5 The Jam
A Town Called Malice 1982
Smart lyrics and a Motown-lifting bassline which pioneered “soulcialism”.
6 Robert Wyatt
Elvis Costello’s lyric recounts the tragic irony of an unemployed man who finds work in a shipyard before his squaddie son is killed in the battleship he’s built.
7 Style Council
With Everything To Lose 1985
Weller at his angriest, later reworked as “Have You Ever Had It Blue” for the Absolute Beginners soundtrack.
“Margaret On The Guillotine” 1988
Deliciously spiteful fantasy of Mrs T’s execution.
9 Elvis Costello
“Tramp The Dirt Down” 1989
Costello replaces the elliptical political allusions of “Pills And Soap” and “Shipbuilding” with this blunt death fantasy.
10 Kirsty MacColl
Free World 1989
A bile-filled, sorrowful letter addressed to Thatcher, recorded with Johnny Marr.
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