Music Department: Friday Four Pack

I like to pretend I grew up in the 80’s. I mean, technically I did see the end of the Regan era, but my childhood was more Pete and Pete and less Jesus and Mary Chain. The hardest and most interesting part about the 80’s is deciding what part do I identify with the most. The Clash still rocked, though it’s debatable how hard. The Buzzcocks blew out speakers everywhere. High school for me featured algebra to the tune of the Misfits and Fugazi. Then there’s the good ol’ rock and roll, from Elvis Costello to the Replacements and Mission of Burma. Last week we featured some of the more electronic stylings of the 80’s, but it goes deeper than that with New Order, OMD and even some of Brian Eno’s stranger works (My Life In the Bush of Ghosts was released in the early 80’s).

But for me, there’s always something about that distinctly 80’s sound: the brooding synthesizers, the syncopation of a single guitar note, the poppy yet complicated vocals, the extremely twisted subject matter. When I first heard Interpol, it opened a door back into the 80’s for me. Interpol is successful for many reasons (at least up until Our Love to Admire), and much of this success can be traced to a long-overdue 80’s revival. One of my friends at the time pointed out that Interpol wasn’t doing anything new, but that wasn’t the point. Joy Division, New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, these bands seemed to exist in short bursts in contrast to the journeyman personas of Dylan and the Boss, or even Lennon and McCartney. We needed this sound, we needed to be reminded of exactly how strange the 80’s were. These four songs barely scratch the surface of musical gold in the era, and is more indicative of the 2 years and 3 months I spent growing up in the 80’s. Can I be nostalgic for a time I didn’t live in? Adam Gopnik says yes.

In review, the 80’s were awesome/weird.

– “Evil,” Interpol, Antics

– “A Promise,” Echo and the Bunnymen, Heaven Up Here.

– “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Joy Division, Love Will Tear Us Apart*

– “In Between Days,” The Cure, The Head on the Door

*= In interest of disclosure, I’m fully aware that this song was written and performed in the late 70’s. It’s fame is mired more in Ian Curtis’ death than anything else though, this coming to start the 80’s. Also, Antics came out in 2004, but it still sounds right at home with these tracks.

If you don’t respect yourself or your brain cells, read this article about Echo and the Bunnymen’s influence on Pavement. Then read this and realize everything will be okay.

It’s the 80’s! Do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@midwestbeer) or send an email to


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