Editor in Chief
I’m sure we all have at least one hobby or interest that is so uncommon, inconsistent with our personality or just plain “out there” that it makes those around us just stand there, mouths agape, and ask “Why?”
For me, the thing that best fits into that category of strange loves, more so than cars (way too normal by comparison, I’m afraid), is rock and roll from the 1980s. Yes, children, I get my kicks from the music you all assumed time and taste had forgotten, in all its big-haired, animal-printed and head-banging glory.
Now in case you haven’t stopped reading in disgust and said something like, “Aw grow a mullet and buy a Trans Am, ya loon,” let me explain my seemingly incongruous romance with the music and culture that brought us “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
The rock of the ‘80s, in the context of popular music history, is really the meat in a sandwich.
On the one side, the late 1960s and most of the ‘70s, you have the innovative and catchy work from the Zen masters like Deep Purple, the Eagles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.
On the other end, the early/mid ‘90s to the present you have, with a few notable exceptions (e.g. Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Saliva), artists like Linkin Park, the White Stripes and Kid Rock whose work seems to only alternate between pseudo-rap and unintelligible screaming.
Rhythm? Lyrics that won’t get you booted from Sunday school?
Which brings us to the nucleus of this debate.
I bet most of you would get a good laugh out of watching and listening to a performance from hit-makers of the day like Great White, Def Leppard, the Scorpions, Damn Yankees, Poison, Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Judas Priest or Cinderella on YouTube.
Yes, even I can’t help but cackle at some of the things present in such videos (When was the last time wearing leather pants was considered a statement of masculinity?), the fact remains that this is music that you can relate to, detect at least a basic, semi-predictable rhythm and beat, and sing along with without having to be loaded on the three R’s (Red Bull, ramen and Ritalin).
Besides, isn’t the novelty of having every third word being the f-bomb wearing thin in a world where even little old lady potty mouths (other than Lily Tomlin, by the way) are becoming increasingly common?
I mean, I admit to using foul language, but just throwing in a song because you can and you want people to think you’re hardcore, emo, or whatever just makes you come across as a loser in my book.
And yes, I know that there are plenty of classics with suggestive lyrics, and even a few with dirty words, but to me it all comes across as a genuine, integral part of the whole rocker aura.
Although I personally don’t aspire to grow my hair out, become a regular visitor to strip clubs or make a career out of trashing hotel rooms and driving high priced European cars into swimming pools, isn’t it kind of appealing (if not commendable) to live vicariously through the songs and the guys that lived that stuff? I mean, that’s supposedly a lot of the appeal of the hip-hop/rap scene, right?
But to me there’s just something inherently appealing about the pounding rhythms, intelligible and meaningful vocals, and the overall levels of passion and energy that makes me and at least a few other people want to just stop what you’re doing, grab an air guitar and start jamming (unless, of course you’re doing something important like driving).
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate most types of music, but there will always be a special place in my rocker heart for the products of the era that will be forever remembered as the zenith (or nadir, as most people will tell you) of the genre.
Tom Anderson, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.