As I listen to Harold Faltermeyer’s classic “Axel F” I sense that something has been lost in today’s music that belonged distinctly to the 1980’s. Many hear New Wave and Synthpop and categorize them with much of the other forgettable trends of the 80’s. But to me what made these genre’s of music so special (I would even say “enduring”) is that they captured a technological society in its early stages, in its innocence. These distinctly 80’s genres loved technology not as a means to an end or, as is more common today, as an escape, but rather as an expansion of the artistic vision. Harold Faltermeyer captured this well. You can hear it in each movement this song makes: he has found something new- something that the 60’s and 70’s didn’t and couldn’t offer- and created it. It was the last days of the romantic era of technology. Soon we would grow numb; flooded by devices beyond our imaginations, living in a world so overwhelmed by technology that rather than expand our vision of the future it had come to make that very future something which failed to hold our attention. We now bear the weight of a generation of musicians who have taken for granted that which was once extolled as the gateway to a new society, a new world, an expanded universe so far beyond what was in front of us that our spirits finally felt free to return to their proper place of awe in which they had long ago dwelt before the industrial age convinced man that he had conquered a constricted world of his own creation. The diversion, the attention, the entertainment, the creativity, the passion- all is there today just as it was in that eccentric decade. But that awe, that vision, that excitement for a future that was as expansive as our imaginations could bear seems to have gone missing, and in its place our artists seem to have become entangled by a technology which is no longer new. We have allowed this once inspiring aspect of our society to become an extension of ourselves; rather than expand our imagination it has become our imagination, and an impoverished one at that. And with all of that in mind, just click, sit back, and enjoy!

Advertisements