Friday, March 6, 2009

Seeing the Signs of Music Nostalgia

I was reflecting, this morning, on the VH1 "I Love the (insert decade)" shows - based on a British series - that gained prominence in 2002-2003 with the release of"I Love the 80s". The miniseries' were widely popular, dedicating an hour to each year of the decade and waxing nostalgic about the foibles of those heady times. The show was so popular, in fact, that it spawned editions for other recent decades. "I Love the 70s" was almost equally beloved, however it was generally agreed upon that the string of shows jumped the shark when it tried to look back fondly in "I Love the 90s".

At that point the 90s were only roughly 4 years past and not enough time had passed to truly build up some rose colored glasses about the lamer aspects of the decade.

This got me thinking, though, about the phenomenon of "80s Night". Around the early 00s I began to notice clubs advertising - usually on some mid-week night or a Sunday - drink specials and a DJ set list comprised solely of songs no younger than 20 years old. The synth-heavy, hook-laden, hairspray-solidified grooves of 80s pop had returned and legions of 20-somethings packed dance floors to boogie down to the sounds of Ah-Ha, Flock of Seagulls, Depeche Mode, etc... While those that had originally busted a move to these swaying, robotic tunes were likely working late at the office or tucking in children, a new generation rediscovered the tunes that had served as the background for their young lives.

As my train of thought barreled forward I pondered how long it would be before I'd walk down a street only to be serenaded by the sweet sounds of Ace of Base or Jodeci seeping out of a crowded dance club. Are we three or four years away from once again trying to decipher the lyrics to "Blue" and contemplating the narcissism of "Mr. Vain"?

I feel like I should be terrified at the concept. And yet it sounds disturbingly fun...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's Official: A Radio Talk Show Host Runs the Republican Party

Earlier this week newly elected head of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele, when confronted with the statement that Rush Limbaugh was the de-facto leader of the Republican Party, asserted that Limbaugh's attitudes were "incendiary" and "ugly". The very next day Steele stated that he called Limbaugh to apologize after the radio personality excoriated Steele on his show.

A radio talking head upbraided the head of the Republican National Committee and the RNC chair backed down. Would Howard Dean have backed down if Al Franken had pitched a fit about some statement or other? Or would he say "You know what, Al, I was a U.S. governor and am currently orchestrating a strategy to re-take the Congress in the next two years, so run along and spout off into your microphone while I do some actual work"?

This has been a long time coming. Over the years more and more conservatives have been moving into the Limbaugh wing of the House That Ron Built and conservative policy makers have been fine allowing this to happen - even encouraging it as long as they were able to gain votes from it. The loose confederation of social and economic conservatives has been chased socially right-ward for so long by the Limbaugh attack dog - fed and fattened by Republicans in Congress and the White House - that the Red State Powers That Be no longer have control of them. The dog is out of control and pulling its former masters on its leash. That lawmakers are answering to a hate-spewing microphone-jockey who has never had to deal with the realities of politics for a day in his life should be frightening for all conservative politicians, but if they remain true to form - as Steele has - they will not raise a voice to change the situation because it might cost them votes.

This reminds me of the scene in The Matrix: Revolution when Neo is speaking to the machines and says, "The program, Smith, has grown beyond your control." Sadly for the Republican party, there does not appear to be a conservative "chosen one" to bail them out of this one.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Yet Another End of an Era

As some may already know, I've gotten into podcasting in recent weeks. I've never been into talk radio, so aside from a few (quickly forgotten) subscriptions in the early days of 'casting I haven't really followed the medium.

That's obviously changed and now I follow several including This American Life and The Geekspeak Radio Podcast. My favorite podcast, though, has to be Trivia War which is a shame because, as revealed on their forums and in their latest episode, the show will only be airing two more episodes before going on indefinite hiatus.

Trivia War is a quiz show taking on a different TV show/movie every week, occasionally hosting guests from other 'casts. It was funny, interesting, and the personalities were all super engaging. This weekly podcast will be sorely missed, though since I only got into it very recently I still have several shows to catch up on.

Boo =(