I’m a huge 80s fan; as in big, even colossal! I love the movies (Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Flashdance, even the Goonies). I love the television shows (Golden Girls and Miami Vice, I miss you!) I love the fashion . . . OK, well maybe, I can do without big hair, neon shirts, and leg warmers. But still, I love the 80s! If I could go back in time (like Michael J. Fox did with his car or John Cusack with a hot tub), I would do it in a heartbeat. And you know what I love most about the 80s (besides Cabbage Patch dolls and Pac-man?): I love the music! I simply adore the “Only In My Dreams, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Like a Virgin, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” kind of music that gets my toes tapping and my hips swaying.
I don’t know what it is about that decade, but somehow it always brings me back to the sweet memories I have growing up (am I showing my age?) In fact, if I were to make a slideshow of my life, it would be set to the Casy Kasem Top 40 hit songs of the 80s!
It’s amazing. I will be shopping at the mall, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I will hear a familiar melody: Madonna will be singing “Crazy for You” and I’ll stop dead in my tracks. I’ll smile and have the sudden urge to buy myself a polka dot miniskirt, “Boytoy” belt and fishnet gloves. It never fails.
And then it hits me; the reason why I love 80s songs so much; the reason why these songs have such a hypnotic effect on me: It’s because songs are just as powerful as books.
Songs are nostalgic, reminding me of places I’ve been to and people I’ve met (I can’t listen to “Is This Love?” without remembering my first boyfriend). Songs uplift me when I’m feeling down (I’ve been known to belt out “All By Myself” after a bad breakup). Songs inspire me (I can definitely climb several flights of stairs to the “Rocky” theme song). Songs have marked important events in my life (my first slow dance, my wedding song, the songs I sang to my children at bedtime).
And as a writer, I’ve come to understand that songs are just like short stories, essays or novellas; truly literary works of art. Like the books that I read or write, songs paint a vivid picture, tell a riveting story, and transport us to another time and place.
Like the favorite books I love to read time and time again, I also have favorite songs: these, I play over and over and never get tired of hearing. I’ve memorized verses and can hum melodies absentmindedly. I sing along to the radio with my friends (while driving to a party) or I sing by myself in the shower (when I think no one else can hear me).
So tonight, instead of curling up in my bed with a good book (as I’m known to do most nights), I am going to put on my headsets, turn to the playlist on my cell phone and drift off to sleep to the soothing voice of Phil Collins singing “Against All Odds.”
Ah, the 80s! I suddenly miss my Sony Walkman for some strange reason . . .