A Song A Day in May: 80s Nuclear War Anxiety

The Music I listened to and loved in the 80s had an influence on me, it’s undeniable. Along with the books I read, the television shows and movies I watched, the people I met, they all helped shape create the foundation of who I am today. Would I be me today if I hadn’t seen “The Day After” at a young age and had a near-obsession level of paranoia over my skin getting peeled off in a nuclear blast? Who’s to say? Did the artists of the music I listen to and their speaking out on political and social matters shape me? Absolutely.

I stumbled across Stereogum‘s list of 80s songs about nuclear war and it was nostalgia on full volume for me. Their list included songs I may not have realized at the time were as political as they were, but now with adult eyes and 30+ years of hindsight, I am grateful that they are. I hope you enjoy some of them as much as I do.

Modern English – “I Melt With You” (1982)
One of the all-time early ’80s new wave classics, and one of the foremost examples of a song being radically misunderstood over the years. It sounds like a straight-up love song, the sentiment of melting together an abstraction, and it’s often been used as such over the years. Supposedly, singer Robbie Grey intended that and lyrics like “I saw the world crashing all around your face” a bit more literally and “I Melt With You” was really about a couple making love as the bombs dropped. Though the song has deservedly become iconic over the years, the album it’s taken from, After The Snow, remains one of the more underrated options from the early ’80s.

SOURCE: Stereogum 80s Songs About Nuclear Anxiety

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