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Musical Time Capsules
January 27, 2008 12:07 AM   Subscribe

What songs evoke an earlier decade in near-perfect detail, in terms of musical style?

I'm looking for songs that sound as if they could have been hits at least 10 years before their release date. The more meticulous the reproduction, the better. Examples that mostly fit are "That Thing You Do," "PoP! Goes My Heart" (Fountains of Wayne must be Hollywood's first choice for nostalgic soundtrack music), "Rouge no dengon," and some of the Squirrel Nut Zippers' music.

What I'm not looking for:
--Most importantly, irony. I don't care if the music video features the artist doing comical things in anachronistic clothing, but the song itself should be played straight. No nudge-nudge-wink-wink pop culture references, or lyrics that clash with the musical time period.
--Covers.
--Mashups, remixes, sampling, etc, unless these were also features of the older style (a current artist recreating early 80's hip-hop is fine).
--Traditional or classical music (any culture). I'm focusing on popular, ephemeral music styles that are tied to decades, not centuries.

Other than those criteria, I'm not particular about language or genre. Blatant aping of specific bands is fine, too, as long as it's a homage instead of (or in addition to) a cheap gimmick.
posted by Drop Daedalus to Media & Arts (53 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
"In The Clouds" by Under The Influence of Giants was released in 2006 but reminds me a lot of 80s music (specifically, Michael Jackson).
posted by anifinder at 12:27 AM on January 27, 2008


There are obviously lots of bands heavily influenced by the sixties but The Red Button is one that captures the sound particularly well. I'd put it in the homage category.
posted by gfrobe at 12:45 AM on January 27, 2008


Singer-songwriter Josh Rouse comes to mind, especially his album 1972. Lots of seventies-era production values, instrumentation, etc.
posted by emelenjr at 12:58 AM on January 27, 2008


The Dukes Of Stratosphear were XTC, in the 80s, paying homage to all sorts of stuff from the 60s. The lyrics are slightly tongue-in-cheek, but not really any more ridiculous than the originals, in the end. And the music and sounds are absolutely spot-on and not ironic at all.
posted by xil at 1:27 AM on January 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Here's To Love" from the movie "Down With Love" is wonderful in being able to evoke the late 50s/early 60s feeling.
posted by davidmsc at 1:40 AM on January 27, 2008


Most of the songs from "Grease" (the circa '72 stage show -- not that celluloid crapfest) evoke the late 50's quite effectively.
posted by RavinDave at 2:05 AM on January 27, 2008


Amy Winehouse - Rehab comes to mind.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:36 AM on January 27, 2008


Herculese and Love Affair's "Blind" does 70savantdiscoproducercellist to a T.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:46 AM on January 27, 2008


The Clientele sounds like it's straight of the 60's.
posted by SampleSize at 4:36 AM on January 27, 2008


100 Days, 100 Nights by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings sounds like old motown and R&B. The Dap-Kings is the backing band on a lot of the songs from Amy Winehouse's last album. They go for that whole old school aesthetic by using vintage recording equipment and techniques. They also carried this aesthetic over to their video for 100 Days, 100 Nights
posted by chillmost at 4:54 AM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anything by Dewey Cox
posted by A189Nut at 5:13 AM on January 27, 2008


The Dukes Of Stratosphear were XTC, in the 80s, paying homage to all sorts of stuff from the 60s...

+++++
"Vanishing Girl" is the best song The Hollies never did.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:29 AM on January 27, 2008


A lot of Gnarls Barkley's St. Elsewhere is reminiscent of the soul singers of the 60s. Particularly tracks Storm Coming and The Last Tme.

A lot of Blaqk Audio's stuff is very much straight out of 80s darkwave.
posted by bfranklin at 6:10 AM on January 27, 2008


The Pipettes sound like early 60s girl groups.
posted by jouke at 6:35 AM on January 27, 2008


...mostly like Phil Spectors Ronettes.
posted by jouke at 6:40 AM on January 27, 2008


And, please, don't anyone even dare mention Lenny Kravitz and his supposed retro 70's sound. He gets it so very, very wrong...
posted by Thorzdad at 6:53 AM on January 27, 2008


Erin McKeown's Sing You Sinners is mostly American standards , but there's one original stuffed in there ("Melody") that fits in perfectly. You'd never know it was written 60-70 years later than the rest of the stuff.
posted by danb at 6:55 AM on January 27, 2008


"Magnolia Simms", by the Monkees, sounds like it was recorded in the 20's-30's. Complete with scratchy, poppy record-player sound, and a skip, needle drag and reset. (Though this might fall into the irony category.)
posted by Lucinda at 6:57 AM on January 27, 2008


I could've sworn that The Kaiser Chiefs' "I Predict a Riot" was a product of the 80's, but the band didn't form until the early 2000s.
posted by chara at 7:01 AM on January 27, 2008


Both Wolfmother and Audioslave wrote the "best Led Zeppelin song that Led Zeppelin never wrote".

And The Dandy Warhols did the same for the Rolling Stones...
posted by benzo8 at 7:01 AM on January 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Darkness is very reminiscent of '80s rock.
posted by schroedinger at 7:09 AM on January 27, 2008


The Little Miss Higgins "Junction City" album (released 2007) has an early-40s electric blues sound (and it's fantastic!).
posted by wearyaswater at 7:11 AM on January 27, 2008


Sally Shapiro sounds very much like 80's italodisco:
http://www.myspace.com/shapirosally

(Listen to "I'll be by your side", for instance)
posted by martinrebas at 7:21 AM on January 27, 2008


When I first heard it I thought that "Always Take The Weather With You" by Crowded House was a late Sixties song. It has a sort of Buffalo Springfield vibe to it.
posted by essexjan at 7:24 AM on January 27, 2008


Nickelback sounds like it's from the mid 1990s. They seem pretty earnest.
posted by billtron at 7:30 AM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I personally think The Pipettes don't fit the criteria the OP stated.

