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Top Ten:The Flying Lizards

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Artist: The Flying Lizards

Date Released: 1984

Label: Statik

Produced By: David Cunningham

Tracklisting:

  1. Tutti Frutti
  2. Dizzy Miss Lizzie
  3. Sex Machine
  4. What's New Pussycat
  5. Suzanne
  6. Then He Kissed Me
  7. Whole Lotta Shaking Goin' On
  8. Purple Haze
  9. Great Balls Of Fire
  10. Tears
  11. Top Ten Again

(Track 11 only on CD issue)

ReviewEdit

Top Ten is the album that everyone thought The Flying Lizards was going to be but wasn't. After Fourth Wall failed commercially (you know, as an aside, this seems to be a recurring theme of the record reviews I've been writing—stuff that failed commercially and stuff that was a followup to something that failed commercially. And then I typically talk about how brilliant it is. Hm. I mean, I'm not sayin' the stuff's not brilliant, just commenting on a pattern here.), The Flying Lizards had hung it up for a couple years, but in 1984, David Cunningham felt the itch return, and so he assembled another group, and made Top Ten. Top Ten is similar to his first singles, but much more calculated and precise (and I don't mean that in a bad way—that was the concept of the record; after all, it was dedicated to the inventor of the metronome). It's one of those albums that tends to add up to more than the whole—each track is great and excellent, but the entire album as a whole tends to wear a bit. As such, it's PERFECT for mixes, even though it's not one I typically throw on a whole lot. The selection of source songs is a little odd—for the most part, it's all banal pop songs, but "Suzanne" (originally by Leonard Cohen) is an odd (though EXCELLENT—it's one of the best cuts on the record) choice, and "Purple Haze" isn't one I'd typically consider a top pop single, either. But, hey, it works, and I'm not complaining. The CD issue adds "Top Ten Again", which is a collage of all the tracks on the album, but in a much looser, less metronomic fashion that brings it closer to the original singles -- though I must stress, the roboticness of this album is by design -- not a result of David Cunningham's heart not being in the record on an attempt to cash in. (If it was, it wouldn't work—this album had no distribution and was 4 years too late to work, anyway.) The amusing thing—the CD version of this album (released in 1984, in France only, on a tiny independent label) is way easier to find than the CD issue of Fourth Wall (released in 1999, in Japan only, on Virgin). Go figure.

Still, though—this record is very obviously in the collection of electroclash bands like Chicks On Speed, who have seemingly created a career out of re-recording this album, minus the wit, charm and point. - Rev. Syung Myung Me

Further readingEdit

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