Synthesis: The 80s And The 00s

In this article, I share my ideas for a covers album of a unique kind.
November 07, 2008
This article is sure to stir up some controversy on several levels, but this is something that's been on my mind for a long while.

You see, my favorite decade for music is the 80s, but I've also grown to appreciate the music of this decade. For many years, I was of the mind that if you were a fan of a certain decade, that was all you could like. Experiences on various message boards have helped me change my mind.

There have been many cover albums throughout the years on both major and minor labels, and if I were to create one, this is what I would create.

Time to fire up the DeLorean, because for this one, I'm combining musicians from my two favorite decades.

This is a fantasy album called "Synthesis: The 80s And The 00s". The fantasy comes in this: I'm using the DeLorean to get artists who achieved great success in the 80s to come to the 00s to work with musicians of this decade on covers of some of my favorite 80s songs.

This will be a long article, but the 80s and the 00s are two decades I'm passionate about...The 80s moreso than the 00s, but I love both decades. So, read on and enjoy the show.

The first song I would like to start out with is "Stay With Me Tonight", originally performed by Jeffrey Osborne and Brian May.

The song is a piece about one-night-stands, and how exciting they can be. The 80s was a great decade for being more open about romance, the Reagan Revolution be damned. The song has some great lyrics that really describe what a hot night was all about in the 80s.

Here's an example of those lyrics:

"Another morning, you are on my mind,
Takin' up my time through all the day.
I try control, every chance I see,
Always you with me, that's in my dreams.
You give me fever, love I can't explain,
Fire uncontained, what is this, girl?
I try to fight, but I never win,
Seems I just give in to your embrace.
But oh, you try so hard not to say,
Oh, all the things you do to me, and girl, oh,
Oh, my love can't be concealed, girl, you know the deal,
Baby, stay with me tonight."

Considering the content and the production, I have an idea for a cover of this song.

The talent from after the 80s? Ne-Yo. The talent arriving from the 80s? Adult film legend Amber Lynn.

Why did I choose Ne-Yo? He came to mind, believe it or not, because of a new commercial for Big Red gum. He performed a re-tooled version of the "A Little Longer" jingle that was used in the 80s. There was something to his voice that just made sense for a song like this. There's also the factor of his work on the song "Single" by New Kids On The Block, a track that sort of works along the same lines as "Stay With Me Tonight", at least I think so.

Why did I choose Amber Lynn? It's risky to talk about her, but then again, MtLaStella did do an entire article on Harry Reems. I decided on her because the movies she did exemplified what the song "Stay With Me Tonight" was all about. Reckless, hedonistic, abandon without any regret...At least not immediately. She also has some decent singing skills as well.

Why did I choose her 80s version instead of her today? No particular reason, except maybe that there was no sense of wanting to send messages along with the movies back in the 80s.

For guitar work, I chose an artist who burst on the scene in the 80s, but achieved major success after the 80s ended. That artist? Zakk Wylde.

Why did I choose Zakk Wylde? Well, I chose him because "Stay With Me Tonight" featured guitar work by May, who was primarily known for his work with rock legends Queen. May doing an R&B track was pretty interesting. I could see Zakk Wylde doing the same in this decade, and not just because he worked with a famous Osbourne himself. My decision was helped along by my recalling of seeing Black Label Society in concert at the House Of Blues on Downtown Disney's West Side at Walt Disney World in 2007.

The combination of Wylde, Ne-Yo and Lynn may seems odd, but they said the same thing about Michael Jackson's "Beat It", and that turned out pretty successful, don't you think?

The second song on the album would be "Invitation To Dance", originally performed by Kim Carnes for the 1985 MGM compilation "That's Dancing".

The song is an ode not only to dance in the movies, but to dance in general. It has a driving rhythm to it, and some great lyrics.

Here's an example of the lyrics:

"House lights down,
My heart is the only sound.
Spotlight, music begins,
And that feeling takes me again.
I close my eyes,
Head over heels you look my way,
Whisper to me 'Come Closer',
Leaning on your shoulder,
Loving the beholder, darling.
Invitation to dance, give me an invitation to romance.
Invitation to dance, I need an invitation to dance."

The song is about the excitement of dancing, and I know who to combine for this one.

The talent from after the 80s? Gym Class Heroes. The talent arriving from the 80s? Samantha Fox.

