Our top 10 Art of Noise songs list takes a look at a band formed in the early 1980s out of the country of England who focused mostly on instrumental music. The group formed out of a combination of producers, keyboardists and journalists which was an interesting combination to form a band. In 1983, journalist Paul Morley along with producer and engineer Gary Lanigan, computer programmer J. J. Jeczalik and the one name that may be familiar to music fans Trevor Horn along with keyboardist Anne Dudley formed the group Art of Noise also known as The Art of Noise. The time period in which this band was formed is essential in understanding the group’s popularity.
Synthesizers were still relatively new in the early eighties although the Moog synthesizer had been around since the late 60s. However, new technology in the 80s brought on a new wave of synthesizer technology and keyboard instruments specifically that would become to be known as samplers. These keyboard sampler instruments would actually sample, or in more simpler terms, record actual instruments at different frequencies and then have them played back on a keyboard. Some of these instruments would also combine synthesizer technology within the sampler to create a sound no one had ever heard before. The band The Art of Noise took this technology and created their group and sound around it. They were very successful with it.
What was most interesting about the band Art of Noise was they were the anti David Lee Roth rock stars. Meaning they weren’t looking to hog the spotlight with their personalities, charm and Rockstar good looks. It was all about the music to them and keeping the mystery about who was behind it actually fed their success.
The group The Art of Noise released five studio albums and 17 singles. There are actually 11 compilation albums released regarding the music of the band. This top 10 Art of Noise songs list looks to present 10 of their finest releases that will help you to find out who they were, what they sounded like, and why they were so important to 1980s music and beyond.
# 10 – Dragnet
Want to know why we love this band? Watch the video and its as plain as the Apple logo on you 1968 Beatles album. This is just brilliant. We will let the video do the talking on this one. Art of Noise released this great recording in 1987 on the album In No Sense Nonsense.
# 9 – At Time For The Fear (Who’s Afraid)
In the number nine spot on our Art Of Noise songs list we turn to the opening track on the group’s debut album entitled Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise? This one introduces us to a band utilizing sound effects samples and brilliant musical flourishes in a piece of music that is both entertaining and unique.
# 8 – Yebo!
Moving along on our top 10 Art Of Noise songs list, we turn to the very entertaining musical piece entitled “Yebo!” This piece would feature Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens). Talk about a fun piece that merges synthesiser arpeggiators with natural rhythmic singing and you have Yebo! The song was released in 1989. Ah boom boom!
# 7 – Metaforce
“Metaforce,” is the group’s most recent piece to appear on this top 10 Art Of Noise songs list. The songs was released in 1999 on the album entitled The Seduction of Claude Debussy. The rap vocal on the track belongs to rap artist Rakim. The song was a hit in the UK but failed to make the charts in any other county.
# 6 – Paranoimia
We couldn’t do a Art Of Noise songs list without featuring the band’s utilization of Max Headroom. If you don’t know who Max Headroom is, well he was a computer-generated TV character who sadly became popular in the 1980s. Although, this video and song is pretty funny and entertaining. Computer animation has come a long way since 1986. Can you say Apple!
# 5 – Moments In Love
At the halfway point on our Art Of Noise songs list is the great song “Moments In Love.” This musical recording was released in 1988. It was utilized as the theme song for the television series Master Of None. It’s such an ambient moody piece that we just love listening to it. The song’s string lines wrap around that pulsating keyboard effortlessly in sheer beauty.
# 4 – Kiss
Now who doesn’t love this one? The meeting of Art of Noise, Tom Jones and a Prince song on paper doesn’t exactly sound like something that would have worked so well, but boy did they prove that guess wrong. This was a stunning recording that became one of the most enjoyable singles released in 1988. Tom Jones performance is priceless and the group’s musical arrangement that wraps around him was one for the ages. Don’t miss this one.
# 3 – Beat Box
In the number three spot on our Top 10 Art Of Noise songs list we take a listen to the great single “Beat Box. The recording of “Beat Box,” was released as the group’s first single release. Listen to the sound of those drums. The gate effect that was put on the snare was very effective and would soon become a staple of 80s dance music production. Think Janet Jackson’s “Nasty.” The song was released in 1983. “Beat Box ,”would become the only Art Of Noise song that would go to number one in the United States as it hit that spot on the US Billboard Dance charts in 1983.
# 2 – Peter Gunn
As we get closer to the end of our Art Of Noise songs list we present their classic version of Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn.” This is one of the most famous and best loved instrumentals of all time. Yet, Art Of Noise utilized their unique synthesizer based approach to the song and took it somewhere else. Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn, was first released in 1959. The music was written for the television show entitled Peter Gunn. Legendary guitarist Duane Eddy had a hit with it that same year. Duane Eddy also played on the Art of Noise recording. The song has been recorded by multiple artists overtime. The Art of Noise version was released in 1986 on the album entitled In Visible Silence. It would become a big hit for the band in both the United States and United Kingdom. The song hit number 8 on the UK singles charts. In the United States it hit number 2 on the US Billboard dance charts. The video for Art of Noise’s performance featured Rik Mayall who was a famous British actor.
# 1 – Close (To The Edit)
We close out our Art Of Noise songs list with the great song “Close (To The Edit).” We wonder how many people will remember this one when it aired on MTV back in the 1980s. It was placed in average rotation so if you were a fan of the channel you definitely caught this one. We can’t help but associate the song with the video because as an instrumental, the video’s images really played a role in the delivery of the song.The way the band moves around to the music is so perfectly timed in a weird rhythm to the music And that young character pretty much steals the show especially on the vocals scream. It’s just so weird and yet so enjoyable to watch and listen to this great video and song entitled “Close (To The Edit).”
Top 10 Art Of Noise Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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