kolmapäev, märts 07, 2007

Eighties Disco Hell

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.

8 kommentaari:

plasma-jack ütles ...

You should listen to Raadio 2.

plasma-jack ütles ...

if you don't want to turn on the radio.
what's the English word for "viitsima"?

antyx ütles ...

Viitsima - bothered. Ei viitsi - can't be bothered.

Hei Giustino, how about that pint? ;) Drop me a line at antyx@antyx.net. Actually that goes for any Tartu-based commenter who fancies a bit of devirtualization...

Anonüümne ütles ...

That 80s revival thing is hitting pretty hard here too, so it's definitely not an Estonian thing, but more a dance music thing. Granted, dance music is very popular in Estonia... But did you really listen to the radio much here? I've heard a lot of the old stuff redone here lately. Maybe it's because the 70s disco stuff has been reworked so much already, that the DJs are just chronologically moving ahead...?

Hannele ütles ...

I was going to write the same Tiia just did.

It's the new wave thing in popmusic/dancemusic at the moment. Back to basics (or back to the 80's) or something like that. When I switch to MTV once in a week or so, there's
a) Proper Education
b) Stefani yodeling and singing
c) something worse

Hopefully they don't discover 30's jazz and ruin it too.. Brr.

And Raadio 2 is almost the best station you can choose from.

Giustino ütles ...

I had a friend name Mark when I was a kid, this was in the mid80s.

He lived up in Connecticut, and anytime we would see him he would ask what music I was listening to.

His room had posters of Motley Crüe and other "hair bands" of the day, so I imagined he was a hundred times cooler than I was.

Anyway, the first time he asked me the question I told him that I was listening to the Beatles.

"The Beatles?" he said mockingly. "You should listen to something really cool ..."

The next time I said the Rolling Stones. This caused him to roll his eyes again at me. What a baffoon, this eight year old kid and his Rolling Stones!

Finally, I managed to get myself on something *really* cool. Pink Floyd: The Wall. I didn't even like it that much, except of course for "Another Brick in the Wall Part II."

But I knew I was just about the coolest kid in the world merely by owning that tape. And when I told Mark about it, he agreed.

"Pink Floyd?" he said suspiciously. "Yeah, they're cool."


Anonüümne ütles ...

Oh boy, I know all too well what you're talking about. I have lunch a lot at DuNord on Kuni street and all they play is a hellish cavalcade of 80s stuff. I don't know how many times Cyndi Lauper has ruined my lunch.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I think Sky Plus is the best radio station in estonia. they play "the latest" dance music. this means the latest in estionia.