I have always been rather disturbed by the fact that I knew sixties and seventies music better than tunes from the eighties, despite actually being born in the latter era.
Sure, I may have only been a toddler, but if my parents had listened to contemporary music, some of it would have eventually rubbed off, at some point. The fact is, the eighties, musically, were diplomatically overlooked in my household.
A few weeks ago, after years of accumulated frustration, I decided to tackle this mysterious decade, which I only knew from late-night infomercials about nostalgia compilations. Images of men with bulging biceps, torn faded denim jeans and mullets, women with heavy eye make-up and power-blushed cheeks, decked with intimidatingly large shoulder pads kept springing to mind. And Peter Gabriel. And a whole lot of noise.
Ignorance is not bliss. Not knowing quite where to start, I let someone else, or rather, something else choose: the Billboard Charts.
I found a listing of the top 40 songs from 1980 to 1990, 400 songs in all, and proceeded to listen to each and every title on that list. Actually, I watched all of them, thanks to Youtube and Dailymotion videos. A couple of sleepless nights later, with the exception of a few one-hit wonders, I had trudged through ten years of music, learnt a lot, and realised that, oddly enough, quite a few songs rang a bell.
Perhaps even more oddly, I went from being an anti-power ballad listener, to someone with a playlist of over 200 must-see or must-hear videoclips on her Youtube account.
There’s a gentle charm about eighties music, although one shouldn’t generalise. There’s a sense of freedom. There’s the nagging question: « What on earth happened in the seventies to bring all this on? »
I felt like posting my favourites, but once again, I’m going to have to resort to some form of method, because there’s a lot of hair to untangle and a lot of synth to bop to moodily. And doing things chronologically, while educational, is just a bit of a drag. Then I’d be asking you to take notes and springing pop quizzes…
So today, THE BALLAD, part 1 – STYX
Also, search for « The Best of Times », also by Styx. There are issues about embedding the video here, but if you’re keen on getting over your power ballad phobia and putting a bit of sunshine in your day, be sure to give it a listen.