Monday, May 15, 2023

This Year: 1989

"This Year" is a series of weekly posts, each about one song from one year of my life. See the introduction for more.

There are a lot of songs that I thought should have been huge. Some of them were decent-sized, but my big poppy favorites, the songs that have a hook that never stops and lyrics that bounce and a sound that pulls in the whole world, just don't seem to sound that way to enough other people to really break out.

The problem is either with me or the entire rest of the world, and I'm never going to admit that it's me.

This is one of those songs. In some better, purer world, it was one of the biggest hits of 1989, featured in a dozen movies, and is now an established cliché of the era. It is bouncy and lively and wonderful, a perfect pop gem. It grabs from the first chord, puts a smile on your face, and makes your whole body want to move. I have no idea why the rest of the world didn't take to as I did.

It's Don't Let Me Down, Gently by The Wonder Stuff.

It is witty and quick and smart, a kiss-off song to a former friend who clearly has done something horrible and unforgivable, though the singer will never say what that was. Instead, the song is all "hey, could you not have just done that horrible thing, maybe? kthxbai"

And for a song that could so easily be angry, it's instead uplifting: a happy "you are out of my life forever" song, of the kind that other, later iterations were beloved by millions. I blame society.

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