Why did I choose Gym Class Heroes? These guys are a relatively new discovery. I heard some of their song "Cookie Jar" when my brother had parked the TV on MTV2. It sounded like a very danceable track. Their musical output seems influenced by the 80s, especially the track "Clothes Off", which makes good use of a sample of the song "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off" by the late Jermaine Stewart. Based on their rhythm and some of their lyrics, they can represent the dancing.

Why did I choose Samantha Fox? Well, why not? If anybody represented excitement in the 80s, it was her. I've mentioned her in several articles, but I can't help it...She just has a unique aura about her that says "80s", and I mean that in the best way possible. She represented how forward...Just how pleasantly out there the decade was. That, and her voice at times sounds a little like Kim Carnes' voice.

Why did I choose her 80s version instead of her today? Well, she seemed a little more raunchy then as opposed to nowadays. Her music is still very sensual, but in a more refined manner. Her 80s output was charged, a feeling that came at you with both barrels.

The third song on the album would be "Thriller", originally performed by Michael Jackson.

Most people know the lyrics to this one, so there's no need for any transcribing. Anyway, I've always enjoyed this song. It's bubbly, in a way...When I say that, I mean the beat is explosive and you can feel the tension rising all throughout the song.

The talent from after the 80s? Maroon 5. The talent arriving from the 80s? Danny Elfman.

Why did I choose Maroon 5? I chose them on the basis of the song "Makes Me Wonder". Although not as prevalent as it was years ago, blue-eyed soul is still going strong, and the track "Makes Me Wonder" is a great example of that. It has a funk to it that hits your body and sets it shaking.

Why did I choose Danny Elfman? His music, both instrumental and vocal, has always been about walking on the edge. Intensity and despair, but somehow, sounding very bouncy...I could easily imagine Elfman singing lyrics like:

"Night creatures crawl and the dead start to walk in their masquerade.
There's no escaping the jaws of the alien this time.
(They're open wide)
This is the end of your life."

If those lyrics don't have an Elfman-esque flavor, I don't know what does.

Why the 80s version of Elfman? Because he was more likely to sing then. His group Oingo Boingo was loud and proud...Unfortunately, the loudness did a number on his eardrums. As such, he's turned down the possibility of an Oingo Boingo reunion, although former members of the group still work with him on occasion.

There's one final element of "Thriller" to talk about. The late Vincent Price rapped in the song, and his words were one of the best parts of the song.

As Price is dead, I thought "Who could carry the rap the best?". It then came to me...The perfect representative would be Cassandra Peterson, better known as Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark.

She hasn't changed from the 80s to the 00s...She still looks the same. I decided on her because, to my mind, she's the closest that this decade has to the horror movie hosts of yesteryear. Although Peterson is in her 50s, she has more energy than people half her age, and energy is required for a song like this.

The 4th song on the album would be "Time After Time", originally performed by Cyndi Lauper.

I had written about this song in my 2006 article "Don't Call Me A Poser". We all know the lyrics, so I must say that this song would work great as a duet. There are emotions to it that would probably be best expressed by 2 artists instead of one.

The talent from after the 80s? Badly Drawn Boy. The talent arriving from the 80s? Donna Summer.

Why did I choose Badly Drawn Boy? Lead singer Damon Gough came up with a great song called "Promises". I first heard it as part of TCM's 2007 TCM Remembers promo. The song has a great sadness to it...It illustrates how time can separate people physically, but never separate their love. That's sort of the same thing that happens with the song "Time After Time".

Compare lyrics from "Promises":

"Just promise you will remember,
Promises last forever,
Right up to the dying ember,
The fire that burns so slowly";

To lyrics from "Time After Time":

"After my picture fades,
And darkness has turned to grey,
Watching through windows,
You're wondering if I'm okay."


To me, they seem on the same level.

Why did I choose Donna Summer? I chose her because she has a very powerful voice, and Cyndi Lauper has a powerful voice, too. As an example, I go with "She Works Hard For The Money". When I hear Summer singing of a woman's struggles, I'm struck at both the power and fear in her voice...Power and fear are also part of separation. You feel power by saying "This is great...I've got a new start". You feel fear by wondering how that start can come about, and whether you'll have any connection to something of stability.

Why did I choose her 80s version instead of her today? Well, style is a major factor. For this album, I want it to be as 80s as possible, and that includes the 80s artists' styles, too. Today's fashions just seem a little too bleak by comparison. One needs only see Summer in the "She Works Hard For The Money" video to understand where I'm coming from.

