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The Reprobate Press: Anthem Deluxe/Remastered Review

September 22nd, 2022

This new article, published by The Reprobate Press, is more of an opinion piece on Toyah rather than just a review of Anthem, but an interesting read.

WITH CHARM AND CHANCE: TOYAH’S ANTHEM REVISITED

Looking back at Toyah’s magnificent 1981 breakthrough album and its dystopian, rebellious sci-fi concepts.

Back in the 1980s, when teenage musical tribalism was at its height, stepping out of your lane was simply not the done thing. Yet for many of us, the strict divisions that split punk from metal from pop and all points in between seemed increasingly ludicrous and arbitrary, as much based on what a band or performer looked like as on their musical output. I rather threw all that aside very early into my teenage musical fixation. After all, bands themselves – especially what we now call classic rock but what at the time was often dismissed as old farts* – were sneered at for chasing trends, sometimes with good reason but often unfairly in retrospect. There was nothing wrong with developing and experimenting with your sound, and those artists who managed to escape the sneering by remaining defiantly art rock – Peter Gabriel, say – were just as likely to be making albums that were nothing like their past work and, in retrospect, very much of their time.

This preamble leads us to your author’s curious fascination with Toyah, who was – depending on which period of her career in the 1980s you were talking about – seen as a punk or a pop star. I’ve already made the case that she was neither, at least musically at the start of her career – the ‘pop star’ dismissal by former punk admirers has a bit more credibility as her career shifted towards kid’s TV appearances, increasingly less arty record covers and more radio-friendly singles, but we could make that particular accusation against many performers. Once Toyah had a couple of hits – which we’ll come to shortly – then she was unavoidable, and as a teenager with a fascination for the terminally uncool worlds of prog, art rock and industrial music, there was something that drew me to her.

• Continue reading at The Reprobate Press.