Mad World: 80’s nostalgia revived..

Bill Cummings 09/04/2004

It's a Mad World. Gary Jules grabs a Christmas number one with a slowed down reinterpretation of a long lost Tears for Fears song that features on a film called “Donnnie Darko” featuring a talking rabbit and as much eighties nostalgia as you can shake a glow stick at.

So what happened? The eighties was once laughed at as the decade music forgot - all style and no substance. Bands seemed to be more concerned about their hairstyles and blusher than their songs.

But lest we forget that the independent scene of the eighties was periodically awash with invention. The likes of The Cure, The Smiths and Echo and the Bunnymen are all cited as influences upon bands today. Lets take the punk/funk/disco of The Rapture. Their vocal style owes more than just a bit to Robert Smith's eighties yelp, or the Gang of Four's punk/funk invention. In truth there are a whole host of bands (mainly American) tapping into the best of the eighties underground. You have the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club re-enacting the black fuzzboxed indie of the Jesus and Mary Chain, or Interpol tapping into the heart of Joy Division/New Order and the like, plus you have The Hidden Cameras all early REM idiosyncrasies, and a host of bands like The Killers emerging owing a large debt to the Smiths.

Its ironic that the Smiths who couldn't get played on Radio One in the eighties, deemed too controversial, now inspire a generation of Hot Hot Heats to fill up daytime radio play lists.

Even eighties pop has made a come back. Admittedly most of it was awful pap but in the nuggets of cheesy pop from the likes of the Human League and ABC was the spark of melody and the whiff of intelligence and style that we would love to see from Busted, Blazing Squad et al. I guess in this Mad World its fitting that Duran Duran, newly reconstituted and reformed, are awarded a gong at this year's Brits for “achievement”, while The Faint, one of the best electroclash bands around, have been called the “evil Duran Duran” themselves.

So the eighties, the decade that music supposedly forgot, has come back to bite us on the bum. It truly is a Mad World.