I have fond memories of the '80s. It's not surprising. It was my "growing up" decade and with time, you tend to forget the bollocks and just remember the good stuff.
It's true of everything. I only have fond memories of high school despite the fact I was living a sexually repressed and frustrating existence. I'm more prone to remember Live-aid than my fears about nuclear armageddon. I remember loving the clothes of the day, but when I see the fashion now I cringe at the tight pants and big hair. And the shoulder pads. Oh, the shoulder pads.
No, I tend to remember only the good, leaving the bad and the ugly for the historians. So why should music be any different? Answer: it isn't.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard a new cover version of an '80s song and told Junkii (who doesn't have the same pop-cultural baggage from the '80s) about how great the original was, only to be proven absolutely and hopelessly wrong by the nearest mp3 I grab to prove that point.
Unfortunately, it's not only covers that trigger these unwanted memories. Nowadays, the radio waves are clogged with '80s-themed shows dredging up the most obscure pieces of crap that ever hit the charts. I heard "Easy Lover" by Phil Collins and Philip Bailey the other day.
I remember when that song came out, I just loved it. Over and over I would listen and think to myself "Wow! I'll never get tired of this song." Wrong!
It just sounds so dated. I can't even imagine someone doing a cover of this and making it sound current. That would be a considerable challenge. Hmm. Maybe someone can make a TV program based on that concept: give contestants a day to reconceptualize '80s cheeze. There's certainly plenty of songs out there to choose from that have great melodies with nasty arrangements.
Of course, that's not to say there are no good '80s songs. It's just that the best ones seem to be ones that didn't wallow in the excesses of the day: candy apple red "key"tars and hexagonal drums pads. Something like Queen's Under Pressure, for instance, sounds as fresh today as it did in '82.
Maybe I should just avoid listening to '80s music. That way I can keep my fond memories and, if someone happens
to do a decent cover of one of my faves from back in the day, I'll still be able to protect my childhood by stubbornly saying "Meh. It's good, but it's not as good as the original."