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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Buggles's critique of much more than video and radio
The Buggles have their place in music history because their quirky hit "Video Killed the Radio Star" has the distinction of being the first music video shown on MTV. But their 1980 debut album "Age of Plastic" deserves to be remembered on its own terms; not just for the "futuristic" music, but because the lyrics represent a coherent critique of the world of technology as...
Published on 30 July 2003 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An 'average' album.
'The Buggles', like so many groups that had just one major hit, probably made a mistake in the choosing of their follow-up single which was not so powerful. However, three Top 40 hits to your name in such a short period of time can not be bad!

This includes the extended version of their massive number one classic from 1979: 'Video killed The Radio Star'...
Published on 2 July 2008 by FAMOUS NAME


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Buggles's critique of much more than video and radio, 30 July 2003
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Age Of Plastic (Audio CD)
The Buggles have their place in music history because their quirky hit "Video Killed the Radio Star" has the distinction of being the first music video shown on MTV. But their 1980 debut album "Age of Plastic" deserves to be remembered on its own terms; not just for the "futuristic" music, but because the lyrics represent a coherent critique of the world of technology as being full of potential but fraught with peril. Even a cursory look at "Video Killed the Radio Star" shows the song is offering up less than subtle ironies about the medium of pop music, not to mention the fledgling MTV. The Buggles consisted of the tandem of Geoffrey Downes on percussion/keyboards and Trevor Horn doing bass/guitar/percussion/vocals, both of who were obviously more interested in producing. That same year they produced the Yes album "Drama," and the pair ended up joining the group and replacing Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman.
Pay attention to the lyrics on this album. "Kid Dynamo" is about the death of imagination in the age of mass media, a proposition that is clearly becoming more and more obvious with each year. "I Love You Miss Robot" is not kinky, despite its title, and is about the pitfalls of human dependence on technology. As for the music, it is pretty diverse. ""Video Killed the Radio Star" is upbeat and peppy while "Johnny on the Monorail" is the exact opposite, dark and brooding. Of course, at the time the use of electronic devices was considered cutting edge and the novelty of it all distracted from the potency of the lyrics. The Alan Parsons Project tried to do something along these lines with with 1977's "I Robot," but that effort seems ponderous and pretentious when compared to "Age of Plastic." I think I could make a compelling argument that this is one of the top ten, or at least top two dozen albums, from the decade (and you can go either way on that as the end of the 1970s or the start of the 1980s).
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 29 Sep 2001
By 
Steven LeBeau - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Age Of Plastic (Audio CD)
I'll admit, I bough this album for "Video", only to discover that the entire album is excellent. Standouts of course would include "Clean, Clean", "Elstree", "Plastic Age", and of course "Video Killed the Radio Star". It should be mentioned that although Amazon's review mentions drum machines, all the drums were actually played by a real drummer (none other than Ultravox's Warren Cann), though Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes wanted him to sound like a drum machine ('cause they didn't have one at the time)!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Buggles's critique of much more than video and radio, 15 Nov 2005
By A Customer
The Buggles have their place in music history because their quirky hit "Video Killed the Radio Star" has the distinction of being the first music video shown on MTV. But their 1980 debut album "Age of Plastic" deserves to be remembered on its own terms; not just for the "futuristic" music, but because the lyrics represent a coherent critique of the world of technology as being full of potential but fraught with peril. Even a cursory look at "Video Killed the Radio Star" shows the song is offering up less than subtle ironies about the medium of pop music, not to mention the fledgling MTV. The Buggles consisted of the tandem of Geoffrey Downes on percussion/keyboards and Trevor Horn doing bass/guitar/percussion/vocals, both of who were obviously more interested in producing. That same year they produced the Yes album "Drama," and the pair ended up joining the group and replacing Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman.
Pay attention to the lyrics on this album. "Kid Dynamo" is about the death of imagination in the age of mass media, a proposition that is clearly becoming more and more obvious with each year. "I Love You Miss Robot" is not kinky, despite its title, and is about the pitfalls of human dependence on technology. As for the music, it is pretty diverse. ""Video Killed the Radio Star" is upbeat and peppy while "Johnny on the Monorail" is the exact opposite, dark and brooding. Of course, at the time the use of electronic devices was considered cutting edge and the novelty of it all distracted from the potency of the lyrics. The Alan Parsons Project tried to do something along these lines with with 1977's "I Robot," but that effort seems ponderous and pretentious when compared to "Age of Plastic." I think I could make a compelling argument that this is one of the top ten, or at least top two dozen albums, from the decade (and you can go either way on that as the end of the 1970s or the start of the 1980s).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Quality music that will never die!", 27 Aug 2005
By 
This review is from: The Age Of Plastic (Audio CD)
This is an exceptional album of nostalgia and pulsating electricity! As a synth musician myself, I drift off into a world of awe when I hear it, especially 'Living in the Plastic Age'. Most people remember 'Video Killed The Radio Star', but 'Living in the Plastic Age' is indeed a finer track. It borders on classical synth pop and is amazingly written. But then again, Trevor Horn has produced for many major artists including the Pet Shop Boys and Madonna.
Go on, buy the album! It's only 3 and a half quid for pete's sake! You'll love it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars do you remember the days..of kid dynamo..., 26 Feb 2005
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This review is from: The Age Of Plastic (Audio CD)
