Friday, December 17, 2004

A stroll down the musical memory lane 

An unfortunate MSNBC story about Erasure's Andy Bell being HIV positive took me back to an earlier time -- specifically, 1986 to 1993.

During this period in my musical life, I particularly liked a genre that had no clear-cut name at the time, except that it was sort of "new wavey." In the article about Bell, it mentioned "synth pop" -- a term I had heard, I suppose, but never really thought about.

Thanks to the very-handy Wikipedia, I now know that synth pop is exactly what I enjoyed. They provide not only a definition, but also representative artists from the 80's and 90's.

You'd likely recognize many of the 80's groups: Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Depeche Mode. The 90's groups: eh...not so much. Sometimes you can't see change until it's already come and gone; but in this case even at the time -- as I listened to Pearl Jam's "Alive" -- I knew synth pop was not long for this world.

Many of the old groups, including Erasure, are still kickin' around today and have their loyal fans. The new stuff sounds too "different" to merit much airplay in today's homogenous radio environs-- and its time for mainstream popularity has admittedly passed. But when I go back and listen to those old CD's and tapes, the connection to that time and that music remains. So here's hoping Andy Bell stays healthy and keeps doin' his thing.

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