Various Artists – Elec-Trax

Sixteen shiny "synthpop classics"

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Michael Stipe: “I don’t have to please anyone but myself”

In Uncut's exclusive interview, he discusses new solo material and REM's legacy

With hindsight, the synthesizer has sins aplenty to atone for, but as the ’80s dawned it was embraced as the future of all things shiny and cool. Young men with shocking haircuts stood behind it, swearing allegiance to Aryan aesthetics and red leather blousons. Among these: Spandau cutting long stories short, Gary Numan and Ultravox. Soft Cell’s “Torch” remembered to incorporate emotion; Japan’s “Quiet Life” raised the bar, nudged the sublime. Cred-again (who’d have thought?) Tears For Fears warned us it was a mad world. From the mouths of knob-twiddlers…

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Peter Gabriel, Michael Stipe, The Flaming Lips, Tim Buckley, David Bowie, Archie Shepp, Jonathan Richman, Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Rolling Stones
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