Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

It's hard for many of the friends I associated myself with in the 70s to understand, just how my musical tastes could evolve into a profound appreciation for 80s music. I began my love of rock and roll music like many of my cohorts did; it was in the 60s, watching a TV sitcom with four actors playing a rock band called The Monkees. As silly and innocent as it was, it was that show that instinctively and naturally led me to other rock artists, who took me further down a certain path that I still walk today.

A path is a natural and physical continuation . This means it has a beginning and has and end. It is one path, but has different points along it that join and fuse it into the entity, as a whole. And so it goes, music in the 80s (for me) became a new part of that very same path; one that always had a connection with the earlier portions, but in many ways was very different and unique.

Living in a university town, during this time period, helped keep my appetite, for new and innovating things, wet. And while not all of the innovations were palatable, there was a certain nuance about it that motivated many artists, whose music filled the air on radios, stereos, and night clubs. When I hear their songs today, they take me back to a period of time when I was a young man, energetic and vibrant. They help me to remember the earlier portions of this path, so that I may see the journey in a clearer light.

This weekend, PYY features a few of those songs that remind me of a day when Solid Gold was a popular fixture on Saturday night, and widely listened to as a prelude to a night out on the town.

First up is a tune that always reminds me of Saturday nights in the 80s, it was one that featured a crisp modern musical sound, with lyrics that were inviting and passionate. Here is the Grammy-winning Laura Branigan and her song that peaked at #4 on the US charts back in 1984, Self-Control:

Another song that received it's share of airplay, on both the airwaves and in the clubs on Saturday nights, was this next one by Hall and Oates (who had a string of hits in the 80s). It was a theme song for anyone that had ever had to dump a girlfriend, boyfriend, or date who was into head games, something I didn't tolerate for very long at all. Painful as it could be at times, I wasn't one to subject myself to long-term pain and frustration and always would opt for surgery before a bandaid, if I thought it was in my best interests. This is the extended club version of their final #1 US hit, Out Of Touch:

Once the head cleared, the real healing could begin. Usually this occurred by the next Saturday night with a new date, a new dream, and a new cycle beginning. This song illustrates this very concept and does it quite well. Here is one of the quintessential divas whose career has spanned several decades and her 1985 hit, New Attitude:

Once the lure and seduction becomes old, there is a reality that sets in. Topping this session off is an introspective song that questions direction and vision. It is about disillusionment caused by poor choices and the redemption that comes from accepting the responsibility and rectifying the situation. Here is the 1985 hit from Tears For Fears, Everybody Wants To Rule The World:

If you have heard these songs before or not, think about the path we are all on. These songs describe a deeper image and meaning than just listening to Solid Gold, while getting ready to chase around on Saturday night. They have deeper image and meaning than just some silly game played out in a night club, while the band plays or the DJ spins the records. See if you can read and understand the more intrinsic messages they give out, as we travel our individual paths as well as, the collective paths we all travel.



Jennifer said...

Well, all four songs are great songs. They bring back memories even though I was young at the time.

Self control…….I think it represents a different perspective of things. It’s about being two different people. Day represents one thing and night another. Night holds an attraction of freedom. Changing, being different than what is expected. A way of letting loose. Day is doing what is expected of us.

Out of Touch……When I hear this it makes me think of trying to find your place in the world. Maybe fighting against the world as we know it. Trying to adjust to a world/country that we hardly recognize anymore. We feel “out of touch” with the way things are progressing, or at least I do.

New attitude…..Change. Taking control of your life. Learning your lessons the hard way and coming out better because of it. Making mistakes and learning from them. Being confident in who you are and what you believe.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World…..I think this represents differing opinions, and yet we are all the same. Everybody thinks they know what’s best, and we all have different visions on how to get there. The world is constantly changing and so are we. We need to cherish the freedom and liberties we have now because they might not be there tomorrow.

Wow, I feel like I just got out of English class, after interpreting Robert Frost’s poems. So, am I even close to what you were getting at?

Mustang said...

Well, Jennifer . . . I can’t speak for LA, but I’d say that it doesn’t matter what he thinks; it only matters what you think. That he caused you to weigh his words and the presentation is a plus in the LA column, and that you did the mental gymnastic is a plus in yours.

I’ve often wondered whether culture shapes our music, or if music shapes our culture. I suppose we all feel most comfortable with the art forms prevalent in our formative years; and music especially gives us a point of reference in time for our individual memory.

I’ve joined the stodgy group of people who detests music that has no meaning for me. I was never into heavy metal, for example – but I do have an affinity for orchestras, big band, country, rock and roll, and some jazz. I enjoyed LA’s last selection above the others, but I can’t explain why.

