The 1980'S - worst decade for music?
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Beatl?Maniac

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Why is it that music got so bad in the 1980s? Bob Dylan, Bowie, The Stones e.t.c all started to make stupid music. Synthesisers, stupid electronic drums and mullets crept into everything. It can't be just me that thinks this. I mean it wasnt all bad, e.g. U2, The Smiths but most of it was. When typical 80s music comes on the radio i have to switch othe dial, anyone else share my 80s phobeia?
 
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Jasper994

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I've gotta say I really like a lot of 80's music. So much of it was light-hearted and fun. We really could use a little more of that attitude in today's music.
 
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markl

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Heh, may as well quote myself from another on-going thread in the SH forums on this exact topic.

Quote:

The idea that the gene pool from which musicians and songwriters are drawn took a dive during any one period in particular is a silly argument to make, IMO. The baby-boomer musicians of the 60's were not gifted in any way with superior DNA that made them supermen with superhuman musical gifts, where the Gen X musicians got defective genes that only made them capable of producing borderline dumb, slobbering gibberish.

I know many boomers love to pat themselves on the back for who knows what, but really, to look back and see "your" era as "superior" in some way is just selective memory and pure nostalgia. I 100% concur with those who say that *every* era had its share of bland, safe and silly pop music.

To complain about electronic instrumentation (when it's done well, and I agree not all 80's technology holds up as I posted earlier in this thread), sounds like me when I complain about the young whipper-snappers with their rap and their hip-hop; I mean, what ever happened to real *singing*? *grumble grumble* But that's my problem, music marches on. I suppose that when the piano was introduced, there were people who complained that *real* music could only be played on harpsichord. Or complained when the electric guitar was introduced that only *acoustics* could produce "real" music.

The problem is that during some periods, it's the bland safe and silly stuff that takes over and dominates the airwaves-- if you want the good stuff you have to dig a little. That definitely happened in the 80's, just like it's happening now. It's not fair to look at the '80s and say, "oh, Safety Dance is THE emblematic song of that woeful era". It's like looking at the 60's and saying "Yummy Yummy Yummy, I've got love in my tummy" is a great encapsulization of that era.

Bashing all 80's music outright is just lazy and (frankly) a little ignorant and shows a lack of knowledge of the music of that era. It's understandable that as one grows up, one has less time to devote to acquiring new music or exploring the new stuff, so one's knowledge of what's current gets restricted to what's popular or on the radio. But that is never really a reflection of what is really happening or what will really be remembered, is it?

Look at the Velvet Underground, for example. NO ONE bought their records, they played tiny venues. Yet given their place now in the rock pantheon, you'd think they were once the Beatles. Selective memory at work, taking the good among the dreck and posthumously elevating it so that future music fans get an exaggerated view of its prominence at the time. Fact is, if you wanted the Velvet Underground in the 60's, you had to go digging. Just like you had to go digging in the 80's for the good stuff.

OTOH, it's happening to me, too. I like to complain about the music of the 00's relative to what I know best (60's/70's/80's/90's), but that's just the grumpy old man in me starting to come out. It's easy to forget that in any era, you are drowning in a sea of dreck, and when it's all over, you are left with the pearls you found that make up your music collection. As time goes by, it's easy to forget the dreck, and convince yourself that your music collection from that era (a small sampling really) WAS the era. It wasn't.


 
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markl

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Earlier in the same thread, I also wrote: Quote:

As a child of the 80's (class of '88), this was my hay day, too, so I feel justified talking a little smack about *some* of the music of the period. Main problem with some of it is not necessarily the talent of the performers or the quality of the songs. The chief culprit in terms of making a lot of that music sound ridiculous today is the very poor production values and crude early electronic instrumentation. It was still so new that it sounded totally "fresh" and "novel" to music makers, and inexplicably they thought it sounded "better" than real instruments, but in reality was also way too primitive and crude to hold up over time, unless it's to be enjoyed ironically and strictly for kitsch value.

Funny thing is, that even at the time when it was new, a lot of it still sounded cheesey, rinky-dink and clumsy, clanking, plinkety-plink and tinny to me. A lot of otherwise good material got crushed under a lot of bad production/instrumentation. This is especially obvious when you hear long-term established artists whose careers continued on into the '80's. When you get to that period in their output, the absurdity and ugliness of the 80's production style is much easier to see when you compare it to their earlier material with real instrumentation.


I think that applies here as well.
 
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The Actual

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I agree that a lot of eighties music sounds pretty similar with synthesizers and electronic drums, but I kind of like that sound.
 
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some1x

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Don't know much about 80's music trends, but ....

I <3 Thriller.
 