The next song up is "Simply Irresistible", originally performed by the late Robert Palmer on his 1988 album "Heavy Nova".

This song is a love song in a way. It's a song where Palmer celebrates his girlfriend and sings about how much he loves her, or at least lusts after her. The video for this was one of Palmer's last "girl" videos. He would discard that continuity by the time the 90s rolled around.

I think the cover of this calls for a gender switch. Words like "she" and "her" should be replaced with words like "he" and "him".

The talent after the 80s? The Donnas. The talent arriving from the 80s? Belinda Carlisle.

Why did I choose The Donnas? It's difficult to say, but I think what it is, is that the Donnas follow in the great tradition of artists like Joan Jett and Lita Ford, both of whom started out in the 70s (as part of The Runaways), but achieved great success in the 80s. I'm talking about women with guitars looking to kick ass, take names and show their confidence.

Why did I choose Belinda Carlisle? To me, Carlisle is a very 80s artist. Her 80s sound, both with the Go-Gos and on her own, represents something unique...A combination of softness and a party-hardy attitude, a fusion of remorse and raw energy. That's what I get from Belinda Carlisle's work.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Carlisle? I decided to synthesize her looks from the "Heaven On Earth" era with the sound of her work with the Go-Gos. The Donnas would be the ones providing that sound.

I could imagine Belinda and The Donnas alternating the following re-tooled lyrics:

"Hes unavoidable, I'm backed against the wall,
He gives me feelings like I never felt before.
I'm breaking promises, He's breaking every law,
He used to look good to me, but now I find him
Simply irresistible".

I wonder if they would agree to work together on a song like this, though.

Onward to track number 6, that track being "Bang On The Drum All Day" by Todd Rundgren.

For quite a few years, Rundgren was somewhat of a soft-rocking individual. Tracks like "Hello, It's Me" couldn't have prepared anybody for this early-80s classic. Many people would probably dispute that designation, but if the plays on Friday radio shows and the hearings of it at sporting events are any indication, then it must have impacted our musical fabric as well.

Now, I'd like to do some combining.

The talent from after the 80s? Gwen Stefani. The talent arriving from the 80s? Fishbone.

Why did I choose Gwen Stefani? "Bang On The Drum All Day" has a very staccato sound to it, and Stefani's vocals are often like that as well. From the ska sounds of No Doubt to the escalating lyrics of tracks like "The Sweet Escape" (which featured Ne-Yo, who was mentioned earlier in the article), the syncopation of the lyrics would suit her vocal stylings as well (although words like "boy" would have to be replaced, thus needing some mild re-writes).

Why did I choose Fishbone? I chose them because of the 1985 track "Modern Industry", which I first saw on VH1 Classic back when they ran a wide variety of music videos around the clock, as opposed to 3 music video programs ("Rock Fest", "Metal Mania" and "Totally 80s"), a morning video block, and more documentaries and movies than I can stand.

Anyway, "Modern Industry" had a very percolating sound as its' lyrics name-checked popular radio stations and made reference to, well, modern industry. It was a very interesting piece that I can't really describe, but you should be able to find it on Youtube.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Fishbone? I chose them because it would give Stefani a chance to work with the original line-up. She had previously been a guest performer on the band's 2000 album "Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Present: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx", but they had a different line-up by 2000. Fishbone's first EP was released in 1985, and that would be the line-up that I would want to have work with Stefani. Expect to see the ideas of original line-ups pop up as the article progresses.

Anyway, the next track I've chosen is "Flamethrower", originally performed by The J. Geils Band.

Featured on the group's 1981 album "Freeze Frame", the song is a piece about a woman who defies expectations. By day, she's a drab, everybody person (A secretary maybe), as evidenced by this example of the lyrics:

"All day long she holds it back,
Back with all her might.
She carries a burning torch inside,
She holds it firm and tight.
She punches out the clock while it keeps punching out her life.
She's a flamethrower, red-hot glower,
Flamethrower at night".

We later see how confident she can be with these lyrics:

"You might think you're burnin'
All your candles at both ends.
Maybe you should go to church
To make up some amends.
But if you think you're fireproof,
So cool and much too much.
Don't dare go near my baby
'Cause she'll melt you with her touch."

