The Music of My Youth, 1979-1984

'Total Control' by The Motels showed up in a tv show last night. Today I thought to take a train down memory lane. The album was pretty good. Not quite what I remembered but, what is?

That caused me to think about Top 40 radio and that caused me to make playlists for the top 20 songs for each year from 1979-1984 (I started adult life in January of 1979 and Kaye got pregnant with Emily in early 1985. I consider that five years to be my youth.)

The making of the playlist was fascinating. The process was to search for each song in Apple Music, play it and add to the playlist. Consequently I listened to the first twenty or thirty seconds of all hundred songs. It was like a brilliant tour of an era.

One thing... 1979 was not that great. Also, the music didn't feel as familiar as the later ones. Apparently I started tuning into the culture more in 1980. 1982-3 were prime time for me. I knew all the songs and had emotional feelings hearing many of them.

Also, the music was terrific. I get the idea that people disdain 80's music but not me. "Call Me", Blondie's number one for 1980, was killer as were many others. I know that many think "Do That To Me One More Time" is treacly but it captures the fantasy of the male ego better than anything I've ever heard and does so without diminishing the woman. 

"Bette Davis Eyes", numero uno for 1981, kind of doesn't actually say anything but it is is so evocative. It creates an image. I just think it's fabulous and haven't thought of it in years. Great to hear it. (I am playing the whole song right now. I love it.)

1982 loved Olivia Newton-John's "Physical". I am pretty sure I disdained the song back then but you know what, it's fucking nice. A good progression from disco into a more conventional rock structure. Her voice is good and, you have to be made of stone not to respond to the suggestive lyric. That year also had Soft Cell "Tainted Love" and Steve Miller's "Abracadabra". Many others that would give old people nostalgia. Another really good year.

1983 was "Every Breath You Take". It's got a bad rap now because it's 'stalker-ey'. I say Bullshit. Were it written today, sure. When it was written, it was intended entirely as I care for you and will always be with you. People completely understood the positive intention as evidenced by its popularity. (Debbie agrees with the haters. She detests the song.)

1984 culminated with (overrated imho) Prince and "When Doves Cry" (which I like quite well). But even better was number two "What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner. 1984 was also the first year that Springsteen appeared in the top 20 with "Dancing in the Dark".

So, all of that made me wonder about the modern age. I captured today's Top 20. Surprisingly good. Number one is "Sure Thing" by Miguel. Of course, I've never heard of him but I will pay attention going forward.

Miley Cyrus has two songs, "Flowers" and "Jaded", both terrific. I'm a huge Miley fan. A woman named Sza, whom I do know, has two songs as well, "Kill Bill" (no relation to the movie) and "Snooze". I plan to become a fan of hers, too.