15 on 45: Fifteen Questions about My Forgotten 45 Collection
Nov23

15 on 45: Fifteen Questions about My Forgotten 45 Collection

My brother Matt recently sent me a text: “Found the old records!” And accompanying this joyous announcement was a picture of my old 45 record of Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight.” A little context: Matt had purchased a record player, but he had no actual records to play on it. So he Indiana-Jones-ed our parents’ basement, looking for the collection of 45s I had back in high school. The search seemed fruitless, until my dad...

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Q&A with Dave Kinzer, Author of “The 80s Music Compendium”
Sep15

Q&A with Dave Kinzer, Author of “The 80s Music Compendium”

I just had the pleasure of reading the new book by Dave Kinzer, “The 80s Music Compendium” that released in paperback this week (Sept 13).  Dave Kinzer, a music teacher, sought to find new ways to teach music structure and theory to students in a way that would hold their interest longer than say Bach.  As an avid fan of 80s music, he turned to the treasure trove that is the catalog of Hot 100 hit songs from the 80s. He...

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Vocab from 80s Songs!
Aug24

Vocab from 80s Songs!

With the school-year fast approaching, perhaps we should use this time to reflect on the educational value of 80s pop songs. Consider: Men at Work taught us about Australian cuisine (the Vegemite sandwich of “Down Under”); Styx taught us Japanese pleasantries (“Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto”); and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” taught us… well, everything. Moreover, the lyrics to 80s songs provided us with some truly S.A.T.-worthy...

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Musical What-Ifs, Back to the Future Style
Jul28

Musical What-Ifs, Back to the Future Style

Before there was the Butterfly Effect, there was the McFly Effect. The Back to the Future trilogy is essentially a dissertation on chaos theory, on the ways that tinkering with the past can affect the future. Plow into one of Mr. Peabody’s trees in 1955? The Twin Pines Mall becomes the Lone Pine Mall in 1985. Interfere with your parents initial meeting? You could be erased from existence. Now, let’s get meta for a moment and consider...

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Obscur-Eighties, Vol. 1
Jun29

Obscur-Eighties, Vol. 1

It’s simple math. A decade is made up of 520 weeks, right? And for every one of those weeks, Billboard puts out a “Hot 100” list, detailing the top one hundred songs of those seven days. Now, granted, a hundred new songs don’t appear every week. (Just last year, Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” for example, ended a record-breaking eighty-seven weeks on the Hot 100.) Still, if I can get technical here, a LOT of songs cycle through those...

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80s Songs in Non-80s TV Shows
Apr07

80s Songs in Non-80s TV Shows

Last month, the FOX series Glee ended its six-year run. To coincide with the series finale, I envisioned writing a piece about all the 80s songs that appeared on the show. Examples: Artie getting out of his wheelchair for a dream-sequence “Safety Dance”; Finn the Quarterback singing a slowed-down “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”; and the New Directions performing “Don’t Stop Believin’”— along with just about every other Journey...

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30 Facts About Don’t You (Forget About Me)
Mar11

30 Facts About Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Thirty years ago, a Scottish band– relatively unknown in the U.S.–made a request to the world.  And thirty years later, the world is still honoring it. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”– that’s all Simple Minds asked of us in February 1985, when their signature song from the film The Breakfast Club first debuted.  And so far, we haven’t forgotten: the song and the film have been permanently etched into our pop-culture...

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Sam Draws the 80s and It’s Totally Awesome
Mar04

Sam Draws the 80s and It’s Totally Awesome

You may have seen Sam’s drawings online; he’s developed quite a following.  In fact, he’s been featured in the Huffington Post, Good Morning America and has received praise from the likes of George Takei, Martha Quinn, and the guys from Wang Chung. If you are new to Sam’s work, he is a 6 year old artist in Portland, Oregon. After hearing a steady stream of 80s music (thanks to his 80s-loving mom), he was moved...

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80s Power Ballads: A Rating System
Feb12

80s Power Ballads: A Rating System

AUTHOR’S NOTE: “How did I forget ‘Home Sweet Home’?” That’s what I’ve been asking myself ever since I read the feedback to my last post, the one about the greatest songs from 1985. Sure, I couldn’t mention every big song. But, next to Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round,” Motley Crue’s signature love song was probably the most glaring omission. Of all the songs to overlook, how did I miss THAT one? (Actually, I think I know how:...

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1985: Thirty Year Retrospective (Music Edition)
Jan26

1985: Thirty Year Retrospective (Music Edition)

Bowling for Soup sure picked the right year to celebrate in its song “1985.”  Now, I know that I once proclaimed, on this very site, that 1983 was the best year in music ever. And last fall, Rolling Stone magazine called 1984 “pop’s greatest year.” But 1985’s got some game as well. So why, thirty years on, are we still preoccupied with 1985? Well, 1985 was the year of… Defining the Decade: Quintessential 80s tracks were released...

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In Defense of Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
Dec22

In Defense of Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

In 1984, an instantly classic holiday song tried to save the world.  Thirty years later, it seems the song needs to be saved from itself. I originally intended to write a piece outlining how the 1984 version of Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is infinitely superior to the 2014 version. (Sorry, One Direction guys, but it’s true.) But after some initial research, I realized the 1984 version is not quite as beloved as I...

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Sampling the 80s
Nov17

Sampling the 80s

Why Current Artists Can’t Resist Picking from the 80s Buffet As if you need more evidence that 1980s music is the greatest, consider this: even now, almost a quarter-century after the decade folded, artists are still ripping off– oops! I mean, “sampling”– 80s hooks for their own songs. For example, just the other day, I was thrilled to hear on the radio Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner”...

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The 5 Best Make-Out Songs of the ‘80s
Nov12

The 5 Best Make-Out Songs of the ‘80s

The 1980s gave us so much great music—totally awesome music for partying, doing aerobics, slow dancing, cruising on Friday nights, and above all, making out! Who else remembers kissing in the backseat of the car or on the couch with one eye open, making sure Mom or Dad didn’t peek out the living room window or come down the stairs? Anyone? Depending on what area of the country you grew up in, making out might also have been called...

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99 Luft Balloons Cover Using Only Red Balloons
Sep14

99 Luft Balloons Cover Using Only Red Balloons

Covers of songs can be a lot of fun; they pay the ultimate compliment to the original artist.  And, an 80s cover, well, that’s even better.  But, when you do a cover of Nena’s ’99 Luft Balloons’ using only red balloons (it is unclear whether it took 99 balloons to do this), it takes the whole cover song thing to a completely new level.  Nena released the anti-nuclear song in 1983-1984 (depending on location)...

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Bizarre Love Triangle, New Order Music Video
Sep04

Bizarre Love Triangle, New Order Music Video

Bizarre Love Triangle, New Order New Order, Brotherhood, 1986 Information on New Order on MTV.com

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