And since we cannot define “rap” as music, both of us will be spared any discussion on its merits. For me, music soothes the soul, and it never makes us angry or homicidal. Music is beautiful, rather than filthy, romantic rather than violent. Ergo, given a choice between the pounding of sticks against a tree stump and some filth spewing out of crap-daddy’s mouth, I’ll go with the Paleography every time.


Jennifer said...

[That he caused you to weigh his words and the presentation is a plus in the LA column, and that you did the mental gymnastic is a plus in yours.]

That is a very nice way of looking at it. I tend to lean toward country because the words have more meaning to me than the beat. The songs have a great meaning and provide me with encouragement and inspiration.

LASunsett said...


I think you have done well in your analysis on the individual level.

On the collective level:

1. I see the first song as a statement on the lack of self-control of a nation. The lure, the seduction of the people to embrace a culture of personality is a powerful draw for a country that is disillusioned.

By day, we see a candidate of that culture, who claims to have answers that many seem to think are good ones. By night we see an entirely different world. This is a world that is obscured by darkness, where the deeds of man can be hidden more easily. For back alley dealers, the cover of night is their defense.

2. In this song, I see a government that is so far out of touch. They have created unto themselves an elitist culture, which has taken the Constitution out of the equation. They lord over us, instead of represent us. They dictate to us, instead of lead us. They look down upon the very people that pull the levers for them.

3. The nation as a whole sorely needs a new attitude. This attitude of entitlement has seriously hindered our growth as a whole, and many people's own personal growth. We need to take charge of our own lives and not depend on this elitist class of politicians, who have a significant portion of our population scared to death to make a move (without using the government as a safety net).

4. This one is a bit more abstract. To me, it implies that many want to rule, but many are not capable. With much power comes much responsibility. Unfortunately, many who are put into a position of great responsibility want to get their own way and want nothing more than a title. When it comes time to make the right decisions, they make the wrong ones. And when they err, they are even more confused than ever, which often leads to defensive posturing instead of accepting responsibility and rectifying the mistakes.

In summation, the lack of self-control leads to being out of touch, with ourselves and the people around us. When we call for that new attitude, that positive change which is needed, we must be sure our motives are right and stay right. If we allow it to become about our own selves, we end up at the very same kind of impasse we are in right now. That is to say, we come full circle.

I really see this time we live in as an opportunity. If not this time around, the next time. But we must not let it slip away. It may be too late for this election to implement the will of decent people, who make this nation so great. If it is, we must plan more carefully for the next time or we may lose the opportunity.

(Thanks for playing along. Normally I don't get so esoteric and intense with my music posts, but the burden is great this week.)

LASunsett said...

//but I’d say that it doesn’t matter what he thinks; it only matters what you think.//

Per Mustang's words, this is true because this is a forum where you are always free to disagree with me. I don't have all of the answers, which is why all perspectives are welcome here.

But as Mustang stated further, you did a good job. THAT said, rest assured I am not trying to be Charlie Gibson and make you or anyone else Sarah Palin. I just like giving someone something to think about, hopefully from an angle they hadn't considered previously.


//I was never into heavy metal, for example......

And since we cannot define “rap” as music, both of us will be spared any discussion on its merits. //

For these same reasons, everyone can rest assured I they'll not see either of these styles presented here. You may see some hard rock from time to time, but I submit that is a very difference genre altogether.

Now, on to another point. I found it interesting that you did not share with Jennifer some of your childhood musical idols that were popular when you were growing up. Bach, Lizst, and Beethoven are but a few that were on the charts while you were a young pup. At least that's the rumor I have been hearing. ;)

Mustang said...


My plan was to hide from you how old I really am – but as you can see, Mr. Motor-mouth took care of that little problem. So here is the absolute truth: I am timeless. I learned rhetoric from Socrates, marched with Caesar against the Gaul, crossed the Delaware with Washington, advised General Grant, and had fun-fun-fun 'til her daddy took the T-bird away.

Now let me add one more salient fact: LA is ten years older than I am.

Semper Fi

Z said...

I thought of our mess here in America, too, as I listened to one song after the other it all started sounding weirdly familiar and taking shape. (by the way...good songs. Whatever happened to Laura Branigan, good voice)

LASunsett said...

//Whatever happened to Laura Branigan//

She died in 2004, of a brain aneurysm she didn't know she had.

Jennifer said...

LOL.....LASunset...he got you there. So I must assume you enjoyed Bach in your teen years, or was it your 20's? It couldn't have been your 30's, could it?

I'm glad you made it through crossing the Delaware....I heard there were pretty bad conditions. And just exactly how much fun did you have till her daddy took the T-bird away. (sigh) And here I thought you were a good boy! So that is where Grant got all of his ideas.....I know he couldn't have done it all his own!

Jennifer said...

The 2nd paragraph was to Mustang.