Ok, so there are certain records that one might be a bit embarrassed about, well, once upon a time one might, but nowadays I have absolutely no problem to confessing to liking things that many might never admit to liking themselves even when they are alone, with no possibility of anybody ever finding out. One such band/artist is Adam and the Ants. Not that I was ever a massive Adam and the Ants fan or anything, I just didn’t dislike them. The album I bought for £2 was ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’, which was the reincarnation of the band after original members listened to Malcom McLaren and left to form Bow wow wow. There were three hit singles from this LP, “Dog Eat Dog” (reaching No.4 on the UK singles charts in October 1980), ‘Antmusic’ (No.2 in January 1981) and “Kings of the Wild Frontier” (No.2 in March 1981). The album was the UK number 1 selling album in 1981 (and the 48th best seller in 1980) and won Best British Album at the 1982 Brit Awards. They were pretty interesting in an early 80’s sort of way but the album itself is a different construct to many of the pop albums we have today, and it was pop, despite the roots of the band being in punk.
I get the sense nowadays that more emphasis is placed on album as product to push the one or two good tracks that are on it (there are exceptions to this of course), whereas taking this album as an example, there are what seem obvious singles (although that could be because they were) and obvious album tacks, but these album tracks are not just filler, they are well written tunes which could potentially have been singles in some cases, if the mood in the charts were more open to them at the time. ‘Killer In The Home’ sounds like a minor hit, maybe stumbling into the late 30’s and back out again, although it borrows heavily on ‘Rumble’ by Link Wary (for borrows read steals), to the point that if it had been written by Pharell Williams and the other guy who claims to not have written ‘Blurred Lines’ at all as soon as the case hit court, there would certainly be litigation afoot against Mr Ant and Mr Pirroni.
Apparently this album introduced the new Burundi Beat drum sound to popular music, which may well be true, I have no idea but what I do know is that it still sounds quite full and, mostly, not that dated even though it was 35 years ago. Take away the all the flouncing, costumes and posturing, and you are left with a really good set of songs.
Jumping all the way back to the beginning of this post, if I did feel the need to justify myself, then I could point out that Kings of the Wild Frontier is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, but I don’t need to do that, even though I just did.
I put a little video playlist at the bottom of this post as well.