Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall

Bip
The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 16, 2019 03:20PM
I’m thumbing through the May 89 issue of Spin. By mid 80s TP had folded, Creem was really starting to slide and Rolling Stone was more into espousing Dylan or the stones than anything new... spin was my music rag of choice, due to availability in my small town.

Anyway, on page 77 the top college radio albums are listed. Top ten are:
-Replacements don’t tell a soul
-violent femmes 3
-Costello spike
-Lou reed new York
-new order technique
-throwing muses hunkapapa
-xtc oranges and lemons
-ciccone youth whitey album
-fine young cannibals raw and cooked
-wonder stuff eight legged groove machine

I know it sounds whiney, but this list leaves me cold. I own many of them, and there’s surely wonderful music in there...but reading it as a list just reminds me how blah this time period left me.

I’m no doubt comparing it to the Jam clash Gang of Four slits cramps synth pop two tone LA hardcore excitement of the 79-81 era. Every week something amazing and new came out.

Did you feel similarly bored at that point? (I jumped head first into hip hop in 1988 because of this, not knowing until later how that year would be held up as a golden age for the genre).



-
Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 16, 2019 06:52PM
Bad list IMO too.
Great year though.
Two of those are still on my rotation for the year.
SPIN called random mom-pops and asked whoever answered the phone "tell me a list of indies".

NP:: Versus - Ex Nihilo



Post Edited (06-16-19 15:57)
Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 16, 2019 06:59PM

I remember it pretty blah - there's plenty I love from those years but it was a weird time where newer bands were being sold as kind of stars (Jane's Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, Pixies (sorta) ........and then there's the rebounding of classic Rock (in a big way) Reed, Young, Dylan, Petty - and all the great bands suddenly got older so even if you liked them things seemed very classic Rock with them (Mould, Replacements) so it was a tentative time and exciting time I guess simultaneously.

The only new music I liked in '89 was the Stone Roses which in the US it seemed to me was kind of blown off at first - like I remember Robert Christgau AND John Peel dissing them and me feeling like.............wait, what do they like again?

Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 17, 2019 01:06PM
I own these from that list:

-Lou reed new York
-new order technique
-xtc oranges and lemons
-wonder stuff eight legged groove machine

Only the Lou Reed is a classic. I totally get it. Past 1985 the sound I liked was dead. Live Aid was the nail in New Wave's coffin. Big, loud, Stupid, and obvious classic rock [Queen… really?!!] was being hailed as a great thing and arena rock was coming back. It was all hair metal in the States. In the UK my interests took a nosedive as [boring] house music spread like a virus. By the mid-late 80s I latched onto the New Wave of British Jazz Pop as a lifeline. I was into Danny Wilson, Swing Out Sister, Carmel. The neo Scott Walkerism of Black [Colin Vearncombe] was a big thing with me. Pop had Voice of the Beehive. Whatever was out there was only a fraction of the amperage that the years '79-'82 has provided. I totally agree with Bip. I call it the Mid-80s Malaise® and there's a book, there.



Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 17, 2019 07:09PM
That Mats record is great. Listened to it twice in a row this year and was bowled. Maybe by the "sharp-tongued wordplay and idiosyncratic musical structures".* It has aged the best. Have been reading the Mats bio as a result.

Elsewhere I have probably posted an '89 list. Hard to whittle it to just 10. I wouldn't say it was when music peaked for me - I have that excitement every few years - but it was my first peak.
The underground was macking. Don't know about hair metal, house, popwave or when the Milli Vanillii thing even happened - never paid any attention to radio, mainstream or bad music at parties; too much explosion in indie labels, tape-trading circles, and a mom-n-pop... those years a friend had a store and she would set stuff aside that she thought were in my wheelhouse. I found several faves that way [and because she never went out at night, gig tix]. When I was lucky she'd crack two titles and C90 me while she listened. Looking back, I've no idea why.

*Ira nod.

NP:: Wand - Laughing Matter

Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 17, 2019 01:19PM
From the list above, only the releases by Lou Reed, XTC and The Wonder Stuff remain in regular rotation at my house. A few other releases stood out to me -- The Neville Brothers' Yellow Moon, Peter Murphy's Deep, The Smithereens' 11, the Bad Brains' Quickness, The Red Hot Chili Peppers' Mother's Milk, Todd Rundgren's Nearly Human, Disintegration, The Stone Roses, Doolittle, Paul's Boutique, Cosmic Thing, The Real Thing, and some other things. I also started checking more into hip-hop (because what was coming out was fun -- gangsta rap hadn't begun yet) and hair metal (for the same reason -- it was popular at a lot of parties I was going to).

Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 17, 2019 01:47PM
1989 - not just a Taylor Swift record? From that year, I have the debuts of Michael Penn, Shawn Colvin, the emergence of Sarah McLachlan (I guess she was known in Canada the prior year), and a lot of harder music that was getting poppy - NIN, Jane's Addition, etc. I remember a high school band doing a cover of "Here Comes Your Man," which would have been my first exposure to the Pixies. They also did a Stone Roses song. Indigo Girls emerged, and I would hear their music on mix cassettes in the summer of 1990 when I was a volunteer park ranger in Oregon.

