Tag Archives: the ’80s

Merry Christmas. Feed the World.

Do They Know It's Christmas

It’s December 24th. Christmas Eve. Let Them Eat Vinyl headquarters is a lively place tonight. We may or may not be getting drunk. And by that I mean we are. You know what else we are doing? Dancing around our living room, listening to our favourite Christmas song.

There are many great Christmas songs out there, but this one holds a special place in our hearts. The Finn was in high school when it was released, and tells me that everyone loved it — the punks, the headbangers, the new wavers, the rockers. It was a universal song, and those don’t come along too often. I was seven years old and actually living in Africa at the time, and although I was one of the lucky ones who never had to worry about food on my table, it’s important to remember that this is still an all-too-common problem in the world, almost 30 years after this song came out. So let’s continue Bob Geldof’s good works, and try to help out those less fortunate than ourselves, whenever and however we can.

This Christmas, we wish the best to you and your family. We love you, and we hope that you keep visiting our site, because it is our goal to entertain you and hopefully make you think about why you love music. Music is one of the greatest things in the world, and we are all lucky to have it.

So please enjoy our favorite Christmas song, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’:

p.s. How amazing is this song?? Paul Weller! Boy George! Simon Le Bon! Bono! Phil Collins on drums! And I am kind of crushing on a young Sting. Also, how beautiful is Jody Watley? Everyone looks so ’80s and awesome. We love it. Peace, love and joy to you all.


Guess It’s Goodbye Again

bangles

It’s been a slow week here at Let Them Eat Vinyl. Our apologies. The Finn is recovering from his prog odyssey, which kept him out until the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. I think he is still collecting his thoughts on the experience. As for me, my day job in magazine publishing works in a cyclical manner, with some weeks being supremely busy. This is one of those weeks, especially since we are putting out two issues at once. So unfortunately, you will have to live without my astute and engaging commentary for the time being. I know, it’s sad. You miss me. I miss you too. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back before you know it.

In the meantime, here is a song for you that I’ve been listening to a lot over the past few days. The Bangles are of course known for hits such as ‘Eternal Flame’ ‘Manic Monday’ and ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ but I love this short and sweet little tune of theirs, ‘James’. Not only is James one of my favorite names, there is just something super adorable about the way Susanna Hoffs sings this song about an unreliable boy breaking her heart. I think every girl out there has had at least one guy like this in her past (sometimes more than one, ahem). That is, the type of guy who is a total flake but you put up with it because they are super hot, or whatever. You just love them even though you know they’re going to end up letting you down. And when they invariably do, you really only have yourself to blame, for getting involved in the first place. It’s a lesson that every girl must learn — and most of us, if we are lucky, learn it fairly young. With this type of boy, you have to just enjoy the ride and not take things too seriously. You can’t lose your head and start thinking you can change him — that only leads to tears and frustration. Sometimes wisdom is knowing when to walk away. I like how this song captures all of that, while at the same time being pleasingly upbeat and poppy.

Also, I think we need to take a moment to acknowledge the insane hotness of Susanna Hoffs. Seriously, you guys. So ridiculously beautiful. I love her.

susanna hoffs

So here’s my Song of the Day, ‘James’:


I Love This Song Like a Lovesong, Baby

selena

We are not music snobs here at LTEV. If someone wants to throw on Britney Spears or Rush*, who are we to judge? (Please see: my embarrassing love for Enrique Iglesias). The point is, when it comes to music, you like what you like and there’s no sense fighting it.

*The Finn is the biggest Rush geek ever.

And yet…every once in a while I find myself totally loving a song that surprises even me. I mean, I know very well the type of ultra-cheesy pop that my taste in music sometimes veers towards (again, may I repeat, Enrique Iglesias) but this one…well, this was unexpected. Given the fact that I am not a tween and all (although I do watch the Disney channel fairly often, so, you know…I guess this actually does kind of make sense).