This song would work well as a duet. The talent after the 80s? Chris Brown. The talent arriving from the 80s? Sheena Easton.

Why did I choose Chris Brown? I just feel that this song is the type of song he could sing. He's another example of an artist I came about liking after a long while. You see, during my time on another message board, one poster said that she liked Brown's song "Run It". This was a poster who thought that most of what came after the 80s was bad, so I was like, "What's going on here?". I asked her about it, and then, only after leaving this board, under acrimonious circumstances, did I understand that you don't have to like one decade exclusively. YouTube helped me to refine my tastes, and now I've come around to liking his work.

Why did I choose Sheena Easton? For the same reason I chose Chris Brown...Because this is the type of song she could sing. Easton has done all sorts of songs over the course of her career, from soft rock to R&B to standards to disco, so this could be something else for her. In a way, the instrumentation of the original J. Geils Band track seems like it might have gone with an Easton track circa the era of "Morning Train (9 To 5)", while the lyrics have the kick of her late-80s dance pop work.

I could easily imagine Easton and Brown alternating the following lyrics:

"I forget the darkness,
I forget the pain.
When she's movin' through my heart
And when she's pumpin' through my veins.
She's the part inside me,
I never can control.
And she's the only reason
I know I've got a soul"

Why did I choose the 80s version of Easton? I chose her because she doesn't do songs with charge anymore. That's not a knock on her music...It's great no matter what, but the lyrics she performed back in the 80s just had something to them that once again, I'm tongue-tied about. I just think that this could easily fit in alongside a track like "Sugar Walls" or "Strut".

The next track up is "Super Freak", originally performed by the late Rick James.

What can I say about this song that I haven't said in previous articles? I've always made an effort to learn all I can about the raucousness of what was going on the 80s...The sex, drugs and music (I would say rock and roll, but there was a lot more than rock music going on in the 80s).

I'm trying to think who could work together on this well. Here it goes.

The talent from after the 80s? Three 6 Mafia. The talent arriving from the 80s? Morris Day?

Why did I choose Three 6 Mafia? I've thought a lot about their music, ever since they took home an Oscar for "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" back in 2006. Many people deride it as a celebration of the pimp lifestyle, but it really isn't. If anything, it talks of the sadness entailed in that lifestyle. It's following in the tradition of artists like Ice-T and 2Pac, whose lyrics were about deeper themes then might be suggested by the sound. Three 6 Mafia has a great sound to their work that would allow them to kick back and celebrate decadence instead of questioning it.

Why did I choose Morris Day? Morris Day worked alongside Prince, who had a long-standing rivalry with the late James. Rick James died several years back, and I just have this feeling that if Day were to help perform this track, then by proxy it would mean a post-humous burying of the hatchet between Prince and James.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Day? I chose him because of how, at the time, he hadn't mellowed out. I mean, he's still raucous to this day, but he is older. I would want Day from the days (forgive the pun) when he was operating at high intensity. That's what a song like "Super Freak" requires, and that's what he and Three 6 Mafia could give to it.

The next song up is "Ruthless People", originally performed by Mick Jagger as the theme to the 1986 movie of the same name.

The first time I heard the beat of this song was when I heard "Weird" Al Yankovic's spoof "Toothless People". I wouldn't hear the original song until the late 90s, when I rented it in 1998. I fell in love with the track immediately. The lyrics just seemed to be a reflection of human nature.

For example:

"They love the smell of the kill and the flesh,
Gorging 'til they've had their fill of success.
Dealing their mother to get into paradise.
They'll even blackmail St. Peter.
They'll pay any price".

Everybody has acted like that at one way or another. I think an interesting duet could come out of this, and so here's my idea.

The talent from after the 80s? Ewan MacGregor. The talent arriving from the 80s?

Why did I choose Ewan MacGregor? I was thinking of the song and also of a British man with a great singing voice who has dealt with themes of this sort before. It then came to me. I decided on Ewan MacGregor, mainly on the basis of the 2001 movie "Moulin Rouge". The movie, with old European style and music spanning the decades, featured MacGregor as a struggling poet named Christian, who falls for a gorgeous singer/dancer named Satine. In one scene, a song is performed called the "Elephant Love Medley", where Christian sings lyrics of famous love songs to Satine while she re-buffs him with lyrics of songs demeaning love. Several 80s lyrics are included in this piece from songs including Phil Collins' "One More Night" and U2's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)". As MacGregor sings those bars, I think "Hey, this is the guy for this album".

