Speaking of 1980s revival, The War On Drugs’s album from this year is every bit as Lite-beer-infused, trucker hats w/o irony, in the field Saturday rock as Ryan Adams’s effort or any non-synth-based neo-nostalgic act can be (speaking of which, look up nearly any “hit” band from this year on iTunes and count how many times the word “synth” is used in the description, my guess is you’ll get as far as I did the one time I drove down I-75 from Michigan to Florida and tried to count the Waffle Houses.)
Which is all very odd to say for a guy who is at heart a singer-songwriter. Still, even, the most thoughtful lyrics and constructions can be overshadowed by glossy production and the ubiquitous “Woo”s populating all the rockers on this LP.
But at the best of times this is an upbeat Tom Petty or an accessible Daniel Lanois. It’s good, but not everyday. Not every situation. And as much as the 80s is being thrust back upon us (which reminds me of things to add to my list of things that get under my skin: chunky wire-framed glasses, high-waisted jeans, ugly sweaters) it’s not entirely an unwelcome addition.
After all, is this the way our parents felt when we wore bell bottoms and flashed peace signs during 1960s-inspired days during Homecoming week? Are we approaching the stadium kitsch of the YMCA and the finger-pointing Travolta disco of Saturday Night Fever? Except this time with legwarmers, side ponytails, and Crystal Pepsi? Of course, I’m a few yrs behind on all of these things (though we can only wait and pray for Pepsi) but the point is still there: do the eras that get revived mean a seachange for our generation? Have we moved into the middle-aged pole position? Or, to be far more cynical, is this just companies’ lack of imagination and the aftermath of a JCPenny fire sale that too many H&M buyers attended (speaking of which, of all the people well-positioned for this revival, you’d think JCPenny would have a bit more humor/good business sense to essentially just republish all of their materials advertising Swatch, Bugle Boy, et al.)
But, alas, I’ve gone on too much already. As we prepare for the return of C&C Music Factory-inspired fashion trends in half a generation, maybe we should just be content to crack open a cold one, crank it up, and groove into the night. One Courtney Cox sway at a time.