The days of cold dark winter mornings getting ready then walking to school. 'Video Killed the Radio Star' and 'Plastic Age' on the radio before breakfast TV came along. I only bought this album 3 years ago; songs such as 'Astro Boy,Technopop and Kid Dynamo' although they were on the B side of the singles i owned in 79/80 never got listenend to.These songs are so beautifully forlorn and at the same time optimistic about the future.The reprise at the end of'Video'(not on the single)sets off emotions long ago left behind in 1979. ''i heard you on the wireless back in '52..' in 79 that was 27 years in the past, now 1979 + 27 = 2006. So next year look back down that same length of time and see if 'Video' evokes the same thoughts.Im glad to be living in the Age of Plastic...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Futuristic Pop Pioneers Look To Past For Inspiration, 20 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Age of Plastic (Audio CD)
Contrary to its title and futuristic sleeve design (futuristic, at least, for 1980) the Buggles duo's first album harks back to a lost or rapidly vanishing world as much it looks forward with trepidation to the creation of a dystopian society. And despite the modernity and precision of the production (as standard with anything Trevor Horn is involved with) it is because of these themes, realised through wit, sadness, jadedness, fear and nostaligic hankering for the way things once were, that the The Age of Plastic easily surpasses other souless electronica dross churned out at the same time by the likes of Gary Numan and the Human League et al and which sadly came to characterise the worst of 1980s vulgarity.
From the off The Age of Plastic throws the listener into a superficial and sinister world of the not-to-distant future with the number Living In The Plastic Age. In this world burnt-out workers who are no longer of use to their masters are abruplty disposed of ('They send the heart police to put you under cardiac arrest/And as they darg you through the door they tell you that you've failed a test'), thus pre-empting the imminent assault launched upon employees' rights throughout the 1980s. Furthermore, and with astonishing perceptiveness, it goes on to forecast the decline of manufacturing industries in favour of a financial services-led economy as characterised in Britain by Thatcherism ('Talking fast I make a deal/Buy the fake and sell what's real'); and the growing fad for vanity/cosmetic surgery ('Hello Doctor! Lift my Face/I wish my skin could stand the pace'). These plesant sounding, almost child-like, rhymes coupled with jolly fairground-like keyboards give the song a darkly comic but appealing twist.
Little needs to said about Video Killed The Radio Star, except that it is a very sad and wistful look-back to a bygone era which perfectly suits Horn's thin transatlantic whingings/vocals, whatever other criticisms may be levelled against them. Video, like the track Elstree which is also a direct piece of nostalgia, are both appropriately enough straightforward and traditional in their arrangements, although the faked drum machine approach in Video cleverly moulds its other theme of encroaching and lifeless modernity to the central idea of a lost age.
Indeed, Elstree is a significant song as it confirms the The Buggles were essentially concerned with warning of the dangers of losing by the turn of the 1970s/80s the old certanties they themselves had grown up with in post-war Britain. Elstree is a lament to the once great but now quickly declining British film industry at a time when any number of other industries were set to go the same way. In many ways The Age Of Plastic stands for the post-war atmosphere of hope and consensus as much as the Royal Festival Hall on the Thames' South Bank does.
The energetic Kid Dynamo imagines two friends in the materially-obsessed near future looking back to their pasts and one reflecting upon the lost idealism of the other who is now bloated with greed having bought into for the media's hype he once so despised.
Much else is to be found which paints an even stranger picture of what the future may be like. I Love You (Miss Robot) is another particular and bizarre highlight, containing some almost risque lyrics about a chap conducting a relationship with an android! The metronomic and highly-pitched desperate background vocals certainly lend it a slightly disturbing edge.
The slightly less peculiar Astroboy (And The Proles On Parade) and Johnny On The Monorail suffer from a slight dip in quality but are still interesting visions of The Buggles' dystopian dread. However, the entertaining and highly kitch/camp Clean, Clean more than makes up for any minor blips whilst also dealing with the erstwhile duo's concerns about increasing Cold War tensions in the Reagan/Thatcher period.
So, all in all, a great sounding and very intelligent record from two men who would go to have even more financially successful, but certainly not as artistically successful careers. The follow-up Buggles record Adventures In Modern Recording would not be such a collaborative or cohesive effort, but there again due to the limitations of electronica and Horn's vocal abilities room for progression, in all likelihood, was cramped. Nevertheless, The Age Of Plastic forces me to concede that what I never felt possible: that I could enjoy electronica and that it could be so much better than its other bland incarnations and be rightly regarded as classic pop.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars do you remember the days of kid dynamo?, 26 Feb 2005
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This review is from: The Age Of Plastic (Audio CD)
Cold grey winter mornings listening to the radio at breakfast time or daydreaming out of the school classroom window...thats my memory of Buggles music. I only bought this album 3 years ago but had the singles at time of release. All the album tracks are forlorn and haunting but also optimistic about the future. Astroboy, Kid Dynamo and Technpop were B sides on the singles but I never played them.... The reprise on 'Video' is the most evocative for me and just think..''i saw you on the wireless back in 52..'' that was 27 years ago for the girl in 1979-next year will be 27 years on from 'Video'..I'm glad that I am living in the Plastic Age...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plastic fantastic!, 4 May 2008
This review is from: The Age Of Plastic (Audio CD)
It's quite an album, even now. 'Video' is probably one of the stand-out tracks but that's not to say the title track and 'Elstree' especially aren't up there with it. 'Video' does indeed feature Ultravox's Warren Cann on drums (he's not credited) as he took session work before the 'Vienna' album was released. Likewise Billy Currie who toured with Gary Numan: being a member of Ultravox in 1979 meant being skint!

