ADAM AND THE ANTS - THE ALBUMS 1979 - 1981





"DIRK WEARS WHITE SOX"
 
1979


CATROUBLE (Parts 1 + 2) - The opening track is a mix of New Wave, raw Punk and arty Pop.  It is raw and with that great "as live" sound.  Part 1 is an experimental mish mash of sounds and effects, while Part 2 is a stripped back original demo style slant on the later, more brash and superior "Catrouble" single.

DIGITAL TENDERNESS - One of my favourite Ant tracks, New Wave Pop Punk at its best, similar to the style Blondie and the like were releasing.  Annoyingly catchy with the repetitive pumping drumbeat and guitar riffs its a gem.

NINE PLAN FAILED - On the backdrop of an eerie army style "pom pom" drumbeat and provocative lyrics about war and its effects.  Early Punk meets Progressive Rock. 

THE DAY I MET GOD - Storming Pop Punk track about seemingly weird dreams when Adam met God.  Apparently it was "pissing with rain" and God had a big "knob", on his door of course and "streaks in his hair".  Slightly shocking to those who don't get the humour about religious ideals.

TABLETALK - A strangely appealing slow tempo Punk ballad.  Great hooks and catchy if repetitive chorus.  Another of my favourites, its simple, its eerie and its brilliant.

CLEOPATRA - Another bold and brash, provocative Punk style track.  Of course about the infamous seductress Cleopatra, no innuendos here, straight talking with lyrics such as "she did ten thousand in her lifetime, now that's a wide mouth".  I don't really need to go into detail what she loved doing!
 
 

CATHOLIC DAY - More hitting the nail on the head lyrics, "Kennedy dies with his brain on her knee poor Jackie..." Shock tactics from the original lineup's debut album? Surely not.  I love this song and felt guilty for liking it because it's quite seriousbut sung in a quirky, fun way!

NEVER TRUST A MAN (WITH EGG ON HIS FACE) - Another weird dream style track, this time about aliens on earth and their impact on a woman called Mrs B.  A steady eerie sci fi type backing to Adam telling this strange story with a low key chorus.  Great track.
 
 

ANIMALS AND MEN - A frenetic, madcap  Punk track with a a kind of fairground musical backing, sometimes off key sometimes ongoing.  Name checking Futurist protagonists.  Mad, quirky and catchy.

FAMILY OF NOISE - Probably the most accomplished song on the album, its melodious Pop Rock, even adding a segment by The Beatles, "she loves you yeah yeah, she loves you and the Family of Noise".  Great track.

THE IDEA - The last track is a little uncomfortable, singing about handicapped kids and the like.  I am sure it's meant that we shouldn't be looking at people differently because of what they look like but its still a bit werid for me.  The New Wave style music is cool but maybe the lyrics weren't clear.


"KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER"

1980




DOG EAT DOG - The pounding double drums opening, the pirate chants and a New Wave/Punk sound, the song that got me hooked on the band, storming start to the album.  The energetic Top of the Pops performance was an eye opener for my young self!
 
 

ANTMUSIC - The Ants' anthem, do yourself a favour and try another flavour as the song suggests.  An awesome single and sing-a-long chorus that just has "memorable" written all over it, as most of Adam's earlier work, ahead of its time.
 
 

FEED ME TO THE LIONS - A bit of Pop, Rock and Punk all in one package, top song.

LOS RANCHEROS - A fun cowboy-esque homage to Clint Eastwood complete with lots of twangy guitars and hollerin abound'!

ANTS INVASION - One of my favourite Ant tracks, its eerie Horror backing tells a story of an invasion, prophesying the band's few years' future domination of the charts perhaps?
 
KILLER IN THE HOME - Dark, but lyrically great song about Adam wanting to "free the warrior", maybe about when he needed to move on from early Punk and create something daring and new for others to follow.

KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER - A hit second time around and a pulsating wall of Punk brashness and pirate and triba imagery.  An absolute cracker!

THE MAGNIFICENT FIVE -  Another cowboy inspired song which asks the listener to "prick up your ears" and listen to these "five young hombres burning fire", and asking "which side of the fence are you on?".  Probably meaning to the Press if you are with this new Antmusic or against it.

