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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Buggles, The - 1980 The Age Of Plastic
 
Buggles, The - 1980 The Age Of Plastic



ARTIST: Buggles, The
ALBUM: The Age Of Plastic
LABEL: Island
SERIAL: 31-252-0
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2004, Island, IMCD 261 546 274-2 (with bonus tracks)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Trevor Horn - lead vocals, bass, guitar * Geoff Downes - keyboards, synthesizers, electric piano, piano, drums, percussion, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Plastic Age * 02 Video Killed the Radio Star * 03 Kid Dynamo * 04 I Love You (Miss Robot) * 05 Clean, Clean * 06 Elstree * 07 Astroboy (And The Proles On Parade) * 08 Johnny On The Monorail


Background
Did video kill the radio star? Of course not, but music was rapidly changing in 1980 and the advent of MTV a year later certainly shook things up. Some saw video as the death knell for 'real' music which of course was silly but the Buggles were front and center as the video for their cleverly crafted pop symphony was the first played on the fledging network. Originally a trio which included Bruce Woolley who left to form The Camera Club; the dreadful moniker was a tongue-in-cheek take on The Beatles - a beetle, a bug, hence the Buggles. Cute, but it was short lived. In late 1980 Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes were picked up by Yes, replacing both Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman for the excellent 'Drama' album and tour. A second Buggles album 'Adventures In Modern Recording' was in the works before and after both split from Yes, but Downes was drafted by Steve Howe for a lucrative gig with Asia before it could be completed.


The Songs
So over three and a half decades later how does 'The Age Of Plastic' hold up? Still as charming as ever and for those who lazily described the music found here as new wave should have really listened to the album. Maybe it was the shiny suits or Horn's Elvis Costello glasses found on promo photos and videos, but come on.. Anyone who has spent serious time with this LP as I have will draw immediate parallels to the witty pop song craft of 10cc, Godley & Creme, ELO and yes The Beatles all wrapped neatly in colourful retro-futuristic cellophane. 'The Plastic Age' gets the party started with a great chorus, operatic female vocals and quirky keys but what can be said of 'Video Killed The Radio Star' that hasn't been said already? Immaculate production, never ending hooks with both classical and pop melodies offering up sweet and honest to goodness ear candy that invigorates the soul and is truly one of the greatest art pop singles of all time although the quality doesn't end here. 'Kid Dynamo' recalls early City Boy which is never a bad thing while the haunting 'I Love You (Miss Robot)' could almost pass for Toto. 'Clean, Clean' does have a spikey new wave flavor yet Downes' keyboard work lifts it into something entirely different but my money is on the set's second best tune 'Elstree' with its lovely chorus and very British-centric lyricism. The magnificent 'Astroboy (And The Proles On Parade)' as well as the fast-paced 'Johnny On The Monorail' put the finishing touches on a record that still sounds fresh and original as it did way back when.


In Summary
Horn completed 'Adventures In Modern Recording' in 1981 which included a re-titled version of 'Into The Lens' from the 'Drama' album as 'I Am A Camera' and later Yes re-recorded both 'Riding A Tide' and 'We Can Fly From Here' for their 2011 album, yet it's hard to argue 'The Age Of Plastic' is superior and placed both Buggles on a career trajectory that is still reaping dividends.


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on October 28 2015 12:48:10
The Buggles - 1980 Video Killed The Radio Star
YouTube Video:
#2 | gdazegod on October 28 2015 12:53:48
The Buggles - 2004 Video Killed The Radio Star (Live)
YouTube Video:
#3 | Jez on October 28 2015 15:23:22
Brilliant album and one I still play regularly
#4 | DEMONAOR on October 28 2015 22:59:23
Brilliant album indeed. And i do agree Eric, Video killed the radio star, one of the greatest art pop singles of all time.
#5 | tompa on October 28 2015 23:20:26
I too, would like to use the word 'brilliant' about this album.
#6 | reyno-roxx on October 31 2015 08:02:01
I like the Bruce Wooley version of 'Videostar' too.
#7 | englandashes on October 31 2015 13:36:48
Didn't realise Bruce did his own version, so thank you for that.

Couple of cover versions which are actually good, are by The Feeling and a slowed down version by Glenn Hughes on one of Geoff Downes albums, well worth listening to.
#8 | Nick C on November 09 2015 02:29:03
Just great from start to finish, my copy has a further 3 tracks. I dug it out the other day for a listen after reading this review and parts of it (don't laugh) reminded me of Bill Nelson and Alan Parsons (that man again!). Might have to get their second album at some point.
#9 | gdazegod on May 19 2016 10:10:13
Check this out Buggles fans. Do any of you know what a Theremin is? It's actually a very early version (1920's) of a synthesizer.

Here's a bloke doing a cover of 'Video Killed The Radio Star' using a Theremin. He says that the Beach Boys used such a device on their hit 'Good Vibrations'.

YouTube Video:
 
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