Mars Needs Guitars!
While synth-pop groups, hair metal bands, over-the-top divas, American heartland rock, Prince, and Madonna dominated mainstream music in the '80s, left-of-the-dial college radio stations gorged on underground groups that—like R.E.M., their most famous brethren—immersed themselves in the guitar rock 'n' pop of the '60s and '70s. Australia's Hoodoo Gurus were among them and were simply brilliant. Singer/guitarist Dave Faulkner had a knack for catchy melodies that were never cloying. Each of Hoodoo Gurus' early albums featured enough highlights to make them essential listening for anyone curious about the mid-'80s underground/alternative scene. Their debut album, Stoneage Romeos, had featured the U.S. college radio hit "I Want You Back." Mars Needs Guitars, the follow-up, went even deeper, with the sterling "Bittersweet," the cow-punk "Hayride to Hell," and the gorgeously jangly "Show Some Emotion" and "The Other Side of Paradise." The title track is great B-movie fun. "She" turns the sound darker and more psychedelic. A classic.