The past is a foreign country: 8os music

The past is a foreign country: 8os music

yesterday blog tour: Sept 23 - 28
Just a reminder that the Yesterday blog tour begins tomorrow at Diary of a Bookworm! There are also some swoon-worthy reviews of Yesterday starting to appear including ones from CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Material, Happy Owl Books, Dark Faerie Tales, Stacked, Boekie's Book Reviews and YA Reads where Yesterday is the book of the month and you can enter to win 1 of 3 copies.

With Yesterday hitting shelves this coming Tuesday, sadly it's time to wrap up my nostalgic musings on the 80s. But first, here's the concluding post about music from 1980-1985.

People's relationship to music was very different pre-Internet and as a teenager I haunted my local record stores to browse and purchase new music. Better still was when I could travel to downtown Toronto to hang out in Sam the Record Man, with its vast collection of offerings (I've never stopped missing Sam's!). I also spent alot of time—more than most people I knew—listening to the radio and watching MuchMusic and the video shows that preceeded it.

The 80s was a terrifically dynamic time for music and I think many people would agree that pop music doesn't get any more angsty than Morrissey singing:

"There's a club if you'd like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home and you cry
And you want to die

The 80s just wouldn't have been the eighties without the edgy ache of new wave. I still ache when I hear songs like How Soon is Now, Yazoo's Nobody's Diary, Depeche Mode's Somebody, Tears for Fears' Mad World or Bronski Beat's Smalltown Boy. How could anyone not?

There's a naked honesty in these songs—a depth of emotion that I have wonder if we've almost become afraid of in this age bent on cynicism and obsessed with superficialities. Not that 80s music consisted solely of opening up an emotional vein and bleeding onto the vinyl, to be sure. The first half of the decade (since that what's I'm concentrating on in this series) is also chock full of damn fine lighter fare too, songs full of sunshine and optimism or even ones that didn't have much to say but just made you want to dance or punch the air. Remember these fantastic tunes?

The Go-Go's, We Got The Beat:

Banarama, Shy Boy

Duran Duran, Is There Something I Should Know

Howard Jones, Things Can Only Get Better

The Belle Stars, Sign of the Times

In a Big Country, Big Country

Haircut One Hundred, Love Plus One

If you've already read Yesterday you'll remember that early on main character Freya becomes friends with a couple of new wave kids who stick out in the school hallways. During 1985, as I lived, it there were very visible groups of new wavers at school—diehard fans of bands like The Smiths, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Psychedic Furs, and Echo and The Bunnymen who emulated the style of such bands. But the new wavers weren't the only hardcore music fans at my high school—there was a second group that was equally passionate about hard rock and heavy metal bands. At that time, teens ins Southern Ontario referred to this group as "rock-ons." While the new wavers generally wore pale makeup, dyed their hair black and dressed in dark clothing, the "rock-ons" had their own distinct style which consisted mainly of mullets and Kodiak boots (perpetually untied). Although overall I enjoyed new wave music more than hard rock I never fully committed to either camp and bought music from across the spectrum (all my babysitting music went on tapes, vinyl and concert tickets). Here are a few of my favourite hard rock songs from the early 80s:

Scorpions, Still Loving You

Saga, Scratching the Surface

Def Leppard, Photograph

AC/DC, You Shook Me All Night Long

Marillion, Kayleigh

Van Halen, I'll Wait

Twisted Sister, We're Not Gonna Take It

Finally, although the 80s isn't generally regarded as a sexy time like the free love era of the sixties (which Freya visits in virtual reality) there were some pretty hot songs. Here are some of my personal favourites from 1980-85.

Modern English, I Melt With You

INXS, The One Thing

Adam and the Ants, Physical THIS ONE IS HEAT FACTOR 10.
Proceed with caution!

Romeo Void, Never Say Never

'You Shook Me All Night Long' by AC/DC (embedded earlier in the page! Scroll up)
Bryan Ferry, Slave to Love

Bryan Ferry, Windswept

Blondie, Call Me
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, I Love Rock N' Roll

The Rolling Stones, Start Me Up

Sheena Easton, For Your Eyes Only

There's nothing like music to hurl you back in time and in a way that means I visit the 80s not infrequently, but I'm happy to have had a longer stay in the past thanks to Yesterday. If you read the book I hope you'll also enjoy the trip.

The best music is both a pathway to the past and timeless and I'm going to close this entry on a song that is both those things a tune I consider to be one of the most inspirational songs from the 80s from British band Talk Talk.

Read the Rest of the 80s series:
* The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there
* The past is a foreign country: 80s TV
* The past is a foreign country: 80s Movies
* The past is a foreign country: 80s Toys and Technology
Next Post Newer Post Previous Post Older Post Home