I blame the video. Sometimes a good video can allow a song to worm its way into your consciousness without you realizing it. I love this video. Selena Gomez is ADORABLE. Like, she looks like a tiny, perfect little doll, doesn’t she? I just want to scoop her up and put her in my pocket. The bit where she channels Max Headroom kills me. Kids these days! She is too cute for words.

selena

Selena is, of course, famously dating Justin Bieber. It would be supergross and pervy to have a crush on either one of them (especially him), but the two of them together are like the walking, talking embodiment of teenage first love & thus they are kind of fascinating to watch. When they break up, I wonder who will be the first to release a song about it. Is it wrong that I am kind of looking forward to finding out? Not to worry, it won’t happen any time soon! For now, their love is still “magical, lyrical, beautiful…” And I keep hitting re-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat…


Pretty In Pink, Isn’t She?

Pretty in Pink

Aw, you guys. Seeing Pretty in Pink on the big screen was just as good as I had hoped it would be. Even though I’ve watched it a million times on DVD (not to mention every time it’s on TV), there’s just something about being there in the theatre getting the full moviegoing experience that makes it really special.

This time around, I kept thinking about the fact that Robert Downey Jr. auditioned for the role of Duckie Dale and came very close to winning the part. If RDJ had been cast, I think it would have been an entirely different movie. I mean, Jon Cryer did an excellent job and imbued the character with a certain exasperating-yet-endearing charm, but there were no sparks between him and Molly Ringwald. If you watch the movie picturing RDJ in the role, you can definitely imagine Andie ending up with Duckie instead of Blane.

This works for me. You?

Anyway, here are my thoughts on seeing the movie again in the theatre, 25 years after the first time…

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You Always Said We’d Meet Again…Someday…

pretty in pink

Today is a beautiful day. It’s sunny out and (relatively) warm, it’s Friday, and I am in a great mood. But more important than all of those things put together is the fact that tonight, I am going to see…oh, only one of the best movies of all time on the big screen.

Whether or not you are a fan of John Hughes, you have to admit that his films were a huge part of 80s pop culture, helping to cement the careers of a handful of young actors (Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, Eric Stoltz, Ally Sheedy, to name a few), and were seminal in the establishment of the teen movie as a genre. Which, as far as I’m concerned, was one of the most important developments of the 20th century. Sure, there were a few other “big” things that happened (women achieving the right to vote, desegregation, man walking on the moon, the invention of the internet by Al Gore, etc) but I’d say that the creation of the modern teen movie ranks pretty high up there.

Although The Breakfast Club is probably considered his masterpiece, Pretty in Pink is my favorite John Hughes movie (with Some Kind of Wonderful coming in a close second). Pretty in Pink has everything — great music, unbelievably awesome 80s fashion, a classic love triangle, new-wave hairdos…all set amidst the backdrop of the ’80s high school class divide (rich kids vs. poor kids, preps vs. outcasts) — obviously a recurring theme in Hughes’ work. Throw in a young James Spader in a crumpled linen suit in what is surely the most amazing portrayal of a rich sleazebag ever to hit the big screen, and what’s not to love?

steff

I mean, look at this guy.

james as steff

The disdainful smirk, the unbuttoned shirt, the feathered hair… goddamit, everything about this look is complete & utter perfection.

There’s one scene in the movie in which Blane (Andrew McCarthy) takes Andie (Molly Ringwald) to a party, and they stumble upon Steff (James Spader) and his rich bitch girlfriend Benny hooking up in one of the upstairs bedrooms, and oh my god Steff and Benny behave like such awesomely horrible rich douchebags to her that it makes me want to punch myself in the face from pure joy.

Steff + Benny

I need these two in my life so they can sit around all day making disparaging remarks about my outfits. Somebody please make this happen.

Anyway, I can feel this quickly devolving into a rant about why Steff is the best character in the movie so I’ll stop here for now, but there are many other amazing parts of this movie that we need to discuss (Duckie’s fashion stylings! Harry Dean Stanton! Annie Potts as Andie’s record store boss!) I’ll be posting this weekend about my thoughts on seeing Pretty in Pink again on the big screen, 25 years after I first saw it in theatres (I was 10). Will it live up to expectations? Will it be as good as it was all those years ago?*

*Spoiler alert: of course it will. Obviously I own the DVD and watch it every few months.

Most importantly, we will examine the music that appears throughout the movie and determine whether Hughes hit the mark with the songs he chose for the soundtrack.

