8 Songs, 31 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The '80s brought new trends, new technologies, and a new wave of pop music. While many stars of the '70s didn't survive the transition, Robert Palmer saw it as an opportunity, kicking off the most successful period of his career with 1980’s Clues. The album’s punchy, mechanized style was a marked difference from the swampy Southern rhythms of his early solo work, but he seemed utterly invigorated by the new surroundings. Palmer invited a fresh crop of new wave musicians to play on the album; Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz appears on “Looking for Clues,” while Gary Numan wrote “Found You Now” and “I Dream of Wires” and provided keyboards on the latter. Palmer’s rendition of The Beatles’ 1963 ditty “Not a Second Time” could just as convincingly be a Numan tune. With its gutsy hook and automated riff, the song presages “Addicted to Love,” the single that would launch Palmer to superstardom five years later. Meanwhile, “Johnny and Mary” is one of the best songs of this era, pairing a skittering rhythm to an uncharacteristically hushed (and eerie) vocal from Palmer.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The '80s brought new trends, new technologies, and a new wave of pop music. While many stars of the '70s didn't survive the transition, Robert Palmer saw it as an opportunity, kicking off the most successful period of his career with 1980’s Clues. The album’s punchy, mechanized style was a marked difference from the swampy Southern rhythms of his early solo work, but he seemed utterly invigorated by the new surroundings. Palmer invited a fresh crop of new wave musicians to play on the album; Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz appears on “Looking for Clues,” while Gary Numan wrote “Found You Now” and “I Dream of Wires” and provided keyboards on the latter. Palmer’s rendition of The Beatles’ 1963 ditty “Not a Second Time” could just as convincingly be a Numan tune. With its gutsy hook and automated riff, the song presages “Addicted to Love,” the single that would launch Palmer to superstardom five years later. Meanwhile, “Johnny and Mary” is one of the best songs of this era, pairing a skittering rhythm to an uncharacteristically hushed (and eerie) vocal from Palmer.

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