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.

Tears For Fears – “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (1985)
The title of one of Tears For Fears’ finest hits was originally the much less interesting “Everybody Wants To Go To War.” (I hope you avoid my fate, which is now having that stuck in my head with those lyrics awkwardly stitched into the chorus instead of the real ones.) Though the ruling the world bit could apply to other aspects of ’80s culture — the “Greed is good” corporate rise that led us to today’s America comes to mind — it’s also hard not to hear it as a conversational condemnation of the decade’s politics. In a recent interview, Curt Smith drew the comparison himself: “Back when we were doing … ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World,’ we were really discussing the Cold War. But it was the US and Russia then, and now the concern is more the US and Korea. I find that fascinating.” The song still has its resonance now, in a different context, and either way it sounds as great as ever.

SOURCE: Stereogum 80s Songs About Nuclear Anxiety

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