I’m taking a walk down memory lane tonight, my friends. If all goes according to plan, at around 10:30 pm I will be sitting in a dark movie theatre sobbing with happiness as this song plays during the movie’s epic final prom scene:

“We’ve always had time on our sides
Now it’s fading fast
Every second, every moment
We’ve got to, we’ve gotta make it last…”


I’ve Been Thinking, Thinking About You, About Us…

emma louise

So, here’s the deal. There’s this awesome new scripted show on MTV (I know, right? I totally thought they were only doing reality shows now) called Awkward. I’ve tried to force The Finn to watch it with me, but he’s having none of it, because it’s a “teen” show. For anyone out there who likes that sort of thing (which I’m guessing is not many of you since you’re probably not as lame as I am), find this show online and watch it now, I’m telling you. It’s got a lovably snarky main character (Jenna), awesomely weird friends, plus the requisite super-hot-but-emotionally-distant love interest (Matty) as well as a secondary nice-guy love interest (Matty’s best friend, Jake. Oh yes people, it’s that kind of love triangle. I mean, the Best Friend Love Triangle. This will not end well). At the end of the season finale, our main character is torn between Matty and Jake, but there are some MAJOR swoons going on all over the place and honestly, I don’t even know who I like best. I keep going back and forth. Emotionally Distant Matty is totally…well, emotionally distant, but he is so cute. Witness:

matty & jenna

Awwww...are these two meant to be together or what?

Jake, on the other hand, is REALLY nice and totally into Jenna and not making her hide their relationship. So he gets major points for that.

jenna & jake

Also cute together...gah! I can't decide!

But Matty and Spencer Jenna really do have the best chemistry, and in the end chemistry trumps all, right? Plus Matty definitely redeems himself big time in one of the final episodes, which has a ‘Sixteen Candles’ theme — obviously one of the best movies of all time, and not only because Molly Ringwald’s character’s name is Samantha (which just so happens to be the given name of yours truly).

Anyway, it was during this episode that I first heard today’s Song of the Day. It’s playing in the background just after Matty knocks on Jenna’s door and proceeds to be totally adorable and emotionally available at last, which we all know is the magical formula for getting into the pants of teenage girls (or probably girls of any age, for that matter).

awkward

Yeah...she didn't stand a chance.

So here’s today’s Song of the Day, ‘Jungle’ by Emma Louise:


Blue Peter & Chalk Circle: New Romantics and The Oshawa Tree

Saturday, October 1st — Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto

Tonight in the city there are no neighborhoods, only letters — A, B and C. Nuit Blanche has begun and the streets are coming alive with people ready to interact with art and each other. You have to decide which letter will begin your experience. For me, it’s B for Blue Peter and C for Chalk Circle. These names sound like Pop Art and minimalist paintings — I am obviously getting into the feel of Nuit Blanche.

I arrive at the Phoenix Concert Theatre halfway through Blue Peter’s set. On stage Paul Humphrey is sharply dressed. He looks like he could be on the set of Twin Peaks. His delivery is a collage of David Byrne, Ian Curtis and Bryan Ferry — so much coming at you at once, he is a compelling front man. I get to hear my favorites, ‘Radio Silence’ and ‘Don’t Walk Past’. These songs seamlessly fuse the condensed drone and angles of post punk with the smooth crooning of the New Romantic period. “Don’t walk on past”– you just wanted to whisper it to that girl in the hall, but it seemed so hard. A great, earnest, self-conscious love song. Check the video – it won Best Video of 1983 from the Canadian Film and Television Association.

Chalk Circle takes the stage and I overhear a group of people discussing how pleasantly surprised they are by the turnout. I am too. Chalk Circle recorded one EP and 2 albums during the 80’s. Their biggest selling record, The Mending Wall, was recorded at Quest Studios in Oshawa, Ontario and dubbed ‘The Oshawa Tree’. Is Chalk Circle Canada’s U2? Maybe, but only if you insist on viewing all things as derivative of others. If creating earnest, thoughtful and politically conscious rock & roll makes them Canada’s U2 then sure, it’s a fair comparison. But it always pissed me off when people would say that about Chalk Circle. It is so rare when an artist is able to create a new color in the spectrum — when it happens it is monumental and everyone is affected. I would argue (and I wouldn’t be alone) that The Edge created a new color with his guitar sound with U2. And yeah, Chalk Circle were inspired by that, along with millions of other people — but to dismiss their music as “U2-lite” does them a disservice. These are some great songs. Whew…looks like this show is stirring up lots of thoughts and emotions for me. OK, I’m done for now. But I will never stop taking the piss out of music snobs — no room for them.