Why did I choose Warrant? I chose them because, as pop rockers, they lived the decadent lifestyle many fantasize about, thus representing the type of thing that Jagger was into alongside the singing. While they can't beat the Rolling Stones' sex and drugs excess, they did make a decent attempt at it.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Warrant? I chose them because, once again, I want the original line-up. Warrant still tours today, but while most of the 80s members are still around, Jani Lane is no longer with the group, and Warrant just isn't Warrant without Jani Lane...At least, that's my school of thought.

The next track gives us the opportunity to slow down. The song is "Endless Love", originally performed by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross as the theme to the movie of the same name.

If I had included one more song in my article "25 Of My Favorite 80s Ballads", this would've been number 26. It's one of the most deliriously rhapsodic love songs of the 80s. Within the few minutes of the song, the joy, sadness, intensity, fear and sensuality of love are all expressed in a manner that starts out quitely but gains in force until the emotions are bursting out like wildfire. When they talked about the movie "Endless Love" on "I Love The 80s Strikes Bcak" back in 2003 (5 years old this year...SHIT!), they had at least 9 commentators singing the song at once. It impacted people that much.

Now for my duet idea.

The talent from after the 80s? Adele. The talent arriving from the 80s? Keith David.

Why did I choose Adele? When watching VH1, I saw her featured as a "You Oughta Know" artist. I was first exposed to her song "Chasing Pavements" back in September. I was getting over a sickness that had me up all night, and I was channel-surfing. In the morning, I hadn't gotten any sleep, so I settled on VH1, which is pretty much my homebase for TV watching. I heard this song, and I loved it. It was another tune that expressed the passion that comes with love, a passion that, according to the video, can even be carried beyond the grave.

Why did I choose Keith David? Because he has a great singing voice. You may figure him to be the hard-edged man based on his work in 80s classics like "Platoon" and "They Live", but he has a soft side as well, and that's best expressed in his singing. I've seen videos of him singing on YouTube, and I find it amazing that the person who matched Roddy Piper punch-for-punch in "They Live" has such a smooth singing voice.

Why did I choose the 80s version of David? No reason, really. I could just as easily chosen him from this decade, but on the bases of "Platoon" (An acknowledged classic) and "They Live" (A cult classic), I think that his 80s credentials are great.

The next track up is "Our Darkness", originally performed by Anne Clark.

It isn't really a song, so much as it is a poem set to music, and not a rhyming poem, either. It's a poem with a bleak outlook on relationships..

For example:

"Through these city nightmares you'd walk with me,
And we'd talk of it with idealistic assurance,
That it wouldn't tear us apart.
We'd keep our heads above the blackened water.
But there's no room for ideals in this mechanical place.
And you're gone now...
Through a grimy window that I can't keep clean,
Through billowing smoke that's swallowed the sun,
You're nowhere to be seen.
Do you think our desires still burn?
I guess it was desires that tore us apart".

When I think of lyrics like that, I wonder who can be dark enough to pull it off.

The artist from after the 80s? Disturbed. The artist arriving from the 80s? Siouxsie Sioux.

Why did I choose Disturbed? I chose them on the basis of seeing them in concert in May of 2008 at the House Of Blues on Downtown Disney's West Side, the same place that I saw Black Label Society in 2007. Disturbed was very dark in what they were doing...They even ackonwledged where they were playing by singing the "Mickey Mouse Club" theme and capping it off with a "fuck you", and introducing their song "Down With The Sickness" by saying "It looks like Walt Disney World is coming down with the sickness!". Great stuff, and I think this track would suit them well.

Why I choose Siouxsie Sioux? I really love the Siouxsie and The Banshees track "Cities In Dust". Lyrics like:

"Water was running,
Children were running,
You were running out of time.
Under a mountain,
A golden fountain,
Were you praying at the Lares Shrine?"

The sense of foreboding in those lyrics make Siouxsie a crown princess of darkness, and thus, I think a poem like "Our Darkness" would be her kind of thing.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Siouxsie? I have no reason for this one. I just thought "Who was one of the darkest singers of the decade", and Siouxsie was the one who came to mind. I could just as easily have chosen Al Jourgenson or Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails' "Pretty Hate Machine" DID come out in 1989), but a woman performed it first, so a woman should cover it, at least in part.

