Today, I decided I would explore the differences between thematic elements utilized in the styles of 80s music. I wanted to examine the ironic nature of artists such as Cyndi Lauper (debut album: She's So Unusual - isn't that the truth) or, say, Mr. Mister. Their debut album was called, if you remember, "Welcome to the Real World." This was at a time when MTV was anything BUT "Real World" (at least not yet).<br><br>I'd forgotten how engaging "I Can Dream About You" (Dan Hartman) could be. With it's catchy hook and blue-eyed, south Philadelphia soul sound, one might've suspected the genre to stretch beyond the few short years it reigned on radio. Of course, the wheels came off in 1992 when Nirvana and the endless parade of "God-my-life-sucks" whiner bands ushered in a dark, 10 year long depression over the industry. <br><br>For all its glitz, glamor and shallowness of lyrics, the hair-band era of the late 80s was, if anything, fun. Could anyone wallow in the self absorbed manic Cobainesque sadness while listening to "Girls, Girls, Girls" or "Unskinny Bop"? Did anyone ever worry about their kids shooting just a little too much heroin while clutching a radio, thinking their life was over, listening to "Cherry Pie"? Shallow, yes. Life endangering? Not really. <br><br>While the 80s, to some, may seem like an obtuse blemish on that road of Top 40 pop hits, I suggest we look back once in a while, in the midst of all the pure sh!t on radio these days, and realize just how good we had it then.<br><br>****************<br><br>
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I would respectfully disagree with your hypothesis that today's music is all somewhat inferior to all music of the past. <br><br>The problem with your premise is that you presuppose that one would judge the current homoegenous popular music environment only by that which is popular. You need to seek out and buy the CDs of bands noone has ever heard of in order to fully apppreciate today's music scene. <br><br>For instance, the latest offerings from Lemon Cement and Blinding Snow are much better than anything on the radio today. I should know, I'm one of the three people that bought their CD!<br><br>Also, if you really like Dan Hartman, you should check out the live album "Coathanger Blues," by Chocolate Doorknob:<br><br><img src=http://home.earthlink.net/~imagebarn/images/albumcover.gif><br>
You think music is the reason people are shooting heroin? People used heroin in the 80s too, and music had about as much to do with it then as it does now or in the 90s. <br><br>That said, Cyndi Lauper was/is a great singer. She has a new album out this year (not pop/rock) but I haven't heard it yet.<br><br>
You're dead-on Bryan. The music industry (along with radio, news, television, movie and other media) have suffered from the corporate mega-mergers of the last 20 years. What's on the radio is not necessarily all bad, but "goodness" is not a factor in what gets airplay. It's all about what can sell best, be marketed to support a movie/t.v. show or vice-versa. There's plenty good stuff out there to listen to—just that it's not on most broadcast radio stations<br><br>In my college days, I used to go see a lot of live entertainment (not arena shows, but the smoky dive-bar variety). Many a time, I was turned on to an opening band while waiting for a headliner (including folks like Reverend Horton Heat, Fishbone, Primus and others long before their time). I used to listen to a lot of college radio in the Bay Area (must be one of the largest commercial-free markets in the nation with 10 or more college and high-school stations around the area)—but alas, Portland is lacking in the collegiate play lists. There's one station that is so-so in mixing up a lot of eclecticism in its playlist, but if you listen for more than a day, you'll begin to hear the repetitive pattern of heavily market music.<br><br>
Hmmm... Motley Crue and Warrant?<br><br>How can you not mention Van Halen? Those David Lee Roth years were the best when it comes to fun eighties rock music.<br><br>-- Charlie Alpha Roger Yankee Whiskey
If you can still tune in to some college radio in your market that's what I'd opt for in terms of relief from the cynical mass-market drone that's buzzing in all our ears, college/indie radio is about as varied as it gets... I can think of no other stations out there (maybe some net radio ones, but the ones I've explored tend to be micro-niche oriented) which do not resort to computerized playlists and directives a'plenty for what gets played and when. That kind of freedom is almost entirely absent in today's corporate radio sphere.<br><br>I believe that juggernauts like ClearChannel are responsible for the methodical dumbing down and shrinking eclecticism of popular music... they are, after all, the conduit for most people, and it's their filtration which removes so much great stuff. Big brother wants to choose your music for you. And what do we get? Ear pablum. Recycled recyclables.<br><br>It's now come to the point that I avoid all FM and AM commercial stations. If I want truly indie stuff (and yes, early Fishbone was amazing!) I have to seek it out on college stations. For all their weak points, at least they are not working for the Man like ClearChannel is.<br><br>max
Alas, as noted earlier, Portland is devoid of any college radio. There's some half-way down the state in Corvallis at the UofO. But I'm not pulling that in from here.<br><br>Fortunately, many college stations, including one of my old favorites (KFJC), have mp3 streams or other internet broadcasts because they're exempt from the Internet re-broadcast restrictions of commercial stations.<br><br>In the Bay Area I used to have my presets to the following college stations (totally eclectic and commercial-free):<br>KFJC (foothill college)<br>KSJS (san jose state)<br>KSCU (santa clara university)<br>KZSU (stanford)<br>KUSF (U of SF)<br>KALX (Cal Berkeley)<br>KCSM (collge of San Mateo)<br>KVHS (clayton valley high school)<br>and others I'm not recalling at the moment. They didn't all come in from any one spot, but driving around the bay area, at least some of them came in from wherever I was.<br><br>
That's good news. I think college radio kicks @ss and kicks regular radio to the curb - but there are some caveats. The hosts of their shows are often young and learning the ropes, and one has to put up with their excesses as they crawl along the learning curve. As well, too many earnest young politico types use their position as soap boxes from which to rant about world problems and how it's obvious to address them, blah blah.<br><br>That said, in the greater metro Toronto market there are three stations I regularly listen to which do not spew automated playlist crap - they're staffed by real people, the best of them being true music connoisseurs, and it shows in the passion and variety of what you get to hear. The Clearchannel beasts of the radio world may rule the roost and merrily bludgeon the ears of the masses, but there are still alternatives for people starved for authentic music. Listening to these guys informs me of new stuff, which I in turn will go out and buy... mainstream FM no longer does that for me... even the so-called "alternative" stations I used to listen to 20 years ago are now good corporate soldiers in the quest to pablumize our aural diet. "Alternative" for these guys is now no more than a slick, essentially meaningless marketing buzzword which amounts 'not Brittany but maybe Avril when she's pissed'... bleh. Some freakin' choices!<br><br>Hey, have a good one, Squareman.<br><br>max
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