As I sit here and listen to the latest album by M83, a so far stunning double lp release that needs an Atari 2600 present while listening to it, I am curious as to whether, the ghost of John Hughes will soon make his way back into the limelight.
This year has seen it’s fair share of albums that are 80s retro sounding. Depeche Mode, Cure, New Order, and every and any Flock of Seagulls wannabe. What is even more strange is that some of the kitschy sounds from that era – i.e. the sax solo have ended up in anonymous places and there are other bands like Destroyer (Dan Behar) and while I enjoyed Bon Iver’s new album, it’s final track is one of the worst examples for 80s campyness.
As these new albums start the retro craze of teaming themselves with the “Oldies” I am feeling old that the music that I grew up on is well, there is no better way to put it but ….old.
Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ is nearing it’s 29th year on this planet. This issue seems to be a more troubling aspect to me than the fact that I will be turning 40 next year.
I’ve tried to get my head around the resurgence of the 80s. While I believe that these rediscoveries are inevitable. What I am always curious about is why an artist will grasp an era of music. I only wish they dressed like them too. Women, don’t you want to go back and wear the shoulder pads? Don’t you want to make a disaster of a dress like Molly Ringwald did in ‘Pretty In Pink’?
Does John Hughes get any credit for this resurgence? Do his movies play a prominent role among the artists that grew up on watching these movies over and over again?
I have wondered whether it was necessary this year to come out with a Retro 80’s Album Listing, separating this from the rest of the albums, putting on my best Boy George impression while describing them.
I mention Boy George because there is one thing that many of these bands lack and that is the charismatic front person. The music exists but the full package doesn’t. Part of the flair of that era was a change in the way that music was being delivered to us. Back in the 80s it was the music video, a disaster of 3 minutes where bands would sail off to far away lands or perform some lip synching in a studio that was edited by Uncle Charlie. All the same, Generation X ate that shit up and loved every delicious bite. It was our Hostess Twinkee.
As I end my trek into the past and finish up the last song on M83’s new double length album I realize that it has felt odd and yet strangely appealing. I do have to say that I see visions of Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall while listening to these albums. But rock and roll is still young enough that it could have skipped a generation and never admitted to that time or era. The music was underappreciated. It followed the big bang of punk with a more fashionable futuristic model that flaunted for style points for possible demerits in substance.
At any rate, the music of today’s kids is copying that of my generation which should make some Gen X’ers take note.