The next track I chose was "Rebel Yell", originally performed by Billy Idol.

I've been a Billy Idol fan for years now, and "Rebel Yell" was a track that inspired me throughout my 11th and 12th grade years. I was coming into my own, discovering my muses and learning all I could about 80s culture, in each way rebelling against my surroundings. January of 2000 to June of 2001 was a time of growing and learning for me, and Billy Idol gave me some inspiration on that front.

Now, who could cover this?

The talent from after the 80s? Pink. The talent arriving from the 80s? Motley Crue.

Why did I choose Pink? The picture of her came from the video for "So What?". To me, that track is one in the vein of "Rebel Yell"...It's another track that says "I'm standing, whether you care where I stand or not". It's a track of life and exuberance, much like "Rebel Yell" is. "So What?" is a a little slower than "Rebel Yell", but the attitude is still there, and that's really what it's about...Attitude.

Why did I choose Motley Crue? I chose them because they were all rebels in their own way, most especially Nikki Sixx (the product of a broken home, he became hooked on heroin and, at one point, was even dead for a few minutes.). If coming back from the dead and continuing to party isn't rebellion, I don't know what is.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Motley Crue? This decade has seen the Crue gain holds in their personal lives. While their music is still hard-edged (hear their most recent album "Saints Of Los Angeles"), I want them from a time when they lived on the edge not only lyrically, but in real life as well.

The next track I want covered on the album is "Fletch (Get Out Of Town)", originally performed by Dan Hartman for the soundtrack to the Chevy Chase classic "Fletch".

It's a nervy sort of a track, as you can tell right from the opening lyrics:

"Somebody wants to buy,
Somebody wants to sell,
But nobody wants to tell
Fact from fiction.
Now the word is out,
You are the one,
Who's causing all the friction,
And now the heat is coming down.
Get out of town..."

That example shows how edgy the song can be. While it is a song directing somebody to run, it can also be a "get out" song.

The talent from after the 80s? The Pussycat Dolls. The talent arriving from the 80s? Ellen Foley.

Why did I choose the Pussycat Dolls? Their music has a feel to it that demands attention. When you listen to a track like "Dont'Cha", it's a piece that wants to distract you from your surroundings and take you to an unusual place. That's rather reminiscent of this song...It's about getting moving, wondering what the next step will be.

Why did I choose Ellen Foley? Foley is a very nervy individual. Her songs have a great combination of confidence and fear to them. Confidence and fear are what "Get Out Of Town" is all about. Confidence in making your move...Fear in what can come next. Foley just has the voice for it.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Foley? I chose her based on the fact that she was multi-faceted in the 80s. Besides being a singer, she was also an actress on TV (The 1984-1985 season of "Night Court") and in movies (with roles in classics like "Fatal Attraction" and "Married To The Mob"). I think it's her acting work in the 80s that tipped things for me.

We're more than halfway through the article, so now it's time to take some estrogen and mix it up with some testosterone.

The next track is "White Heat", originally performed by Madonna.

It's a song about demanding love that utilizes the conceit of gangster movies to illustrate how much it's wanted, complete with James Cagney soundbites. In a way, maybe it can be seen as a track about rough love.

For example, the chorus goes:

"Get up, stand tall.
Put your back up against the wall.
My love is dangerous.
This is a bust".

I need a duo that can fit these lyrics as well.

The talent from after the 80s? Justin Timberlake. The talent arriving from the 80s? Poison.

Why did I choose Justin Timberlake? Well, first he collaborated with Madonna on the track "4 Minutes" from the "Hard Candy" album. Secondly, Timberlake is a great dancer, and I could easily imagine him choreographing a routine to this. You know, there was a time when I fell prey to the homophobic slurs hurled at artists like Justin Timberlake, but then I was like, "What kind of person says these things"?. I re-evaluated my thoughts and decided to open my mind. I'm now a fan of Justin Timberlake, and I think a song like this would suit him well.

Why did I choose Poison? It wasn't just because they covered "SexyBack" a few years ago, but because they have a sense of want to their music that could easily fit lyrics like this:

"You think you can have my love for free.
Well, I've got news for you.
That's not the way it's gonna be.
So don't come hangin' 'round my door.
If you're not ready to give, you're not gonna get much more".

