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The Real 1985

October 1 2004 11:14 PM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

Okay, I keep hearing that Bowling for Soup song "1985". I hear people raving about it, like it's the greatest thing evar. (Apparently written by the guys in SR-71.)

I can't stand the song.

I know it's supposed to be this fun pop-culture reference, but how did they blow it that badly? 1985 was probably the first year I really and truly loved. Maybe I was just paying attention and the songwriters weren't.

For starters, "Pretty in Pink" came out in 1986. There are plenty of memorable movies that came out in 1985 that would have been worth referencing instead. As a guy, I'd say Weird Science, The Goonies, and the hands-down winner amongst my peers: Back to the Future. (Not counting my latter-day favorites in Real Genius and Better Off Dead.) I know, the song's about a girl, so some of those wouldn't work. But there are many, many other choices. Even Sixteen Candles would have been closer, granted that it came out late in 1984. Other choices: IMDB: 1985 Movies.

Okay, Madonna, Duran Duran, Motley Crue, fine. U2 had a couple of minor hits prior to 1985, but really wasn't "huge" in the US until The Joshua Tree in 1987. (The older "cool kids" I knew listened to the live Under a Blood Red Sky.) Whatever. But Blondie? Went on hiatus in 1983. And, unlike today, popular radio in the mid-80s didn't play "old" songs (except in December and January, which was always my favorite time of the year for radio for that reason).

Better choices: Bryan Adams. Dire Straits. Culture Club. The Cars. Howard Jones. Ratt. Hall & Oates. Huey Lewis. Phil Collins. Prince.

That part is optional, honestly. The giant glaring flaw, however, is the line about "she was gonna shake her ass on the hood of Whitesnake's car". The reference is Tawny Kitaen on the hood of a couple of luxury cars in the video for Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again". Released in 1987. Oops.

And, see, if she knows about that, she's going to know about the "new Van Halen singer" because 5150 came out in 1986 (about a month after Pretty in Pink).

The video's no better. If you're going to parody George Michael in a video about 1985, dance around like a little priss in a "CHOOSE LIFE" t-shirt. The video for "Faith" didn't come out until 1988, and seemed like an effort to distance himself from his Wham! persona.

And, not that it matters, but when did Ozzy become an actor? In 1986. He had a small role in a cheezy horror flick called Trick or Treat. And he wasn't playing himself. (Regardless, does anybody consider his footage in The Osbournes to be "acting"?)

I know, I know, I'm taking this way too seriously. But how hard is it to write a song about a year and reference things that happened in that year?

Plus, the song just sucks, ignoring the lyrics.

Strangely, the Manic Street Preachers have a new song called "1985". (I doubt it'll get airplay here, but it's the lead-off track from their upcoming album.) And, even though I've only heard it a couple of times, wanna know what I like about it? It's actually reminiscent of the period. Musically, it doesn't sound that far from the synth-based stuff of that year. Which puts it about ten miles closer than Bowling for Soup.

So... how about that debate on Thursday? Yep, I pick the important topics of the day to rant about.

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