Saturday, March 9, 2013

Remember when your music was unpredictable?

There was once a magical time, when no one knew what song they would be listening to next. We got our music from the radio, and it meant that we had to listen, potentially for hours, to hear the song we really wanted to hear.

(You could always call the radio station and put in a request, but let's be honest -- you know the DJ wasn't even keeping track)

The point is that our music, and our lives for that matter, had an element of surprise and serendipity. We had something to look forward to and something to hope for. There is real joy in anticipation. Ask any kid in December. Anticipation is why Christmas Eve is more fun than Christmas Day. The joy of anticipation is why it's more fun to build a snow fort than it is to play in it. As long as there is anticipation, hope lives forever. Potential fun is sometimes more rewarding than the thing we are anticipating. Delayed gratification beats instant gratification almost every time.

And in that spirit, I'm going to fire up Pandora tonight -- my Journey/Faithfully station -- and play you ten songs (so to speak). So peg your jeans, plug in your Ghetto blaster, rat your bangs, and listen while I spin the hits!

1. Total Eclipse of the Heart: Bonnie Tyler

The greatest melodramatic soft rock song of all time. Songs are like sign posts in our memory. They point us back to particular points in our lives, and this song brings back memories of driving with my best friend, Aaron, in a convertible, along Wasatch Boulevard, with this song cranked to eleven, and singing (screaming) at the top of our lungs. Those were GREAT times!

2. Lights: Journey

I'll rail against the superfluousness of 80's music, but there was some great music that came out of those years, and there were distinct bands, with very distinct sounds. Journey was about as distinct as a band could be, for one reason -- Steve Perry. No one sounds like Steve Perry. 

Except that guy that they found in the Philippines, who sounds EXACTLY like him. 

And me, in the shower. 

3. Take My Breath Away: Berlin

Every movie has a soundtrack, but there are only two immortal soundtracks -- Footloose and Top Gun. These are the soundtracks by which all other soundtracks will be measured from here until the end of the universe. 

"Goose! You big stud! Take me to bed, or lose me forever!"

4. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For: U2

U2 gave a lot of legitimacy to 80's music. It was easy to take them more serious -- no make up, no spandex -- they got weird later (Zooropa anyone? Anyone? Buehler?) -- just good old fashioned Irish political music. Though they do have that guy who calls himself The Edge, what's that all about?

Joshua Tree may be their best album ever. 

5. Keep on Loving You: REO Speedwagon

Like Journey, REO Speedwagon has a very distinctive lead singer -- whose name I can't remember at the moment, and I'm not going to go Google it -- but you know REO within a note or two. This song reminds me of ninth grade stomps. 

Why did they call them stomps?

6. Dust in the Wind: Kansas

Poor Kansas. I know there must be Kansas fans out there, but, while I can easily name a dozen songs each for groups like Journey or Bon Jovi or Boston, I can name exactly two by Kansas: Dust In The Wind, and Carry on Wayward Son. 

Though this song did get quoted by Ted "Theodore" Logan to Socrates Johnson, so that's something. 

7. Please Forgive Me: Bryan Adams

If there is a soundtrack for the 1980's maybe no one is more prominent than Bryan Adams. Hit after hit,  no one could gargle a love ballad better than Bryan Adams. I saw him in concert, at the height of "Everything I Do" and he was as good in concert as he is in studio. 

By the way, did you know that Bryan Adams, Def Leppard and Shania Twain all used the same music producer -- Mutt Lange (I guess his mother didn't like him) -- and if you play their music side by side, they all sound very similar. 

Well, now you know, and knowing is half the battle...

8. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now: Starship

I almost gagged when this song came on, I'm not going to lie to you. This is a little TOO 80's for me. But, once upon a time, Starship rode at the front of the hit parade, with a good string of hits, and a prominent place in the movie Mannequin. 

I haven't thought about that movie in years.

Hmmm...anything was possible in the 80's....

9. Time After Time: Cyndi Lauper

The disco ball slowly rotates, shooting colored fragments of light all over the gym. 

Mist drifts across the dance floor. 

She wore an itchy sweater and shoulder pads. 

I wore a skinny tie. 

And to finish off the evening...

                                               (please be the song I want...please!)

10. Shot Through the Heart: Bon Jovi

Not bad. There were bands that people claimed to like better, but no rock group -- NONE -- was bigger than Bon Jovi, in the 80's. And of the ten groups listed here, exactly two still have anything that could be called a career: U2 and Bon Jovi. 

We saw Bon Jovi in concert last year. I bought tickets at the last second, and the seats were the worst in the entire arena -- we were literally behind the stage -- and it was still the best concert I've ever been to. 

They're coming again next month!

...OH, and number eleven: Come Sail Away, by Styx...if only I had the time....

Tomorrow night: The Mix Tape. 

1 comment:

{krista} said...

A story of my own... yesterday, my family was returning home from town when my youngest daughter said "please let the next song on the radio be by One direction" and sure enough, she was right. A few minutes later, my son did the same thing. He called out Maroon 5, and sure enough, they played Maroon 5. It was quite disturbing - especially when they admitted they were texting the radio station and making the requests.

True story.