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Old 05-26-2015, 04:36 PM
 
76 posts, read 67,235 times
Reputation: 438

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I got into a debate a while ago with a friend of mine from high school about why most 80's music sounds so upbeat and has optimistic lyrics and tone. We're both 44 yrs. old and we attended the same high school from 1982 to 1988 --- the peak years of the 80's culture.

My theory is that the economic boom of the 2nd Reagan term led to people feeling good about America and their future, and this in turn led to positive music to reflect what was happening in the culture. My friend seemed to think that the upbeat music was independent of what was happening in the culture, and just following the natural evolution of musical style coming out of the upbeat disco era of the late 70's. He backs up this theory by saying there was an economic boom in America in the late 90's but the music of the popular genre of hip-hop was angry in tone.

I'm starting to think both of us are correct to a certain degree.

I realize the 80's had it's share of societal problems like increasing divorce rates, gang violence, and rise of the crack epidemic --- but overall the music was very uplifting and inspired hope and goodwill towards people. The videos were chock full of smiling and laughing and not grimacing and scowling like today. I just never heard that upbeat message in music after the early 90's --- since then it's all about "I'm the best and I'm gonna get paid and you're garbage so get outta my face" and that makes me sad.

Here's a short sampling of 80's hit songs to illustrate my point -- by no means a complete list:

Waiting for a Star to Fall (Boy Meets Girl):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhxF9Qg5mOU

Jump (Van Halen):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwYN7mTi6HM

When the Going Gets Tough (Billy Ocean):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n3sUWR4FV4

Mad About You (Belinda Carlisle):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmdtJWmR9zQ

I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH3giaIzONA

What A Feeling (Irene Cara):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pge_uGSADDc

Last edited by Grand-Pooba-9; 05-26-2015 at 04:44 PM..
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Old 05-26-2015, 05:38 PM
 
Location: SW OK (AZ Native)
18,765 posts, read 8,451,854 times
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I think you are on to something. "Don't Worry, be Happy" was the mantra, along with "Greed Is Good". It was upbeat and the economic good times likely had a lot to do with it.

There WERE a number of downer songs about nuclear annihilation. Such as:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9cS7LaEAYY


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfPTC7-wCL8


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pkVLqSaahk


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghxlKVte-ww
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:05 PM
 
76 posts, read 67,235 times
Reputation: 438
Even a "downer" song about nuclear hell like "99 Luft Balloons" was upbeat and fun !!

I guess if you and your family are going to vaporize in a 99,999F degree nuclear blast --- dance like crazy and smile until the missile explodes!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SluggoF16 View Post
I think you are on to something. "Don't Worry, be Happy" was the mantra, along with "Greed Is Good". It was upbeat and the economic good times likely had a lot to do with it.

There WERE a number of downer songs about nuclear annihilation. Such as:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfPTC7-wCL8
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:12 PM
 
76 posts, read 67,235 times
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I forgot this one from my list --- one of the best "feel good" tunes from the crazy 80s !!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIgZ7gMze7A
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:13 PM
 
123 posts, read 80,130 times
Reputation: 74

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAktV72_nnE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LetJHQ_V05o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7rS3itMibE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sKxFrTHwhI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fscuT9nWjhk


Money and women!!
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:53 PM
 
4,501 posts, read 4,544,425 times
Reputation: 4021
I guess the OP never listened to 80's punk or stuff from the U.K.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Sweden
23,883 posts, read 67,051,513 times
Reputation: 18474
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand-Pooba-9 View Post
My theory is that the economic boom of the 2nd Reagan term led to people feeling good about America and their future, and this in turn led to positive music to reflect what was happening in the culture.
I am pretty sure this had nothing to do with european pop music though.
It was equally upbeat and fun over here.
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Old 05-27-2015, 02:01 AM
 
76 posts, read 67,235 times
Reputation: 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigSwede View Post
I am pretty sure this had nothing to do with european pop music though.
It was equally upbeat and fun over here.
For the past 60 years --- the European economy has shadowed the U.S. economy.

So if the U.S. had boom times during the mid-80s then Europe probably did as well.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:33 AM
JPD
 
12,159 posts, read 15,672,860 times
Reputation: 7937
It's because of videos. Nobody wants to see a gloomy video. But make no mistake, there was plenty of music in the '80s that was not upbeat or optimistic. Ever heard of The Cure, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, The Smiths, Tears for Fears, etc.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Cape Cod
13,431 posts, read 9,388,393 times
Reputation: 22753
I love the 80's music. I agree that pop music in the 80's was coming off a disco groove from the 70's. Consider Blondie. She had her roots in disco, had early 80's pop hits and even dabbled in rap.
The 80's were a fun time, the music the fashion, the BIG hair and loads of good fun movies. Of course there were bad times too, the world had its political issues like today and the late 80's had a recession but overall the vibe was upbeat.

I think there was a feeling that America was Awesome and we could do no wrong, the world looked up to us and we all had bright futures ahead in fact "our futures were so bright we had to wear shades" (that was a song back then).
In the midst of the 80's was a swell of Patriotism with Bruce Springsteens huge hit "Born in the USA" .

The 80's were a time of greed and wealth for some but if you were not rich it didn't matter you could still squeeze into your acid wash jeans and tease your hair to the moon or don a Tshirt and roll up those sleeves on your sport coat and all was good.

I still rock out to the 80's music in the Summer when I cruise in my hot rod and my favorite CD is Duran Duran greatest hits. I still don't understand why they ever broke up?
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