A Defense of 80s Music, by Running On Sober


It was bound to happen. At some point, I was guaranteed to put my foot into it.
You’d have thought I knew better by now.
You’d have thought wrong.
Todays rebuttal comes from Running On Sober. When she isn’t running or compiling the brilliant Words for the Weekend, she’s also putting together some of the worlds greatest playlists.
Which gives her excellent credibility to rebut me for what I said in a post about 80s music.
So please enjoy Running on Sober’s skewering of me as much as I did.
(And then check out her site and say hi!)
(Just don’t look for me. I’ll be gagging. With a spoon.)

A Defense of 80s Music
Today’s Music: Jam On It by Newcleus
*Note on today’s music: Guap confessed to once knowing every single word to this 1984 song in a comment I knew would eventually come back to haunt him. For fun, listen to the song and every time they say “Jam on it, jam on it, ja-ja-ja-ja-ja-jam on it,” instead change it to, “Guapola, guapola, guap-guap-guap-guap-guap-guapola…”

Obviously, it doesn’t take much to entertain me–maybe that’s why I love 80’s music. I try not to take myself too seriously, don’t worry, be happy!, and for the most part, the 80’s didn’t take themselves too seriously either. They still managed to teach us some important lessons though: don’t talk to strangers; don’t give up–when a problem comes along, relax, you can whip it; we have to fight for our right to party; watch out boyevery rose has its thorn; and the greatest love is inside of us–we are the world after all.

Cinderella even taught us to appreciate what we have before it’s gone

Cinderellaeven taught us to appreciate what we have before it’s gone

Some messages I heeded (white lines — never did them), some messages I didn’t (patience — yeah, not my strong suit), and some I may have taken too literally before sobering up (I wanna be sedated), but when I look back at the 80’s, I can’t help but smile. That was my decade, I’m from the 80’s!, so when Guap asked me if I’d like to come to its defense after his recent post, “Oh Joy. The 80s Live On,” I was like totally frothing at the mouth.

Even though I was down at the shore (in my bitchin’ Camaro), I started planning my counter by listening to nothing but 80’s music. Well, okay, maybe I was already listening to it. Fine, maybe that’s all I ever listen to, but I swear I’m not crazy–ALL I WANTED WAS A PEPSI!, I’m just a little pre-occupied. With 19, 19, 1985.

Wait, what was I saying? I forgot. Let’s just sing 80′s music instead.

Wait, what was I saying? I forgot. Let’s just sing 80′s music instead.

Everyone has an opinion on 80’s music. Seems we either love it or hate it; like Taco Bell, there’s not much middle ground. And when we think of 80’s music, usually the first images that come to mind are big hair, moonwalking, blue eye shadow, skinny ties, and Madonna writhing around stage in a wedding dress.

I really think MTV changed the face of music, at least for the 80’s. (Does MTV even play videos anymore?) MTV turned us into visual beasts, it desensitized us and took our imaginations away; each new video had to be a little more over-the-top than the last just to stand out. Who could be the most provocative? Who could show the most skin? Who could push the taboo-envelope? Who could have the biggest hair? Who could wear their underwear on the outside first?

Mötley Crüe or Madonna: Who showed their underwear first?

Mötley Crüe or Madonna: Who showed their underwear first?

Madonna was one of the best at working the MTV angle, and like most girls my age, I grew up worshipping her. She was liberated, yet sexy, and she was oh-so-unapologetically in your face. I remember falling in love with Madonna in her iconic Borderline video. Not only was she sassy and beautiful, but she also flaunted an interracial relationship, and I wanted to be just like her. I had the hair bows, the black tanks, the jelly bracelets, the long cross necklaces. If she was brunette, so was I. If she went blonde, I went blonde. If she channeled Marilyn Monroe, so did I. I spent my 80’s desperately seeking Susan.

Channeling Madonna at my Canadian boyfriend’s prom. (I wouldn’t have been caught dead at my own.) Totally love that his hair is bigger than mine!

Channeling Madonna at my Canadian boyfriend’s prom. (I wouldn’t have been caught dead at my own.) Totally love that his hair is bigger than mine!

The 80’s weren’t just Madonna and Mötley Crüe or Michael and Janet Jackson though. There were some major music breakthroughs, including the emergence of rap and hip-hop, thrash metal, new romantic/synth pop, post-punk, new wave, SKA, goth, house music and more. Many of the 80’s artists include U2, NWA, Billy Idol, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, David Bowie, The Clash, The Police, XTC, Run D.M.C, Joe Jackson, Simple Minds, Blondie, Public Enemy, Tracy Chapman, REM, Jane’s Addiction, Violent Femmes, Beastie Boys, Butthole Surfers, Howard Jones, The Smithereens, Squeeze, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, and my favorite artist, Sade. Some 80’s albums include Prince’s Purple Rain, U2’s The Joshua Tree, Paul Simon’s Graceland, The Police’s Synchronicity, AC/DC’s Back in Black, Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms, and Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs.

Love the 80’s, or love to hate them, you gotta admit they had their fair share of good tunes and good memories. Was some of it cheesy? Fer sure, dude. Even I throw up in my mouth a little whenever I hear “Eternal Flame” or “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” but every decade has its fair share of cheese. For some reason, we just remember more of it from the 80’s–I blame MTV–video killed the radio star.

Wanna talk more 80’s music? Call me, on the line at 867-5309, (ask for Jenny).

If you didn’t get enough 80’s music, check this out:

All your favorite 80’s memories crammed into 2.5 minutes:

And in case you are of the #Die80sDie camp, I’ll leave you with this, since Guap himself said:

It’s amazing how much a minute and a half of the Ramones can save!

We need change, we need it fast

Before rock’s just part of the past

‘Cause lately it all sounds the same to me

So said the Ramones. In 1980.

What say you? Love the 80’s? Hate ’em? Have a favorite jam or one so grody it like totally gags you with a silver spoon? C’mon, hit me with your best shot!

Thanks, Guap, for having me over, I had a totally rad time, totally!

234 responses to “A Defense of 80s Music, by Running On Sober

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this…totally.

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  2. I feel like the 80’s was a decade of extremes…like some of the music and artists to come out of it are REALLY GOOD but then the others…OMG. Not a lot of middle ground.. 🙂

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    • runningonsober

      No doubt about that, Hyper. Even one of the rock bands was named Extreme (remember “More Than Words”?)

      Current pop has a lot of OMG too, but granted, it also has the “middle ground” that the 80’s lacked. Most current stuff doesn’t even register with me–it’s not good or bad, it’s just noise.

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    • and then there was Flock of Seagulls…

      (’nuff said.)

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      • runningonsober

        ((Remembers she told Gus Sanchez that she would post a picture of her favorite running shirt. On the front is seagulls, on the back “I ran, I ran so far away…”))

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  3. So many great songs and memories crammed into one post! I grew up worshipping Madonna too, but at least it wasn’t disco? Now I’m watching the 80s song video at the end and craving a pudding pop and my childhood. Sniff. Anyway, loved ROS’ guest post. Thanks for sharing her!

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