musically, that is...born in 1977, i came of age with MTV blaring into my ears and eyes. it was a time when cartoons were actually worth a child's (lack of) effort to watch, and when ronnie talked to russia except americans were so retarded all we noticed was gorbachev's blotch, and a whole century later we're still electing idiots with frighteningly narrow agendas into positions of power. viva le indifference!
mtv was especially to this young girl; it dominates so many of my memories now of that time: the saturday night barbecues were accompanied always by the TV flickering some new song at us, and i distinctly recall my mother demanding the box be turned up to some coma-breaking volume whenever stevie wonder's "i just called to say i love you" came on; i remember seeing devo's video for "satisfaction" and being considerably freaked out (but not exactly SCARED) when the oversized grotesquerie i would only much later discover was named "booji boy" stuck a fork in a plugged-in toaster, inducing a shocking seizure; i could go on forever.
but they don't sell box sets of these videos on ebay, they sell the SONGS. inspired by my boyfriend (in this as in so much else), here's my list of "undeniably pleasurable guilty pleasures of 1980's music".
"TAKE ON ME", A-HA--now, this is one inextricably linked with the accompanying vid. it still upon viewing today sticks out. the greatest example of norwegian pop ever! a retardedly catchy chorus with a male singer reaching vocal heights that this woman, with her resonant alto, could never achieve.
"DER KOMMISSAR"--AFTER THE FIRE--falco gave us "rock me amadeus", and he also gave us this classic, sung in barely decipherable, heavily-accented english. this is yet another song where a perfectly serviceable verse causes almost unendurable tension as you wait and wait for the explosive chorus to shoot up and out at you. some really sharp guitar in this, too, and if you can name another song these dudes did without googling, you win a biscuit of some sort.
"SEPARATE WAYS"--JOURNEY--heard a rap song by g-unit soldier young buck that sampled this song to great effect (on the same mixtape--a song that fucking sampled "i'd love to change the world" by ten years after; fuck outta here! these producers are banana boats). another great vid dripping with (i'm not no) limberger, the guys are at a loading dock and they're gonna get you back, baby! the verses on this one are memorable for steve perry's impeccable use of el pauso: "here we stand" (synth riff)
"both of our hearts broken in two...two...two". oh and it goes on like that! it's so over-the-top it cannot be anything but blared really loud into headphones.
"SLEDGEHAMMER", PETER GABRIEL--shut the fuck up about the video a second. listen to this song. this is one of the best songs about dick ever. "show me round your fruit cage/'cause i will be your honey bee/open up your fruit cage/with a fruit that is sweet as can be/i wanna be/your sledgehammer/why don't you call my name?" well, we generally do if the hammer hits the nail square, baby. the horns on the chorus practically penetrate sugar walls as it is. amazingly constructed song.
"MICKEY", TONI BASIL--the drums could have gone on isolated for like a minute for all i cared. martial arts, baby. toni basil is an accomplished choreographer, with official street cred, but bring up her name and people flash to her amid her cheerleading brethren chanting out some kiddie-style homage to a puppy love. an even guiltier pleasure is the spanish-language version, which i have in my collection on some "underground new wave" cd. you know this song is dumb as a barrel full of a sack of nails and yet you don't turn it off when you hear it.
pt. 2 forthcoming...