College Countdown: KROQ-FM’s Top 40 Songs of 1987, 4 and 3

4. “Lips Like Sugar” by Echo & the Bunnymen
I was still playing catch-up with college rock in 1987, so my true first impression on many of the bands that prospered there, including those that had been around for a while, was based on how fans were viewing the music they were making right that moment. So I was under the impression that Echo & the Bunnymen were some sort of perpetual disappointment. I’ll admit it: I was sort of a dumb kid. The British band’s fifth album was released in 1987. Self-titled, it was inspired a lot of agitated hand-wringing from the faithful because it sounded like a sell-out release, a blatant stab at commercial success. That’s been a perpetual bugaboo for indie-inclined music listeners for ages, though it used to take a few albums to reach that point, whereas now the backlash usually starts some time right before the one month anniversary of the debut release. “Lips Like Sugar” was the second single from the album, following “The Game,” and it’s surely one of the band’s best-known songs. It may have been disappointing to some, but I have to admit it always sounded pretty good to me.

3. “Strangelove” by Depeche Mode
“Strangelove” was the advance single from Depeche Mode’s Music for the Masses release in the U.K. in April 1987, some five months ahead of the album. A solid success for the band back home, it was deemed somewhat out of step with the other material developed for the full-length effort and was remastered and slowed down to better suit the downbeat gloominess of the other tracks that would surround it. That was the original theory anyway, but it was later clarified that the real issue was that the band felt the single was too cluttered sonically, and that’s why they wanted it stripped down. The album version spent two weeks atop the U.S. Dance charts in the summer of 1987, flanked by number ones from the unlikely company of Whitney Houston and Georgio. Despite this, Sire Records felt that the song hadn’t done as well in the U.S. as it could have–certainly it didn’t crossover, peaking at #76 on the Billboard Hot 100–so they rereleased it a year later, informally dubbing it “Strangelove ’88,” though it was never officially labeled as such. I think I’ve got that all correct, but honestly who knows? This is the third of three Depeche Mode songs on the countdown.

An Introduction
40 and 39: “4th of July” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”
38 and 37: “Heartbreak Beat” and “Not My Slave”
36 and 35: “Alone Again Or” and “Absolute Perfection”
34 and 33: “Love Removal Machine” and “The Passenger”
32 and 31: “It’s Still Warm” and “Hourglass”
30 and 29: “Alex Chilton” and “We Care a Lot”
28 and 27: “Crazy” and “It’s a Sin”
26 and 25: “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Rules and Regulations”
24 and 23: “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” and “Twenty Killer Hurts”
22 and 21: “We Close Our Eyes” and “Please”
20 and 19: “Rain in the Summertime” and “Behind the Wheel”
18 and 17: “The Sweetest Thing” and “Rent”
16 and 15: “Is It Really So Strange?” and “The Motion of Love”
14 and 13: “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “No New Tale to Tell”
12 and 11: “A Hazy Shade of Winter” and “The One I Love”
10 and 9: “Never Let Me Down Again” and “With or Without You”
8 and 7: “True Faith” and “Dear God”
6 and 5: “Need You Tonight” and “Why Can’t I Be You”

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