Attack of Muzak


In the first episode of season three of SATC Carrie and friends famously cross water to check out some guys. Once the dancing start Carries observes: “…I began to realize that Staten Island was like a quaint European country. The American music was 20 years behind and you could smoke wherever you wanted.”

Though I’ve never been to Staten Island, being in Chile is definitely a musical voyage into the past. Specifically the 80s. Of course Chileans, like most people who live in a constant state of gray skies and drizzle, love The Smiths and Depeche Mode. When they want to dance, Erasure plays freely. (Yay!)

But when they shop or ride public transportation, there’s a very finite playlist. And at the top is “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You.”

I do not exaggerate when I say I hear this song at least four times a week. Usually on repeat. For me this song only exists in Chile, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it elsewhere. Seeing the video makes me wince even harder, especially since Glenn Medeiros (really?) was barely legal. How can he be so cheesy at such a young age?

Another frequent tune pumping through the grocery aisles is “Angels.”

Robbie Williams remains big in Chile. I’m almost certain that all the Spanish-language comments on YouTube are from Chileans. Another corny pseudo-romantic song.

But every now and then, the clouds part and a song I actually play myself endlessly on loop comes up on the rotation: “Walk of Life.” AKA, “the blooper reel song.”

Why did songs from the 80s do cheesy things like show sports clips, or have Chevy Chase dancing? In hindsight witnessing the art of music videos emerge and take shape during this decade was a wholly painful process.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall during the planning process for “Total Eclipse of the Heart”! It’s like they brainstormed a dozen words (teens, boarding school, acrobatics, drapes, light, etc.) and the goal was to include everything. Even leather culture made the cut; but that’s an entirely separate post. Perhaps mocking Bonnie Tyler’s video (not her pipes) will only tempt fate and force me to hear this song ad nauseam as I run next week’s errands.

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