Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Morning Videos: "Welcome to the Boomtown"

I have no memory of ever seeing this video, on Friday Night Videos or anywhere else, and it seems to me like I didn't miss much. The lead singer of this one-hit wonder band, David & David, occasionally appears bored out of his skull. Still, when I heard the song on a local radio station the other day, all sorts of late 80s memories came flooding back, mostly involving Miami Vice. There was a harsh, glamorous, cynical drug chic to that era. I would guess that before members of the mainstream suburban audience like myself--and, more importantly, the corporations that marketed our entertainment to us--woke up to just how devastating an effect crack was having on America's cities, drugs were portrayed, so far as I remember anyway, as mostly a cool-bad accoutrement of the white upper classes. Which I suppose they in part still are, and always have been, but in the 80s we had Nancy Reagan teaching us all to "Just Say No," and so of course the folks in Hollywood had to present their temptations to us in neon lights and pastel colors. This video couldn't be more perfectly aligned with that aesthetic, right down to the grainy footage and the streaking street lights. Killer guitar work, though.


AbbotOfUnreason said...

Wow. I've had "all that money makes such a succulent sound" stuck in my head for so many years that I forgot where it came from. If the question had come up in the local pub quiz, I'd have likely assigned the song to Mellencamp, though as I listen to it for the first time in years, the song is (in line with your commentary) probably half an octave up the social ladder from John's stuff.

I feel like in the '80s "we" were trying to make ourselves the second Lost Generation, with all the moody, theatrical indolence, but without the underpinning of experience of horror to justify it.

Russell Arben Fox said...

Abbot, that's a lovely, insightful comment about those of us who grew up in the 1980s--including both those listening to music and those making it. I can remember a friend of mine arguing that we were the first true "television generation," because we were no longer seeing the electronic media as a tool or as entertainment but as part of the way we structured our consciousness. Two generations before, the Lost Generation wrote novels to articulate their alienation. We in the 80s made--and consumed--music videos, among other things, to do the same.