Those lyrics ensconce the whole "Wham, bam, Thank you, Ma'am" attitude that pop rock entailed back in the 80s.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Poison? I chose them because, once again, of looks. The androgyny conceit featured on their album "Look What The Cat Dragged In" carries with it a sense of how the song can be sung by both a man and a woman. Anrdogyny has always fascinated me, and I think pop rock is a great example of that. Who can tell who is who? Confusion can be fun.

The next track on the list is "The Rain", originally performed by Oran "Juice" Jones.

One of the best break-up songs of the 80s, there's no remorse in this song...Just anger, full-fledged double barrel anger.

Don't believe me? Here are some words from the spoken word piece at the end:

"My first impulse was to run up on you and do a Rambo.
I was about to jam you and flat-blast both of you".

The song can basically be seen as an acting exercise. As such, we need an actor and someone who has worked with them.

The talent from after the 80s? Terrence Howard. The talent arriving from the 80s? Harold Faltermeyer.

Why did I choose Terrence Howard? Much like Keith David, Howard is a good singer as well as an actor, and much like David, Howard can play angry when the role requires him to do so. It would be interesting to hear him perform an old-school track like this.

Why did I choose Harold Faltermeyer? Now, this is for instrumentals on this cover and not singing, but I thought of him because of his work on the soundtrack to "Beverly Hills Cop". His track "The Discovery" (which is heard when Axel [Eddie Murphy] and Jenny [Lisa Eilbacher] discover the cocaine in the coffee grounds) seems like it could be a lead-up to "The Rain". I'd like to see somebody fuse the tracks together for a dance track on YouTube.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Faltermeyer? I could've gone either way, but I chose him because of the 80s movies he worked on...Not just the aforementioned "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Fletch", but also movies like "Fatal Beauty" and "Tango And Cash". Nobody could compose music for violent movies like he could (With the exception of the late Michael Kamen).

The next track on the list is "I Love L.A", originally performed by Randy Newman.

Is it a love letter or a wise-ass joke? Everybody gets something different out of it. I get celebration out of it...Even the references to the homeless have a sense of celebration to them. I've always wanted to visit California, but I've never had the chance to. Hopefully, that chance will arise someday, though.

Randy Newman plays a piano and the song is about California. How can I work this?

The talent from after the 80s? Sara Bareilles. The talent arriving from the 80s? Michelle Pfeiffer.

Why did I choose Sara Bareilles? She's quite handy with a piano as evidenced on the track "Love Song". That's another track that can be taken either way, either as a statement of love or a brush-off. Musical androgyny is what I guess it can be called. Everybody gets something different out of it.

Why did I choose Michelle Pfeiffer? Pfeiffer is the California girl of our time. Although born in Santa Ana, I don't think anybody can sum up the beauty and fun of California as well as she can, and she has a credible singing voice, too. To hear her singing these lyrics would be fun, although, once again, they would have to be re-written to change gender references.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Pfeiffer? I chose it based on her 80s movie work. "Grease 2" and "Tequila Sunrise" were set in California, while a lot of "Scarface" was shot in California as well. Each one of them is entertaining, and each one shows a different side of California (The "Scarface" side representing how cinematic the state can be and how it can be used to film movies set in other places).

The next track on the list is "Send Me An Angel", originally performed by Real Life.

It's a song about desperation. It's a song about how one can be fearful if there's no romance in their life.

For example:

"Do you believe in Heaven above?
Do you believe in love?
Don't tell a lie,
Don't be false or untrue,
It all comes back to you".

Desperation and nihilism...Those are two elements that can be found in love. When you have it, it's wonderful. When you don't, things can be really tough.

For this track, I want artists who can combine the rock and dance elements of this song as well as Real Life did.

The talent from after the 80s? Paramore. The talent arriving from the 80s? Sharpe and Numan.

Why did I choose Paramore? I chose them on the basis of their track "Misery Business". I first saw the video for it on Fuse, and it had a great attitude that combined the sentiments of "Fuck you" and "I need help". I get the same thing out of "Send Me An Angel"...That sense of uncertainty in a relationship, but who is the uncertain one?

Why did I choose Sharpe and Numan? Gary Numan and Bill Sharpe were Real Life's contemporaries. Involved with separate careers, Sharpe & Numan came together to work on several songs, one of the most notable ones being "Change Your Mind". I heard that track on a compilation of 80s music, and I thought that it had a great beat as well as good lyrics. The lyrics in that song were about demanding a lover to come back. I can also get a sense of demand out of "Send Me An Angel".

