The Unshakable 80’s.

31 Jul

I am a sucker for 80’s music and I know I’m not alone in that. Every time there’s a weekend 80’s marathon on the radio, or one of those 80’s music video countdowns, I put on my jelly shoes, wear my eye-stabbing green tights, and peg my jeans.

FUCK YEAH!

I’ve come to realize after thirty-something years of life, it is simply impossible for me to get sick of certain 80’s tunes. I’ve heard them four thousand times, I’ll hear them twelve thousand more, and yet I can’t get enough. As I have the attention span of a goldfish, this is quite a feat; most things lose their shiny five minutes after I encounter them.

Not these. Not The Unshakables.

1. A-Ha “Take On Me

We all know this one if not for the catchy-as-hell song, then for the absolutely amazing video that accompanies it. I think if this video debuted now, even with all of our special effects and bazillion dollar budgets, it’d still be well-received. Of course, that doesn’t negate the fact it’s confusing as shit. Why are those bike men so angry? Why do they have wrenches? What did the 80’s singer do to enrage them so? Why’s he in her doorway and only half cartoon? WHAT THE SHIT IS GOING ON IN COMIC-LAND?

I don’t know, and yet . . . I don’t give a crap.

2. The Human League “Don’t You Want Me

It’s the Cinderella story gone wrong! A rich man finds some impoverished nobody, romances her, dresses her up, and then thinks he owns her forever. Come to find out when he takes Miss Drab and turns her into Miss Fab, she realizes she can have anything she wants and . . . dumps him. Now, there’s a line in the song about five years together, so it’s not like the moment she got her Sashay Shante on she bailed. The interesting (and by interesting I mean creepy) part of the song is that the refrain says something about “You think you’ve changed your mind. You better change it back or we will both be sorry.” Which means if this song had a sequel, he’d probably be feeding her head first into a woodchipper. Not cool, Dude With Too Much Lipstick. Not cool at /all/.

3. Simple Minds “Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Oddly, my love of this song has nothing to do with The Breakfast Club (which is, at its core, an overrated little shit-stache of a film – but that’s a subject for another day). I’m kind of a big fan of the MMMMMMOOOOOWHOOOAAA sound he makes after the HEY HEY HEY beginning. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s what I see as the 80’s primal scream – a little whiny, slightly melodic, and delivered by an odd little man who looks a lot like the guy from Amadeus. And just look at his /hair/. Look at that muffin-top spectacular hair. I bet if Amanda Palmer got drunk and sheered Neil Gaiman, he could and would have hair like that.

It's A Brit Thing, Baby.

I suppose I have a hard time envisioning Neil dancing around a room full of extraneous crap, though. Which leads me to ask, why’s the guy singing at a flea market, anyway? Were there no money-paying gigs around his neck of the woods?

4. Naked Eyes “Always Something There To Remind Me

The opening part of this song with the bells is fairly iconic. I didn’t realize until much, much later that this was a remake of a Dionne Warwick (you remember her from here – note the presence of big gay Elton John cowboy) song. Funny thing? I dislike the original tremendously. This version, though, gets me bopping in my seat. I’m totally rooting for the fugly guy reading the newspaper and creeping after his ex-girlfriend. He’s a Breaking Dawn away from watching her sleep because it “fascinates him”.

5. Toto “Africa

I know somewhere, as this post goes onto the internet, my husband is on his knees screaming WHY to the heavens above. He hates this song THAT MUCH. I can’t get enough of it OR the video. Why? The video makes no sense. Okay so there’s a chick who’s apparently from Africa and she’s in a library and . . . stuff happens at the library. And there’s people walking through jungle. And then there’s some line about Kilimanjaro and wind happens and more African stuff happens like spears and then there’s guys with huge hair singing on an enormous book, and . . .

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become

WHAT THE FUCK THIS MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE WHAT . . .

6. Bon Jovi “Wanted Dead Or Alive

Everyone listens to this song for one reason – Richie Sambora bellowing WANTED! in response to Jon. I mean, the steel guitar’s pretty cool and the song itself is great, but if you’re air guitaring along to this? You’re totally screeching out WANTED at the top of your lungs. The actual lyrics in between are so much lesser than that single word. And the video is spectacular because you have all of the hairband glory of the 80’s represented. Look at that thing tied around Jon’s head. It’s like he killed a muppet and wore its tattered pelt as a tie back for his YARDS AND YARDS OF HAIR.

