Sunday, April 11, 2004

Not My '80s

I recently attended a '80s party. One of the hosts, a DJ, put particular effort into the soundtrack for the event. As the evening wore on and we got into the later part of the decade, I was reminded of the extent to which my musical tastes veered away from the mainstream as the '80s progressed. Sure, I loved the new wave pop that was big around the time of MTV's launch when I was in high school, but especially as I got to college, I became less willing to blindly accept whatever was on commercial radio. My '80s was never about Madonna or hair metal; that was what I ignored or outright condemned. My taste tended towards the British and goth, but it wasn't even the most popular British music. When living in London in the summer of 1988, my flatmates and I would watch Top of the Pops, a weekly show featuring top-selling artists lip-synching to their hits, mainly to ridicule what the general public was lapping up, appearances by the likes of Siouxsie & the Banshees notwithstanding.

After the party, I listened to party mix tape I made in the spring of 1988. The music still thrilled me. Among the artists: Echo & the Bunnymen, Julian Cope, New Order, INXS, the Hoodoo Gurus, the Replacements, the Dead Milkmen, a Pete Townshend solo track, Depeche Mode, the Cure, Iggy Pop, M/A/R/R/S. Then I went a brief late '80s binge, listening to albums by the Jesus & Mary Chain, That Petrol Emotion and Big Audio Dynamite. Some of those musicians have made a lasting impact, some faded into obscurity, especially in the U.S., but it still sounded fantastic. Can the same be said for Bon Jovi? No, they were horrific back then and don't even cut it as irony now.

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