by Darren Clarke, May 8, 2022
As the 80s draw to a close the relentless potency of alternative music is rumbling just beneath the surface of the pop culture zeitgeist. Sonic Youth, Fugazi, The Pixies, Talk Talk, all churn out the kind of contentious, yet contagious, albums that will hallmark the rise in popularity of alt-music just a few years later. Meanwhile, quiet gems from The Cowboy Junkies and Tracy Chapman are released to varying degrees of popularity but similar critical acclaim.
In short, 1988 was a damned good year for music.
To accompany the great music the world serves us up a wild assortment of the good, the bad and the ugly to consider. From glasnost in Russia, to the Singing Revolution in the Baltic states. From an action film introducing us to the idea of, “making fists with your toes,” to overcome jet lag, to Roger Ebert hating on Bill Murray’s take on a Christmas classic. From yet another tele-evangelist being embroiled in a sex scandal (as opposed to the scandal of them routinely bilking millions of dollars off ignorant Americans) to Geraldo Rivera getting his nose broken on TV. From a Gold Medal scandal via Canada’s Ben Johnson, to Gold Medal seduction provided by East Germany’s Katrina Witt.
It’s a wild year in pop culture, it’s a wild year in music.
Just press play.