DON'T BE SQUARE (BE THERE) -  "Antmusic for Sexpeople, Sexmusic for Antpeople, get off your knees and hear the insect prayer".  Join the revolution in music or be left behind.  Maybe also a nod to the old punks who said he sold out, but really he moved on and there was still elements of Punk in all Adam's music, he just adapted it.  There is also a nod to Dirk Bogarde, "dirk wears white sox", which just happened to be the debut album's title which was incidentally a new, polished version of Punk.

JOLLY ROGER -  Pirate shanty follows with its singalong chorus and whistling and warnings of Blackbeard and the pirates of old.  You could just imagine a crew of pirates singing this on deck with bottles of rum before setting sail.

MAKING HISTORY -  For me is the poorest on the album, it seemed rough and repetitive, not one of my favourites from Adam from all his albums in my collection.  Proper filler in my opinion

THE HUMAN BEINGS - This ends the album on a strange note. "Blackfoot, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Crow, Apache, Arapaho" Adam sings repeatedly in an Indian Warrior mode, full of chants and minimal backing.  It shouldn't work but it does, hardly any other lyrical content but the feel of the song really is uplifting and gives you a kind of proud feeling that you have joined the Antpeople tribe!


"PRINCE CHARMING"

1981


SCORPIOS - This album was apparently "rushed out" for the record company as Adam Ant has said many times although it still boasts some great points.  Some fans hate it but I don't get that.  This opening track served as a great link between the warrior sound of "Kings Of The Wild Frontier" and the more mature polished sound of Adam's solo album, "Friend Or Foe".  This is catchy, punchy and although a more orchestrated sound is a killer track to start.

PICASSO VISITA EL PLANETA DE LOS SIMIOS - Another great song in my opinion, its catchy with Adam's wailing like warrior vocals still to the fore and the quirk,  lyrical cleverness that we associate with his songs.  The warrior chant is here and again is a subtle link between the second and fourth albums.

PRINCE CHARMING - The classic and memorable track from this album along with "Stand And Deliver".  I remember eagerly awaiting this video, getting up early one morning before school just to see it. It just instantly grew on me and the video is brilliantly done. The screaming intro, the guitar strums and the chants, a little repetitive in parts but who cares! With Adam it is the whole thing, hear the song and see the video in your head.  Of course the chorus was instantly learnt to a tee, being a big fan it had to be!

 

5 GUNS WEST - This is a throwback to the previous album with its spaghetti western feel like "Los Rancheros".  Country Cowboy styled guitars with Americanised vocals.  Big, brash and bouncy. Always loved this track.

THAT VOODOO! - This track almost has late 60s style backing before turning into some Psychedelic mode.  Then it turns into a hazy Country Blues twang while the chorus is repeated until the end.  I must admit I always loved singing this end segment over and over.  Experimental song but I really like it.

STAND AND DELIVER - Everybody knows this one.  Another classic 80s track in general.  The driving drumbeat and classy guitar, the "da diddley qua qua" sound.  It is just the perfect 80s Pop song.  It was one of the most unique tracks of the 80s and sounded like nobody else.  Add to that the fantastic storybook video, undoubtedly the stand out track here.  This album version has a different ending which is more abrupt with a defiant "ya" to close.

 

 MILE HIGH CLUB - Never was one of my favourites this one, this actually does sound like a rush job and possibly the biggest negative on the album along with the next track which we will get to.  It just meanders along with no real purpose and no catchiness like the previous tracks.

ANT RAP - Bare bones version of the track, totally bereft of the power and production of the single version which I really love.  It just sounds like a demo and a practice, I have heard some Ant demos and the B-sides obviously are all still above par, this sadly fails to hit me. Disappointing.

MOWHOK - Another one fans seem to have a love/hate relationship with.  I think its like the first two tracks of the album, still has the "warrior" vein and this time focuses on the Native Americans rather than the Cowboys.  A catchy chorus, not fantastic lyrically with lots of whoops and wails and chants but has a good beat.  

S.E.X. - Some don't like this track either but I love it.  Adam sings it really well and it comes out as a sexy and romantic song.  The light guitar backs his vocals up beautifully and I think its a great song.  The song finishes with a minute's worth of light, sunny hawaiian music apparently called "The Lost Hawaiians".  Not a bad album, but Ant fans to me, seemed to want the same album every time.  I loved the fact that Adam changed the sound and look with every album, keeps you guessing and shows his versatility.






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