Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for November 18, 2011

[Suffering in Silence] -- Last week's flashback featured songs about children suffering from abuse (see Too Many Tears, posted November 11, 2011). At the end of that flashback post, I included linkage to organizations/agencies working to help current and prevent future victims. Well, over the course of a week, one of those organizations, via the Proud PSU for RAINN campaign, has raised over $400,000.00 (see link below)! But there is going to be more bad news before this is all over. The FBI, NCAA, and more media have descended upon State College, PA, with talk of deeper investigations, more victims, and darker cover-ups. And now the stain of sexual abuse has spread to other schools: a Syracuse University basketball coach has been accused of molesting two boys over the course of 16 years.

As all of this is still fresh in the public eye, I decided to roll over last week's theme into this week, and provide the organization links again (just in case case folks missed them and are still looking for a way to contribute in a positive manner). Here are the organizations I linked last week:
A grassroots network of PSU alumni os standing for victims of sexual abuse by supporting RAINN. They have joined together to mobilize the Penn State fan base – alumni, students and fans – to ensure something like this never happens again – anywhere
Creating safe environments where children and teens are safe from sexual harm is everyone’s responsibility. Join us by taking steps to protect the children in your community from sexual abuse.

Founded in 1959 by Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, Childhelp® is a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect.

For this week's 80s songs, read and hear more after the break.

Flashback #1"I'm tired of the excuses everybody uses."

The year was 1987. 10,000 Maniacs released their second major label album, In My Tribe. They were critical darlings, no doubt due to the help of Michael Stipe on the recording and a spot opening for R.E.M. on their Document tour. Maniacs' lead singer, Natalie Merchant, was charming the art school set and influencing their style choices for the next decade. The third single from In My Tribe, "What's the Matter Here," hit #9 on the Modern Rock charts and even climbed inside the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad for a song from the perspective of a young woman who notices that her neighbors are abusing their young son (but is too afraid to speak up).

Flashback #2"Last night I heard the screaming | Then a silence that chilled my soul."

When Tracy Chapman released her self-titled debut album in 1988, she immediately became the standard bearer for the slice-of-life, direct observation, singer-songwriter model. Her style was often praised for its honesty, but because the lyrics were so deceptively simple, she was also the target of a few comedians. "Behind the Wall," however, is no laughing matter. Although never released as a single, its brutal brevity seems tailor made as a Public Service Announcement against domestic abuse.  

Flashback #3"Do you want to dance with me | Through one of those lonely nights | It's more than a dream, maybe | We're reaching the gardens of delight."

In 1986, Alphaville released their sophomore album, Afternoons in Utopia. It was something of a concept album -- sci-fi synth/disco? -- but it still holds up pretty well, particularly considering it did not chart nearly as well as their first album, Forever YoungAfternoons in Utopia was recorded over a period of nine months and involved nearly 30 different musicians. Alphaville's lead singer, Marian Gold, reportedly said in an interview that the lyrics of "Dance With Me," our third and final flashback, refer to child prostitution. I have found two seemingly independent references to this on the web, but I have not found a copy of the actual interview. Still, having read the lyrics afresh, I can see some legitimacy to the claim. And I'll never be able to hear this song quite the same way again.

Three 80s tunes. Three organizations. My work this week is done. But we must all do what we can to ensure that physical/sexual/verbal/emotional abuse is stopped and relegated to the dustheap of history.

If this week's offering was a tad too somber, you might find another flashback more to your liking in the archives.

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