While I started to cut my teeth on the world of music in the 70s as a pre-teen and pre-tween, it was the 80s where I found myself truly being exposed to a lot of different things. The decade is one that went through a couple of changes with what was popularized and at the same time I was going through the social hurdles of middle school, where the tastemakers were ruling things, and then high school where the cliques had been set and really determined what was popular. But you also had more well-defined “outsider” groups that were defined by the music they listened to more than anything else.
And here I stood, a goofy white boy in suburbia who just liked pop music and hadn’t really found his own sound yet. That would actually come later when I ended up away from those I had grown up with and was exposed to the wider world and more adult sensibilities.
That’s not to say I didn’t have a lot of fun in the 80s with so much music, the arrival of MTV, and exposure to a lot of different material from specialized shows they ran. You could go from Van Halen to Prince to Guns n’ Roses and Bon Jovi easily and then bop to Madonna and the B-52s with all their distinctive sounds.
The songs of the early part of the decade move me still, they’re so imprinted in my DNA, such as Don’t Stop Believin’ from Journey and Jessie’s Girl from Rick Springfield. But the later songs also connect wonderfully with so many different things spinning out at the end of the decade.
For me, the one that really feels like it defines the decade right for me is Jesus Jones with Right Here Right Now.