“Information Society” by Information Society (No. 100)
Things have been a little too quiet on the blog front lately, so I decided I needed a project that would motivate me to write a little bit each day.
So I decided to compile a list of my “desert island” albums. I’m not claiming these are the best 100 albums of all time, even by my own reckoning. But these are the 100 that, if I could only have 100 CDs (remember those?) or 100 albums on my media player, it’d be these.
The goal? 100 posts in 100 days with at least 100 words (probably more) about each album.
First up? The eponymous major-label debut album from Information Society.
Picture the days of the MTV heyday, when the cable channel (brace yourself) still played music.
I know, I know. Boggles the mind. But that’s the backdrop for Information Society. My first introduction to the band was in a friend’s car, might have been the full album, but I think it was a “cassingle.”
While Information Society‘s cutting-edge late-80s synth-pop may sound dated, it’s undeniable there’s some strong song-writing underneath the samples and drum machines. Somehow, Information Society manages to be poppy, a little bit funky (James Brown samples), and nerdy (chock full of Star Trek original series audio samples) all at the same time. It’s as if Depeche Mode went on anti-depressants and a sci-fi binge at the same time.
The singles, “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy),” “Walking Away,” and the Abba cover “Lay All Your Love on Me,” didn’t take over the world – but all hit the top 40, keeping Information Society safely out of the “one-hit wonders” club.
With three strong singles, you might expect the rest of the album to be filler. In this case, the only track that failed to stand as a decent song in its own right is the short, lurching “Make It Funky.” It’s not a great track, but it fits as a come-down after the nearly eight-minute sprawl of “Running,” which ends with a fair amount of intensity.
Nearly 30 years later, I still find Information Society as listenable today as it was in 1988. Not the band’s best effort, but it stands out as an album that doesn’t fit neatly into any category.