I’m feeling fired up. Chris Tait is sneering away and Brad Hopkins’ bass is punching, pushing, and pulling me around. It’s nice to hear the bass way up front. As I’m getting my groove on I’m beginning to feel the political weight of the 80’s. It starts with ‘This Mourning’ with Tait spitting out the lyrics: “It’s 11 o’clock and they talk of him / About the eve of destruction / And a new ray gun / For my defense / A mended fence”. I’m taken down memory lane right back to “Ray-Gun Reagan”, Star Wars weapons in space, and the arms race. Later, they play the pretty guitar song ‘N.I.M.B.Y.’ — a term that was new to me in high school. Now that I am a land owner ‘N.I.M.B.Y.’ tests me, revealing things I didn’t know about myself and my ideologies. Wow, I am tripping now — loud music and politics filling my head. Then comes the hammer fall of ‘Sons and Daughters’ a seething indictment of Free trade: “They see gold in your trees and gold in your people / They’ll be panning for it in your water”. I begin to remember the uncertainty and anxiety during the 80’s about how Free Trade would change Canada. It felt like our sovereignty and economic future was up for grabs and the Americans were getting too good of a deal.

I leave the concert with a warm feeling and a head full of politics, and I like it. Election signs are all over the place, on people’s lawns and on store fronts. Election week is upon us, and this is the perfect time to think about what kind of politics we want for Ontario.


Oh Baby Please Give A Little Respect to the ’80s

a little respect

I’ve been thinking about the ‘80s a lot lately. I mean, I always think about the ‘80s, because I am obsessed with them. But I’ve been thinking about them even more than usual, because I’ve been reflecting on my childhood and realizing that I had it pretty good as a kid.

I know people argue that nostalgia is a lens that makes the past look better than it actually was, and they’re not wrong — but you guys, growing up in the ‘80s was pretty awesome. I mean, I was too young to be worried about the economy, or Reaganomics, or doing too much coke. No, for me the ‘80s were all about ALF, John Hughes movies, sitcoms starring Michael J. Fox and Jason Bateman, and sleepovers where we listened to Debbie Gibson and experimented with blue eyeshadow (bad) and crimping our hair (worse). When people think about the ‘80s now it’s reduced to stereotypes — everyone was running around in acid-wash jeans and neon socks with new-wave hairdos. This is sort of true. I remember owning a lot of day-glo clothing and loving it. I also had an acid-wash jean skirt (ruffled no less!) that was my pride and joy. But the ‘80s were a lot more nuanced than we give them credit for, and there was some pretty rad stuff going on. I read a great book recently, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It’s set in 2044 and the world is looking pretty grim. A series of climate crises have ravaged the earth and the general population is living in crippling poverty. Most people spend almost all of their time plugged into a system called OASIS (like the Matrix, but people are actually aware that it isn’t reality) that was designed by an eccentric billionaire obsessed with the ‘80s of his childhood. When he dies without an heir, he leaves a series of clues to his vast fortune hidden within the OASIS, and each clue requires those seeking his treasure to be well-versed in ‘80s pop culture. I won’t say too much, but check it out if you get a chance & are so inclined — I couldn’t put it down.

