As Jason and I plan our next party, I'm nearing completion on the mix CDs for it. Since every party we throw has some sort of theme, this one will double as an anti-Valentine's Day party and a birthday party for me. Instead of putting on a bunch of downer songs on the mix CDs like I did last year, I've decided to put on songs all from the '80s, downers and non-downers. Plus, I'm doing something I would have thought was stupid a year ago: mixing Top 40 pop hits with college rock hits.
To avoid what I think are major musical trainwrecks, I've decided to stay away from jumping around musical genres too much. I'm sticking mostly with the pop and rock genres, but I think some rap, post-punk and punk rock can slide through.
I've been to a few '80s-themed parties over the years. While I love hearing the familiar Top 40 hits, I feel there is too much other good stuff that is left out because it didn't get play on Top 40 radio back in the day. Well, I want to see how acts like the dB's, Michael Jackson, Gary Numan, Dead Kennedys, Van Halen, Echo & the Bunnymen, Soft Cell, Bon Jovi, The Cure, Billy Joel, Dag Nasty, The Police, Tears for Fears, Pixies, Loverboy, Duran Duran, Gang of Four and Crowded House fit together. If you want to look at social relevance at the time they originally came out, this is like the outcasts hanging out with the jocks and cheerleaders in harmony. However, I'm not interested in social relevance here. I want to hear good songs whether they were left of the dial or elsewhere back in the day.
Of course sound production is going to fluctuate going from something like "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson into "Holiday in Cambodia" by Dead Kennedys, but I want to hear some better variety with my '80s music. As someone who enjoys my Like, Omigod - The '80s Pop Culture box set as much as my Left of the Dial box set, I want to hear a number of tracks from both sets.
As a way of honoring the music I grew up on in the '80s (pop music) along with the music I can now better understand (underground music), I don't want to turn this into a safe, "play the hits" mix. That kind of model works well for people that want to keep people dancing, but we're talking "background music" here.
I'll admit it; if I'm not really mingling with our guests elsewhere, I'm in the room with the stereo and paying close attention to the songs. Maybe I'm really that socially inept, but if I'm more intrigued with the music, I see what kinds of conversations I can strike up with people in the same room.
So there you have it; a wild variety of songs from a decade that many say "didn't matter" because of its disposable nature. Disposable? Why do I keep getting the feeling that the '00s is a retread of the '80s? Why do I keep thinking that others say these kinds of times don't matter do matter for others? What I mean is that the time we have does matter. This includes the music that we listen to; the disposable and the meaningful.