Considering Trevor Horn was to go onto produce Frankie, The Art of Noise etc a few years later, 'The Age of Plastic' is remarkable for his cohesive, intelligent production. You'd think he'd have been producing for many years before this! The small but interesting production details - the human breathing on the title track, Horn as film director uttering "action!" on the intro to 'Elstree' (and "cut!" at the end!) are fascinating. The lyric itself is also noteworthy: Horn makes a point about how the war films of the past were sometimes far removed from the reality of conflict: "All the bullets just went over your head/There's no reality and no-one dead".

True, it does conjure up a nostalgia for a long-gone Britain with great references to "The Picture Parade" (a filmgoer's magazine), cinemas with names like The Esoldo and coffee bars called The Giacondo. It's ironic as he would've only been a kid in the 1950s!

From this period (1979-80), there are perhaps fewer than ten really outstanding. 1980 was arguably a year when things really started to change musically with a growing interest in - and use of - electronics and so albums such as Closer, Vienna, The Age Of Plastic, the first Visage album,
Telekon and Travelogue still stand the test of time. Buy this and remind yourself of that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb production values, 5 Jun 2006
By 
fallingforstars (West Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
You'd be forgiven for thinking that this was one of those early 80's nonsense bands that spoke of so much technobabble. This however is far from the case. Every track has an immediacy and something relevant to say at whatever level you choose to judge it. As well as the high tech approach there's plenty of evidence of tenderness and poignancy here within much of the material. Trevor Horn's customary penchant for the big sound, the grand wash of colour is ever present as well as Geoff Downes' solid keyboard contributions. A great album and a worthy follow up in "Adventures In Modern Recording" make it a pity that the duo only produced two albums.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Superb, 4 May 2007
Recently discovered this album and I've not stopped listening to it since. It is absolutely outstanding, in fact probably the best album I've ever heard. There is not one weak track on it, every track could have been a single. It's a totally'upbeat' sounding album, but has a wistful, melancholy feel to it as well. Difficult to pick the best track, but I'd probably go for "I Love You (Miss Robot)" which is a sublime piece of futuristic electro pop, and the dynamic "Johnny On The Monorail". The bonus tracks are very good as well, and not just filler like on a lot of reissues. I can't praise this album highly enough. Buy it! You won't regret it.
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Age of Plastic [CASSETTE]
Age of Plastic [CASSETTE] by Buggles (Audio Cassette - 1990)
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