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The Internet Phenomenon of “rickrolling” has just come to my attention, which means the meme has probably been building for months and months now, and I’m the last person to know that “rickrolling” is misleading somebody to click a link which takes them to the music video of 1980s 1-hit-wonder Rick Astley “Never gonna give you up.” Apparently this is frequently done by inserting a tinyurled You-Tube link to Ghastly Astley’s video with the insinuation that this link contains something germane to a discussion at hand, or that the link contains something especially interesting or salacious. It’s a bizarre and fairly harmless prank, even to somebody like me who takes a fairly jaundiced view toward a pretty broad swath of overplayed 1980s pop hits.

Anyway, tonight after work I had to run some errands. It ended up being a 20-something mile round-trip ride, and I have to admit I do a lot of my thinking while I’m riding (or in the bath). Can’t say I always think about anything terribly deep; in fact I rarely do. On this particular occasion, I was trying to determine why I don’t like a lot of the 1980s pop music, while I don’t have a problem with pop of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, late 90s, and even some of the stuff that’s up right now. I narrowed down a few reasons, none of which really overwhelm the others as THE MAIN REASON you won’t find me at an 80s-night dance club, but anyhow, here’s the results of my ruminations:

1. Overplayed within my memory: Pop songs basically die of their own popularity. They get played to death on the radio, in live performances, at dances, and in other performances, until you think, “If I hear La Vida Loca one fucking more time, I’m going to have to punch somebody.” A lot of songs I started out kind of liking got played to the point where I later started thinking about calling the radio station and complaining the next damn time I heard whatever was the #1 Hot Summer Jam.

2. Ties in with #1: I was overexposed to said song/music. When you’re a kid, you’re kind of at the mercy of whatever is going on around you. Moreover, I was a kid who grew up out in the sticks, where it was a 35 mile drive one way to get to a town with a decent grocery store & other errand-running amenities. This was the era of 55mph speed limits, so the ol’ trip in to Alliance took around 40 minutes and the scenery is such that you definitely need something extra going on to keep you awake. Hence, LOTS of FM radio.

3. Ties in with #2: We often had the radio on while doing otherwise not-particularly-favored activities, like going in to town for errand-running or doing housecleaning or school-cleaning (Mom was the school janitor and recruited my sis and me for the big weekend scrubdowns) . There’s also that thing of mine about not liking “background noise” music. That goes back pretty much as far as I can remember.

4. Some of the music may actually have sucked. Like the now-infamous Astley song. Or like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go“. Or they were songs that served no damn purpose but to become earworms for all time like Karma Chameleon & Take On Me.

5. Though I am technically part of the “MTV Generation,” my family lived so far out in the boonies (and probably would not have gotten cable even if we had lived in town) that the whole culture of music videos was pretty much foreign to me. Sometimes I’d catch one at a friend’s house or as part of a presentation on an awards or variety show on regular TV, but overall, the iconic videos of the time were unknown to me. It wasn’t until the advent of You Tube that I began to see some of the videos that were a Big Damn Deal back in the day. I think a lot of the music of the time was pretty mediocre, but got pushed into the realms of note because of particularly well-crafted videos (A-Ha, I’m lookin’ at YOU!).

6. My music preferences were more slanted toward rock than pop, though it could be fairly argued that Poison, Warrant, and Mötley Crüe straddled the pop line pretty widely.

Granted, I don’t hate ALL 1980s music. In fact, I dearly love most early Madonna, Cyndi Lauper was a major idol of my sister’s and mine when we were little girls, and some songs will always remind me of something awesome. The Ghostbusters theme song, of course, takes me back to roller-skating parties. When they played that song, they’d also dim the lights, switch on the disco ball, and all of us kids would be skating around the ring all swinging our arms and butts in rhythm with the music and screaming out “Ghostbusters” when appropriate. Walk Like An Egyptian was a big fave among us kids, for whatever reason.

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