Now and again I write bits for publication. Here's something I tossed off this evening for the reading public's pleasure. Enjoy!
In the sixties and seventies, from twangy folk to angry punk, music mattered. In the nineties, grunge brought pop perilously close to relevance once more. What were adolescents to do in the eighties, when social relevance in pop was cordoned off into the occasional benefit concert or Christmas single? Like prisoners deprived of sensory input, we overreacted whenever pop singers seemed to be doing something daring. If you never listened to Brave New Waves, here are the top six bands we thought were cool in school:
1. CULTURE CLUB (1982)
OMG that guy is dressed up like a woman and playing smooth soul-pop ballads! Will the social order disintegrate? Will the pillars of society come crashing – no.
2. FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD (1983)
Once “Relax” started sneaking onto radio playlists, the gender-bending antics of Boy George seemed quaint. We were shocked that we could buy a single so clearly about sex. Many of us had yet to discover Frank Zappa's back catalogue.
3. W.A.S.P. (c.1984)
Did W.A.S.P. Stand for “We Are Sexual Perverts” or “We Are Satan's Preachers”? Whatever. When we went out and bought the 12” single “Animal(F**K Like A Beast)” we were badass and we knew it.
4. PAUL HARDCASTLE (1985)
"Nineteen" was an anti-Vietnam protest song delivered in samples and beats. It sounded cutting edge until you realized that Hardcastle was speaking out against a war from the previous decade.
5. NIGGAZ WITH ATTITUDE (1988)
When N.W.A. blasted outta Compton, a nation of suburban kids drove around their neighborhoods with “Fuck Tha Police” pounding out of their stereos. Only Charlton Heston cared.
Bonus '90s entry:
6. NINE INCH NAILS (1994)
Much like W.A.S.P., Trent Reznor tried to introduce the joys of fucking like an animal to the stereos of suburban teenagers. Unfortunately the Discovery Channel showed us all how sexy that was.