What people think of as 80’s music today is heavily overweighted towards critical darlings who did not actually get much airplay back in the day. Contrary to portrayals in indie flicks, it was not all about Joy Division, Elvis Costello, and Squeeze. The real hits of the time were much more like Michael Jackson and a billion imitators, Phil Collins and a million imitators, and hair metal lite.
I was reminded of this because I’m in Portland, which seems to be the final resting place of 80’s music. Every bar, burger joint, and hair salon is blasting “Part Time Lover”, “Armageddon It”, and “Morning Train” on a constant rotation. If I hear “My Prerogative” one more time I’m going to scream.
Anyone who has spent the slightest amount of time on social networks will have noticed the rise of the unstoppable phenomenon that is the nightclub photo. I’m pretty sure that if all the “us at the club looking hot” snapshots were printed on real film and paper, the entire North American continent would be several inches lower than it is now. And it’s very evident that people work on perfecting their favorite poses, smiles, and lighting angles. If you don’t take a good nightclub photo, you’re just not a PLAYA.
But… after awhile… it starts to dawn on you: this is the new tourist snapshot. Except that instead of something marginally interesting to look at in the background, like the Eiffel Tower, you have… dark, anonymous nightclub. In every photo. And everyone knows that no one wants to look at your vacation photos.