Recently, I had the urge to hear some of the dance tracks that were popular when I was in junior high school. “All-Night Passion (gets me through the day)” by Teena Marie, “Let the Music Play” by Shannon. There was “I Wonder If You Take Me Home” by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam Full Force (My husband says I’m the only person who says “Full Force,” but I saw Lisa Lisa say the full name with righteous attitude on some award show so I’m not making it up.) God, that last title was particularly awful and had the singular power to make me feel utterly alone in the world, making me wonder when will this NJ adolescent hell end?
But time is a funny thing. Music I used to despise now makes me smile. Maybe nostalgia is like booze, making you feel warm and fuzzy towards life; you start to hug strangers. (Okay, perhaps not so much.) AC/DC, for example, is a band that benefits from this desire to revisit the past. If you dug “Back in Black” at my school, that meant you were into acid wash jeans, fringe leather jackets, and mullets. Today, it’s an honorable song to like and I think back on the kids called “the metal heads” with affection. And actually, AC/DC’s hits are great songs. Have you heard the beginning guitar intro of “Shook Me All Night Long”? Please. Just stop right there.
I was hoping I would have the same reaction to the “guido” (oy, an NJ word; any substitute suggestions?) dance hits of yore that I imagine blared on the stereos during junior high school Valentine and holiday dances, the gym lined with a perimeter of my teen peers steadfastly refusing to dance/move/respond to the music, paralyzed by shyness. (Though these kids were less shy than I was, since I never even showed up for one of these things.)
I was like this close to downloading tunes from Itunes, but there’s some station in NYC where Whoopi Goldberg does the a.m. show and they’ve been playing these old hits, probably b/c they’ve identified their audience as thirtysomethings flashing back hard to the tri-state area’s version of the 80s…and I hate to say it, time has done nothing for this line of music. At first listen, I kind of bounced the apartment to the beats, but…the songs are still pretty awful.