By Emily Buresh
The 1980’s were an interesting time to be alive. Though I did see the entirety of the 80’s, I was still a kid. What I do remember was vibrant and full of color. It was the time when whites could dance and still look cool, punks began to hit the scene, life was full of hope to help the world, and the horror movie genre brought some scary creatures. However, not all of the 80’s were fun and games, in some major ways, it truly sucked.
I do stop and think back now and again when I hear a song on the radio. I remember Saturday morning cartoons and wanting to actually get up early to see them. I wanted to be like Cyndi Lauper while the other girls wanted to be like Madonna. I use to watch Breakfast Club over one of my friend’s house. It wasn’t always so fun. I remember the hardship my family went through, having problems with school, and not having enough money to afford the decadences that the 80’s brought about.
One major thing I do not miss from the 80’s is the hairstyles. Don’t remember? Allow me to begin with the Mullet. I know it was all the rage in the day, but frankly I never cared for it. It looked like you could only afford half a hair cut. Yes a mullet is "All business up front and a party in the back (include hair toss)", but wow. Granted the Mullet has been around for a while now, but the 80’s took it to another level. Some regions of the US, it is still popular and "in style". I think it needs to be retired in a deep black hole, never to see the light of day again. The bouffant of the 80’s got more and more outrageous as time passed. The amount of Aqua Net needed just to carry out a look I personally feel attributed to several holes in the atmosphere. If you didn’t sport the proper hairstyle, then you were considered uncool.
The 80’s also brought about the lifestyle "You can never be too young, too rich, or too thin". Money made this world go round. Everything and everyone could be bought, just depended on how much. Drugs propelled many in the modern world of technology. Anyone could get rich so long as you’re willing to pay the piper. This entire lifestyle didn’t take too long to burn out and completely crash.
The music and media of this time were very eclectic, bringing the end to disco and the beginning of the Kings of Metal, Michael Jackson began to become white and disturbed, and Milli Vanilli had just begun their scandalous journey. Pee Wee’s Playhouse was hysterical and entertaining. Unfortunately these icons of the media we all looked up to had a tremendous downfall. Some of the Kings of Metal still are out there rocking hard. However, the time for a lot of this is long gone. Stadium rock was beginning to bud and the artists who use to rock, for the most part still do. The newer artists somehow don’t carry the deifying qualities that the old school rockers did.
The biggest event I remember is the Challenger Space Shuttle that exploded in 1986. It was the first to have a teacher in space who was a local hero for us since she was from New England. It was absolutely devastating and had grounded the shuttle fleets for the next two and a half years. It did fuel a generation to explore space travel and space exploration, but that tragic day still holds a place in our souls.
After all is said and done, it was an interesting time to be alive, but I wouldn’t want to repeat it ever again. So when you hear the scintillating thrill of an early synthesizer or a tune that makes you want to break down and dance, think of the 80’s and just see how far we have come from the days of the Mullet and such tubular radness…Not!!
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The 80's Totally Ruled!
Twenty years ago today you would have found me watching The Smurfs and eating Cap’n Crunch in my Barbie pajamas while the musical stylings of Easy E wafted in from the other room. The year was 1988 and what is probably one of the greatest decades for creativity was still going strong even though it was supposed to be winding down. The 80s were so significant to various types of art and culture in fact, that they actually ended up continuing into the early 90s! Headbanger’s Ball ring a bell?
If I could choose just one word to describe the 80s it would be: fun. I grew up in the 80s and like anyone’s childhood, mine was a mixed bag of highs and lows and many things that were the complete opposite of fun. But even during the lows, living in a broken home, enduring abuse and all the other negative events that happened during that time I could always escape to my Care Bears. An imaginary world of characters with names like Apple Dumpling and Orange Blossom was only a short roller skating trip down the street to my friends house. Saturday mornings were, of course, the best though. A marathon of cartoons would play. One after the other from She-Ra to The Muppet Babies to Ghost Busters and they were all rad!
Later, movies and music would capture the interest of Generation Y kids like me. How can one not love the decade that gave us John Hughes movies and New Wave? The 80s saw the advent of Hip Hop which would go on to inspire artists across the board. The 80s brought us one of the greatest science fiction trilogies of all time! No, not that one, I’m talking about Back to the Future. Doy! And only in the 80s could Whitney Houston, Madonna and Guns N’ Roses co-exist at the top of the charts. Such diversity in all areas of pop culture were rampant during this time as would never be seen in quite the same way again and goddamit I miss it!
Let’s also not forget one of the most explosive elements of the 80s: fashion. Ok I know what you’re thinking, “Come on Lux, shoulder pads? Workout wear? Acid wash jeans??!” I won’t lie, a lot of experimenting was going on, to put it mildly. There were a lot of crazy trends. (Anyone remember the Hair Bear?) There were a lot of misses and a whole lot of WTF is that and who let you out of the house? But there were also a lot of hits. How many 80s revivals have there been in fashion in just the last ten years? Think about it, as far as trends go how many times have we seen the off the shoulder top? Or how about leggings? How often have today’s designers looked to the past, specifically the 80s, for inspiration? More times than I can count. While the most recent revival seems to be winding down, rest assured it will be back. Fashion in the 80’s was so wide-ranging that it will be a while before we finally run out of ideas to
So in short, if you grew up in the 80s you were a part of one of the most interesting and fun times in history as well as one of the most visually and musically creative. If you were an adult in the 80s, you were probably still recovering from the 70s. And if you missed them completely you are now the consumer of a pop culture that is so desperately trying to re-create the glory that once was.