What's the deal with the 80s?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, Jan 24, 2002.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    I know a lot of people like to pick on the 80s music scene- imitator new-wave bands, hair metal, cheese-pop, etc. Ok, fine. But it seems to me that most of the bands or artists who I liked that started before the 80s suddenly started to suck once that decade began. What happened? Here are some examples to help illustrate my point:
    Yes
    Anti-proggers, you might want to skip this part. I love Yes when they're at their most absurd and "progressive." Relayer, Close To the Edge, and even Tales From Topographic Oceans. They broke up and reformed in the 80s with Trevor Rabin playing guitar and played simple, direct pop music. I have no problem with this. I like some pop music. But Yes' pop was particularly awful, IMO. I'd honestly rather listen to Madonna.
    Jethro Tull
    In my book, Ian Anderson is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. When the 80s hit, he formed a completely new band and bogged down his sound with cheesy synthesizers and electronic beats. Yech. The sad thing is, I can hear some great songwriting here and there, but I can't tolerate listening to it because of the sound and production. Add to the fact that Anderson's voice deteriorated, and the 80s were just not kind to Tull.
    Bob Dylan
    Ok, I know little of Dylan's 80s stuff. But, I've heard some, and it is weak. Of course I love a lot of what he did before (Blood On the Tracks, John Wesly Harding, etc) and I really like his latest stuff. So what happened in between? Am I just missing something?
    Judas Priest
    They used to ROCK! There early stuff is some good metal listenin'. British Steel is decent, but they became like Poison afterwards. Uch.
    Genesis
    Their change in style certainly helped them commercially. Artistically, however, a lot of it sounds silly nowadays. In recent memory, I see younger people more interested in 70s Genesis than 80s Genesis. Perhaps their better material will be remembered more kindly.
    The only band that stayed good or got better in the 80s was Rush (though most would argue with this, I know, but this is my post, so I say Moving Pictures, Signals, and Hold Your Fire were three of their best albums [​IMG]).
    Possible factors for the crappiness of the 80s:
    Obsession with synthesiser technology:
    I guess it sounded cool then, but it sounds cheesy and dated now. Funny how electric guitars and regular drums don't sound dated now. I wonder if the electronic music of today will sound dated in 20 years.
    Punk / new wave:
    The whole "movement" of getting music back to basics, DYI, etc, took the passion away from music that may have been more involved. There's certainly nothing wrong with simple music (I like the Talking Heads and such.) But bands like Yes and Gentle Giant were probably under a lot of pressure to make pop music. Since these bands simply were not plain ol' pop bands, they failed.
    Running out of steam:
    Happens to the best of us. Maybe they just didn't have it anymore and were past their prime.
    What an odd decade for music.
     
  2. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    You asked the question, and answered it completely![​IMG]
     
  3. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    I was under the impression that you were, but you need to dig deeper. The post-punk movement was in effect, so there were tons of great bands:

    Sonic Youth

    The Pixies

    Husker Du

    Big Black

    Black Flag

    My Bloody Valentine

    The Smiths

    REM

    The Replacements

    The Butthole Surfers

    And many more. Yeah, some classics stuttered, and I think it was part synthesizer/video coming in, thus the heavier influence of shitty Euro bands, but there were some really great bands.
     
  4. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  5. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Yeah, Dylan's religion was called his Yoko Ono. I always found that amusing.
     
  6. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    John Lennon being shot pretty much finished the decade off early, from whatever promise the seventies offered. It was a loss of momentum and sliding into a general maliase. Men At Work...and alot of One Hit Wonders exemplifies the mediocre and inept music stuff that was being lauded as "great". There was really no, one, singular music style that really grabbed you, so everyone was grabbing at straws, so to speak.

    If there was ANY music style that flourished and matured, in the 80's, it was General Pop Music. And it wasn't until Madonna sang "Like A Virgin" in 1985, that there seemed any direction to where Music had been, and was "going". She made Pop Music profitable and legitimate for the more seasoned artists to engage in, respectably. Michael Jackson, Prince and Whitney Houston helped her take it, and made it "crossover", and a popular music art form for everyone. Even George Harrison had a hit song, coasting on this wave...he...writer of "Ding Dong"...couldn't even, not get it and not have a hit! That's how bad the music was before Madonna.

    If any other music movement had any relevance it was Dance and that took us back into the 90's. But all thanks to Madonna...thank God...because she saved the decade from total meaninglessness !!!! And she saved the Music Companies too.
     
  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Ike, sorry I didn't make myself clearer (I do write in haste). I very much dislike punk. I've heard most or all of the bands you listed, and don't like them at all.

    What surprises me isn't all the new (at the time) bands that sucked, but the older ones who became bad. It's like there was some conspiracy or Star Trek-ish space-time anamoly that effected all of these musicians simultaneously. Scary.

    Mike, aren't you placing a tad too much emphasis on a couple of single events? I hardly think Lennon's assasination effected the creative ability of other artists, nor did some cheesy dance-pop song "save" music.

    I was somewhat aware of Dylan's religious thing, but I didn't mention because I was afraid that people would yell at me and that would get the thread closed. However, I'd be curious to hear what it sounded like. I mean, lyrics aside, was the music still as good, or did that suffer, too?

    Btw, not that it really matters I guess, but what's the deal now? Is he still Christian but not as vocal about it, or has he renounced it?
     