Why did I choose the 80s versions of Sharpe and Numan? I chose them because I wanted their 80s sound. They've changed from the 80s, and I don't want how they expanded. I want their sound from a certain time and place.

The next track on the list is "Two Tribes", originally performed by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Many songs were made about the Cold War. This was one of the best. The song may seem vague, but the video drives the point home, as it has impersonators of Ronald Reagan and Constantin Chernenko in a wrestling match, with a literally world-wide audience watching their every move. With recent world events, it seems like we might be headed for Cold War 2: Electric Boogaloo, so the time to seems right for a cover of this track.

The talent from after the 80s? Chamillionaire. The talents arriving from the 80s? Pet Shop Boys.

Why did I choose Chamillionaire? I chose him on the basis of the song "Ridin' (Dirty)". It isn't a song that celebrates the gangsta lifestyle...It's a track about corruption and how it can affect a person's life. The racial profiling can be seen as a prism for events in the world at large...At least that's what I get out of it.

Why did I choose Pet Shop Boys? Once again, I thought of them as contemporaries of the original artists. In this case, the original group is Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Pet Shop Boys concerned themselves with large matters. Tracks like "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)" paint a portrait of greed and how it can affect people. "Two Tribes" isn't about money (At least not directly)...It's about the world at large. It can be pretty scary.

Why did I choose the 80s version of Pet Shop Boys? I based this on sound and not appearance. They've taken advantage of how technology has expanded throughout the years, but much like several others on this list, I want them from when they had a certain isntrumentation to their music.

The final song on the list is "Edge Of A Broken Heart", originally performed by Vixen.

I wrote about this song when discussing the group in my article "Some Of My Fave 80s Women", but I found myself returning to this for the lyrics.

Here's the first few bars:

"I can't believe I could've been so blind,
But love is strange.
I thought about it for a long, long time,
But the truth remains.
I don't need another lonely night,
To dry my tears.
The answer's plain as black and white,
And I can see the picture very clear.
I've been living on the edge of a broken heart.
I don't wanna fall, I don't wanna crawl.
I've been living on the edge of a broken heart.
Don't you wonder why I gotta say goodbye".

While those are pop-rock lyrics, I could easily imagine them being done in R&B style.

The talent from after the 80s? Rihanna. The talent arriving from the 80s? Cameo.

Why did I choose Rihanna? She's one of my favorite pop stars of this decade. Songs like "Shut Up And Drive" and "Don't Stop The Music" have a very 80s flavor to them. Granted, that's because of sampling ("Shut Up And Drive" is based on New Order's "Blue Monday", while "Don't Stop The Music" samples lyrics from Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Something'"), but, unlike Sean Combs, Rihanna's samples are subtle. The lyrics of "Edge Of A Broken Heart" seem like something that might fit her vocally.

Why did I choose Cameo? I chose them because I thought it would be interesting to see them tackle a pop-rock track. Tracks like "Word Up" are very enjoyable, and I'd like to see them expand their horizons. After all, the aforementioned Michael Jackson worked with Eddie Van Halen to create the pop-rock classic "Beat It".

Why did I choose the 80s version of Cameo? The original line-up...I always want the original line-up. As it stands now, Larry Blackmon is the only original member still on tour. I would want them all.

The original line-up is the biggest fantasy of them all...Many of the original 80s artists are missing members due to bad terms or even death in some cases. Fantasy is very big with me...Sometimes, it's the only thing that gets me through the day.

In closing, I know that many people on here hate the 00s, but this decade has been good to me. In 1998, I was alone in my 80s fandom, wanting to get the Hell out of school, and feeling tired of still being in the Boy Scouts long after all my contemporaries had given up. Now here I am in 2008...I'm seeing a psychologist to help me with my issues, I have a stable job, I have a good writing career here...I'm feeling really good. Although I do like some stuff from the 90s, in general, much like some older people than me like to pretend the 80s never happened, I like to pretend the 90s never happened. It was Hell on my personal life, but now in the 00s, I'm in a better place, and I wouldn't go back to the 90s if you paid me.

So, expand your horizons and look up new stuff. Think back, but keep looking forward. Time will never stop...Things will be okay. The 00s aren't THAT bad.

So, any thoughts, guys?
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