Songs to Learn and Sing: Good 80s Music

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One weekend it occurred to me after I heard the third Tina Turner song as I Download Mp3 version of that amazing song. We need the perfect, utopian 80s disk jockey. In the days of all 80s lunches and 80s flashback weekends, we need someone who can give us the one thing those gimmicks are missing-good 80s music. Society is in dire need of someone who realizes that any musical artist who gave rise to or influenced the likes of Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, or whoever gave birth to Nicole Richie (Lionel be gone) deserves no space on the airwaves.

In a perfect world, D.J.s would realize that the number is not 867-5309 because it’s London calling for crying out loud. Alright, so technically that album was released in the 70s, but suffice to say that a true D.J. for an 80s retro show would appreciate the fact that there is more to Joe Strummer, et al. than “Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” We need someone whose understanding of REM goes beyond the sleep rhythms induced by the thousandth playing of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” The perfect disk jockey would understand that there are other U2 albums besides “The Joshua Tree” and she would get a raise for being able to recite the “Sunday Bloody Sunday” speech from Rattle and Hum in its entirety. She would be aware that Violent Femmes are nothing to fear. However, Wham!-or, more importantly, George Michael-would stay in the past where he belongs.

And frankly, Mr. Shankly, it would serve well to know that the British invasion of the 80s did not begin and end with Duran Duran and Culture Club. We must not neglect the Smiths, OMD, and The Cure. In fact, Morrissey would have to deserve special recognition for the sheer fact that depressed people will always make one feel better about herself. It’s the natural order of things. We need someone who knows that Echo and the Bunnymen is not the name of a children’s book and that there is more than one Elvis in music (because I assure you the British one is much better and much less overrated).

Moreover, the kinder, gentler D.J. of a utopian society would forgive David Bowie and Mick Jagger for their transgression of remaking “Dancing in the Streets” and play “China Girl” by the Thin White Duke despite the fact.

It should be paramount that if the masses have to endure “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Like a Prayer,” then we should also have our “Personal Jesus” since Depeche Mode was and always will be superior to Bon Jovi, and yes, Madonna.

And while we’re at it, let’s have our perfect disk jockey tell Michael Jackson to beat it, and start playing Public Enemy. Remember, we’re thinking of this in terms of a perfect world-a world where the “Sid and Nancy” soundtrack gets more airplay than the one from “Top Gun.”

In the name of gender equality, artists such as The Pretenders, the Eurythmics, and Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees would be allowed the air time formerly given to bands sporting skyscraper bangs and neon plastic bracelets. If they wore candy pink lipstick, they get nixed. Deserving a kick to the door would be the likes of the Bangles, the Go-Gos, Bananarama, and the like. Debbie Gibson, Amy Grant, gone. In with Kate Bush and Kim Deal. Good-bye Toni Basil, so long Pat Benatar, and take your leg warmers with you. Hello Björk and Tracy Chapman.

Now, to be fair, there are a select few 80s artists who should not be shown the door. INXS is allowed to stay, as is Dexy’s Midnight Runners, solely because “Come on Eileen” never fails to inspire me to sing in an awful, fake British accent at the top of my lungs. Nor can I neglect the fact that the John Cusack fan in me MUST hear Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”. Billy Idol…can stay-call it a guilty pleasure. Come on, you know you practice that sneer in your rearview mirror while you’re bobbing your head to “White Wedding.”

Now with these images of perfection in my mind, it is hard to understand the appeal of the candy-coated pop that gets dished out in favor of something grittier and real. What we need in these troubled times where we still get regaled with the qualities of Jesse’s girl, but miss hearing about Veronica is someone who can show us the light at the end of the pop music tunnel. Why do we put up with the onslaught of dreck? Maybe we should bring out the guns of Navarone and start burning down the house. Who can deliver us? Where is the D.J. who can accomplish these miracles? I know I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.