Adam Ant – Friend or Foe: #616 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Adam Ant - Friend or Foe

So why is Adam Ant’s Friend or Foe on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

I have a very specific memory of buying a bunch of used cassette tapes around the year 2000 or so. I had moved to San Francisco’s East Bay from New York City in the fall of 1999, and was living in a brilliantly oddball apartment in Berkeley with my man Adam and Felice, a friend that Adam met back east at some point.

It’s likely that I bought the used cassettes at Amoeba Records in Berkeley, a truly fantastic music store on Telegraph. What was special about these particular used cassette tapes is that they were all on sale for one dollar. $1. I snagged a bunch. I felt like a big spender.

We had a little cassette player and radio in our bathroom, where these one-dollar tapes got a lot of play. The crazy part was that a bunch of these albums were not just good but really good, and in fact several of them (this is based on my recollection – the cassette tapes themselves were lost to the Sands of Time at some point) were under consideration lo these many years later when it was time to compile this here best 1,000 albums ever project.

One was Stone Cold Rhymin’ by Young MC, which features the huge hit “Bust A Move,” but has some pretty good stuff on it besides. Another was Prince’s Batman soundtrack – which is a little uneven but has some zany, eclectic tracks.

And, as you might have guessed, another item of plunder in that rich haul was Adam Ant’s Friend or Foe. I was already familiar with the jubilant, horn-driven “Goody Two Shoes” with the almost military drumbeat, but was pretty blown away with how good and varied the rest of the album is as well.

“Desperate But Not Serious” is that perfect combination of chilly, stylized early ‘80s pop song that just happens to be super fun and catchy despite itself. I feel like this number should have been featured in a spy flick at some point – I’m just not sure if it would be Top Secret! or No Way Out.

I’m always a sucker for a good Doors cover… but sadly, the version of “Hello, I Love You” on Friend or Foe should be considered an experiment best buried near the statue in the sky. Instead, check out songs like “Made of Money,” where Adam Ant is clearly in his element doing super fun, catchy, danceable pop tracks.

Personal stuff that has something to do with Adam Ant’s Friend or Foe

Somehow, some way I managed to bring up a very specific thing (my apartment’s bathroom) at a very specific time (~2000) and place (Berkeley, California).

This means I’d be most remiss if I did not mention and, importantly, pay homage to Jedediah the cat. Jeb for short.

Jeb the cat belonged to Felice. Jeb was a big, orange-colored kind of tabby cat, I think. I enjoy cats greatly, generally, but Jeb was not really one of them. Jeb was petulant and would try to scratch or bite if you tried to pet him, so he and I generally kept our distance.

Due to the relatively modest conditions we lived in, water would often leak out of the shower onto the bathroom floor. Jeb the cat’s litter box happened to be located in the bathroom, and he would tend to track lots of his kitty litter outside of the box, causing a weird, moat-like situation to occur. Storming the bathroom’s fortifications became required, as it were.

I started dating my now wife in the fall of 2000, and her memory of my apartment at the time generally gets boiled down to “the kitty litter moat in the bathroom.”

So here’s to Jeb the cat, RIP (I’m assuming), and being taken to another, happier place via one-dollar cassette tapes blasting out of the bathroom stereo in the morning.

So don’t just stand there, bust a move.

Some stats & info about Adam Ant – Friend or Foe

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? New Wave, Pop Music, Dance Music, Post-Punk, Glam Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4 out of 5 stars
  • When was Friend or Foe released? 1982
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #616 out of 1,000

Adam Ant’s Friend or Foe on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Adam Ant’s Friend or Foe that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do? Subtle innuendos follow – there must be something inside.

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 review of 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.