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Masonjar

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Beatl£Maniac
Why is it that music got so bad in the 1980s? Bob Dylan, Bowie, The Stones e.t.c all started to make stupid music. Synthesisers, stupid electronic drums and mullets crept into everything. It can't be just me that thinks this. I mean it wasnt all bad, e.g. U2, The Smiths but most of it was. When typical 80s music comes on the radio i have to switch othe dial, anyone else share my 80s phobeia?


No. While many of your big acts sucked mightily in the 80's, and most top40 was pretty yucky, esp the 2nd half of the 80s with all the lame hair bands, most of the good stuff was bubbling under the surface. To me, these bands are why I think the 80s were a pretty amazing decade for music:

Husker Du
Dinosaur Jr.
Sonic Youth
Minutemen
Replacements
The Cure
Depeche Mode
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Bauhaus
Love & Rockets
Cocteau Twins
Joy Division
New Order
They Might Be Giants
XTC
The Clash
R.E.M.
The Feelies
Camper van Beethoven
Meat Puppets
fIREHOSE
The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Pixies
The Throwing Muses
The Pogues
Public Image Ltd.
Nick Cave
Violent Femmes
Ministry
Skinny Puppy
Einsturzende Neubauten
Black Flag
Minor Threat
Dead Kennedys
Soul Asylum

I could go on but I have to go. I love the 80's.. those that didn't like the 80's probably never will. I know that there is a lot of music that I missed from the 70's that I'll never get around to going back to discover. I think it has a lot to do with the decade you came to love music. If the 60's was you decade, any that follows will probably be weaker.

Though I love the 90's probably more than the 80's so take that how you will.

-jar
 
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Feanor

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I also dont like the feel of most 80's music I know. There might (must) be really good sounding music from that era, but I dont like the trends that where dominant at the time.
 
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Hell no man! I think the 80's had some of the best music coming out from all the corners of the industry. We had hair bands, metal, pop, indie....just about every genre had a fair chance and radio back then displayed a far more open mind to playing just about anything. The 80's introduced me to many bands that were big in the 60's and 70's via fm radio.
 
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donovansmith

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The 80's had a lot of bad music and a reasonable amount of good music, probably not more or less than any other decade. I happen to like quite a few songs from the era, even though I didn't hear or remember hearing most of them until well after they first appeared. I like the sound of synthesizers and electronic drums and although they were abused in many songs from that decade, there are a lot of songs that don't sound bad at all today and are still enjoyable to listen to. Some of my favorite songs from the era, in no particular order (I know some of you will be busting up laughing at this):

Frankie Goes to Hollywood "Relax"
Def Leppard "Gods of War"
Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams"
Front 242 "Headhunter V3.0"
Nitzer Ebb "Join in the Chant"
Dead or Alive "Brand New Lover"
Journey "Faithfully"
Information Society "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)"
Tears for Fears "Shout"
Duran Duran "Hungry Like the Wolf"
Soft Cell "Sex Dwarf"
Animotion "Obsession"
 
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Patu

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Hello no!

I just love 80's rock.
 
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VicAjax

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Masonjar
No.... I could go on but I have to go. I love the 80's.. those that didn't like the 80's probably never will.
-jar



what jar said. every single band he named was groundbreaking and brilliant, no matter the era. the 80s was the indy label decade. without them, the "alterna-stream" radio decade of the 90s would never have happened.

if you're the singer/songwriter type... elvis costello, tom waits and robyn hitchcock created some of the best pop/rock music ever produced, no matter what decade.

metalheads enjoyed some glorious output by the likes of metallica, iron maiden, motley crue, etc.

avant jazz saw the emergence of john zorn, the lounge lizards and the great downtown jazz scene in nyc.

80s punk is arguably better than 70s punk, with more diversity and a newfound focus on musical virtuosity, which added dynamism to a genre that otherwise could have flamed out in a few years.

the best of new wave is still fresh today (especially with the new-new wavers playing today... hives, white stripes et al)

goth gave us some gloriously melodramatic darkness with which to lie in fetal position in our suburban bedrooms.


to sum up: if you're only listening to corey hart and his sunglasses at night, or robert palmer's sexless sex songs, then you might as well look no deeper than the association's "windy" when revisiting the 60s, or rick dees' "disco duck" as the 70s' legacy.
 
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RickG

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I've got SIRIUS satellite radio in my T-Bird and one of my most used pre-set's is for the '80s channel!
 
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I thought 80's music was bad at the time but, looking back, it's a truckload better than the crap pap that's being produced at the moment and that's a very worrying thought....... I wonder what people will make of the "2000" decade in years to come........ (where's the "vomit" smilie?)

Pinkie.
 
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