Since I bought a decent turntable last year and got back into listening to vinyl, I’ve been powering through a lot of ’80s music. That’s due in part to the fact that I already owned a bunch of music from that period on vinyl, which I picked up in the good ol’ days when everyone was clearing out records for $2 a pop. And it’s due in part to the fact that ’80s music is the best music for listening to on vinyl (given that it was all mastered for the format).
What I have found, in taking this sonic journey back in time 30-35 years, is that the themes of these albums have become jarringly relevant today. British music from the period frequently dealt with the rise of fascism and neo-Naziism in the Thatcher era, whereas music from the Americas fretted more over Cold War fears and the looming specter of nuclear holocaust. Welcome to 2017, courtesy of songs recorded in 1982.
Anyway, here’s a depressing one: “White Russian” from 1987’s Clutching at Straws. Depressing because all of these things could have been written with the past year — everything from the Nazi graffiti to terror attacks in Paris. But maybe a little uplifting, too? The world got past all of this for a while, so maybe we can do it again. And maybe, just maybe, next time around it’ll take a little longer for us to relapse into wretchedness again.