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 Stranglers – “Always The Sun” (1986)
One of the more meditative tracks here, the lyrics of “Always The Sun” aren’t always super concrete and revolve largely around the injustice in the world in broader terms. At one point, though, Hugh Cornwell gets more specific and asks “Who gets the job/ Of pushing the knob?/ That sort of responsibility, you draw straws for it if you’re mad enough.” Something about the song, relative to some other examples on this list, feels like an attempt at finding peace amidst all the darkness around them, though, the chorus working as a salve against the rest of the song’s searching.

SOURCE: Stereogum 80s Songs About Nuclear Anxiety

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