• Stepping Stones Kottla

Music Criticism

By Johan Loosme.



The 1980s was a very important decade for modern music. Not only did we see lots of new stars emerge but we also got some superstars that are still almost as popular today as then. Not only did we get Michael Jackson but we also got to see faces such as Whitney Huston, Prince and Madonna. All of these had great impacts on society and really switched up some of the trends of the decade.

Now the 1980s had a lot of music genres and also the introduction to some new ones. We got the development of hip-hop music which was going to rapidly expand during the coming 20 years. Our first glance at the hip-hop world was in 1979 and from a band known as The Sugarhill Gang. They had been making music during the 1970s and in 1979 they released the very famous Rappers Delight which is the song that kickstarted the hip-hop genre. Other than the hip-hop genre we got some subgenres of rock. The rock genre had been popularised during the 1970s but not enough to be split up into the subgenres. People only saw it as rock. However during the 1980s rock exploded in popularity and saw it get broken down into sub genres such as heavy metal, hair metal, alternative rock, and gothic rock to name a few. We also got to see the new wave keep growing with the help of MTV.

Now we have some songs that a lot of people refer to today as “classics” from the 1980s. We for example got to see Michael Jackson release his album Thriller in 1982 where we got songs such as Thriller, Billie Jean, and Beat It. All of these songs were up on the billboard and Michael Jackson created some number one hits. We also got to see songs like Like a Virgin by Madonna and Super Trooper by ABBA. Queen also created some hits such as Other One Bites The Dust and Flash.

Now even though these decades being next to each other they had a lot of differences between them. If you look at the genres from the 1990s you notice that the pop style got extremely popular and exploded. Britpop, country pop, pop punk, urban pop, and teen pop became popular. Now this was also the century where the hip-hop genre was going to absolutely explode.

We got to see artists such as 2pac, Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Dr. Dre, Mariah Carey, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg and many more. The 1990s saw a lot of the new artists taking space and especially in the Hip-Hop genre.

Now as there are so many new artists there we lots of hits being created during the 1990s. We saw My Name Is by Eminem, All star with Smash Mouth, Thunderstruck with AC/DC, and many more. This decade had lots of hits and I also have a lot of songs from this century that I still listen to a lot today.

What also made a big difference between these two decades is the development of new technology. Between the 1980s and 1990s there were a lot of technical improvements to the music studios and it became a lot easier to create songs. This is the big reason why there came a lot more artists during the 1990s. During the 1980s, a new wave of technology came. The CDs were created and the cassettes were developed. The portability of music improved drastically. The Walkman was created which became really popular. It's an old version of an Ipod. You had a cassette inside the machine playing the music and your headphones were connected to it. Now you could listen to music everywhere because this small machine was in your pocket. When more people could listen to music more often, the artists also became more famous. This meant that the music created during the decades was a lot more available.

Now in my opinion both of these decades were great and they had a huge influence on the music that is created today. If I’d have to choose one of these decades however as my favourite, it would most likely be the 1990s. The reason for this is because it saw an insane evolution of the hip-hop genre which I am in lo0ve with today. The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, 2pac, Nas, and Ice cube are just a few of the artists that I listen to today and their songs never get old. Now what makes the 1990s hip-hop different to the 1980s hip-hop is the style that they rap in. Since hip-hop was so new during the 1980s this meant that it wasn’t able to experiment too much since the people might not like it. This limited the 1980s hip-hop to a more “disco” style of rap. However the genre evolved a lot during the 1980s and leading into the 1990s it had really sprouted off and created its own thing.

What makes me like the hip-hop genre so much is also that they have a completely different way of “singing.” The rappers have a flow when they “did their thing” which makes it so different and more fun to listen to in my opinion. Because of this flow I also listen to the songs a lot and it’s usually quite easy to learn the lyrics eventually. What also really embraces the flow of the rap is the fact that they rhyme a lot. This amplifies the listening experience and makes it so fun to listen to. When a rap song comes on the radio and you know the lyrics, you just go full throttle and start spitting words and you truly feel like a rap star.

Even though the hip-hop of the 1990s “wins” in my opinion, the 1990s rock would lose to the 1980s rock. During the 1980s we got to see a lot of music by the very famous rock band AD/DC which I’m a big fan of and it’s probably the only rock group that i actually listen to. If you were to compare say for example the song thunderstruck by AC/DC and Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana I enjoy Thunderstruck a lot more. I think it’s because I feel like some of the instruments take over the song a little bit. Generally the 1990s rock feels a bit more “screamish” and I have a hard time understanding the lyrics of the songs. The 1980s rock is a lot more cool in my opinion which makes it more fun to listen to.

For me a big difference between these two decades is the way that I would like to classify their music. The 1980s has a lot more dance music and is a lot “cooler” in my opinion in terms of the music made. Compare this to the 1990s where it’s not the same type of dance music but I would like to describe it more as “sing along music.” For me this means that I have a hard time choosing between them because I see them as having two different types of music. If I’m in a dance mood I’d rather listen to 1980s music while if i feel like singing along or rapping it play some music from the 1990s.

Overall they are two great decades of great music. I really like them. The 1980s has some great old hits where you just can go at it and start throwing moves while the 1990s has some insane sing along music. If I’d have to choose one I’d say go for the 1990s because of hip hop. I saw such great evolution to my at the moment favourite music genre and that’s why I really enjoy the 1990s.