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New Clear Days (1980)

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New Clear Days was The Vapors's 1980 debut album containing the UK hit single "Turning Japanese", which reached No. 3 in the chart in February 1980. A remix of "News at Ten" , went to No. 45 in July of that year. A third single, a re-recording of "Waiting for the Weekend" which included a horn section, failed to chart.

The title is a pun on Nuclear - nuclear weapons and power stations being major issues at that time. The album cover shows a rather grimy television screen displaying a BBC TV weather forecast. Among the symbols for clouds is one centred over London which is, upon closer examination, a mushroom cloud. In addition, one of the temperature symbols has been replaced with one warning of radiation and the weatherman glows.

"News at Ten", a cynical examination of the generation gap and the fear of ending up as complacent as the parent he despises for his conformism, was expected to be a hit on the back of the success of "Turning Japanese"; its poorer performance was blamed in part by the long-running strike at the BBC's Top Of The Pops which meant it received very little media exposure. There was also a marked reluctance by BBC Radio 1 - then the nation's premier radio station - to play a song named after an ITV programme.

Apart from the three singles, the best known other track is "Sixty Second Interval". Its ambiguous lyrics have been interpreted alternately as concerning the short cease-fires agreed between armies during wars to allow each to attend to their wounded in the no-man's land between them. The song was the inspiration behind the long-running "Sixty Second Interview" feature of the UK's Metro free newspaper given away at public transport stations.

"Letter from Hiro", the album's lengthy melancholy finale, concerns the sense of powerlessness a boy feels as events push towards World War II, and towards the inevitable ending of his friendship with his more patriotic Japanese penpal ("And when the sun was rising somewhere in the East, and when a flag meant more to Hiro than to me"). The song concludes with the playing of a traditional Japanese tune on a cymbalum.

The American and Canadian releases omitted both "Cold War" and "America" in favor of the single "Prisoners". The CD reissue by Captain Oi! consisted of the original UK track listing, with eight bonus tracks: "Prisoners", "Sunstroke", "Here Comes The Judge" , "News At Ten" , "Wasted", "Talk Talk", "Waiting For The Weekend" , and "Billy".

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  Tracklist   

Standard edition
# Name Artist Live Acoustic Hidden Duration
1-1 Spring Collection The Vapors       02:52
1-2 Turning Japanese The Vapors       03:44
1-3 Cold War The Vapors       03:57
1-4 America The Vapors       02:22
1-5 Trains The Vapors       03:26
1-6 Bunkers The Vapors       03:54
1-7 News at Ten The Vapors       03:18
1-8 Somehow The Vapors       03:33
1-9 Sixty Second Interval The Vapors       03:52
1-10 Waiting for the Weekend The Vapors       03:07

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "New Clear Days", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.