This is a YouTube comment thread from Amy Schumer’s video “The Stolen Years Collection”. The OP’s name has been blotted out for privacy.
You like music.
You like listening to songs.
But sometimes you just don’t have the time, right?
You’re already 20 minutes late and just putting on your coat and you’d really love to listen to a song before you go, but it takes 4 bloody minutes! So you end up putting on some song you like and only getting to listen to the slow fade-in and the intro. Maybe you find some excuse to linger a bit longer. Maybe your have to tie your shoes a bit tighter make sure for the third time that you have your keys with you. But it’s futile. Before the first word of the first verse is even uttered, you’re already running down the stair while the luscious tune plays on to an empty room.
So, what are you going to do?
Give up listening to songs when you’re in a hurry?
No way. That’s when you need music the most, to spiral your mood off or to put some stuff or other into perspective.
Sit down and listen to the whole long song anyway and be even more late?
Nope. That North Korean nuclear bomb is not going to dismantle itself. Los Angeles will be a crater unless you hurry up.
So, why don’t you listen to *a really short song*?
I mean really short. You may think Blur’s Song 2 doesn’t exactly drag on across several eras of history, but these songs are going to make it seem like it does. And yet, they aren’t intros, interludes or sound snippets. They are real songs with development and with lyrics that make sense.
So, here it is: JACOB’S TOP 5 VERY SHORT SONGS:
5. Batteries Not Included (Sparks)
This miniature operetta dramatizes a traumatic real life experience. Within 45 seconds, it takes us from curiosity to joy to rage to melancholy. A true rollercoaster ride. Enjoy!
4. The Idiot (Gangway)
This 39-second beauty by the Danish masters of new wave is a live favourite. When Gangway played their only re-union show in 2006 in a small suburban café, they ended the show by playing this song and then storming out of the door.
3. Propaganda (Sparks)
After receiving complaints that Batteries Not Included (from their 2nd album) was way too long-winded, Sparks crafted this 23-second bit of history for their 4th album. Like the best of Sparks songs, the lyrics seem to be about history or politics or something completely unrelated, but you always get a strange feeling that it’s actually all about sex.
2. You Suffer (Napalm Death)
If you just don’t have the patience for songs like The Idiot and Propaganda, this is the song for you. It’s not very good, but it’s so sexily short. And I do think something is expressed. Sorry about this one not having lyrics that make sense. Please focus on its amazing brevity.
1. Her Majesty (The Beatles)
Yes, yes, Beatles at number one, bla bla bla. I apologize. But this song is just so good. It spends 22 seconds delivering a condensed version of what every pop love song ever has been spending 4 minutes trying to say. It’s ironic and sincere at the same time, and even though it’s so short, it somehow feels like a real song. It was the last song on the last album The Beatles recorded. This was how they wanted to go out.
Everybody says I’m crazy about 80’s pop music. I’ve never been able to rid myself of that rumour. And of course that’s partly because I’m not fighting it, because… well, I’m not kidding anyone. I love 80’s pop.
So what’s the problem, then?
The problem is that whenever some god-awful song by Wham! or Phil Collins comes on the radio, people start pointing at me and going “Heey, this is just the kind of 80’s kind of music you like, isn’t it? Isn’t it?”. They often do a little dance while saying this. I’m not sure why.
But no, it isn’t the kind of 80’s music I like. In fact, I hate it.
80’s pop, when it’s bad, is really bad. While the 70’s were about legendary experimental music and boring pop, the 80’s was the decade when pop music began to really dare to explore and take risks. So, of course, it sometimes went horribly wrong.
But when 80’s pop hits were good, they were really, really good. To avoid the situation described above, I need to clarify. And this is what leads me to announce……… <drum fill> …….. Jacob’s TOP 10 COUNTDOWN OF THE GREATEST 80’S POP HITS.
That’s right. If any of these songs comes on the radio, you will do right to point towards me, because I’ll probably be skipping around out on the floor, looking moronic and feeling ecstatic. Or at least I’ll be humming enthusiastically and using my knees as a drum set.
Now, before we begin: it’s needless to say there were lots of songs released in the 80’s that were even greater than the 10 I’m going to count down now. But this is a list of the best of the big hits. The ones that everybody knows.
Okay, off we go!
10. SELF CONTROL
Passion. In the 80’s, it finally became acceptable for women to identify as sexual creatures. What a liberation! – and yet of course, there was a dark side. Self Control balances on the perfect point between joy, dreams and pain.
9. YOU SPIN ME ROUND
They just don’t make them like this anymore. The flamboyant singer, the catchy chorus repeated again and again, the uncompromising build-up… The 80’s was also about letting yourself loose and going crazy.
8. KARMA CHAMELEON
If Pete Burns was flamboyant, there is no word to describe Boy George. Karma Chameleon is the sound of real summer happiness, from back when you didn’t need an excuse to feel as free as a butterfly on beautiful day.
7. TAKE ON ME
All you need is a world class riff, a world class singer and a chorus that sends chills down your spine, and you’ve got yourself an immortal classic that still gets 80 YouTube comments per day 20 years later. ‘Take On Me’ is a world unto itself.
6. 99 LUFTBALLONS
Some songs are remembered because they are kitsch, others because they are truly great. Somehow, 99 Luftballons is both. The in-your-face political lyrics. The feisty young woman from divided Germany. The victorious power-riff. The exceptionally pretentious ending. What’s not to love?
5. CALL ME
Razor-sharp pop songs or a singer so charming she could make death itself pay for her drinks is not enough to propel you to glory. You need both. Blondie has a whole litter of hits to show, but they reached their peak of ass-kicking when they detonated CALL ME!
4. MOONLIGHT SHADOW
Aside we turn, to the romantic side of the 80’s. A story of old times, shades of blue, the moon, the gunshots, the lamenting song and the music burning a fire. Take me far, far away…
3. RUNNING UP THAT HILL
Few 80’s hits sound as contemporary today as Running Up That Hill. “Haunting” is the word for this piece. It creeps up on you from all sides, surrounds you and then knocks you over. The downplayed arrangement sounds like a dragon waiting to break loose. There is a power in this song that makes you feel it could kill all the other 80’s hits if it wanted to, and that it’s merely sparing them because it has greater things to care about.
2. FOREVER YOUNG
Shhhh….. Now it gets emotional. Now it gets grand. So grand we need to sing in a church, so the gods will hear us. No, seriously. This song makes me cry. It’s another side of the 80’s: the fragility of the technology-fuelled dreams. Will money really save us? Will progress come in time? What will become of us when the music stops and the light fades? However stupid their outfits look, this song is as miraculous today as it was in 1984. While those who sang it have grown old, the song itself has stayed young.
1. IT’S A SIN
For number 1, there can be nothing held back. We need orchestra hits, cymbals, and rockets. We need a a religious theme, a pretentious video based on the seven deadly sins, and an epic dramatic breakdown in the middle. It’s A Sin is the perfect pop song. Intense from start to end, soaking with melancholy and yet making you want to dance and scream and shout. After It’s A Sin, there was really nothing left for 80’s pop to achieve. And musically, the 80’s really did end in 1988. Pop music turned new ways.
So, call me a music nostalgic, call me lost in the 80’s, as long as it’s these songs you’re thinking of. Cheers.