This year's theme is a look back at the pop albums that define the decade of excess, the good ol' '80s. The decade represents a mine of riches for current day pop and post punk musicians looking for inspiration, hooks and samples. From the last gasps of disco and prog rock of the early part of the decade, through the revitalization of dance music as "dance pop," new wave, hair bands, rap, new jack swing, teen pop, and house, the '80s offered up a lot of different styles, many of which continue to endure today with little modification. Pop music of the '70s sounds really different than pop music today, whereas pop music from the '80s really doesn't. This is the decade where synthesizers and drum programming became popular and are still ubiquitous today. This is the decade where rap first got its mainstream launch. And although laughed at today, the heavy metal "hair bands" of the 80s foreshadowed the powerful surge of alternative rock music in the '90s.
Being 33 years old, the '80s was the decade where I first learned to appreciate pop music, although really not until 1987. So this look back will be part nostalgia and part discovery, as I also take a look at music from the earlier half of the decade to which I've had little exposure. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and remembrances as well.