We were children of the 80s. We had cable, and we had VCRs, and we had parents who really didn’t give a fuck sometimes. And so we learned these songs young, and sometime later–maybe in college, when thinking about things that happened 10 years ago was suddenly cool, but before anyone called it retro?–we actually listened to the songs and couldn’t believe our parents let us listen.
Now that we have children, of course, we laugh and laugh when they think “a spoon up your nose” is a funny joke, instead of an actual spoon.
Billy Joel’s “Big Shot”
I was absolutely flabbergasted when I first moved to New York and realized Elaine’s was an actual place.
Lil Sheridan’s “Dangerously”
I still know the whole dance. I performed it for my toddler when we watched this back at Christmas. She clapped and said “Mommy’s dancing!” and my husband wondered if the material was appropriate.
When John Travolta talks about bowling at 1:43, the hand gesture he makes is totally not about bowling. It still makes me kegel.
Appolonia’s “Sex Shooter”
I wasn’t allowed to watch Purple Rain when it first came out–one of the only restricted movies, mostly due to the car accident my mom nearly had the first time “Erotic City” penetrated her radio. So this one’s for Melinda and Karen, who still dream of the day when they can get the band back together and perform it live onstage. Preferably with Morris Day in the audience.
We knew he said bad words like “tit” and “shit,” but my parents loved it so much that we listened to the album until it looked like a cat had attacked it. What I didn’t hear were the choice phrases “get off my rocks” and “pussywagon.” Additionally: if someone understands the Saran Wrap, please explain.