I’ve suspected for some time that when most folks say they’re into ’80s music, they don’t mean what I mean whey I say I’m into ’80s music. I’ve simply refused to ever leave the ’80s. I’d guess two thirds of my iPod is either stuff I was listening to then, or stuff from then that I didn’t get into until later.
(And if something modern is on there, it’s even odds it’s because it reminds me of the ’80s.)
I’ve written before of my particular affection for ’80s Canadian AOR/hard rock. There’s just…a vibe about it. That’s a rich vein to mine, because as much of it as I was into then, there are always “new” artists around the corner I’ve never heard/heard of. They’re masters of the car stereo song.
I’ve never picked too much at common technical threads for these kinds of songs. I’m sure there are chord selections, progressions, and so forth identifiable as belonging to most of them. I just know them when I hear them, and that’s a gut thing. There are big, singable choruses. There are loud, crunchy guitars, unapologetic in their vulgarity. Slow tempo is rare.
The concept scales well, too. It doesn’t have to be poppy ’80s hard rock. Buckcherry’s “Riding” is a good modern example. Velvet Revolver has done a couple, which perhaps isn’t surprising given that band’s personnel. It’s just that the ’80s were a particularly rich decade for it.
My current wayback music project is Lee Aaron—an artist I never heard of until two weeks ago, and one I’m listening to a hell of a lot of now. Here’s “Hands On”—a marvelous example of the kind of song I’m talking about (turn it up, baybee!):