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Age of Plastic

47 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 6, 1990
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Age of Plastic + Adventures In Modern Recording - The Buggles
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

8 Tracks

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Part of the early-1980s great explosion of pop music (witness: Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson) to have any real impact, an accident of fate-titled "Video Killed the Radio Star" inextricably links the Buggles to the rise of MTV. Unfortunate for the band's future, the two best Buggles tracks (the other, "Clean Clean") were cowritten with Bruce Woolley, who simultaneously released them (with less success) with his new band, The Camera Club. The artificial sound of these comparatively primitive keyboards and drum machines, once embraced by nihilist popsters on the edge of punk, has since mutated (Gary Numan, Eno, Woodentops, etc.) into the all-but-voiceless electronic music of the late '90s. Regardless, the Buggles manifested a handful of pop gems in science fiction clothing. And why not? We still read Bradbury and Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. Oddly, what once seemed such smart and jaded music now plays as the voice of joyous optimism. Go figure. --Grant Alden

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 6, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polygram
  • ASIN: B000001FVL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,645 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The Buggles have their place in music history because their quirky hit "Video Killed the Radio Star" has the distinction of being the first music video shown on MTV. But their 1980 debut album "Age of Plastic" deserves to be remembered on its own terms; not just for the "futuristic" music, but because the lyrics represent a coherent critique of the world of technology as being full of potential but fraught with peril. Even a cursory look at "Video Killed the Radio Star" shows the song is offering up less than subtle ironies about the medium of pop music, not to mention the fledgling MTV. The Buggles consisted of the tandem of Geoffrey Downes on percussion/keyboards and Trevor Horn doing bass/guitar/percussion/vocals, both of who were obviously more interested in producing. That same year they produced the Yes album "Drama," and the pair ended up joining the group and replacing Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman.
Pay attention to the lyrics on this album. "Kid Dynamo" is about the death of imagination in the age of mass media, a proposition that is clearly becoming more and more obvious with each year. "I Love You Miss Robot" is not kinky, despite its title, and is about the pitfalls of human dependence on technology. As for the music, it is pretty diverse. ""Video Killed the Radio Star" is upbeat and peppy while "Johnny on the Monorail" is the exact opposite, dark and brooding. Of course, at the time the use of electronic devices was considered cutting edge and the novelty of it all distracted from the potency of the lyrics.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Todd and In Charge VINE VOICE on September 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
There is a lot going on in this album than the one-off novelty of "Video" suggests -- this is a complex sci-fi ode to a discomforting, sometimes optimistic, occasionally joyful future. It's rendered in an engaging, deft mix of "new-wave" synth sounds, sterile guitar and drums, and washes of sound that manage to capture the tone and feel of this near-future dystopia quite effectively.

To me, it's a bit like The Cars' Panorama or Todd Rundgren's The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect, both recorded at the same time, in that what is created here is an insular world, a bit cold and distant, providing a glimpse at the future that, to my ears today, ironically sounds quaint, inviting, and comforting. To be honest, as the headlines today blare continuing bad news, I'm going to keep going back to this future as it's often preferable to our present....
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Leonardo D on October 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
"The Age of Plastic" contains some great pop songs although the production is now starting to show its age a little. The members of The Buggles, unlike many of today's so called pop stars, were all seasoned musicians. This is reflected in the quality of both the playing and material throughout the album. The arrangements are inventive and interesting and it is clear that this record was an inspiration and influence on many of the 80's and 90's pop acts. The album is an introduction to the production style that would become Lead Singer Trevor Horn's trademark. Fans of the 80's Yes albums "90125" and "Big Generator" will undoubtedly recognise some stylistic similarities in places. Highlights include the worldwide mega hit "Video Killed The Radio Star", "Clean Clean", "Elstree" and "Johnny on The Monorail". Overall a fine melodic pop record.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on October 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
How to describe the Buggles? How about this: staccato robotic and electronic sounds coupled with light-hearted sounds, soaring female choruses, electric guitars, new-wave synthesizers, and vocals and an overall proto-industrial sound that would influence Depeche Mode, Camouflage, New Order, and Electronic. The difference is that the Buggles sound less colder than the above groups. The title track is a prime example of what I described above.
"Video Killed The Radio Star," historical because its video was the one that launched MTV, is far better than the Presidents of the United States remake. The distance travelled between different media, from that wireless back in 1952 to the then-present day of 1979, can be heard in the distorted male vocals and the strings, which evoke a kind of nostalgia for the lost past. The female vocals singing the chorus are classic.
Things move to a quicker pace with "Kid Dynamo," with electric guitars and strings boosting things along.
"I Love You (Miss Robot)" with electronically synthesized vocals singing the chorus lends credence to the futuristic setting of this album. Love those female vocals mid-song!
"Clean, Clean" begins with a slow baroque synthesizer before going full force with guitar and drums. The synthesizer solo in the middle of the song is classic late 70's new wave electronica.
"Elstree" is a slower number about the British studio of the same name and tells of the protagonist's fantasy of playing heroes in historical B-pictures. The song closes with the sounds of a galloping horse. An electronical version of that stock music from British historical sagas is included as well.
"Astroboy" isn't as remarkable compared to the rest of the album.
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