What was music like in the 1980s

Music history of the 80s

This was the "decade of clear fronts". In the past, styles often enriched and complemented each other, now (possibly analogous to the Cold War, which was just getting worse again), two "music blocks" that were mainly determining the current development stood next to each other almost monolithically: Pop (viewed by unconditional supporters as beautiful and demanding music, vilified as commercial, artificial and faceless by implacable opponents) and metal (considered real and independent by fans because of the instrumental craftsmanship and the fact that almost all bands wrote their own songs, dismissed by despisers as loud, ugly and generally unbearable) . The term "pop" finally established itself as an umbrella term for the genre. Its main representatives were initially mostly in the tradition of the New Wave, which originated in the punk environment. The preparatory work of avant-gardists working with electronic means such as Kraftwerk, Brian Eno or David Bowie was particularly fruitful in the New Romantic scene around Ultra Vox and Culture Club. Synth-pop groups like Depeche Mode, the Pet Shop Boys or Erasure became the dominant force in pop throughout the decade. In addition, electronic dance music gained in importance, which continued the disco trend that had already subsided by other means.
Until now, there had been a certain separation between black and white within pop music. But after Michael Jackson's epochal "Thriller" album there was no stopping it, because on this record all boundaries were blown. Apparently motley mixed elements of soul, funk, synth pop or hard rock resulted in an organic unit that was completely convincing. From then on one could find Tina Turner, Elton John, Prince, the Eurythmics, Lionel Richie, Phil Collins or a-ha mostly without any problems in the same record shelf of the specialist trade. It didn't take long for the first rappers to storm the charts.
Meanwhile, Karlheinz Stockhausen's true heirs, mostly only noticed by insiders, worked on the concepts of house, EBM and industrial. In addition to the extensive use of electronics, the rhythm (the beat) was very much in the foreground. This preparatory work was to bear fruit in the nineties.
A separate pop phenomenon formed from 1980 between the Rhine and Elbe, the Neue Deutsche Welle, which already existed in the underground during the late seventies. Originally from punk and new wave, this branch was soon dominated by synth sounds and traded as German pop. However, after the wave was artificially "blown up" at the instigation of various record companies, it collapsed around 1985.
The fate of the NDW had already overtaken the entire so-called '77 punk, after the seemingly limitless hype about the Sex Pistols had evaporated. Many of its main representatives had joined the New Wave, so that further development was reserved for the underground. Discharge showed the way to hardcore punk in 1982 with "Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing". At the same time, the hardcore scene emerged in the USA, which achieved more powerful sounds with the more disciplined playing style of heavy metal. Shortly thereafter, metal bands borrowed some stylistic devices from hardcore in order to achieve higher degrees of hardness for their part. Now both branches competed for the privilege of being able to consider themselves as the fastest and toughest - on the hardcore side through the development of the far more extreme grindcore, in the metal sector through the escalation from speed and thrash to death metal. The band Terrorizer was awarded the contract in 1989, and they were equally stylistically assigned to both competitors. The extreme performances of the "World Downfall" album could only be marginally surpassed later. In the slipstream of this competition - as of course in the pop music areas apart from pure dance music - a lively creative potential unfolded. Classic album like a "Master Of Puppets" byMetallica, "Ample Destruction" by Jag Panzer or "Awaken The Guardian" by Fates Warning still bring tears of joy to the eyes of many metalheads today.
As the Iron Curtain began to fall, the strict separation between pop and metal was already beginning to be lifted.Faith No More showed with "The Real Thing" that this connection was a lot easier than a union of fire and water, which one had to think of in the face of (unsuccessful) earlier attempts of this kind. The eighties weren't just over because of the date.
Videos for 80s music

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