Anyway! As much as I loved the ‘80s of my childhood, I can’t help but be a bit jealous of the Finn — I was a mere youngster during that decade (I turned 14 in 1990) but the Finn was an actual TEENAGER in the ‘80s! When I look back through hid photo albums it’s all there — prom pictures featuring girls in pink and blue pastel puffy-sleeved dresses, the guys decked out in white ruffled tuxes. The hair is simply amazing — new wave, mullets, hair-sprayed bangs for the girls, and even one adventurous friend with a mohawk. Everyone just looks like they’re having so much fun — and yes, I know, nostalgia is a lens — but I’ve asked the Finn, and he tells me that they were having fun, that high school in the ‘80s was awesome. Those halcyon days before the advent of grunge and the inherent angst and apathy of the ‘90s. Don’t get me wrong, I love the ‘90s too, they were the decade that saw me through my teenage years and young adulthood. But the ‘90s bounced from one extreme to another, from the too-cool-for-school pessimism of grunge (everyone’s a sellout! damn the man!) to the soulless cheese of Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys-era pop. And don’t even get me started on the age of irony and contrarian hipsters that the new millennium has spawned.

the finn

The Finn as a teen. You know why he's so happy? Because the '80s rule.

Anyway, my favorite stories of the Finn’s are the ones about his high school dances, where everyone in his group of friends would pile onto the dance floor as a collective group and sing along with the words to Roxette’s ‘The Look’ or Gowan’s ‘Moonlight Desires’. Apparently everyone knew the moves for Men Without Hats ‘Safety Dance,’ and when to do the hand claps during Kim Carnes’ ‘Bette Davis Eyes’. How awesome is that? I picture it as a utopia of synth riffs, dance beats, and unbridled enthusiasm. And yeah, maybe I am idealizing the past. But I’ll tell you this: if anyone ever gets around to inventing a time machine, I’m setting the dial back to 1985 and hightailing it to the nearest high school prom. Maybe I’ll see you there. I’ll be the one in the white suit, pink shirt, skinny tie and day-glo socks.

In honor of the ‘80s, my Song of the Day is one of my faves from that era, Erasure’s ‘A Little Respect’. See ya on the dance floor!


Hurts So Good

BOOK REVIEW FOR: This Is Gonna Hurt

Author: Nikki Sixx

this is gonna hurt
What’s the Story, Morning Glory: the continuing saga of a rock ‘n roll icon

Who Are You: a modern-day Renaissance man

Do Ya Think I’m Sexy: both in print and in person, a resounding yes

Le’ts Give Them Something To Talk About: the state of the Crüe

Paperback Writer: no holds barred

Add It Up: truly a delightful surprise


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Let the Good Times Roll: The Cars Reunion Show

move like this

In the days leading up to seeing The Cars I had that same excited feeling I had before seeing The Police. I’ve loved both of these bands since I was first able to buy their 45’s with my allowance money. Now I had the money and means (my bike) to see The Cars play on Friday, May 20th at the Sound Academy in Toronto. I chanced it and did not buy a ticket. It was a Friday night on the first long weekend of the summer — of course I’m going for scalpers. After some haggling I got a $76 ticket for $35, not bad. It was an early start, 8pm — that’s the way I like it nowadays. You have choices after the show — go out or go to sleep.

I love going to reunion gigs. You get a chance to mingle with your contemporaries and relive all the great moments that the band has given you over the years. The first challenge was finding a good spot. I settled in about halfway back from the front near the bar, and there he was: Mr. Rick Ocasek — standing like a statue delivering his beat poet prose. To his left, Greg Hawkes ripping synth riffs that laid the blueprint for New Wave and cut into you, making you question “do we even need guitars?” After a somewhat sluggish version of “My Best Friend’s Girl,” Ocasek dedicated the next song, “Touch and Go,” to Benjamin Orr with Greg Hawkes playing bass. The audience responded with warm applause. I got the feeling we were all thinking about how much Orr is missed, recognizing the loss and pulling for them to play his songs (“Just what I Needed”, “Let’s Go”, “Candy-O”, “Drive”…)

The highlights included “Touch and Go” — going from lonely despair to a clickety clack country ride, “Let’s Go” — with the audience screaming “I like the night life baby,” the condensed pounding of “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” and the trippy, uneasy “Moving in Stereo” (yes, I did think of the scene in Fast Times Ridgemont High). “Sad Song” and “Free” from the new album Move Like This reminded me that they can still craft smooth ballads and angular, bouncy pop songs with equal aplomb.

Was I blown way? No. Did I have smile on my face all night? Yes…and I bought the T-shirt.


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