Friday Mix-Up, '80s Edition

by Ricardo Gutierrez

For the benefit of Mr. Coates
The mix today will be composed
Of '80s tunes.

A little bit of a stretch to reference the Beatles when talking of '80s music, but somehow the lyric just jumped in my head and the smart Beatle's kid makes an appearance on the mix, so it's all ok. 

I decided to do this based on TNC's post earlier this week all about how he fits into '80s nostalgia. That, plus the fact that commenter A_D_W started taking my brain in this direction last week (sorry I couldn't hit all your favs, just looking to make it all work). 

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I was someone lucky enough to have grown up "trying to become Rakim" but also enjoying everything that John Hughes had to offer. Slick Rick and Ferris Bueller were both my heroes. I'm happy that Premier and John Cusack are both still fresh and working. They all made me who I am.

To be honest, some of these tracks I really remember from my youth, some I vaguely do but didn't really get to know till much later. "Running" is such a sentimental fav. I grew up around Latin Freestyle. I knew spring was rolling around because cars would start (and still do) blast "Spring Love". "Running" was often thrown in with that genre. I remember being at my cousin's house in Puerto Rico one summer and "Running" came on the radio while a massive, dark thunderstorm was rolling in the distance over the mountain range in the center of the island. The song was already haunting to me, but that experience but it in Jack Torrance territory. Not scary, just a ghostly longing.

On the flip side, I have slight recollections of "Getting Away With It" and "Just Can't Get Enough" from that era. But hearing them now instantly takes me back to the days of being a hopeless geek who thought Cheetara was hot and wondered what kind of metal could possibly make Destro's face move so fluidly.

Before I get a flogging for it...yes, I know "Not Great Men" was released in 1979, technically. But Gang of Four fucking rocks! Plus that post-punk minimalism was the frame that some of the best of 80s music was built on. "Disappear" is also cuspy, but I think it fits the esthetic.

Finally, to TNC, I'm sure you won't feel the same way about these tracks that some of your clan and I may feel about them, but I hope you like them. At least enough to give LCD Soundsystem a little rest on your iPod out there. You're making him work so hard, I bet James Murphy's voice must be hoarse by now.


Pale Shelter - Tears For Fears
Confusion - New Order
Destination Unknown - Missing Persons
Running - Information Society
Too Late For Goodbyes - Julian Lennon
Not Great Men - Gang of Four
Clear - Cybotron
Disappear - INXS
Getting Away With It - Electronic
Just Can't Get Enough - Depeche Mode

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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