No nudge-nudge-wink-wink pop culture references, or lyrics that clash with the musical time period.

They might be close to 60s girl groups sonically, but they don't quite represent the spirit of 60s girl groups music lyrically.
posted by aielen at 7:31 AM on January 27, 2008


Both The Hives and Jet sound like late 60s/early 70 Rolling Stones.
posted by iviken at 8:16 AM on January 27, 2008


The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (1969) sounds like it was written and recorded during the Civil War.

U2's "Angel of Harlem" (1988) sounds like '60s soul (thanks to the '60s soul horn charts).

Crowded House's "Not the Girl You Think You Are" (1996) sounds like a White Album outtake.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:30 AM on January 27, 2008


"Beach Baby" by First Choice

Danger: this WILL get stuck in your head.
posted by softlord at 8:42 AM on January 27, 2008


I always thought that R.E.M.'s "I Am Superman" sounded like it could have been released in the early-mid 70s.
posted by Addlepated at 9:10 AM on January 27, 2008


Oh, and She Wants Revenge and The Killers both have an 80s sound.
posted by Addlepated at 9:10 AM on January 27, 2008


It took a little while to convince myself that Pizzicato Five's Twiggy Twiggy wasn't from 1966.
posted by goo at 9:20 AM on January 27, 2008


The Stems, an Australian band from the 80s*, sound right out of the 60s. Check out "At First Sight."

*They've actually recently released a new album after twenty years which is supposed to be good, though I've not heard it.
posted by 6550 at 10:05 AM on January 27, 2008


The Sounds are stttrrraiighhtt up Blondie/Cars/etc.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:11 AM on January 27, 2008


"Looks, Looks, Looks" by Sparks has a definite elegant ballroom with potted palms Big Band feel.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:22 AM on January 27, 2008


seconding the darkness
posted by ncc1701d at 10:31 AM on January 27, 2008


Camera Obscura - Phil Spector-ish 60s pop
Midlake - Fleetwood Mac-esque 70s rock
Sondre Lerche - 60s Euro-pop
Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire - 20s/30s Gypsy Jazz

(Andrew Bird played fiddle for the Squirrel Nut Zippers)
posted by ludwig_van at 11:39 AM on January 27, 2008


The first time I heard "Heartbeats" by The Knife I was certain that it was an old 80s track.
posted by kalimotxero at 11:46 AM on January 27, 2008


In 1989, the Georgia Satellites did a near perfect /Small Faces/Faces-type song (1960's) called "Another Chance."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5lOY7erbuI
posted by andreap at 12:54 PM on January 27, 2008


For some reason, How Far is Heaven by Los Lonely Boys always struck me as sounding as if it was made in the 90s.

Also, One Evening by Feist.
posted by matkline at 2:07 PM on January 27, 2008


Apples In Stereo have always had a very retro psych 60s sound, although I'm not sure they adhere to all of your qualifications.
posted by stagewhisper at 2:41 PM on January 27, 2008


Some of the original songs written for the fictional band in the film "Almost Famous" perfectly evoke the sounds of 70's hard rock. "Fever Dog" is the signature song, but I think there were several songs written for the movie.

Songs written for the fictional band in "Rock Star" evoke the sounds of 80's hard rock. I've only seen this once so I don't remember specifics.
posted by Alabaster at 4:03 PM on January 27, 2008


I've always thought "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen sounded like a 60s Beatles' song.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:25 PM on January 27, 2008


Very Best by the Twenty Belows or anything by Teenage Bottle Rocket. The pre-blinkafication of pop punk is back bitch.
posted by Stynxno at 4:42 PM on January 27, 2008


"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is Elvis-y rather than Beatles-y.

What about The Raspberries?
posted by booksandlibretti at 6:58 PM on January 27, 2008


The Bees do the 60s brit pop thing to a t. Especially on their album, Free The Bees.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:27 PM on January 27, 2008


The Fine Young Cannibals took a stab at early-sixties with "Good Thing" (1987).
posted by Songdog at 7:30 PM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


"An Honest Mistake" by the Bravery sounds very '80s.
posted by yqxnflld at 10:02 PM on January 27, 2008


Not sure if these count, but Paul McCartney's Beatles-era "Honey Pie" and "When I'm 64"?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:09 PM on January 27, 2008


Billy Joels "An Innocent Man" album.
posted by softlord at 5:53 AM on January 28, 2008


I think Morningwood is what New Wave shoulda coulda been.
posted by whuppy at 6:53 AM on January 28, 2008


Pizzicato Five brings to mind Motown, Burt Bachrach, Tom Jones, Petula Clark, Bossa Nova, the British Invasion, 60s tv spy shows. Listen to "Sweet Thursday," "It's a Beautiful Day," "Twiggy Twiggy" and lots of others.
posted by euphotic at 12:37 AM on January 29, 2008


"Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" - Queen. Sounds like a "hit song" from the late 1800's.

"Michelle" - Beatles. Sounds like a gypsy-jazz song.
posted by raikkohamilonso at 11:25 AM on February 7, 2008


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