Return to the 80s Music: The Romantics

Hey Everybody, Welcome to a new series called Return to the 80s Music! This was originally going to be a podcast series. However, I am currently in school going for my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. So between school and working a full time job, recording and editing a podcast, along with researching the subject, it is just too intensive for me to do it correctly. And you will see why.
I am going to review every 80s album I can, chronologically. We’ll hear some classics, some hidden gems that not everybody may be familiar with, and maybe some nobody has heard of, which can be a great discovery, or something that will make you say What the HELL was that?!?!

I hope this is good and you all enjoy it. I hope we make some rad discoveries, and I know there will be songs that will bring us back to some great times! In either case, it is always awesome to Return to the 80s!
You can click on the song title to check out the YouTube video of the song. I’ll also include the Spotify playlist at the bottom of each article, if the album is on Spotify.

So let’s kick things off. First up is the first album released in the 80s – The Romantics self-titled album.

The Romantics were formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1977. For three years the band was on the road, and in September 1979, the band recorded their debut self-titled album with British producer Pete Solley.
The are considered power-pop. They are reminiscient of the 60s British Invasion. They feel vintage, yet were pretty progressive for the time.

The whole album is consistent.

The Romantics
Released January 4, 1980

Wally Palmar: lead vocals and backing vocals, rhythm guitar and harmonica
Mike Skill: lead guitar and backing vocals
Rich Cole: bass, lead vocals on “Till I See You Again”, and backing vocals
Jimmy Marinos: drums and percussion, lead vocals on “What I Like About You”

Label – Nemperor

Side 1
1. When I Look in Your Eyes
Good upbeat song to start the album. This has that mid-to-late 60s sound that can be heard throughout the album. It’s a great way to start.

2. Tell It to Carrie
Opening riff sounds like The Who’s “I Can’t Explain”. This song also has a 60s rock vibe.

3.  First in Line
A little heavier. It hits hard and fast! There is also a kick ass guitar solo around the  1:20 mark. This is more of a 70s punk rock feel than 60s rock.

4.  Keep in Touch
Bass heavy. At this point of the album, it’s not lost on me that the name of the band is The Romantics, and all of the songs on the album are love songs.

5. Girl Next Door

This is the longest song on the album, clocking in at 4:41. This feels like a faster paced 60s beach movie song. It’s a fun song to close out the first side of the album.

Side 2

6.  What I Like About You
Here’s the one that most of us know. When first released, “What I Like About You” was already a popular song on the Romantics’ concert playlist. In terms of record sales and radio airplay, however, the song was only a moderate success at the time of its release, reaching only number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was most successful in Australia, where it reached number two on the Australian Singles Chart  for two weeks and became the 13th most successful single for 1980. It was only towards the end of the 1980s, after the song had been licensed for use in television commercials for Budweiser beer, that “What I Like About You” grew to become one of the most popular rock anthems of all time.

What I like about you commercial

7.  She’s Got Everything

Written by Ray Davies and released by the Kinks. It first appeared as the B-side of the Kinks’ 1968 single, “Days”.

Love this one! You can tell that The Kinks were a big influence on The Romantics. And I think The Romantics improved the song. I had never heard of either version of this song before, and I enjoy both versions.

8. Till I See You Again
This is a slower pace than the rest of the songs on the album. Something like this could have been played in the gymnasium at a high school dance in the 60s.

9.  Hung on You

This is a funs song. The chorus gets stuck in your head.

10. Little White Lies
There is definitely and early Beatles influence here.

11. Gimme One More Chance

And now we close out the album. This is consistent with the rest of the songs on the album.


Hidden Gems: First in Line and She’s Got Everything
As I said, this was a very consistent album

Here is my ratings scale

5 Classic – a must buy
4 Solid album – worth buying
3 Some good or great stuff, but also skippable songs
2 Meh – may have 2 or 3 good songs. Just buy the singles you like, if any
1 Sucks. Time I can’t get back

I’ll give it a solid 4 out of 5. Not a bad song on here. But, there is a lot that sounds the same, which isn’t bad in this case. I started collecting vinyl again this year and may need to add this to my collection.

I hope you enjoyed this. Please let me know what you think. Did you own this album? Is this album new for you, and do you have any favorite songs on it? Are you a Romantics fan and have you seen them live, or do you have any cool memories about them or their songs? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below, or connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook.

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