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This 80’s Revival Thingy

Lady GaGa - Inxeplicably popular

Lady GaGa - Inxeplicably popular

La Roux, as if you didn’t know, have shot to number 2 in the charts with their new single ‘In For The Kill’. And, well, it’s all right. Rinky-dinky Kraftwerkian keyboards, some high-pitched ‘oooohs’ and ‘ahhhhs’ warbled away with as much fake passion as can reasonably be instilled and there you go. Pop hit. Even if it is redolent of Seona Dancing.

But it’s not alone. The Top 10 is filled with stuff like this. Dull Scottish retro-bore Calvin Harris, a man’s whose entire career can be summed up in the words ‘bit 80’s’ is at number one. Pointlessly massive Lady GaGa is at number 3 (seriously, who gave permission for this to happen? Were we all out when the vote was taken?) With MetroStation and Lily Fucking Allen in there as well, it seems we are in the midst of a bit of an 80’s revival. But are we?

Call me a suspicious old fella if you must, but I’m a tad cynical when this stuff just ‘organically’ lands on us, especially when everyone is major label backed. It’s lovely to believe that all over the UK gangs of teens were discovering their parents old Ultravox and Yazoo records, but it really does ask one to stretch credibility to an almost unimaginable degree. This is simply another phase and conclusive proof the already embattled industry are doing what they always do when their back is against the wall; recycling.

Now we are not against that at ELM per se – I was a child in the 80’s and the sounds make me feel nostalgic and warm, it’s like a bedtime milky drink – but the quality of the music is pretty shocking and the novelty of hearing a Casio beep again will only sustain this for so long. People have to believe that they are getting something new here; it’s fine to go back to the past, because otherwise you start from scratch, and scratch is a pretty impovrished place from which to begin. But you have to add value, to give some new, dramatic flavour. It’s why no-one listens to Oasis records any more. It’s what keeps music fresh, otherwise it’s just stale, repetitive churning of other people’s talent which ends up watering it down to unbearable levels.

And anyway, if we are to be forced fed an 80’s revival, let’s see some of the new breed grow a pair and try to sound like Jefferson Starship. Or Five Star. Something that would have the NME spilling it’s collective coffee on it’s collective skinny jean.Now, that would be impressive.

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2 Responses

  1. Advert on TV last night for the Ladyhawke album….the excerpts from the songs sounded identical. It appeared to be the same song with the attractive young lady in a different frock in each video. There is no depth to it as it is by its nature kitsch; as all revivals are.

  2. Betrand the 80s was kitsch personified so this revival pretty much has it spot on. I can say this with some level of authority since I was there and I was kitsch as well (but not as kitsch as some of my friends)

    Anyway since the 80s were my era I am loving the revival of the Roland Juno 6 and the Korg MS10 – long may it continue!!

    PS I really like the Ladyhawke album

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