Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The 19 Heighties

CD in Play: John Coltrane, A Love Supreme

With all do respect to Afrobev and his love of my most loathed decade.
I hated the 1980's. As a pre-teen and a teenager I couldn't wait for them to end. For me the 80's reeked of politicians like Brian Mulroney, Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher. The USSR lack stability as did the US President. Programmes like The Day After, If You Love this Planet and Threads (*shudder*) scared the hell out of people and made the end of the world seem imminent. Star Wars had gone from being a childhood fantasy to a pre-pubescent/early adolescent nightmare filled with rail guns and killer satellites. John Lennon was murdered. Health cuts, education cuts, my mother's ever decreasing salary and pastel colours everywhere. It was sucky, saccharine things like Rainbow Bright, My Little Pony, Teddy Ruxpin. Cartoons could no longer just be cartoons, they had to have toys and vice versa. Gigantic shoulder pads ruled the day. Corvettes and Mustangs became boring cars. The 80's gave us Tiffany and her concerts in shopping malls, Rick Astley, New Kids on the Block and Richard Marx. It was a dark time for Canadian music as well - Glass Tiger, Frozen Ghost, Loverboy, Parachute Club, Luba, Platinum Blonde, Honeymoon Suite, Helix, Headpins, Toronto. And I do not care what anyone says - Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance" sucked than and still sucks today.
But not to be a total downer here, there are things that came out of the 80's that I liked. Some of those things I still like to this day. So, what did I like? (these are things I became aware of during the 1980's)
The Police, U2, Transformers, Sonic Youth, Fishbone, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Expo 86, 1982 Stanley Cup Final, basketball camp, Galaxy Rangers, Metallica, Witness, A Fish Called Wanda, the 1987 Buick Regal Grand National, BMW's Paris-Dakar series, the Granville Island Brewing Company, Living Colour (the band), Van Halen, Magnum PI to name a few things. The late 80's were different as my musical tastes were changing and bands like Van Halen became completely irrelevant. By 1990 I became aware of some of the cooler things that the 80's had to offer. And while the 80's was pretty corporatised, I have to admit that it was never anywhere the corporate nightmare we have seen grown up all around us since about 1997 and 1998. Having gone to church through almost all of the 80's, I'd say the only Christian bands worth their weight in salt came were from around that time. Bands like Daniel Amos, their side project The Swirling Eddies, the 77's and Adam Again. Maybe a couple of others, but that's about it.

8 Comments:

Blogger Geosomin said...

Adam Again...now THERE was a great band.
It's funny - when I think of 80s I think neon, zippers, tight jeans with rips in them, Madonna el slutto, Aha!, Transformers...I liked the 80s for all it's cheesy over the toppishness, and yet hated it for many of the same things.
I shudder that I see bits of it coming back in the style world...

05 April, 2007 08:32  
Blogger Thoth Harris said...

I find the current oh oh decade is just like the 80s, but with ADHD. Everything, I mean, politically, musically, technologically, etc. Obviously, we are technologically more "advance" but the same hype is at work.

The 90s were tired, full of rebellion and self-reflection, depression, etc. The 90s were ethically positive. The 00s or oh ohs are ethically repugnant. Nonetheless, I think a really huge moment of truth is about to appear. Perhaps something akin to, but not yet the real, Armageddon. The Bush regime wants to speed up Armageddon. Odd, for someone who thinks of himself as a devout Christian, to turn his power into a force that appears uncannily like that of the Antichrist. Whether or not Armageddon is a real thing or a metaphor or an analogy...who knows. But this millenial self-destructive behaviour that occurs among our human race is barbaric...

The 80s was also a time of unreasonable government censorship, bad music, and bad pursuits (cocaine has now, in the 00s become crack, crystal meth, superglue, and rufies and superglue). Contemptible situation, indeed.

But the 80s, as you say had great music, too.

You failed to mention many of these. New Wave music was a real product of the 80s. David Bowie, Roxy Music, Duran Duran, Elvis Costello, and the Talking Heads... the list goes on and on. If people can't enjoy these, I feel pity for them. In my opinion, they surpass nearly all of the music of the sixties for the quality and quantity.

That is my opinion, anyway.

05 April, 2007 09:07  
Blogger Magnus said...

I agree with you Thoth, the 00's are so much like the 80's. Just as crass and corporate and heartless.
I liked Bowie's Scary Monsters but not much else after that. Costello and Talking Heads were oversights on my part, but you can keep Roxy Music and Duran Duran. I liked some Simple Minds and couple of songs from INXS's Shaboo-Shabaa, but New Wave wasn't really my thing.
80's hip-hop culture was better as well.
Geo: We'll stick you in a pastel power suit, (think salmon) take you out for a power lunch followed by a power walk and power meetings. If that doesn't cure you of the 80's...

05 April, 2007 13:44  
Anonymous geosomin said...

Pastel power suit...oh dear god.

I suspect we'd all die laughing powerfully before we made it out the door...

05 April, 2007 15:42  
Blogger Doug & Sarah said...

And let's not forget that in 1988 and 1989 two great albums by King's X were released (Out of the Silent Planet and Gretchen Goes to Nebraska)!

I just bought my brother-in-law season three of the A-Team on DVD. Oh the cheeze is thick in that one, "Fool!" It was a real toss-up between that and Knight Rider or Airwolf. Oh the horrors.

06 April, 2007 00:42  
Blogger Glen McKay said...

I recall music in the 80s was a great time for heavy metal - until 'glam bands' messed it all up. I consider glam bands to be the apex example of why the corporate marketing machine is the worst thing for music. Otherwise the 80s were what I consider a musical peak for groups like Metallica (don't get me started on what happened to them in the 90s), Megadeath, Anthrax & Slayer.

I also remember that the 80s was when 'rap solos' became a big thing in pop music - God I hated that. I mean, even Rush was sucked in to doing it (Roll the Bones). Whenever I hear an 80s pop tune on the radio with a rap solo I want to scream.

06 April, 2007 05:33  
Blogger Magnus said...

Geo: remember, salmon coloured pastel power suite. Salmon. With a lot of hairspray and an attache case.

Doug: How could I forget King's X. Gretchen... was easily their best album. Musically speaking, if you were prepared to go digging you'd find great stuff. As for the A-Team... The only thing I watched in the 80's that I liked and still kind of like - and wasn't a re-run from the 70's or the 60's - is Magnum PI. I watched one season of A-Team when I was 10 and couldn't go back. All those bullets and no one ever dies. Give me 24 any day.

Glen: Roll the Bones was 1992, but I know what you mean. My one problem with 80's metal is the mix - you had bass drums that clacked rather than thumped and basses that sounded so brittle and thin because people didn't know how to mix them.
Actually, I consider Tiffany and New Kids on the Block as the trial run for the corporate marketing machine that rules the day today. Glam bands were just a bunch of guys working it out on the old model.

06 April, 2007 09:45  
Blogger afrobev said...

Hi Magnus. Im glad that there were certain things that you liked about the golden age :)

I suppose I am a bit biased because it was a happy time in my childhood. But Ive got to agree with you about all the stuffy politicians and things like that.

Still it was a magical time for me personally. Oh, okay maybe magical is going a bit far but it was alright...I suppose.

10 April, 2007 13:44  

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