Tuesday, October 19, 2010
In 1989 I was 13 years old and just becoming politicized. I wasn't a militant young black man, but what I gleaned from PE was that there were things worth changing, and the possibility existed that we just might change them. We were going to create racial equality, harmony, understanding, tolerance. We were going to cure AIDS, eliminate hunger, colonize space, save the damn planet. The fuck happened?
Musically, holy shit -- pick a style, let me point to a seminal (or at least important, or at the very least "pretty damn good") album released that year. How about Full Moon Fever, 3 Feet High and Rising, Doolittle, Raw Like Sushi, The Stone Roses, Bleach, The Real Thing, Margin Walker and Paul's Boutique?
I don't want to fawn over what then held cache and now looks hopelessly kitschy ("the hair was funny! the pants were big!"), but try to remember what it felt like to be alive then (if applicable). It was naive and fresh and fun. We were smack in the middle of the Golden Age of Rap. Nobody had died since John Lennon. Am I remembering this right? The goddamned Berlin Wall fell! Communism was totally on its last legs. And even if the notion that The People made it happen turned out to be a romantic exaggeration (cf: Bulgarian blue jeans, heavy debt loads, inept leadership, wasteful and redundant systems... any of this sound startlingly familiar?), it sure felt like the future was a ripe oyster eager to split itself open and reveal to us, the youth, its slick and shiny treasure.