Hoboken is still a new wave town, at least to me I thought as I strolled around town this afternoon. I got out of the apartment when it wasn’t rainy and an occasional glimpse of the sun was seen. I listened to The Only Ones ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’. I used to think the song was about feeling like being on another planet when in love with a girl, or a boy. But I read somewhere that it was about heroin addiction. When you substitute girl for heroin it makes sense. Another clue was that Peter Perrett was a junkie at the time. Still might be.
But it was a classic power pop song regardless of the subject matter. As I walked down Washington Street I played ‘What Presence?’ by Orange Juice. That was a band that really meant a lot to me back in the day, Scottish new wave soul fronted by Edwyn Collins. No references to heroin just jangly guitars and clever wordplay. Great guitar playing by Edwyn. I had the 12” single back in the day, loved it enough that I’m sure I didn’t throw it out when I moved a few years ago.
Then I played the Raspberries, ‘Go All the Way’. I remember the song from back in the day when it came out on AM radio back in the seventies. Another power pop song. Definite sound of the seventies, crisp production. McCartney-esque vocal by Eric Carmen. That led me to Macca’s ‘Helen Wheels’ a really fun rock and roll song from Paul. One of the singles off the first LP I bought with my own money, ‘Band on the Run’. That puts it at 1973.
Then it went into Elvis Costello and the Attractions, ‘This Years Girl’. Man I loved Elvis Costello. Had many versions of the same album and single. ‘Oh this US single says it’s 3:49 and the UK single says it 3:51. I must get both.’ That’s how it usually went. Disposable income while living with the parents. I was able to afford that kind of behavior back then.
I followed that with Nick Lowe, ‘American Squirm’. Nick was one of the foremost proponents of power pop in the new wave days. His first US album, ‘Pure Pop for Now People’ is a classic and sadly unavailable on CD. I lucked out and borrowed the Nick Lowe box set from my good friend Chuckles a few months ago.
I sat by the river and remembered a few bands that used to exist. Hoboken bands, like the Individuals, the Cyclones and the Bongos who were my favorite. I first saw the Bongos at the Meadowbrook in Cedar Grove in 1981 when I had just gotten back from California. I heard a few things from my brother Frank about them and finally went to see them all on my own. I stationed myself right in front of the stage and wound up pounding the stage with my palms so hard I went home with blisters.
My love for music was one of the major reasons why I moved to Hoboken.