‘I don’t entirely enjoy 1980s music.’

When it comes to music, older generation of listeners will always have a problem with songs the “kids” are into. But what happens when we get millenials to listen to music from the days of big ballads, cheesy pop and hard rock – the 1980s?

We assigned five interns, all of whom are in their 20s, two not-too-popular artistes (no Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Michael Jackson etc) from the 1980s each and we asked them to find out what they can about them. 

Here’s the kicker: They are not allowed to Google for information.

Hey, we like doing things the old school way. Sometimes.

However, they are allowed to search for songs on YouTube because … we’re not that mean.

Here’s what they have to say about music from this writer’s childhood.

Ivena Hon

Age: 21

Artistes: The Bangles and Chicago

Favourite tracks: Eternal Flame (Bangles) and Hard To Say I’m Sorry (Chicago)

What I think of them: “Both my favourites were the top hits. My parents loved Chicago but did not know much about the band itself – they were only interested in the songs.

“The younger people (I interviewed) had not heard of these bands. However, after making them listen to the songs, they recognised them. 

“They liked that it reminded them of their childhood and their favourite tracks were the popular ones. When asked to compare both bands, they preferred Chicago.”

Would you recommend the artistes/music to your peers: “I guess I would recommend these two songs, but then again people from my generation who listen to (radio stations that play easy listening/retro music) would have already known these songs.”

Bryan Sjoekoer

Age: 23

Artistes: Bonnie Tyler and Spandau Ballet

Favourite tracks: Total Eclipse Of The Heart (Tyler), True (Spandau Ballet), Through The Barricade (Spandau Ballet)

What I think of them: “Bonnie Tyler and Spandau Ballet were 1980s music stars, but are they popular in Malaysia? Though I do not love their music, I do not find them too bad, either.

“Some people I spoke to said they have no knowledge of either artiste and mostly have no fondness for 1980s music. The others knew them and mention favourite tracks like Total Eclipse Of The Heart and Turn Around by Bonnie Tyler (hmm…) and Through The Barricade and I Know This Much Is True (what?) by Spandau Ballet.”

** To be fair, there are numerous videos on YouTube that are entitled “Turn Around” by Tyler and “I Know This Much Is True” by Spandau Ballet. The actual songs are called Total Eclipse Of The Heart and True. – ed

Would you recommend the artistes/music to your peers: Yes

Nazlin Amirudin

Age: 21

Artistes: UB40 and Genesis

Favourite tracks: (Can’t Help) Falling In Love (UB40) and Follow You Follow Me (Genesis) 

** (Can't Help) Falling In Love is not really a UB40 track – Elvis Presley is probably turning in his grave – even though the British band did perform a cover of it. However, that version was released in 1993, not the 1980s. – ed

What I think of them: “I found that after listening to UB40 and Genesis, I realised that I don’t entirely enjoy 1980s music. I do, however, prefer UB40 over Genesis if I ever had to choose between the two.”

Nazlin also asked a few friends what they thought of the artistes. Aaron Au Yoong, 19, said, “Genesis is not really my style of music. It’s okay but after a while, it gets a little boring.” 

For Gabrriel Navin Philip, 16, “old people” music is just not an option for him. “I do quite like rock music, so Genesis is alright.”

Would you recommend the artistes/music to your peers: “I personally do enjoy listening to music from the older generation, but I wouldn’t recommend it to the younger generation.”

Lee Chonghui

Age: 23

Artistes: Culture Club and Pat Benatar

Favourite tracks: Karma Chameleon (Culture Club) and Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Benatar)

What I think of them: “I didn't realise that I've heard and enjoyed songs by Culture Club and Pat Benatar countless times before on the radio. I know their songs such as Karma Chameleon and Hit Me With Your Best Shot, but knew nothing about the artistes.”

Chunghui asked a few people what they thought of the two artistes. “I like the music; I prefer the melody of old songs compared to the noisy ones today. I will recommend these songs especially the ones from Culture Club,” said Harshini, 13. 

“I don’t know about Pat Benatar but I like the songs from Culture Club. They sound happy and carefree and I would recommend them,” said Lee Kim Lian, 49.

Would you recommend the artistes/music to your peers: “I would recommend them because songs from the old days definitely trump songs of this generation. I tend to lean more towards Pat Benatar because her music is of the pop rock genre.”

Ailyn Low Mae Leen

Age: 21

Artistes: Tears For Fears and Billy Ocean

Favourite tracks: Mad World and Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Tears For Fears) and Suddenly (Ocean)

What I think of them: “After listening to their music, I realised that I have listened to them before. I was fond of both artistes but preferred Tears For Fears as I find British artistes more unique.”

Ailyn was surprised to discover that a few teenagers actually preferred Ocean to Tears For Fears. Natalya Maurice, 15, said that both artistes were talented but preferred Ocean. “I like Billy Ocean because his songs are upbeat,” she said.

Sean Wong, 13, did not like Tears For Fears. “I prefer Billy Ocean’s There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry). Tears For Fears sounded weird.”

Would you recommend the artistes/music to your peers: “I would not recommend it to the younger generation as I believe many would not be interested in these kind of music but I would continue listening to it.”