Cool was the rule
Huey Lewis & the News will be performing their Sports album, in its entirety, this Saturday at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. My mom is stoked.
During the heart and soul of summer three decades ago, that album—a start-to-finish homage to rock 'n' roll with an '80s-pop twist—was the official soundtrack of suburban America. I have this vivid memory of my uncle, probably sauced on Budweiser, singing the “Th-th-th-th” part from the record's opener, “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” while manning the barbecue. He was so damn awesome.
Then, a year later, when Back to the Future came out, my younger brother and I would jam Huey, bust out the skateboards and grip on to the back of our parent's station wagon. While it was parked in the driveway.
Quickly, though, Huey no longer was the thing in suburban Sacramento. It was Guns N' Roses. Or LL Cool J or—if you were disaffected—Pixies. Friends mocked my Sports cassette; it got garage sold or traded in at Dimple Records.
Now, some 30 years later, Sports has escaped its ironic-cool, county-fair purgatory and once again is just plain cool. Which got me thinking about today's top albums in America, and whether they'll persevere.
Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience? Bruno Mars, Blake Shelton, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore? I'm not here to play old guy, but this Class of 2013 fails when compared to 1984's chart toppers: Michael Jackson's Thriller (still), Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. and Prince's Purple Rain soundtrack. And Sports. Legendary pop and rock.
So, while this is still an amazing time for mainstream music—just check out the latest Kendrick Lamar or Disclosure records for proof—cool is no longer the rule.