1980 decade overview
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Best year: 1981 (B-)
Worst year: 1986 (F)
Here are the most represented artists:
Hall and Oates - 4
George Michael/Wham - 5
Lionel Richie - 5
Michael Jackson - 5
Paul McCartney - 4
Subtracting the mostly harmless Hall and Oates and two surprisingly good George Michael songs, look what’s left. A decade that saw punk’s second generation, rap and the birth of hip hop, and the rebirth of funk and R&B, is represented by Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, and Paul McCartney. Paul McCartney is responsible for so much bad music this decade that he completely burned up any credibility he had as a Beatle. We should all be ashamed at these results, because as sad as it is to admit, the music that most people bought in the 80s was far worse than the 70s. The thought of listening to Say You Say Me or Ebony and Ivory makes me nostalgic for Boogie Oogie Oogie and Kiss You All Over.
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Update:Here's a book I need to read Rip It Up and Start Again, Postpunk 1978-1984. This sounds like an excellent rundown of what was truly happening in the early 1980s.
And he has a pdf with additional background for the book. Here's a few quotes:
- The ‘anything and everything except rock’ era died the day Julien Temple’s movie of Colin MacInnes’s Absolute Beginners (a project the London style media had a huge amount invested in, emotionally) came out and proved embarrassingly bad. The Style Council, naturally, were all over the soundtrack.
- Postcard’s #3 group Aztec Camera went on to become one of the more boring bands of the last 20 years but in the beginning they created a couple of gems...
- Sub-trend #1 within New Pop was ‘Funk’. Basslines, percussion, and horn sections suddenly became very crucial indeed. Dropping their synths for all three, Spandau Ballet produced the almost-great ‘Chant #1’ (several minus points though for the ‘rap’ mid-song about clubbing at New Romantic nightspots like Le Beat Route).
- The unspoken argument of the Dark Things chapter is that the groups who inspired Goth were far superior to the Goth bands themselves.
- Initially New Wave as a term was kind of cool: indeed some embraced it as an alternative to punk, seeing it as more open-ended and less lumpen on account of its evocations of the French avant-garde. But soon New Wave became a negative term, referring to the middlebrow soft option: bands who weren’t confrontational or aggressive like punk, but who were also too steeped in trad pop values (usually of Sixties provenance) to be regarded as experimental or modern a la post-punk. At its narrowest and most pejorative, New Wave came to connote something quite particular: skinny-tie bands with choppy rhythm guitars and often a keyboard (played Sixties organ style as opposed to like a synth).