Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tonight, on American Top 40 - The 80s: Cultural Irrelevance

1980 is as far removed from (and as irrelevant to) 2010, as 1950 was to 1980.
We knew this, of course, but the math was particularly obvious as I was listening to the American Top 40 - The '80s rebroadcast from July, 17 1980 tonight on 92.5 WINC-FM.

(We also knew at some level that not all music from the '80s was memorable, but listening to the bottom of the list revealed utterly forgettable turkeys.)

On the one hand, I can empathize with the youngsters of today, having to hear their elders droning on about, say, Culture Club, or early U2, just as we had to put up with folks waxing rhapsodic about Perry Como or Elvis.

At the same time, after you've seen things before, you can't help but see the influences of previous generations, where to the folks who haven't, the influences are so integrated into the landscape that they're transparent.

John Scalzi recently mentioned this in the context of movie remakes; this week's Studio 360 took on '70s disco.

Since storytelling has always drawn from the same archetypal themes that go all the way back to the beginning of shared stories, I find the thematic repetition in music particularly irritating, (and haircuts -- particularly the recurring shag/bowl/Bieber haircut that I'll always place in the 70s, even though it tries to resurface every 20 years or so).

Obvious as it may be, everyone wants to make their own mistakes and put their own stamp on things, so Lady Ga-Ga will continue to be Madonna, and pop/dance music will continue to recycle disco and electroclash (with more AutoTune, which we used to call vocoder)

1 comment:

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