Ah, the 80’s. What a time to be alive!
An era where everything felt like it was changing at a million miles an hour. We had the fashion; big hair, leg warmers and stone-washed jeans. The technological advances with the inception of Nintendo and the introduction of home video games, Walkmans, Gameboy and VCR’s. Then there were the movies, the list of timeless classics that are still regularly watched today is endless. You’ve got Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, E.T… I could go on and on.
Remember when the Rubik’s Cube came about? Man, that thing was f*cking frustrating to solve!
But enough nostalgic 80’s reminiscing and onto the serious stuff; the music. Oh, the music. I may be cranky and old but today it just feels like there’s an air of unoriginality that suffocates the expression of true, original song writing. I hear a song come on the radio and I think to myself “I’m sure I’ve heard that tune before”, more often than not it’s because I have 30-odd years ago.
Don’t get me wrong there’s some talented artists out there but to me it’s all drivel compared to the shining era of spandex wearing, brightly coloured, messy-haired superstars.
It was as if the industry came out of the other side of an era of awe-inspiring psychedelic pop and catchy ABBA tunes, brushed itself off and got to work on supporting some of the most gifted musicians ever to grace the face of the earth.
I’m just going to reel some off… Aerosmith, Wham!, Elton John, Queen, Genesis, Bon Jovi, R.E.M and AC/DC were all at their peak and that’s only naming a tiny fraction. With all these big names on the scene at the same time, some of them must have been constantly looking over their shoulders, knowing that if they’re not on top of their game they’ll be quickly forgotten about.
Of course, this is all strictly subjective and everyone is welcome to their own opinion. Some people will have very different thoughts on which decade lays claim to the crown of best decade for music *cough* you’re wrong *cough*. Have a look at these 10 reasons why I think the 80’s was the greatest and decide for yourself.
1. Sooo much fun
Let’s just take the Falklands war, African famine and any political issues out of the equation for a second… The 80’s was like the gift that kept on giving in terms of music and vibrancy. You never felt the need to listen to anything from another era because something of someone new came along every few days. Compare that with today: what used to have rhythm, vocals, and flavor has become a monotonous and unintelligent sequence of synthesized noises.
Artists and bands are becoming marginalised by the technical advances in the uses of electronic melodies and genres such as EDM (Electronic Disco Music). If that’s your thing then great! But we can’t be friends.
2. Women showed us they absolutely rule
Nowadays, we know women are just as capable as men in the art of creating brilliant music. Back in the 80’s times were changing and quickly! Not to take anything away from the great female artists that preceded the decade, but this was the time that girl power really took over in a big way and changed peoples perceptions.
You’ve got Madonna, Janet Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Salt-N-Pepa, Tina Turner, Annie Lenox, Alison Moyet, Bjork and of course the great Whitney Houston. Not to mention a gazillion others. How often do you see a woman pick up a guitar and solo in front of thousands of adoring fans now?. These days artists seems to show more flesh to compensate for a lack of musical talent.
Back then, women just seemed to be more focused on making great music and having fun!
3. Icons for all ages
As you’ve probably gathered, the 80’s was flush with big names and talent. These artists/bands were elevated to legendary celebrity status and they inspired millions of both young and old people. Look at Elton John, he reached out to fans of all ages. The magical man coughed up no less than 21 hits through the decade and had amazing longevity. There seems to be a lot fewer artists these days that appeals to a range of ages. In fact, everything seems to be aimed at the freakin’ pesky kids!
4. MTV didn’t suck
Nowadays kids watch MTV for ‘Ex on the Island’ or some such bullsh*t. Some of the programs on there make a mockery of what it originally started out to achieve; to show great music. The program began broadcasting in 1981 and took the world by storm like literally took over. It changed how we perceived music and finally provided a platform for great artists to market themselves across the world.
5. Music videos
Why does it seem like the more technically advanced we become, the sh*ttier we become at making original music videos. Look at MJ’s thriller, you can’t see many artists making something like that these days. Just a side not: That album went on to become the best selling worldwide of all time. Wow. Even your Beyonces and Drakes struggle for consistent global reach like that.
6. Black music finally had its time to shine
Let’s be honest, nobody needs telling The foundations were laid during the 70’s but it was the 80’s that really saw music from artists and groups such as Run DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, Bobby Brown, Miles Davis, Grandmaster Flash, Chaka Khan and Whitney step into the limelight. It was a freeing and rebellious time for many people.
These days artists use autotune and have replaced choreographed dance routines and edgy, controversial videos with parties and general cr*p like throwing money around… Chuck some of that my way when the wife’s not looking.
7. Music was on every journalist’s lips
As music carried on evolving and growing, the media industry gave it huge amounts of attention. I mean how could you not with the names that were around. The birth of MTV and a number of other music platforms through various channels meant that artists/bands took center-stage like never before. They basically couldn’t be ignored.
Writers like Tom Hibbert, Richard Cook and John Fordham flourished and produced pieces for some of the biggest music magazines like Kerrang!, The Wire and Smash Hits. And, with the sheer amount of music journalism around, the quality continued to rise. Ultimately we were treated to some great writing and insightful opinions. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.
8. The birth of Live Aid
Now I know what you’re thinking: Live Aid hasn’t done that much for the development of music. But, and bare with me on this, it’s not always what you can do for music but what music can do for you. The project has enabled the collaboration of musical stars to raise well over $150 million for charity. Think back to some of the classic moments its produced as well- “Do they know it’s Christmas”, Paul McCartney singing “Let It Be” and David Bowie performing “Heroes”. Nowadays people just don’t seem as bothered.
What do you think? We could debate it until the sun goes down but there’s definitely no denying the 80’s was a great era for music. When do you think music’s best time was? Let me know in the comments and make sure to share so your friends can have their say too!