Thomas Dolby – “The Golden Age of Wireless” (1982)

My record buying started with, I believe, two 7″ singles. To this day I don’t recall if I bought them at the same time, or if I got one before the other. But those two A sides I wanted were the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science”.

While I eventually went on to buy other Eurythmics and Annie Lennox albums, I sort of feel like I’ve never even heard another Thomas Dolby song in my entire life. Is that possible? I mean, the single obviously had a B side, and even as a 12-year-old I must have played it at least once. But I’ll be damned if I can remember doing so, or even the title of the B side. I think I had the purple label version, which means it was “Flying North”. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about “Flying North”. According to the interwebs Dolby charted three singles in the US mainstream charts, all three of which appeared on the most common versions of his debut album The Golden Age of Wireless. “She Blinded Me With Science” made it to #6, “One of Our Submarines” to #17, and “Europa and the Pirate Twins” just snuck into the Top 40, topping out at #37. He did better in his native UK, but never managed a Top 10 hit there (somehow “She Blinded Me With Science” only made it to #49 in the UK…).

So here I am, roughly 37 years after I bought my first and only Thomas Dolby single, sitting down and spinning The Golden Age of Wireless for the first time. It’s a bit quirky, meaning “She Blinded Me With Science” wasn’t an anomaly – in fact it feels a bit tame compared to tracks like “Europa and the Pirate Twins”. Synth-laden and poppy, it maintains its own unique character throughout. I particularly enjoyed “Commercial Breakup”, for what it’s worth. Overall decent, though not sure I’ll end up spinning it again.