One thing that I have noticed since moving to Estonia is the preference of Estonian radio stations to play 1980s-era pop songs, or, more prevalently, 2000s-versions of 1980s pop songs.
I'm not sure how popular American and UK pop music was here during the last days of Brezhnev, but it seems like people may have missed such hits as Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" the first time around.
It could be that this why they are so hungry for seconds, such as a Jan. 2007 released UK-produced version where a British group called BabyPinkStar duets with Tyler, giving the old "classic" an update for the teenagers of today. Thanks to Kuku Raadio, I was awakened by this inspiring music this morning. And all I can say is that it feels weird to hear new versions of songs you've heard all your life presented in a "new context."
Another example of this "take old song, add synthesizers and beats, call it your own" is Eric Prydz vs. Pink Floyd's version of "Another Brick in the Wall Part II." The song is retitled "Proper Education" and it puts Puff Daddy's 1997 karaoke version of The Police's "I'll Be Watching You" to shame.
Rounding out the music are songs by artists like Gwen Stefani and Pink that sound Eighties. The only groups in the Euro Top 20 that has an excuse is U2, and that's because they were actually releasing records during that decade. So Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, and Larry Mullen, Jr., are off the hook.
Because Estonians love the radio, they not only play this music in the car on the way to, say, the local shopping center, but the music then follows you into the center because all the stores also have the same station on. For a person like me, that grew up surrounded by 80s music, it's a neverending flashback. One second I'm a 27-year-old guy shopping for linens with my wife, the next I'm six years old again, in the car on the way to the ocean with my parents. Maybe they'll decide to remix a little Journey while they're at it.
What's really funny is how un-Eighties Estonians are, and how ironic the music sounds as old ladies shop for potatoes or old men, faces weatherbeaten by time, grimly smoke their cigarettes. There is a significant divide between the realities of everyday Estonians and the music that is pumped out of the speakers at the local Jysk.
If you listened to the radio, you'd think that life here was just a non-stop party. In reality, the contrast of this sickeningly-sweet retro dance music only leaves you thirsting for quiet.