for September 6, 2005
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for today's rant...
[Inscrutable Links: John Peel Says "Hi". FM106.3 Staff List. FM106.3's 1988 playlist.]
Beer and Bon Jovi
by Kaitlyn Robinson
It was Friday night and I had just one thing on my mind: where's the party?
After mixing a vodka tonic in a used plastic soda bottle and stuffing two cans of beer in my fleece pockets, I headed for the door. Walking down the street I was hit with a barrage of drumbeats and blaring bass lines. I was not the only one looking for a good time. I let the music be my guide and eventually found myself standing in front of an inviting doorstep. Mustering up some drunken courage, as the vodka was already sending a euphoric feeling throughout my body, I opened the door ready to party. That's when it hit like a ton of bricks: the whole room was bellowing in unison at the top of their lungs, "ahhhhh-AHH! Livin' on a prayer!"
So your probably thinking: "So what? This chick is just reliving her college glory days from the 80's. Big deal." Before you jump to conclusions, it might come as a shock to learn that I'm only 21 and a senior in a small liberal arts college in upstate NY (use your imagination as to which one). As you scratch your head in utter confusion, let me take a moment to clarify things. THE 80'S ARE BACK! That's right, I've come right out and said it. It's time to dig up your old off-the-shoulder tees, aviator glasses, and most of all your music.
80's music is the new college craze. It is not uncommon to hear bands like Twisted Sister, Mr. Big, Poison, White Snake, and Def Leppard blaring from nearly every dorm room stereo on campus. This revival of the 80's hair-bands is not some underground cult movement, but rather a luring trend that is here to stay. Instead of fighting against it, I'm forced to succumb to its power. Strangely enough, I find myself halfway enjoying it, and I have to ask, "why? Why would people who were only even alive for half the eighties make such an effort to resurrect its music?
Then I thought about the current state of pop-music. Although there are a number of musical genres to choose from, one thing's for certain, people want catchy upbeat music to listen to at a party. Considering the current lot of rock music, much of it doesn't make the cut. Let's take Radiohead for example. While not trying to challenge their musical prowess, would you really want to listen to "Lucky" while playing a fortifying game of beer pong? Of course not. Radiohead's musical genius would better serve as the backdrop for some kind of coffeehouse philosophical conversation between roommates. Granted, not all pop/rock music is as introspective as Radiohead. There are some bands who try to "rock out." Unfortunately, most of the artists who are played on pop radio are boy bands, or glorified boy bands who play their own instruments. Let me tell you, no self-respecting college jock will ever play the Backstreet Boys at his party. Then there is rap, hip hop, and R&B. While these musical genres do make frequent appearances at college parties, they don't lend themselves very well to a fun-loving social atmosphere. It is difficult to sing along to rap songs with your friends, and you can imagine how weird it would look if you walked into a party and saw 15 white preppy frat guys rapping about their hard times in the projects. After a while, the novelty wears thin.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying the 80's had better music than we do today. In fact, I think just the opposite. I love contemporary indie-rock and try desperately to get my friends to listen along with me. However, not everyone is into the "indie-rock scene" and has no desire to join. They are completely satisfied with listening to the music on pop radio and following the Bill Board Top 100 List. People should be able to listen to any music they want to, and if it happens to be 80's hair bands, then so be it. 80's pop music lends itself more to the average beer guzzling college student. It's loud, hard, fast, and it rocks! You can sing along with the songs, play air guitar, and head bang all while keeping your dignity and avoid feeling like you're impersonating Justin Timberlake.
In addition, the songs of the 80's are slightly nostalgic for today's college youths. Although still riding around in my Big-Wheel while Billy Idol was crashing motorcycles, I can still remember sneaking behind my mom's back to turn on MTV so I could catch a glimpse of Billy's "Dancing With Myself" music video, or watching Top Gun and singing along to the movie's theme song "Danger Zone." This music played an integral part of my early childhood experience, and now that I'm older (and a little bit wiser musically) I have grown to appreciate 80's music for exactly what it is: A KICK-ASS GOOD TIME! So the next time you're on a college campus, don't be surprised to hear the whole party singing along to Bon Jovi amid the distinct odor of warm beer and cigarettes.
©2005 Kaitlyn Robinson
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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