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.
Sting – “Russians” (1985)
Another one of the famed Cold War works, Sting’s “Russians” is one of those songs from a perspective between that of the Americans and that of the Russians. Rather than a paranoid or furious screed, it’s a fractured prayer delivered over synth-strings and a motif borrowed from Soviet composer Sergei Prokofiev. He references both Reagan and Khrushchev along the way, but the tone of it is one of struggling hope that both sides realize some kind of common humanity before destroying the entire world, continuously wrapping around to the line “I hope the Russians love their children, too.”