Thursday, May 17, 2007
The Curmudgeon tagged me with the pop music meme that's been making the rounds. I don't mind doing memes, sometimes they can be fun. But I am convinced that most of my personal information is hopelessly boring, which is why I rarely write posts about myself. But if you find this stuff even remotely interesting, then read on... This rules of this particular meme are: 1. Go to Pop Culture Madness; 2. Pick the year you turned 18; 3. Get yourself nostalgic over the songs of the year; 4. Write something about how the songs affected you; and 5. Pass it on to 5 more friends. I don't mind 1-4, though I am going to decline to do number 5. Anyway, I turned 18 in 1987. Lately the only thing that has struck me as significant about that year is that my 20th high school reunion is going to be this year; not that I have any intention of going. I didn't particularly like my high school. But until this meme I hadn't gone back and looked at the music that was popular that year. And you know what struck me most about the list from 1987? Duran Duran didn't have any big hits that year. Looking back, I do realize that Duran Duran had peaked earlier in the 80's, but they are so embedded in my adolescent memory that everyone else pales in comparison. I also remember that I had a couple of friends who thought Duran Duran was the only group worth idolizing at the time. Personal aside: I dated a guy at the time who looked just like John Taylor. I thought I was hot stuff! But there are lots of songs that bring back memories for sure. For example, George Michael (now best known for trying to solicit a cop for sex in a public bathroom) had a hit with "I Want Your Sex." Now that was a pretty racy song for the time, though now it wouldn't be considered much. But to us growing up in the 80's it seemed as if music was really just becoming overtly sexual. Madonna came out with "Like a Virgin" in 1984 and that sent mothers everywhere into a huge uproar-- not that that slowed her down much--(and how do you suppose she explains this to her kids nowadays?) though 1987 was a mellow year for Madonna with songs like "La Isla Bonita" and "Open Your Heart." My memories of Madonna have more to do with her sexualized video's like "Justify My Love" or her constant attempt to pi$$ off the religious right with her use of Catholic symbols in videos for songs like "Like a Prayer." Oh yeah, and her desperate attempt to remain famous by kissing Britney Spears. *eye roll* Music the year I turned 18 was kind of all over the place. Hair Metal Bands like Mötley Crüe had huge hits with songs like "Girls, Girls, Girls" which glorified the stripper pole and Rap groups like the Beastie Boys hit it big with songs like "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)." Synthesizer pop was still hanging around though, "Heartbreak Beat" by the Psychedelic Furs and "Died in Your Arms" by the Cutting Crew were big that year, though I think the heyday of that style of music had passed a couple of years before. And it would be unforgivable if I didn't mention Dirty Dancing, THE movie release of 1987 that no girl my age saw less than 9 times. "I Had Time of My Life," by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes was such a great anthem for the movie. And who could forget Patrick Swayze singing "She's Like the Wind?" Though the movie's biggest musical contribution was to introduce songs like "Love is Strange" to my generation. U2 also came out with The Joshua Tree that year and I remember that as being a hugely popular album. Though, I gotta say, if you go back and look at that record, it had some great songs on it: "With or Without You," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" all still hold up today in my opinion. And when you listen to this album you can see why they're still around today. And maybe it's my age, but I look back at the music of that year and to me, it was so much more diverse than pop music is today. Maybe I'm jaded by American Idol and all the fabricated bands out there. True, we had some boy bands back in the day like New Kids on the Block, but we also saw emerging greats like Prince and old favorites like Aerosmith. Pink Floyd was still putting out music as was David Bowie and The Grateful Dead. My goodness, we had choices didn't we? Those were the good old days. Michael Jackson's biggest craziness was a chimp named Bubbles, Whitney Houston hadn't become addicted to crack and every hair metal band on scene was trying to get a parental advisory label on their album covers. Yeah, it was fun.