Episode #101: Pop Goes The Podcast
Lighter fare this week.
Last week’s episode on goth music and its origins was a real challenge, as I’ve said before. This week I wanted to do something a bit lighter in terms of research and content, and succeeded for the most part. There’s a distinctly Ian Curtis vibe to the story about Big Country, but beyond that I think the stories I uncovered and remember are pretty fun. I hope you enjoy.
I was accused as a teenager of not listening to or liking anything that wasn’t metal. To be fair, it was a pretty insightful assessment at the time. Things are much different now. We all know how much I love Sarah Harmer and The War On Drugs and others, and that I play with a variety of singer/songwriters in the folk/rock/alt. country/Americana worlds. My musical landscape is much, much more diverse as an adult than it was as a kid. I think that’s just growing up. Maturing in brain and heart and appreciation.
I always loved big band, by the way. Even as a teenager. Hell, I played first trumpet in my high school stage band. I’ve got legit credentials.
Looking back now, I feel a distinct pang of nostalgia for the 1980s that I missed. I don’t know if that’s getting older and feeling the impending crush of time (as middle aged people often do) or if it’s a lament for the musical blindness of my youth or if it’s a bitterness about the confines of my evangelical upbringing. Maybe a bit of everything. In any case, when I see footage of U2 circa 1983 or so, I feel stabbing regrets about missing out on certain aspects of the culture that are represented for me by music. I talked a bit about that on this episode and I wonder now if anyone out there can relate.
Music really is a time machine. Those of us who are especially affected by music can put on a record and be transported to another place and time almost instantly. It’s the emotional connection. Given the right music, I can be at my little writing table in Japan, or in my first-year dorm room, or playing in my bedroom as a kid, or walking the halls of my high school (incidentally, memory is the only place where those halls still exist).
Maybe the music I talked about on this episode will be a time machine for those of you who were around in the ‘80s, listening to the radio, driving to the beach, watching MuchMusic scrambled on television. It’s a collection of pop songs from the era that either spark fond memories for me or inspire that strange longing. I’m not trying to be maudlin - it's the curse of sentimental people.
So you may be surprised to know that your head-banging high school drummer boy actually likes songs by Martika and Don Henley and Simple Minds and Janet Jackson and Tears For Fears and others. Yes, in time my thin, straight musical edges softened into something much more well rounded indeed. Have a listen and let me know which songs from that era still resonate with you!
And thank you as always for listening.
Two bits for your viewing pleasure this week. The first is the Spitting Image video for Land Of Confusion by Genesis (sidenote: it was actually Prince eating his own tongue on a hotdog bun, not Mike Rutherford). The other is the intro to Saturday Night’s Main Event. What a time to be alive ….
Genesis - Land Of Confusion
Saturday Night's Main Event intro: