Fleetwood Mac guitar solos everywhere

Month: November 2019

The video for the song obsession the American indie band Joywave always puts a grin on my face. The band - or the producers; I'm not exactly sure who owns how much of the video and the idea - created a whopping 64 different titles and title scenes for the 3-minute video, inspired by B-films from the 1980s. Some only flash for a brief moment, others last for several seconds. You definitely have to look carefully.

With some titles the source is obvious (e.g. Red Puma <=> Red Sonja), with others less. Sometimes the titles only pick up on the common clich├ęs. In the B-film in particular, many films, titles and topics were completely interchangeable. In any case, the video manages very well to convey the typical 80s film vibe via these collage-like vignettes, which are fired at short intervals. And - it has to be said - the song is a really smooth number that fits the era very well in terms of sound. To make the concept perfect, the entire video was shot on good old Kodak footage.

For an overview, here are all 64 film titles from the video.

Thoughts on the 80s retro wave

The following is not about the fact that many people still like to listen to their music from the 80s or that Thomas Gottschalk regularly moderates a retro show with the same noses on television. It's not about films or music that somehow quote, cover or remake something from the 80s, because that has always existed. I'm talking about a nostalgic retro wave, the vague starting point of which I found in 2011 in the film Super 8 by J.J. Believe Abrams to moor. Super 8 was the first film that aroused this cozy feeling of nostalgia and reminded viewers of 80s film classics such as Stand by me and The Goonies. In the same year, Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, which was completely contradictory in terms of content, exuded a gaudy 80s atmosphere from the design to the style and, in particular, to the soundtrack.

Shortly afterwards, synthwave bands began to appear - I dare to say that this cannot be a coincidence - who emulated the old heroes from the 80s, but also set new accents and became popular pretty quickly. That was probably also due to the fact that these bands didn't just sound like the 80s hit parade, but also served a certain nerdiness with the influence of film and video game soundtracks. That's how I became aware of bands like Gunship, Carpenter Brut (this name alone!) And Power Glove.

Cinematically it is now getting interesting. In 2015 the furious short film Kungfury was released, which to date has over 30 million views on Youtube. The accompanying music video by David Hasselhoff even comes to 40 million. One could also mention Turbo Kid at this point. It fits in well here in terms of time and somehow also seems to be part of this retro wave, but the quarry look and the exaggerated splatter effects are out of line and remind me more of Japanese films from the 2000s (something like Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police comes to mind).

At the end of 2015, Amazon released the wonderful series Red Oaks, which looks like a perfect mix of Breakfast Club and American Pie. The soundtrack also plays a major role here. Instead of the well-known numbers, songs are played here that are somehow known, but often cannot be assigned directly. There are also new retro songs, which fit seamlessly into the musical stream and at least for me always led to the question of whether this is a real 80s song or something new that is currently playing in the background.

The following year, Stranger Things finally let the wave spill into the mainstream for good. There is little to say about this. The success and the subsequent trend speaks for itself. Suddenly I saw neon lights and heard synth sounds everywhere. Series, films, music videos, commercials, comics. Somehow everyone seemed to want to benefit from the Stranger Things hype.

Blade Runner 2049 hit theaters two years later. Continuing to one if not the most iconic neon light film of the 80s. And strangely enough, the film was announced with the acquisition of the film rights back in 2011, the year it came out as Super 8.

The retro wave finally reached an excessive climax in my opinion with Ready Player One. This film is the culmination and accumulation of all pop culture references of the 80s. The novel on which the film is based was, surprisingly, published in 2011.

The question is, how long will the trend last? Will creativity triumph over mundane emulation? Sometimes I already see 80s references that seem inappropriate and ingratiating. But I'm still open to more retro, as long as there are productions worth seeing, such as Summer of 84 (by the director of Turbo Kid) or Obsession by Joywave.