Monday, August 27, 2007

Mostly About Martha

Two of my favorite '80s bands were headed by women named Martha -- the emblematic The Motels and the lesser known but equally good Canadian band Martha and the Muffins. Jane Wiedlin's late '80s output sort of continued that vibe (circa Rush Hour and Lost Inside a Dream), but she's a solo artist (despite her short stint with Frosted and duet with Sparks -- Cool Places anyone?), so I'll talk about her at some other time. All the same, I thought she always sounded like a prettier, more talented Madonna.

I was pleased to learn that Martha Davis and the Motels boys are making yet another come back next month with an album called Clean Modern and Reasonable with acoustic takes of their old hits and a second one of new material called Beautiful Life planned for later this year. Based on the tracks on their website, it doesn't sound half bad. My favorite Motels songs were Suddenly Last Summer and Art Fails. However I always hated Take the L Out of Lover if only on semantic arguments. Put a C on the front of Love and it's Clover. Change L to an R and it's Rover. What the hell does the L have to do with it anyway? A quarter of a century later, the song still sucks.

I can easily forgive Martha that transgression. She so closely resembled many of the women I hung out with back then, now for that matter. Wait, do I know Martha?

Suddenly Last Summer, besides referencing that southern Gothic movie, came out the summer after a pivotal summer in my youth. It and Romeo Void's A Girl in Trouble Is a Temporary Thing were playing on my soundtrack in order to survive the Reagan years. A Girl in Trouble Is a Temporary Thing is always the perfect mantra for adverse times. All of life is transitory.

(Sorry, no word on Martha and the Muffins' current whereabouts. Though I'm listening to Black Stations/White Stations this morning.)

(BTW, that's Martha's pet chameleon not a rat that she's holding. She was a bit freaky but not that freaky.)

UPDATE: I've been listening to the two acoustic remakes on their site -- Counting and Only the Lonely -- almost nonstop since around 7 a.m. Martha sounds so great -- vulnerable, a tad wiser but not trying for that hokum in the usual "unplugged" remakes. Something tells me this album is going to figure big for me during the last half of 2007! Man, this is one '80s band that holds up amazingly well in my humble opinion.

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At 11:38 AM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

I'm singing along as I read.


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