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.
Depeche Mode – “Two Minute Warning” (1983)
A sinister piece of synthpop, maybe Depeche Mode’s “Two Minute Warning” doesn’t grapple with things very directly, but it’s another one of the songs from the era that plays with the common language and imagery of the times. “Two minute warning/ Two minutes later/ When time has come/ My days are numbered,” Martin Gore sings in the chorus. It’s another track that hinges on that moment that seemed so plausible day-to-day in the ’80s: that the sirens could ring out and a person would have to make peace with everything with the handful of minutes they had left.