bill-swift - November 5, 2013
The 80's. No decade ever in the history of the planet Earth was more triumphant. America thought it was the tits and so did everyone who wasn't a godless commie. We felt good about ourselves and we spent money like a crackhead at a crack convention. This sense that we could overcome all odds and become champions was reflected in the "art" of the time. No, I don't mean stuff like Robert Maplethorpe's pictures with him sticking a whip up his butt. I mean the songs and movies that defined the decade. Who doesn't feel a sense of impending glory when they hear Eye of the Tiger at the gym or know that they will come out on top when You're the Best Around plays. With that in mind I'm going to kick off this week with the most triumphant songs of the 80's. (This list cannot possible contain all of the reaching-for-the-topness. What should I add to part 2?)
The Eye of the Tiger
No song ever is as triumphant as this one. Even the name of the band is Survivor. The tune became famous as part of the soundtrack to Rocky III. You know, the one where he fights Mr. T. It's all about "rising up, straight to the top". The message is simple: if you have the guts you'll get the glory. If you close your eyes you can almost see Sylvester Stallone punching Mr. T. out. Hey, you've got to suspend disbelief at the movies.
I'm not entirely sure what this song is about but I know that it is about a young girl taking off....in...um...life, I think. The music is certainly full of 80's bombast and power ballad goodness. The song tells the girl that "the time has come" and that she's the only one that "can say OK." She's at a crossroads and is now ready to choose awesomness.
You're The Best Around
Holy crap do I love this song! This song from Joe Espostito was featured in one of the 80's best movies. Who can forget Daniel LaRusso taking on the Cobra Kai is the karate tournament at the end of The Karate Kid. No one thought Daniel could beat Zabka and the other Aryan bullies from John Kreese's dojo. But he showed them. He showed them all that with a lot of heart you can overcome anything, even defeating people that have height, musculature, and years of training on you.
Holding Out For a Hero
Bonnie Tyler knocked it out of the inspirational park with this song about heroes. The message is clear, "we need a hero". We need to be inspired to do better. Bonnie even describes the attributes that this hero should possess. "He's got to be strong, he's got to be fast, and he's gotta be fresh from the fight". Most memorably the song was used in the classic film Footloose when Kevin Bacon and that other guy have a chicken fight with tractors. Awesome.
Don't Stop Believing
It's hard sometimes to keep at it. We all lose heart and start to doubt ourselves sometimes. But Journey implores us to never ever stop believing. We need to "hold on to the feeling" and so on. Steve Perry's voice is like a sonorous arm that wraps itself around our shoulder as if to say, "Don't worry, bitch. We're gonna make it together."
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