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Tag Archives: Buggles

Buggles For Sale

Wanting something cheap that wouldn’t blow my paltry allowance of eMusic downloads in one fell swoop, I ended up picking the 1980 LP The Age Of Plastic by The Buggles. You know, the “Video Killed The Radio Star” group? “Video” achieved infamy by being the first song played on MTV, of course, and it’s stayed in circulation on seemingly every ’80s music compilation ever released (most recently on the Take Me Home Tonight soundtrack). A goofy, nostalgic song whose stellar lyrics and production elevate it from novelty status:

If there was ever an album that is overshadowed by its one hit, The Plastic Age is it. The album feels like a meditation on humankind’s relationship with technology, done with a bit of theatrical flair. Since the songs use mostly analog instruments and has a decided lack of nervous edge, I would hesitate to call The Age Of Plastic a “New Wave” album — mostly it reminds me of what ABBA was doing around the same time. “Elstree” is probably the most ABBA-esque tune they did, a wistful tale told from the perspective of a former employee at the U.K.’s famed Estree Studios:

The Buggles’ story has a typical ending. Following The Age Of Plastic, members Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn were recruited into supergroup Yes for one album, 1980’s Drama. The two then worked on a follow-up, 1981’s Adventures In Modern Recording, with Downes leaving midway through production on the ultimately hitless project. The album is an interesting experiment, more prog-rockish and with the kind of grandiose production that would echo in Horn’s later work with Seal, Pet Shop Boys, Rod Stewart and others. The Buggles’ sound still resonates throughout the years, most affectionately with Daft Punk’s “Digital Love” from their Discovery (2001) album: