Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback (on a Saturday) for December 30, 2011


[Ring in the New] -- I did not do a proper "New Year's Eve" post last year (OK, I didn't do a post at all), but I'll take a few moments to do a quick post this weekend. New Year's Eve is a holiday that does not exactly inspire its own set of season songs. We do have Harry Connick Jr.'s wonderful rendition of "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" and there are umpteen versions of "Auld Lang Syne." But there really isn't a canon of great New Year's songs. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the notion that New Year's songs, unlike songs about Easter or Christmas, are not about a particular event. They are about an attitude. They are about letting go of errors and reaching out for renewal. And so with that in mind, I offer up three songs for this, the last weekend of 2011. To find out what my selections are, read and hear more after the break.

Flashback #1"Our life together is so precious together."

My first selection for this weekend comes from a man who was shot 31 years ago this month. In October of 1980, John Lennon released the first single from his upcoming album, Double Fantasy, which was Lennon's first solo record since putting his music career on hold to raise his son, Sean Lennon. "(Just Like) Starting Over" was in the #3 position in the US on the day Lennon was shot (December 8, 1980) and the album, which had been released on November 19, was actually not doing all that well. However, after Lennon's death, "(Just Like) Starting Over" reached the #1 position on both US and UK charts. It was Lennon's biggest solo American hit, and the fourth single in history to reach the #1 position posthumously. Double Fantasy went on to win the 1981 Album of the Year Grammy at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards. We will never know what else Lennon could have achieved because he was taken from us too soon. So, what is your excuse for not achieving all you can in the coming year?



Flashback #2"I got a crazy teacher who wears dark glasses."

Our next flashback is "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades," the opening track from Timbuk 3's debut album, Greetings from Timbuk 3 (1986). It is one of those songs that appears celebratory on first blush, but a deeper read of the lyrics indicates a much grimmer story. You see, the bright future alluded to in this song is actually due to impending nuclear holocaust. So, while most folks heard this one-hit-wonder as a graduation theme, Pat MacDonald was drawing upon the decade's nuclear tensions and past dire predictions to create a rather bleak tune. Well, the human race did not turn their home into a big glowing ball of mud then, and I remain skeptically hopeful that they won't do it in this decade. But perhaps this song will serve as a bit of a reminder as well as incentive to really create a bright future.



Flashback #3"All is quiet on a New Year's Day."

Yeah, it is kind of a cliche to use this song on New Year's Day weekend, but I love it so it is our final flashback for the day as well as 2011. Released on January 1, 1983, "New Year's Day" was the first single from U2's first overtly political album, the fantastic and critically acclaimed War. Though it, too, has war as its underlying motif, I do not find it nearly as bleak as our previous flashback. Let me know if you agree. 



Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

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