With this new playlist for One Quart Magazine, Nick Triani remembers a time in his youth when pop music felt more challenging and rewarding.
Was this all a big gold dream?
In some alternative universe, the music I hold dearest still remains viable and relevant. In more convoluted ways my current listening faves still instil that feeling, but popular music as a force for anything substantial seems diluted right now. As much a by-product of consumerism rather than its own immovable force, where has the relevance gone? Is this a cynical view? Perhaps.
For me pop music no longer feels vital. Not in its current form. This could sound like the obvious bleating of the ‘old middle aged fart’ – and yes, there is some truth to this analysis. I could just be tired. I rarely pay heed to established canons, but increasingly popular music feels like a spent force – at least in this current phase. I could just be looking for the thrill of the chase; and yes, I miss things now more than ever before.
I recently came into possession of some records from a dear friend who is no longer here. Like our friendship, the music we listened to blossomed into something lifelong, an obsession if you like. What remains potent about much of this music is how popular it was. Many of these tracks were ‘hits’, top 40 music and commercial radio staples. How did that happen? Laurie Anderson‘s ‘O Superman’ spent weeks in the UK top five. It’s almost impossible to imagine anything like that happening now.
The music on these playlists covers a five year period between 1978 to 1983. My years from 12 to 17. I didn’t realise it at the time, but what a time to be alive.
Some thoughts whilst making this playlist
1.Archaic fuzzy YouTube clips add to the artefact sentiment. Top Of The Pops was our TV window to the world of pop and a sign of mainstream success.
2. The videos from this time rely more on personality than any visual stimulant. The performances by the artists are enough.
3. Without realising it at the time, I never had it so good.
4.This is a predominantly white, male universe; how things don’t change.
5. A lot of this music feels really weird compared to the commercial considerations of this age.
6. This playlist is not definitive. I’ve forgotten a lot.
7. The seven inch single was still potent.
8. David Bowie‘s influence was tantamount.
9. My youth was rich in music that was defining of that era and still resonates today.
10. It left its mark on me.
11. Everything changed post 1983. Wham! took pop music to it’s next possible evolution and beyond – at least in commercial terms.
12. I still miss my friend.
Nick Triani is an editor and contributor to One Quart Magazine.