Slicing Up Eyeballs' list of the best of 1989 is here: [www.slicingupeyeballs.com]

I do love the Mould, the Kate Bush, the Kirsty Maccoll, and a bunch of other stuff that I didn't know at that point in time.
Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 17, 2019 02:07PM
I'm right there with the top 20 or so of the Slicing Up Eyeballs list, but from there, my engagement with it drops off precipitously. Like Zwirn, I "discovered" a lot of the year's better albums after the fact. The Joe Jackson album Blaze of Glory isn't one of my overall favorites, although his show at Red Rocks that year remains a gigantic stand-out in my memory.

But in my musical/cultural memory, 1989 can't help but stick out as the year of Paula Abdul, Bell Biv Devoe and Milli Vanilli. (I went with my sister to the Club MTV Tour that year, which featured all three of those acts, and most of it was like a visit to the dentist. Was (Not Was) easily was the standout act of the day; their musicianship made them seem like Duke Ellington & his orchestra, compared to the rest of the bill.)

Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 17, 2019 04:59PM
How I wish I'd seen the Club MYV tour when it hit my local arena that year, but I didn't want watered down Was [Not Was]… so I got none at all. Big mistake!



Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Bip
Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 18, 2019 12:49AM
I guess much of my frustration was just not finding anything new/innovative at that point. Even in ‘85 I could get excited by ‘psycho candy’ by Jesus and Mary chain, the smiths and scritti politti’s ‘Cupid and psyche’. All were different and out of the ordinary.

Another act mentioned indirectly in that list is Sonic Youth. Boy, do I have mixed feelings about that band. ‘Daydream Nation’ arrived that year. I had bought Sister and Evol previously, trying to squeeze my square peg into their round hole. Hoping to get it. Hoping to fit in with those who did ‘get it’. Hoping to be hip enough for them?

...and this reminds me why I struggled with the 90’s..which the late 80s fed. It felt like you had to be in the ‘cool’ clique to like so many of those acts. You had to be properly disaffected, alienated, disinterested, ambivalent, and apathetic. Like you had to pass the initiation. I forced myself in, but looking back it was a struggle.

I never struggled to like London Calling, Black Sea, Setting Sons or Kings of the Wild Frontier...it was as if those acts and albums were welcoming me with open arms. In fact, all the albums of the late 70s early 80s felt like that.
Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 18, 2019 11:23AM
I can't say I "struggled" to like "Black Sea," but I bought it after hearing "Generals + Majors" and loving it. The first listen was strangely flat for me, apart from the single. The love kicked in with play #2, as I recall. BIG love from play #3 onward.



Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 18, 2019 02:35PM
> I never struggled to like London Calling, Black Sea, Setting Sons or Kings of the Wild
> Frontier...it was as if those acts and albums were welcoming me with open arms.

That describes very well how I felt about all those albums too, along with countless others from that era. But I can honestly say the same about every 1989 album I named above. And I can say it about the artists/albums I've liked since then. I guess, if it's meant to be, it's just meant to be.

Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 18, 2019 06:18PM
The late 80s were so crummy, that by 1990, after finally hearing Associates ten years too late, I realized that I'd be better off paying attention to things from the late 70s - early 80s that I had missed the first time. Compared to the contemporary music at the time, this seemed like a logical m.o. - one I've stuck to for almost 30 years now.



Post Edited (06-18-19 15:18)

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Bip
Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 19, 2019 12:09AM
I probably shouldn’t say I “struggled” to like everything that came out in the late 80’s...but FINDING true listening goodness seemed tougher. More dross to sift through. But there were exceptions (like stone roses) and as delvin mentioned the good things were indeed good.

Could be a function of age-related bias? Late 80s was almost ten years past my first discoveries of (good) music. Although I STILL think there has never been an era as PACKED with excitement as that late 70s early 80s period. Like monk, I keep digging in that era for hidden treasures.
Re: The late 80’s were as crummy as I recall
June 19, 2019 03:34AM
> I STILL think there has never been an era as PACKED with excitement as that late 70s
> early 80s period. Like monk, I keep digging in that era for hidden treasures.

Like Delvin, too.

When I make the rounds of used record stores, my radar is on for lost vinyl gems from 1977 to 1983 -- the last genuine golden age of rock. I also look for good new releases, but I'm usually content to purchase those on CD.

> Could be a function of age-related bias?

I didn't want to say as much, Bip, but that did cross my mind. But I hope you won't feel bad about the thought. You wouldn't be alone. I don't think any one of us truly could be immune to it. Ask almost anyone ten years younger than yourself, and he/she is likely to love music from the late '80s/early '90s as much as you don't. Ask almost anyone ten years older, and he/she is probably will wax rhapsodic over the music of the Sixties and early Seventies.

Sometimes it's not age but associations. One of my wife's closest friends loves music from the early '80s (her college days). But she also loves music from the early '90s -- the music that was popular when she lived in Europe for the first time.

But hey, as long as the person has open ears and at least a willingness to give "other" music a shot, whatever "bias" they might have is fine with me.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login