depeche Mode – Everything counts
Echo & The Bunnymen – The killing moon
The Sound – Heyday
Killing Joke – Love like blood