Monday, June 7, 2010

oh mickey you're so fine

It's time to talk about eighties music.

I've been hearing a lot of bitchin' about eighties music lately. And Momma, I hear you. Synthesizers? Yuck. Madonna? HATE. But I'm not ashamed to say that I love a lot of eighties bands. Tears for Fears? Depeche Mode? Duran Duran? Taaaaake oooooon meeeeee? Taaaaaake meeeeeee ONNNNNNNNNNNN? MICHAEL JACKSON? Yes please, straight up.

Here's the thing about eighties music. You gotta look past the synthesizer. (I realize that this may be impossible for some--it's the same principle, really, that keeps me from eating sushi. That beautiful Asiatic creation is delicious? I believe you. I just can't get past the fact that it's raw, slimy fish.) But underneath all the synthetic goop of the eighties (it's not their fault, it's not their fault, IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT!), there's a poetic--and often deeply cynical--heart to the music. "Mad World" by Tears for Fears is incredibly fresh and beautiful and sad. The singer, Tears for Fears' bassist Curt Smith, called it "...very much a voyeur's song. It's looking out at a mad world from the eyes of a teenager." Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" is, in my opinion, one of the creepiest and most cynical songs ever written. Flesh and bone by the telephone / pick up the receiver, I'll make you a believer -- ugh! Marylin Manson's cover makes my skin crawl; it's truly demonic.

Seriously, the great bands of the eighties had just as much artistic vision and cool aesthetic as any other decade. It's not their fault that they were birthed into an era of such bad taste, just like it's not your fault you were birthed into an era of obesity, flashing sidebar ads, and terrible summer blockbusters. They worked it. Respect.

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You are truly great.