A friend of mine from university posted a photo on her Facebook page recently of her holding a T-shirt that reads “I used to be cool.” She actually did used to be cool – dated a guy in an awesome local band, editor of the school newspaper, Dead Head, got in to all of the best parties. I tagged along to ride the coat tails of her coolness. But, really, I was a nerd.
It was clear to her when we decided to room together our sophomore year and we combined music collections. Hers was so very awesome – Kate Bush, Led Zeplin, U2. Mine was a bit pedestrian in her estimation of coolness with the likes of Gloria Estefan, Billy Ocean and Debbie Gibson (oh my god, no) mixed up in the stacks. I suspect it was mildly embarrassing for her to invite friends over for a peek at the record collection. But, we both agreed on one thing – the 80s produced some seriously great music.
That agreement meant that bands like the B52s, Flock of Seagulls, Tears for Fears, Blondie and Billy Joel were neutral territory as she attempted to culture me in the ways of excellent music.
What surprises us both (and a few zillion other people in the world) is that collection of big hair, bad clothes and the age of the video killing the radio star is still pretty much neutral ground in the music universe. It’s seriously hard to not find yourself head bobbing with Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go Go or singing along to Funkytown (courtesy of the very awesome band Lipps).
Here are a few of my great loves that may actually make me worthy of an “I used to be cool in my own mind” t-shirt down the road:
1. Rock Lobster by the B52s. This is a song that I totally nerd out to. The B52s were about as punk as I got.
2. Whip It by Devo. What can I say? I was 10 when this song came out. It was like being allowed to say a dirty word in public.
3. Hungry Like A Wolf by Duran Duran. Love me some Simon Le Bon
4. Take On Me by A Ha. How could you not love this song? Plus it has the coolest video evah.
5. Don’t You Want Me by the Human League. This band made me want to be very cool.
6. Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Again with the teenage teehee thing.
7. I’m Coming Out by Dianna Ross. R&B was big in our house. Ms. Ross was even bigger.
8. Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire. I totally know this song came out in 1979. But, I loved it well into the 80s and beyond. I think I actually used this as my theme song when roller skating on our back slab o’ concrete.
9. The entire Purple Rain album by Prince. Need I say more?
10. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper. She was the coolest of coolness.
That is such a tiny slice of 80s love. Jump in and share. Let’s have a wayback fest Friday. Last one for today – I Can’t Wait by Nu Shooz. Awesome. Wait, wait, I forgot Violent Femmes. Sheesh. Too much to love.