MY GUILTY POP PLEASURE: 80S MUSIC
By Patrice Peck
Written By: Afiya Augustine
To continue on the theme of “music,” I will admit to a guilty pop pleasure that I’ve gotten (and still get) a lot of slack for from family members, friends and even a few co-workers. So here it is: I absolutely, without a doubt, love 80’s Pop. And I don’t mean the classics that artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, or Whitney Houston turned out in the decade of my birth that everyone in the world knows and has on their iPods for good measure. I also don’t mean that I listen to these songs ever so often. When I say I love 80’s Pop, I’m saying that I listen to it maybe every day, as much as I possibly can and actually actively search for more songs to upload to my mp3 player.
I love everything about 80’s pop and sometimes curse my mother for not having me sooner than she did so I could’ve been alive and functioning in the 80’s to hear all this music first hand (though I doubt that would’ve happened, living in the West Indies and all…). I listen to the hits of known legends like Joan Jet and the Blackhearts, Bon Jovi and then the more obscure bands like English Beat (who’s hit ‘Tenderness’ is the end song for the movie ‘Clueless’), Whitesnake, Haircut 100, Psychedelic Furs, Kajagoogoo and the list goes on…
The problem that lies with my great love of 80’s pop (in all its glorious aged beauty) is that I live in 2011. Music has made brilliant strides with regards to technology and sound since the 80’s and the 80’s definitely had its share of setbacks. Most notably, the era of bad hair movements including dripping jerry curls, and super teased mountain volume. Having no color coordination was all the rage, and wearing dresses with shoulder pads, puffy shoulders and tacky bubble dresses made of a fabric that makes me cringe at the sound of it. The AIDs and crack epidemic made its break into the world and people were living in over-indulgent lifestyles.
And of course, in the year 2011, 80’s Pop isn’t relevant unless someone does a cover of it (enter Rihanna’s sampling of ‘Tainted Love’ and Flo Rida’s ‘Right Round’ cover/sample of Dead or Alive’s mega hit).
You can imagine the stares and weird faces I get when I’m driving to the supermarket and I’m blasting Billy Ocean’s ‘Suddenly’ of DeBarge’s ‘All This Love’ with the windows down. According to society, only those who were old enough to appreciate said music should be reveling in its magic, not a 20-something like me who was still on breast-milk when these songs were in their prime. But guess what? I honestly don’t care much for music generated for my generation. Most of today’s rap songs are bragging rights and some of the pop songs of the last five years or so have become billboard ads for gregarious lifestyles that I can’t afford. It’s over-sexed and over priced and I’m not impressed. Popular music now is literally a popularity contest and I’m only interested if a beat or instrumental composition is audibly entertaining. Other than that, I can care less.
I appreciate 80’s Pop for the fun and funky lyrics. Granted, some of it didn’t make much sense, but the focus was on the music and the people it was reaching out to, without a deep-rooted agenda to push something. And as for the music videos, they all told stories…which is something dozen of artists have forgotten to do when releasing singles these days. When I watch Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello,’ I’m not only singing along but seeing his confusion to get the girl he wants with just the simple start of the word ‘hello.’ And while people make fun of the hair, style and the (in my opinion AWESOME) music, it is all relevant. As “corny, lame and aged” the 80’s may seem, the style is definitely making a reappearance in fashion and some of the songs are coming back with new (albeit not that much better) covers in the current day. I don’t care what anyone says, 80’s pop music is le best.