  8. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    Well, for me the 80s were the era of the Big Album. Lots of records were released that contained tons of hit singles and sold well across a wide demographic range. Consider:

    Huey Lewis - Sports

    Madonna - Like A Virgin

    Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA

    Prince - Purple Rain

    Michael Jackson - Thriller

    Cars - Heartbreak City

    Don Henley - Building The Perfect Beast

    Police - Syncronicity

    Sting - Dream of the Blue Turtles

    Genesis - Invisible Touch

    Phil Collins - No Jacket Required

    Lionel Richie - Can't Slow Down

    INXS - Kick

    Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms

    Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet

    Van Halen - 1984

    Pretenders - Learning To Crawl

    Wham - Make It Big

    Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual

    David Bowie - Let's Dance

    Peter Gabriel - So

    Billy Joel - An Innocent Man

    Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston

    Tina Turner - Private Dancer

    Bryan Adams - Reckless

    And all these just between 1983 and 1986! I'm sure I'm forgetting many more.

    I'm not saying these are good albums -- some are good, some are wretched. But they all sold millions, spawned lots of radio singles that were played on the *same stations*, and sold to everyone and their mom, not just teens or stoners or yuppies or raveheads. MTV had a lot to do with this, I'm sure -- for a few years, it unified the music world.

    I challenge anyone to come up with even a few albums in the 90s that were such broad-based hits, let alone that many from a four year span.

    My point? Maybe the problem with the eighties is that everything was so broad in appeal, it didn't have the depth necessary to stand the test of time. (As Sammy Hagar so memorably observed, "Only time will tell if we stand the test of time.")

    Ryan
     
  9. Frank_W

    Frank_W Stunt Coordinator

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    I actually enjoyed Judas Priest up to the mid-80's with

    Point of Entry, Screaming for Vengeance and Defenders

    of the Faifth.

    It was when Turbo Lover came out that I gave up.
     
  10. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Mike's premise was why did so many artists that started in the 60s and 70s all of a sudden derail in the 80s, even if the got back on track in the 90s. He was not talking about late 70s and early eighties punk and pop bands like Talking Heads, R.E.M., or The Smiths. I have to admit he has a point. Of the artists he listed, I would add Neil Young and The Rolling Stones as victims of extended slumps during the 80s.
    I think Mike zeroed in on most of the reasons, but part of it may have also been MTV. I think that some of the established bands thought that they had to look and sound like the bands that were breaking at the time, so everyone wound up with the exact same drum sound and funny hair. [​IMG]David Bowie was kind of a natural fit for this, but even he went into a ten year tailspin after Let's Dance.
    Regards,
     
  11. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    If there was another banner years in the 80's for mass appeal albums, it was from 80-82.

    Billy Joel - Glass Houses

    Journey - Escape

    Foreigner - 4

    Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna

    Bob Seger - Against The Wind

    Chicago - 17

    Hall and Oates - Private Eyes

    Toto - IV

    David Bowie - Let's Dance

    More examples of big albums of the 80's that spawned many hit songs, (good or bad).
     
  12. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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  13. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  14. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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  15. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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  17. Peter Mazur

    Peter Mazur Second Unit

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    Well Mike as usual I disagree with pretty much everything you wrote. A lot of the things you write sound to me like you have spent too much time reading Rolling Stone. Since I was in High School during the 80's, the music of the time holds a special place in my heart.

    I want to take three bands you wrote about in your initial post. First lets start with Yes. Drama released in 1980 is hardly a pop album. Songs like "Machine Messiah", Does It Really Happen?" and "Tempus Fugit" are very much prog rock. You were talking about the Rabin line-up though, so from 90125 songs like "Changes", Leave It", "Our Song" and "Hearts" are not simply pop songs. And the same can be said for "Shoot High Aim Low" and "Holy Lamb" from Big Generator. These might not be as heavy Prog as songs from Fragile or Close To The Edge, but they are more than just pop songs.

    Genesis as well take a lot of heat from fans for the Collins years but again they had some great moments on each of the 80's albums. "Abacab", "Keep It Dark", "Dodo/Lurker", "Home By The Sea", "Just A Job To Do", "Silver Rainbow", "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", "Land Of Confusion" and especially "Domino" are all awesome songs.

    And if anything I feel that Judas Priest got heavier in the 80's. Screaming For Vengeance, Defenders Of The Faith and Ram It Down are all classic, very heavy albums. Only Turbo in my opinion was a little weak.

    And I think most Rush fans I've read will say that albums like Grace Under Pressure, Power Windows, Hold Your Fire and Presto are among the low point in their career. I personally do like their 80's albums quite well, but most fans I've talked to don't like them at all.

    I just love 80's music. From the new romantic music of Adam Ant and Duran Duran, to the heavy metal of Metallica and Anthrax and everything in between. I just think it was a great decade for music.

    For you guys in your early to mid 20's, just wait until about 10 years from now when the 20 year olds then will be saying how the music of the 90's was garbage. You will probably be a little defensive of it as well.
     
  18. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  19. TheLongshot

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  20. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    One exception is Aerosmith, which actually made a comeback in the 80's with a good album that was up there with their 70's stuff, IMO.

    But I overall you're right... it's just that the 80's saw so many technical inventions coming into the marketplace that it changed the way the whole industry worked, and that led some artists from the 70's to make some bad judgment calls, trying to keep up, when they instead should have focused on doing what they did best.

    You're also right about the sound of 80's music, a lot of it sounds very dated today, much more so than 60's or 70's stuff, mostly thanks to technology that was new and exciting, but not fully developed. Like synthesizers, everyone thought they sounded great and that they were cool... and you know what, they DID sound great and they WERE cool, back then. Now however, when that type of technology has advanced, the early stuff sounds very dated. Since guitars and drums haven't changed since the 60's basically, they still sound timeless.

    As for whether today's electronic music will sound dated later on, I really don't think it will, at least not to the same extent. Technology today allows for real lifelike production of sounds on computers and synthesizers, and the sounds themselves won't sound so dated. If the style of music will go away (kind of like the "hair metal" sound did) I don't know, but at least the sounds themselves won't be outdated. IMO.

    /mike
     

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