Sunday, June 27, 2004

music for the masses

Andrew said that the first CD he ever bought was Avril Lavigne’s first album, a statement that was followed by an eerie silence as we older folk struggled to deal with the fact that, shit, we were so old.

I honestly don’t remember the first CD I ever bought because until a certain point in time it was just too expensive (and I didn’t even have CD player). No, I was a vinyl man – albums, EPs and singles through and through.

And, yes, I became musically aware in the early 80’s, giving in to new wave and the Brit sound, but with a definite slant towards the more obscure (well, as obscure as you can get in high school to avoid being grouped with the rest of humanity) music from the likes of The Dolphin Brothers and Ryuichi Sakamoto – but also with a huge share of all-American pop hits. How wonderful it was to be young and unrefined!

Like many people, when I hear a certain song I remember events in my life during the time that it came out or when I listened to it over and over again (Nikki says that during high school, you feel almost every song is yours, linked empathically to your life, a reflection of your angst). Without music, I could be captured and tortured by aliens and still fail to answer “Do you remember when you…”-type questions. Music triggers my memory.

Prior to high school and 1983, I didn’t give squat about music. And then suddenly, just like that, radio was king and the custom tape was god. I started as part of the common crowd, with no taste to call my own, a slave of American Top 40 over 99.5 RT and the dulcet tones of Casey Casem. I didn’t know good music from bad – just that I liked certain songs.

Nowadays, I’d rather be caught dead than caught singing along these oldies (much less actually grooving to China Crisis, Psychedelic Furs, A Flock of Seagulls or Icicle Works though I'd love to), but these songs bring back the years when I was thin as a stick insect and without a clue – gah, some of these are so embarrassing (LOL):

1983: Music was new and fresh and exciting to me. I fell in love with a girl in school and was such a nerd that I built a diorama to show my love for her (it was huge and unwieldy but she accepted with grace before telling me, kindly, to fuck off): Billy Joel - Uptown Girl, Tell Her About It, The Clash - Rock the Casbah, Culture Club - Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?, Time, Church of the Poison Mind, David Bowie - Let’s Dance, Dexy’s Midnight Runners - Come On, Eileen, Duran Duran (my fave band of all time) – Is There Something I Should Know, Hungry Like The Wolf, Eddy Grant - Electric Avenue, Hall & Oates - Say It Isn’t So, Haysi Fantayzee - Shiny Shiny, Huey Lewis & The News - Heart And Soul, Human League - Fascination, Irene Cara - Flashdance (I know, I know), Jo Boxers - Just Got Lucky, Kajagoogoo - Too Shy, Madness - Our House, Men At Work - Down Under, Michael Jackson - Beat It, Billie Jean, Naked Eyes - Always Something There To Remind Me, New Order - Blue Monday, Pat Benatar - Love Is A Battlefield, Peter Schilling - Major Tom, Phil Collins - You Can't Hurry Love, The Police - Every Breath You Take, Quiet Riot - Cum On Feel The Noize, Spandau Ballet – True, STYX - Mr. Roboto, Toto – Africa.

1984: Music became part and parcel of my existence - I think this year's music is the strongest for me. I fell in love again with a dark-skinned goddess who had the most incredible smile. And what did I do? I gave her a set of romance novels. Sheesh, what a dork. And one more time, with someone from my barkada, who was the first person to ever tell me “I love you too…as a brother”. The music I loved: Bananarama - Cruel Summer, more Billy Joel - The Longest Time, An Innocent Man, Bruce Springsteen - Dancing In The Dark (my god, memories of the extended dance version still give me the thrills), Corey Hart - Sunglasses at Night, Culture Club - It's A Miracle, Karma Chameleon, Miss Me Blind (my first long exposure to a cross dresser), Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, She Bop, Dan Hartman - I Can Dream About You, Duran Duran - New Moon On Monday, The Reflex, The Wild Boys (I was such a fan I even named my dog after a song), Eurythmics - Here Comes The Rain Again, Go-Go's - Head Over Heels, Howard Jones - New Song, James Ingram with Michael McDonald - Yah Mo B There, John Waite - Missing You, K.C. & The Sunshine Band - Give It Up, Kenny Loggins – Footloose, Laura Branigan - Self Control, Madonna – Borderline, Like A Virgin (she was unreal!), Matthew Wilder - Break My Stride, Nena - 99 Luftballoons (and we sang in Deutsch), The Pointer Sisters - Jump (For My Love), Prince & The Revolution - When Doves Cry (utterly intoxicating), Rick Springfield - Love Somebody, The Romantics - Talking In Your Sleep, Sheena Easton – Strut (eeee!), The Style Council - Shout To The Top, Thompson Twins - Hold Me Now, U2 - Pride (Bono, Bono, Bono), Van Halen – Jump, Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Yes - Owner Of A Lonely Heart.

1985: Parties, parties, parties. Lots of dancing. I did the Miami Vice look with my so-cool espadrilles, white blazer and wayfarers. Lost my heart over and over again, it’s absurd, really. Oh, and I think Andrew was born. Music: A-ha - Take On Me, ABC - Be Near Me, Arcadia - Election Day (sympre naman, Duran Duran pa din sila, no), Aretha Franklin - Freeway Of Love, Bruce Springsteen - Born In The U.S.A., Glory Days (he’s The Man), David Lee Roth - Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody, Duran Duran - Save A Prayer, Madonna - Material Girl, Paul Young - Every Time You Go Away, The Power Station - Some Like It Hot (Duran Duran pa rin sila), Prince & The Revolution - Raspberry Beret, Sade - Smooth Operator (sigh), Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me), The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?, and every thing else Morrison), Tears For Fears - Everbody Wants To Rule The World , Head Over Heels, Shout (and everything else from their first two albums), 'Til Tuesday - Voices Carry, Wham! – Freedom.

1986: My last year of high school. Delight at the end of things and anxiety at the start of college. Fear of losing friends to the wild unknown. And I was probably in love, yet again. And, oh, we went to discos and did nasty things with strangers in dark places. Bananarama – Venus, The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian, Berlin - Take My Breath Away, The Dream Academy - Life In A Northern Town, Falco - Rock Me Amadeus, The Human League – Human, INXS - What You Need (and more), Level 42 - Something About You, Madonna - Papa Don't Preach, Mike + The Mechanics - Taken In, Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark - If You Leave (and majority of their previous album), The Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls (great dance music), Prince And The Revolution – Kiss, Robert Palmer - Addicted To Love, Sigue Sigue Sputnik - Love Missile F1-11, The Timex Social Club – Rumors, Wang Chung - Everybody Have Fun Tonight.

And through all that high school pop and heartbreak, Jasmin Jamora (now Doctor Jamora), gave me The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, Ultravox, The Style Council, Status Quo, David Sylvian, YMO, Joy Division, New Order and the rest of the truly cool music that I still love - so my taste didn’t go terribly pedestrian.

Avril, indeed.

Man, I feel old.


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