Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why I Love Eighties Music

Sometimes I hear one of my favorite eighties songs, or maybe even download one (something I could not have imagined doing back then), and it takes me back in time to a whole other era, a time of fun style, youthful exuberance and some of the best songs I have ever heard or will likely ever hear.

I "discovered" alternative (new wave) music while still in high school. I was getting pretty bored with mainstream rock at the time, and all of a sudden turning the tuning knob on my stereo, there it was. First I found the new sound on college radio, and then a new wave commercial radio station came along. It was like a whole new world opened up as I witnessed the birth of a new music style. And the awesome beginnings of a whole new visual medium - the music video. As part of the early MTV generation, I can recall spending hours watching my favorite videos.

Music videos were somewhat of an art form back in those days, the music providing the inspiration for videos that often told a story. The music itself was interesting, sometimes quirky, or full of imagery with distinctive melodies and instrumentation. The songs were captivating, and even now, more than twenty years later, some of them still give me goosebumps.

I spent a few years spinning vinyl as a DJ at my college radio station, an experience I will always treasure. That was one of the most enjoyable times in my life. The music made it special. I remember the thrill of buying a new album, getting it home, tearing off the plastic and slapping the disc on the turntable. Fighting to get those darn CD cases open and dropping the little disc on the floor doesn't begin to compare!

The musicians behind the alternative songs of the eighties (and early nineties, too) broke a lot of new ground in music and many were true artists. Some of the bands are still around today, still sounding as great as ever. Some sadly have gone - split up, some band members leaving this world too soon. They are gone, but the music lives on. Sometimes I'll hear one of their songs and find a tear rolling down my face.

Some eighties songs are being covered by other bands these days, and I wish they weren't. No other band can bring the true richness and flavor to those songs. No other singer can sing those lyrics as well as the original singer.

Eighties music is the music of my youth. It is the music I will always relate to the most. Like that time in my life, it will always be held dear and can never be replicated.

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