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.

The Smiths – “Ask” (1986)
Morrissey was always a morose character, so leave it to him to deploy a nuclear bomb reference off-handedly like he does in the Smiths’ non-album classic “Ask.” “If it’s not love/ Then it’s the bomb that’ll bring us together” he sings repeatedly. It doesn’t seem as if there’s a real Cold War narrative here. It’s just an example of how the prospect of nuclear war was so constant, so part of everyday life, that it could function almost like a conversational hinge.

SOURCE: Stereogum 80s Songs About Nuclear Anxiety

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