You and the Eighties

Man, that kid set off an email firestorm. Here's a few selected goodies:

I am 25, old enough to know your reader is either a cultural idiot, a loser, or both. Large swathes of the 20-30+ generation have 80’s parties regularly, mostly because people really honestly love the music. Yes it is cheesy, yes much of it is over-synthesized, yes the singers had huge hair, and yes, they wore horrible clothing. Also, by cheesy, over-synthesized, huge, and horrible, I meant totally awesome. There is nothing not to love about what has survived of the 80s.

There's more:

I read the sage counsel of your 23 year old reader. The horrors of 80's music pale in comparison to the ennui-sodden banjo playing that has been foisted on us for the last 10 years. The moment I hear "Cold Play" I run screaming for the nearest bottle of antidepressants. Your 23 year old reader knows nothing!

I tend to share this guy's perspective:

I was 23 in 1988.  Let's see, what was I listening to then? Erasure, Smiths, Prince, Berlin, Pogues, Indigo Girls, Proclaimers, XTC ... And we're talking the WHOLE ALBUM for each of them (and some several times over). What do I listen to now? Erasure, Smiths, Prince, Berlin, Pogues, Indigo Girls, Proclaimers, XTC.  The only CD that I've bought in 00s and listened to all through, was John Mayer's debut. 00 pop is crap. I mean if the Killers could find a singer who was in tune I might go whole hog and buy their album on iTunes, but other than that it's a dearth out there!

There is indeed no pop on the radio any more. Just hip-hop drivel and godawful indie crap or whiny, lesbian complaint-rock. Look at the top ten in any other advanced Western country and pop is alive and well. But in America? Murdered by payola and hip-hop. But maybe that just shows what an old codger I'm becoming. Speaking of which ...

Yes, the 80s, unfortunately, might as well be the 40s. I spent the day with my 15-year old nephew a few weeks ago. We went to a record, I mean "music", store in Berkeley. He steered me over to the rap/hip-hop area and expounded at length about the various artists. As far as I can tell, they seem mostly to have died violent deaths. And none has a proper first name, or last - I can't really tell. In an effort to bridge the 15-40 gap, I mentioned "Eminen".  My nephew gave me the same patronizing-but-patient look as I did when my grandmother would say something about Elvis.

A final word:

OK, the kid was funny. I have kids that age. Let's remind them we control the money!

Not according to the advertizers we don't. Still, my main point is: the PSBs are not '80s pop. They may have begun in the 1980s, but their output has spanned twenty years of consistently excellent musical craftsmanship. Yes, they use electronic sound. Does that make Stuart Price an '80s producer? Some things are timeless. Actually.