Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1988: Transvision Vamp- Pop Art

One final thought from my short story on Mike’s blog. I’m surprised that Fundamentalist Christians or fanatical Muslims haven’t called for my head. After all, I did write that Jesus and Mohammed come to Rock Heaven and jam with the musicians there, sacrilege! However, I stick by my assertion that both religious figures are pretty sick of humans who twist their teachings in order to denounce rock music. Well, that’s my last mention of my story, at least until I think of something else.

Like “Rock and Roll Heaven,” which has stuck in my mind for nearly fifty years, the first song on English pop rock band, Transvision Vamp’s debut album, “Pop Art,” has stuck in my head for thirty-four years. That song is “Tell That Girl to Shut Up.” The rocking guitar chords get my attention first but really stuck in my mind was lyrics, “Tell that girl to shut up, you better tell that girl I’m gonna beat her up,” completely amused me. From then on, the song has stuck in my mind. I’m a little surprised that it wasn’t on any right winger’s hit list. After all, it does promote girl on girl violence with lyrics like “Maybe if I hit her, maybe if I pull her hair.”

Let me clarify, it’s Wikipedia who calls this album pop rock. For me, it’s definitely more rock than pop. In fact, there are elements of new wave, punk, progressive rock and even metal. The great thing is that Transvision Vamp mix all of these things and make a really great album with it. There is a progressive style intro on the opener, “Trash City” but the guitar kicks in and you get a cool rock jam. Even their top ten single, “I Want Your Love,” is a pure hard rock anthem. In fact, I was a little surprised that it was released as a single, let alone did better than the next track, “Sister Moon,” which is ballad like in some places and I would have thought more radio friendly. But that’s what is so good about this band, it’s their hard rock songs which really make it here.

In the vein of “Tell That Girl to Shut Up” is the hidden gem of the album, “Psyochosonic Cindy.” This is more of a punk, new wave type of track and the band really goes for it and even Google can’t give a definition for ‘psychosonic” but who cares, it’s a great tune. This brings me to my next point, while the band is really tight, it’s the vocals of firecracker Wendy James which really takes things to another level. Yes, I admit she tingled my male hormones back then and still does now but it’s her sheer energy and vocal talent which needs to be praised. I don’t think the band would have been so successful without her.

Maybe it’s because the latter half of the album veers a little from heavy rock is why it was called pop rock. I don’t hear anything pop about any of these songs. They are well done in a new wave type of style. “Wild Star” starts out like it’s going to be a cowboy song. Though I don’t know who Halo Jones is but the song makes me kind of want to hang out with him and what a way to find out that “Andy Warhol’s Dead.” Like the opener, the album closes in a more progressive rock style with “Sex Kick.” This song is way out there with a more prog sound and Wendy’s moans of passion add a cool dimension but it’s a great way to close the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Trash City
  2. I Want Your Love
  3. Sister Moon
  4. Psychosonic Cindy
  5. Revolution Baby
  6. Tell That Girl to Shut Up
  7. Wild Star
  8. Hanging Out With Halo Jones
  9. Andy Warhol’s Dead
  10. Sex Kick
Transvision Vamp

Wendy James- lead vocals

Nick Christian Sayer- guitar

Dave Parsons- bass, backing vocals

Tex Axile- keyboards

Pol Burton- drums

Additional Musicians:

Matthew Seligman- bass

Phil Smith- saxophone

D. Manic B’Man- keyboards

Adam Peters- electric and acoustic cello

Nick Marsh, China Blue, Carol and Karen- backing vocals

It still amazes me how one song from decades ago can still stick in the mind after decades. “Tell That Girl to Shut Up” is such a song but it did lead me to a great album in “Pop Art.”

Next Post: Blue Oyster Cult- Imaginos

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2 Responses to “Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1988: Transvision Vamp- Pop Art”

  1. This one is entirely new to me. I really like what I’m hearing. I can see how this would easily get stuck in someone’s head.

    Liked by 1 person

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