Rock music menu time is right for 1980s rock revival electricity in india first time


Last week, ‘The Karate Kid’ spin-off ‘Cobra Kai’ launched to unanimous praise on the streaming service YouTube Red. Not only did it bring waves of nostalgia for those who grew up with the original films, it also drew in legions of new fans into the story of SoCal transplant Daniel LaRusso by way of New Jersey and his rivalry with local bad boy Johnny Lawrence.

The 10-episode series has brought something else along with it too; a bunch of 1980s music that fits perfectly with the theme of Lawrence’s redemption. When he chastises his young pupil Miguel Diaz for not knowing who Guns N’ Roses are, the high-school age karate aspirant falls into a sonic rabbit hole and ends up obsessing over Ratt, even making their 1984 hit “Round and Round” his cell ringtone.

Songs from Poison, Foreigner, Queen and Boston are woven throughout the fabric of the show’s soundtrack. Lawrence wears a Van Halen tour t-shirt from 1980 at one point. He and LaRusso bro-down during a car ride while cranking and singing along to REO Speedwagon’s “Take It on the Run.”

Interestingly enough, none of this comes off as ironic like, say, during the 1998 teen romp ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ when the class nerd enraptures partygoers by singing along to Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City.” Nor is it done with a wink and a nod to a more decadent time as in the 2001 Mark Wahlberg vehicle ‘Rock Star’ or cheesy like the Adam Sandler comedy ‘The Wedding Singer’ from 1998.

Only about a decade or so removed from the peak popularity of the 80s, there wasn’t really enough to drive the sentimentality beyond a chuckle or two at the time for those films. Now, ‘Cobra Kai’ is just one a string of indicators that the time is right for 80s nostalgia to come back in full force — and that includes the music.

The film ‘Ready Player One’ was heavy on the its 80s references, from the first trailer with Van Halen’s “Jump” the focal point, “Tom Sawyer” by Rush in the second and Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” featured at a crucial spot in the movie. It not only landed at the top spot on the box office last month when it was released, but was director Steven Speilberg’s highest debut weekend in 10 years.

Another example of the 80s revival can be found on Netflix. ‘Stranger Things’ has been one of the most talked about original series in some time, and it’s set right in the heart of the decade. Its music though is more in tune with the 80s embracing of synthesizers and the mood created by them. ‘GLOW,’ by comparison, a sendup of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling pro-wrestling promotion started in the late 80s, is chock-full of rock and roll from the era. Journey, Scorpions and Scandal all feature prominently in the series.

We’re getting bombarded with more ‘Star Wars’ memorabilia and movies now than 30 years ago, with a new film set in the universe on the docket to hit theaters each coming year for the foreseeable future. A reboot of Stephen King’s ‘It’ was one of the highest grossing films in 2017. A ‘Lethal Weapon’ television reboot is looking to secure a third season on network television. The recent return of ‘Roseanne’ to TV was a ratings success.

It looks as if there is no end in sight to 80s wistfulness, which means the music is due to start playing a bigger part. Guns N’ Roses is already on the way to topping half a billion dollars on their semi-reunion ‘Not in This Lifetime’ tour which began in 2016. Package combos with the likes of Journey and Styx are the norm on the summer touring circuit.

Honestly, top tier glam metal stalwarts like Poison, Def Leppard and Ratt aren’t going to reinvent the wheel with new songs. Fans old and young want to hear “Ride the Wind,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Lay It Down” — not fresh material. None of the groups are strong enough to sell out sheds on their own these days either, partnering up instead for the aforementioned and more lucrative package tours.

Then there’s the B-level outfits like Warrant, Faster Pussycat and Quiet Riot, whose lineups have been so decimated by feuding, untimely deaths and unreliability on tour over the years that they are relegated to the smallest of clubs — even when linked up with one another. Steel Panther does well, but despite their musical ability, will never be more than a parody of the period.

Last year saw Kentucky’s White Reaper make a splash with their awesomely titled debut LP ‘The World’s Best American Band’ and the single “Judy French.” Sweden’s sleazy Crashdïet have been knocking at the door with their big-haired leanings for a few years now. There’s more out there too, in small Midwest towns, covering a Bon Jovi song or two and hesitantly mixing in their own material.

Eighties icons like Bill Cosby have turned out to be monsters. Donald Trump was once a regular in the supermarket checkout lane dirt-rags for over the top quotes and illicit affairs but is now the most divisive president in the history of the United States. The time isn’t just right for big guitars and bigger choruses from upstart musicians, it’s necessary. All the signs are there, we’re just waiting for the right bands to open it up and speed down the rock and roll highway — preferably with lighters held high to guide them along the way.