7. Pat Benetar “Love Is A Battlefield

Pat Benetar has a mean set of pipes. She studied opera and could, as I understand it, actually give parts of her concert without a microphone when needed. I still love her voice and picking a song to represent her was tough. This one won on the merits of its video. It’s . . . chick gangs. Painted ladies get angry with their pimp and aggressively . . . dance at him. I’d stab the fucker in the neck with a Bic pen, but they dance. Hey, whatever. Self expression is key, I guess. And did you notice that Pat’s giving that Twisted Sister guy a run for his money?

I FEEL PRETTY

8. John Waite “Missing You

First thing I noticed about this video was that John Waite looked a lot like the lady version of Conan O’Brien. It’s amazing what the 80’s did for gender roles. His sleeveless tee shirt towards the beginning is pretty damned fashionable, too. One asshole-ish quality of this video is at about 1:40, though. He’s at a point in the song where he’s saying “You don’t know how desperate I’ve become” and it flashes him sitting next to a mediocre looking fat chick, like this is THE WORST POSSIBLE THING IN THE WORLD TO HAPPEN TO HIM, TO CONSIDER BUMPING UGLIES WITH A FAT CHICK. C’mon, Dude. That’s desperate? No. She’s not that bogus. Fucking a tranny midget hooker with a raccoon tail and a Ringo Starr fetish is desperate. Shut the fuck up.

Otherwise? Cool song.

9. Soft Cell “Tainted Love

You knew it was coming, but c’mon. Every time this song plays at a party, a wedding, a club, everyone in the audience OOOH WHOA OH TAINTED LOVES right along to the refrain. We bop, we dance, we recall the video with bizarro croquet playres. Wait, what? Have you ever actually watched this fucking video? Seriously bent. No, like seriously. It’s Greek costumes and fanning and . . . uhh. English ladies? With the Greek guy? But he’s still wearing some kind of punk rocker bracelet thing. And everyone’s wearing white, including a kid with a croquet ball fetish who feeds fish. Then there’s some vogue-esque posing and thrashing. Jesus Christ what was wrong with the 80’s?

10. Spandau Ballet “True

Everything that is wrong about the 80’s is embodied in this single video. For starters, these men are wearing more makeup than any woman today ever would, and once you start focusing on the lead singer’s cotton candy pink lips, you can’t look away. They’re actually sort of frightening. I think this is supposed to be, like, 80’s chic with the suits and the Ken-doll hairstyles, but all I see is a bunch of guys who never quite left their prom. Check out the saxophone player with the really tall, bleached bangs. Patrick Bateman much?

All Spandau Ballet And No Play Makes Patrick A Dull Boy.

So tell me, audience members, which 80’s song can you never grow sick of? Bring out your Poison, your Huey Lewis, your Bryan Adams and your Motley Crue! I wanna hear it!

(As an aside, “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” would have made the list for sheer fucktardery in its music video had Marty not insisted on forever ruining it with some epic karaoke drunk dials. If you’ve never seen the Literal Version Of The Video you’re missing out.)

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7 Responses to “The Unshakable 80’s.”

  1. officergleason July 31, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Just feel I should point out that at least once a raid session, I blast Africa

  2. officergleason July 31, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    Also, you skipped this song.

  3. Arrens August 1, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    I realize I’m taking the easy road here with this one, but it begs mentioning. “Don’t Stop Believin'” is one of the all-time greats, especially if we’re discussing decade genres. All I have to do at work, regardless if I’m having a chat with folks my age, 30 years older than me, or 15 years younger, is say without much feeling at all “Just a small town girl…” and it’s done. People WILL sing the next few lines.

    Also, I’ve never been too proud to admit how big a fan I am of all thigns Poison. “Talk Dirty To Me” was a musical masterpiece of 80’s pomp and proves to me that there is a just, loving God watching over us. And probably laughing his ass off too.

  4. falconesse August 1, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    The Hooters. Anything off of “Nervous Night,” but have “And We Danced,” whose video starts with a couple of guys stuffing two others into a trunk. (They’re sneaking into a concert, turns out, not kidnapping them and selling their livers.)

  5. Rob August 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    The Top Gun Anthem…
    Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone from Top Gun.
    I even had a chance to re-enact the famous bar scene from Top Gun and got the gaming room downstairs at Feathermert to join in singing “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling!”

    This can’t be healthy… >.>

  6. tart August 3, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    So I’m late to the party with this comment, but Scandal’s The Warrior. That video is an exercise in what the fuckery.

    Not to mention the song is a fantastic earworm.

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