Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Van Halen and 80s Synth driven Arena Rock vs Outkast and the Soul/R&B/funk/rock revival



This weeks blog post fascinated me as I have long been interested in music and looked forward to posting a couple songs that I think some up both the 80s and the current times.
'Jump!' by Van Halen not only is an awesome song but also a song that for me identified the true spirit of 80s pop culture. Crazy hair, Synthesisers and killer air guitar solos in this respect courtesy of Eddie Van Halen. The song as a genre attributes itself to a brand of arena/hard rock with driving synthesisers. It would undoubtedly sound good live as shown in the video although this is a 'mock' live recording. There were I number of songs I could have chosen including Toto's Rosanna a soft rock dynamo that exploded on to the billboard charts in 83 picking up song of the year. Also bearded Texan rockers ZZ Top rolling the mainstream rock charts with their album 'Eliminator' and the full throttle Sharp Dressed Man proving that highway orientated rock was still alive and kicking in 83.
What makes Van Halen's 'Jump' so noticeable is that the song somehow captures the essence of 80s excess and care free attitude of 80s youth, something the 'blank generation' of Less Than Zero needed, if they couldn't find happiness within themselves that had to find it through uplifting songs like these. Though it is somewhat ironic that this is a song stuck to a set period, in post-9/11 times your unlikely to hear it played in America too much.
'I get up, and nothing gets me down'.

The song that strikes me as a pinpoint track to current years is Outkast's 'Hey Ya' written and produced by Andre 3000.
Despite coming out relatively early this century, 2003, it still for me possesses an awesomeness significant to current times. It is a song that I'm sure will played in various clubs and events around the world in years to come. It is catchy, soulful, energetic and also noteworthy to current times in lyrics referring to singer Beyonce and actress Lucy Liu. Interestingly enough the lyrics: 'Shake it like a Polaroid picture' enhanced the sales of Polaroid cameras; the impact music has on digital industry eh?
The song captures the need for love and vibrancy amidst gloomy times, enhanced by the colourful aspect of the video, the mock seriousness of the gansta threatening Andre before he performs and the old style visually enhanced TV screen mimicking a certain 60s emergent genres of soul, R&B, rock and funk which the song ultimately interlinks.
The song and video reaped its rewards, achieving huge success on the 2004 MTV video awards winning Video of the year, Best Special effects and best art direction.
'I say what's cooler than bein' cool?.....'

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