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.
Morrissey – “Everyday Is Like Sunday” (1988)
“Come, Armageddon, come!” Morrissey sings at the end of the first verse in “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” a track from his 1988 solo debut Viva Hate and still one of the high watermarks of his career. Of course, Morrissey is so melodramatic that you’d be forgiven for misinterpreting that lyric as Morrissey simply being Morrissey. As it turns out, the lyrics for “Everyday Is Like Sunday” were supposedly partially inspired by Nevil Schute’s 1957 novel On The Beach. The book tells the story of a group of Australians living out their final days awaiting their deaths at the hands of radiation floating down from a nuclear war that’s already leveled the rest of the world. It’s been a while since I read it, but I remember it being a measured and beautiful book in its end-times existentialism. It’s a fitting inspiration for Morrissey, evident in lyrics like “Etch a postcard/ ‘How I Dearly Wish I Was Not Here’/ In the seaside town/ That they forgot to bomb/ Come, come, come, nuclear bomb.”