Somewhere around a dozen years ago, I created a pair of CD sets for my wife and close college friends, compiling songs that I felt captured our shared history from that last era. These exercises collided spectacularly a few years ago when, after thoughtfully combining the two playlists into a single, five-hour-plus late ’80s time capsule, I originally sat down to write about each of the tracks. Seventy songs about 24 months, each track taking me on a different journey. Sometimes diving into the artist’s history, sometimes into my personal history, sometimes on tangents I never expected, I made my way through the first 13 tracks, then life got in the way. It’s an exercise I’ve wanted to revisit for quite a while, but I didn’t want to publish anything more until I was certain I could devote the time to it the project deserves.
My favorite outcome from when I originally published the first 13 tracks here was receiving feedback from not just the people who were there, but also encouragement from people whose musical opinion I value, like Matt Sebastian over at Slicing Up Eyeballs and Dave Purcell. I was also amazed by the way my writing provided a catalyst for people from my past to engage me – like Matt Kish, who I referenced in Track 10 – when I had no idea they were out there, let alone reading my blog or remembered me more than 20 years later.
It’s the memory of those exchanges – sometimes just brief Twitter responses, sometimes lengthy email conversations – that has kept this project alive in my head over the last few years. In January, I set out to resume this creative workout, and I have been writing furiously ever since, picking up right where I had left off with Track 14 and plowing ahead with renewed creative energies. I intend to post a track a week until this thing is compete, and my ultimate goals remain the same as they did when this project was originally launched: When finished, you’ll have some perspective on the music of the era, a window into the events that shaped me into the person I have become, and the blueprint for a kickass ’80s playlist!
Links to the introduction and the first 13 tracks can be found here, as well as along the right side of the blog in the “End of the Eighties” section. I hope you’ll take the time over the next few days to revisit the original tracks and continue to come back each Wednesday for new songs over the next year or so to add to the playlist as we time travel together, letting the music take us where my memory bends, and I hope you'll join the conversation by commenting on the blog, as well as spread the word far and wide on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.