A few years ago, I was a “talking head” on the first VH1 retro-clip-show I LOVE THE 80s
. And I stuck out like a sore thumb. Not because I was a few pounds heavier than I am now–damn you, you ten-pound-adding camera…No, I stuck out because, here’s the thing: I really DO love the 80s. And maybe it’s because I was 13 when the decade started and 23 when it ended–which made the 80s the formative decade of my pop-cult-obsessed life–it’s hard for me to separate it out as this cheesy time meant to be laughed at and derided. Sure there was a lot about the 80s I didn’t like (remember the two presidents we had at the time) and some things I’d like to forget (acne, certain high school nemeses) but for the most part, I remember the time with fondness. And that showed on the VH1 show. I think I wasn’t part of the second series because I wasn’t snarky enough about the decade in the first show. I didn’t have enough faux-ironic put-downs up my sleeve to whip out on command.
Oh well. Such is life. I’m not a total sucker for anything 80s. Movies got ridiculously high-concept back then and started to feel more cookie-cutter than ever before. And MTV did make a lot of r&b artists forget about the r and the b as long as they could pose and dance up a storm. But musically, it is the sound of my young America (to quote Berry Gordy describing Motown in the 60s), and because of that I hold onto it fiercely, as loving as I am of British New Wave & burgeoning rap tracks & corporate cock-rock & college radio alt-rock & the remnants of disco & the slick packaged pop that hovered around it all.
So I make these mix tapes. Or mix-CDs. I load them up with current songs but they’re also always full of hits (and non-hits) of the 80s. I put Denroy Morgan’s “I’ll Do Anything for You” right up next to Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning”, back-to-back with Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America” and “Every Word Means No” by Let’s Active. I know. An eclectic bunch indeed. But it all sounds like nirvana–complete heavenly bliss, not the band (who I love)–to me…
And to others, I suppose, since I make these Mix Tapes for all my friends (and their friends) and they all come back for more.
So here’s the invitation. If you want to be a recipient of an SPB Mix, send your name and address to TheSPBQ@aol.com. You get the first Mix for free. You’ll also be put on the SPB Q newsletter mailing list to get info on all the following Mix CDs and assorted cooler-than-cool SPB Q paraphernalia.