Day 139: The last song you heard.

“Trains” – The Vapors

New Clear DaysI think it was about 1983 when I finally became aware of “Turning Japanese.” And it was probably 1988 or so before I actually got around to taping my brother’s copy of New Clear Days.

That tape got heavy rotation in the car during my senior year of high school. By then, virtually no one on earth cared about the Vapors anymore. But to me the whole album was a little gem. Loved it.

And it remains among my favorite albums. Strangely, I recently picked up a reissue and discovered that the track list that I knew and loved was not the version that was originally released in the UK.


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Seems that when it was released in America, they reordered the tracks (so that the big hit “Turning Japanese” was first), dropped a few tracks, and added another that wasn’t on the original UK release at all. Did you get all that? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, because it’s all pretty confusing.

At any rate, “Trains” was the last song I heard today. This became the last song I heard by virtue of a malfunction of my iPhone. I’ve been using its bluetooth function to listen to music in the car, but for some reason, today my bluetooth is not working. (Research indicates that I’ll need to take it back to the Apple store for another replacement, as others who’ve experienced this have found it’s a hardware issue. Wonderful.)

But I digress.

Since I had no streaming in the car, I turned to the CD player. And New Clear Days (the UK version) happened to be in there. In turn, since I’ve been threatening to write about something from this album since the “favorite song of the 80s” post, I drew the line in the sand there. I stopped listening to stuff until I wrote this. (Sort of.)

In truth, the music on this album is not groundbreaking. It’s not earth-shattering. But there’s still something brilliant about it. I can’t explain what, but there’s something about nearly every song that resonates with me. But not necessarily everyone else (which I can’t fathom). I remember popping it into the cassette player once back in high school and my friend Kris saying “I don’t know what you find so great about this album.” (Of course he also once said that about The Cars’ “It’s All I Can Do,” as well. It took me many years to forgive him for that.)

In another incident, “Trains” came on in the car while I was going somewhere with my girlfriend at the time (the same one who bought the “Orinoco Flow” single we berated). The song, which is about the narrator’s bond with his woman (bordering on obsession) includes these lyrics:

Nobody looks like you
Nobody loves like you
Nobody tastes like you

When he got to that last line, she said “Eww, gross!” and after that she wouldn’t let me listen to the tape with her in the car anymore. (She’s long gone and I still listen to the album regularly, so you can see how that went. Don’t mess with the “Trains”.) Incidentally, it’s only one of the songs I love on the album. Others include:

If you’re a fan of early-80s New Wave, I urge you to check out the album. Even if you’re not, but you enjoy good pop/rock songs, I urge you to check out the album.And if you don’t fall into either category, I urge you to check out the album anyway. Just because. Don’t argue. I will find you and slap you.

See that? I like the album so much I’m threatening violence. And I’m not a violent man. Usually. But don’t test me on this one. It’s that important.

Okay, maybe not, but you might like it. You won’t know until you try.