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Posts Tagged ‘husker du’

Critics of our postmodern age love to point out that the invention of the popular, portable, personal music systems in the late 1970s contributed to an increasingly fragmented and walled-off social formation.  In a typical “get off my lawn” moment, they neglect the fact that the development of mass transit in the 1800s already underscored this urban fragmentation that had been in full effect for, oh, thousands of years.  All the invention of the iPod and similar devices did was extend the variety that was available to each commuter.  The question is how to put this variety to the service of full sensory effect.  Hence the following Authoritative Running Downhill Guide to Early Morning Elevated or Subway or Surface Train Commute Music:

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There was a time in my life when music from the 1980s, by and large, was something to be avoided.  Put aside the torn jeans, the hair, the bangles/Bangles, and the fluorescent colors for the moment.  It was the sound itself.  The synth bleeps and blips, the electronic drums, the chorused out guitars, all of this sound heavily processed…I couldn’t stand any of this stuff.  It made no matter if it was Steve Winwood’s Arc of a Diver, Guns n’ Roses, Madonna, or Prince.  I simply didn’t want to hear it.

Something shifted, though.  Whereas before the production on most music of my early years (1981-88 or ’89) felt sterile and boring, over the past few years, those same records have all started to take on aspects which (I hesitate to use the word “nostalgia”) remove me from my immediate/imminent life.  I cannot tell if this is due to the distance I have from the ubiquity of that sound, or due to changes in my own psyche and ears, but either way, there is no denying it.  My relationship with music from the eighties has blossomed from one based on indifference and vague loathing to one based on emotional attachment.

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