Was the ’90s the last great decade? That’s a question I recently came across while reading an edition of USA Weekend. I only skimmed the article, but I already knew my answer to the question was an easy, “no.” There are a few things I do cherish from that decade like raising my son and watching my brother play college football for the University of Northern Iowa. (Go Panthers!) I also owned a music store, for five years, during what some call the “decade of alternative media & alternative music.” I never had a job, prior to or since, that I enjoyed as much as when I owned Mac’s Compact Disc Shop. There really wasn’t much for me to like about the ’90s, other than the previously mentioned, especially after just experiencing my favorite decade to date (the ’80s), so the new decade was destined to be a letdown.
The ’90s brought us the first internet boom. Technology can be a good thing. With my blog I am able to reach all four of my faithful readers without having to use a single stamp. However, what I find to be quite humorous is the recent wave of “in depth” reports, on the subject of technology, flooding our television airwaves. “Could you live without your cellphone, or iPad, for a week?” That tends to be the most commonly asked question, proposed by reporters, on these type of “news” programs. Initially I can’t help but chuckle, at the absurdity of the question, but then I realize there are probably an infinite number of people who would answer, “no,” and sincerely mean it. Seriously? Food, water, and the air we breathe are necessities. Cellphones, iPads, laptops, and even the internet are not. At least they shouldn’t be, or at the very least we shouldn’t allow ourselves to become so dependent on them.
Does anyone else even remember the Y2K scare? This country was in such a frenzy because we didn’t know if our advanced technology during that time would be able to handle the transition into a new century. We feared the possibility of a significant number of computers crashing, since our nation had become so reliant on them, and the impending consequences associated with such a disaster. Fortunately the severity of damage, resulting from the Y2K scare, was barely even a blip on the radar screen, but unfortunately the near catastrophe was then quickly forgotten about, so we rapidly became even more ensconced in technology without considering any of the future ramifications. The world hasn’t been the same since the explosion of technology, and that’s a bad thing.
I think the ’80s was the last great decade. What’s not to love about Discmans, boom boxes, big hair, and I-zod shirts with the collars worn up? Well, that last example may be pushing it a bit too far. I admit to being partial to the ’80s since I found my future wife, graduated high school, got married, and experienced the birth of my son during that decade, but there was so much more. The ’80s ushered in the largest variety and arguably the best music of all-time. Prince, Madonna, and Michael Jackson were in their prime. Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Aerosmith, and Van Halen had made huge comebacks in the music industry. New Wave Music (Blondie, Devo, Duran Duran) was introduced to mainstream radio, for those seeking something out of the ordinary, and Rap and Country were still available for those with minimal good taste. Most importantly Glam Metal was in full swing with Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, and Poison leading the way.
Stryper, for whom you are now familiar with and no longer puzzled by, if you’ve been reading my blogs, was discovered by the mainstream music world, via Music Television (MTV), although at first the network was reluctant to broadcast the Christian band’s videos. The spandex and make-up wearing quartet fit the Glam Metal genre to a tee, but MTV was concerned about how their viewers would respond to “God Rock.” They soon had their answer when Stryper’s “Free” and “Honestly” both became the most requested video on the television station’s popular call-in show, Dial MTV. This was at a time when MTV actually showed music videos all day long, instead of airing a bunch of asinine reality shows, and the new short video format became a force in the music industry during the ’80s.
I remember my first encounter with MTV very well. I had stopped by my aunt’s house, and as I entered the living room I was captivated by what I saw on the television screen. It was a beautiful woman, with a unique voice, singing a pretty strange song. She was wearing tons of make-up, but as a pubescent teen maybe that’s what I liked most about her. The petite songstress swayed back and forth, to the fascinating music, in a somewhat sexy manner. I could not take my eyes off of her. The song credits magically appeared at the bottom of the screen, as the music faded, and I discovered the name of the band was Culture Club. That’s right. The stunning “woman,” who I was so smitten with, was actually Boy George. Ouch! It’s still obvious to me, even after my aforementioned traumatic experience, that the ’80s was the last great decade.