Before I get started with the list below, I want to say what a massive fan I have always been of the three bands that have albums highlighted in this article. And I am also a fan of all three albums listed but for different reasons for each. Men At Work, A Flock of Seagulls, and ABC? Yes, please!
But these three bands were also held to the standards of their day. Record companies wanted hits and they had all the control. The first couple of records produced by any group had major oversee by the overlords who only cared about money. Or as Jello Biafra sang in the Dead Kennedys song, "MTV Get Off the Air": "Tin-eared/Graph-paper brained accountants instead of music fans/Call all the shots at giant record companies now/The lowest common denominator rules."
This is still true today, though artists like Taylor Swift have figured out a way to get what is truly theirs back, thankfully. The three records that follow are not ones record companies would have wanted for each band's debut. Partly due to that, these records died on the proverbial vine and never reached the audience they should have.
A Flock of Seagulls - Story of a Young Heart
A Flock of Seagulls released their third studio album, Story of a Young Heart, in 1984. As opposed to the more happy-sounding singles of the first two records - including songs such as "Space Age Love Song" and "I Ran (So Far Away)" - the new record didn't have the type of popcorn-movie fun as what fans had come to know from the band. In fact, Story of a Young Heart was pretty danged depressing in parts.
But this is partly what made the album so good if one were to listen to it multiple times. The sonic bombast of the album certainly doesn't match the volume and aggression of early 1990s grunge, but the themes and intent do. Story of a Young Heart ended with the track "Suicide Day" and contained "The End" which dealt with the paranoia of not trusting your partner. It's doomsday stuff.
But it's also fantastic in its way. The production is crisper on this record compared to the previous two. This almost marks the last time the original lineup of the band was together, and while most bands were synth-driven in the early '80s A Flock of Seagulls was basically guitar, bass, drums, and vocals with some synth thrown in. If A Flock of Seagulls had formed in Seattle in the late 1980s instead of Liverpool in 1979, they probably would have sounded a lot more like Alice in Chains based on the sentimentalities of Story of a Young Heart.