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January 3rd, 2008


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07:21 am - those damn numbers
faintheart and I heard Bowling for Soup's version of 1985 on the radio the other day, and I was enchanted. Or maybe it would be better to say entirely too sympathetic with Debbie as discussed in the lyrics. Granted, I never planned to shake my ass on the hood of Whitesnake's car, but I just put down a copy of Time magazine which also mentioned in passing something about how "kids today" know Ozzie Ozbourne as a tv star rather than a touring musician. If Time manages to pick up on it, it's got to be pretty common cultural currency.

I could care less about needing to write 41 in the spot labeled age on forms. But just exactly when did Motley Crue become classic rock? Actually, I noticed as far back as high school that there seemed to be roughly a 20-year cycle: the 60's were "classic" in the 80's, the 80's are "classic" in the aughts. People hit middle age, get nostalgic for their lost youth, and their kids pick up on it and steal their old clothes. Or something like that...

I tell you though, the term 'New Wave oldies' just sounds wrong.

(So what if the main ringtone on my phone is Gary Numan's Cars.)
Current Location: surfing the new wave
Current Music: 1985 - Bowling for Soup

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:mcjulie
Date:January 3rd, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)

Tee hee!

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I love that song! (1985 I mean) What cracks me up is that the lyrics select so many markers of the mid-80s that seemed like absolute crap at the time.

Classic rock is a sound as much as an age -- Neil Young famously got very cranky when a new album of his got played on a "classic rock" station.

But things like oldies and classic rock get recalibrated every so often. In fact, the Seattle oldies station just revamped itself a bit and plays a lot more 70s stuff now. So I don't think Motley Crue became classic rock just through age, but through one of those recalibrations.

I have a theory about radio station playlists in general, which I call "The Disappearing Female Voice" but I would have to gather a lot of data to prove it, so I keep throwing it out there in the hope that some data analysis grad student will think it sounds like a good idea for a thesis. I believe that over time, songs with predominately female vocals have a greater tendency to disappear from the radio than songs with predominately male vocals. For example, if you have two songs that are equally big hits in terms of sales, and one has a male vocalist and one a female, you will actually hear the one with the male vocal more often. And five or ten years from now the one with the male vocal is more likely to start getting played again.

While we were in Ireland, the radio selections were pretty thin -- it's not a huge country. But near Dublin we actually got an alternative-type station with DJ-programmed content. One of the programs we heard was one called "guitar rock" which kind of surprised me, because it was so much like what you would hear on a classic rock station here. But they didn't seem to have classic rock stations there, so there it was on the alternative station.

I was having trouble trying to explain New Wave to some kids just the other day but now I can't remember the context. It would have been sad "kids today" moment, except, I had the same trouble explaining New Wave to kids when I was also seventeen.
From:celyn100
Date:January 4th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)

Re: Tee hee!

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A few years back I read an oral history of the LA punk scene. In the section on the rise of New Wave, someone said that the middle class (and up) kids were afraid of punks, so New Wave was what they called themselves to get invited to the parties where the free beer was.
[User Picture]
From:cithra
Date:January 4th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)

Re: Tee hee!

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Heh - I can see it happening, yeah. When I think New Wave, I think synthesizers, high BPM, and a willingness to push the edge in terms of make-up & vocals. Klaus Nomi is an exemplar; the Nomi Song is a great documentary, if you haven't seen it. Actually, if you took some of what gets labeled Electronica today and speeded it up...

I think of the Chemical Brothers and their ilk as the direct descendants of New Wave, but I can understand people disagreeing with me.

But I can certainly believe people adopting the label in pursuit of more mundane matters. I'm sure it must have entertained the punks mightily to have such an effect, certainly...
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