Shriek of the Week: Adam and the Ants, “Kings of the Wild Frontier”
In honor of the new book that I mentioned yesterday – Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein – I’m making the first song (of 35) covered in the book my Shriek of the Week. I was never a big fan of Adam Ant and so my primary exposure to him was mainly through the two songs I occasionally hear on the radio, “Antmusic” (song 2 on this album, also called Kings of the Wild Frontier) and “Goody Two Shoes“. Although Kings of the Wild Frontier has been sitting on my shelf for some time (handed down by an older friend) I can’t say that I listened to it more than once before this week. But as the first entry in this new new wave history, I thought I should give it another try.
Now I can fairly say that I don’t get it. If Adam Ant had been my sole introduction to new wave music I probably would never listened to much of it. Other than the goofy songs (like “Goody Two Shoes”) I don’t see the appeal. It seems like a strange choice for the book to lead with. However, I did enjoy the discussion of Ant from the standpoint of a musician that represented a new era in music culture. Gone were the punk aesthetics; in their place was … well, you can look at the album cover and see for yourself. Ant was known for the white stripe across his face, a Native American motif meant to symbolize his warlike stance against the music industry. Adam and the Ants often dressed like pirates, I suppose because that’s what swashbuckling new wave artists do.
The ’80s were a crazy time, and though I don’t particularly love the album or the title track, Kings of the Wild Frontier is a pretty good representation of the craziness. And speaking of crazy, note the sticker attached to the upper-right hand corner of the front cover sleeve. Remember Crazy Eddie? His prices were insane!!
Adam & The Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier – official music video