Why is Mission of Burma’s , Calls and Marches on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Smart, catchy, arty new wave-y punk that gets under skin in the best kind of way.
Some stats & info about Mission of Burma – Signals, Calls and Marches
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Punk, New Wave, Indie Rock, Post-Punk, American Punk, Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Signals, Calls and Marches released? 1981
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #987 out of 1,000
Mission of Burma’s Signals, Calls and Marches on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Mission of Burma’s Signals, Calls and Marches mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
I dig the take about Boston-based Mission of Burma from All Music’s Mark Deming: “Mission of Burma’s music had the brawn and the volume of hardcore punk, but with a lyrical intelligence and obvious musical sophistication that set them apart from the Southern California faster-and-louder brigade.”
So while there’s a cultural and spiritual connection of sorts with the likes of early ‘80s SoCal hardcore punk pioneers like Black Flag and especially Agent Orange, Mission of Burma has smart-sounding art pop and new wave flavors that make them pretty singular but also have connection points to the likes of Devo, The Police, and even R.E.M.
This album genuinely rewards repeat listens with its multiple layers and variety of sounds. If I had to pick a favorite song it’s probably “This Is Not a Photograph,” with its soaring chorus and super catchy post-punk new wave rhythm.
Then check out “Academy Fight Song” and you hear the strands of The Police and R.E.M. while maintaining a unique sound all their own.
And then on “Devotion” you get more of a riff on UK punk that could easily fit in on a playlist featuring the likes of the Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers, or The Damned.
“Fame and Fortune” is a little bit more of a straight forward rocker, though it has its own layers of complexity and a much quieter and more reflective bridge than you’d find in the vast amount of rock songs. Dig the lyrics too:
Fame and fortune, facts of life
Most of what makes it is useless tripe
This album also sounds like
I tossed around a ton of bands above, so just to recap: Black Flag, Agent Orange, Devo, R.E.M., The Police, Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers, The Damned. That’s a lot!
Stuff that’s somehow related to Mission of Burma’s Signals, Calls and Marches
The mention of Burma compels me to feature one of my all time favorite Midnight Oil deep cuts, “Mountains of Burma.”
The nation of Burma is called Myanmar these days, and is located in Southeast Asia with Bangladesh and India to its northwest, Thailand to its south, and China to its north. Just this year, in February, the country endured a military coup and as of this writing is under the rule of “military chief” Min Aung Hlaing.