Album: Greetings from Timbuk 3, 1986
Justification: Like Devo and the B-52s and IRS labelmates Wall of Voodoo, Timbuk 3 are underrated as maker of darkly-weird music – and for the exact same reason. Like ‘Whip It’, ‘Rock Lobster’ and Mexican Radio’, they had one very popular song that cast a large shadow over everything else they subsequently did.
See, ‘The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades’ was a huge hit all over the place, guaranteeing the husband-and-wife team of Pat and Barbara McDonald a place on a million One Hit Wonders Of The 80s compilations. And it’s a novelty song in the sense that it sounded like nothing else on the radio at the time, and it has a sense of humour but it certainly wasn’t a joke: if anything, it was a hollow laugh at the military-industrial complex and those who worked within without looking beyond the end of their own nose: “I study nuclear science, I love my classes, i got a crazy teacher who wears dark glasses, things are going great, and they’re only gettin’ better.”
The amount of money involved dates it, though. “Fifty thou’ a year” doesn’t get as much beer as you’d think these days.
They were around a lot longer than you realised too: they did six studio albums in eleven years until finally splitting in 1995 as the McDonalds’ marriage disintegrated.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2010: Nothing for the 21st, but the 20th was the Hoodoo Gurus and the glorious love-song-that-is-actually-a-fuck-you-to-an-ex-bandmate, ‘I Want You Back’.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2011:Same, nothing for the 21st but the 20th was a piece of pure 80s shmaltz: it’s Johnny Hates Jazz and ‘Shattered Dreams’.
AND HERE’S THE LAST FIVE…