[Black Friday -- Redux 2] -- As I often do during a holiday, I'm re-using a previous Flashback post (with a few corrections/updates). This one was originally posted in November 2012 and then revamped for November 2018, but the tunes are just as fresh, and the topic just as relevant, today. Here we go!
It's the day after Thanksgiving, colloquially known as Black Friday here in the States. It's a special, special day when all those prices that have been steadily jacked up over the past few months are lowered (just a bit). Some folks could not even wait for this morning, and began shopping last night or at least camped out (2015 link | 2018 link | 2020 links) in the hope of nabbing huge deals. As the 80s are often considered the decade of materialism during which "shop till you drop" became a mantra, I thought I could find a few tunes to reflect the inanity of Black Friday. Read and hear more after the break.
Flashback #1: "We are living in a material world."
If we are going to talk about materialism in the 80s, then our first stop must be the Material Girl herself, Madonna. So, our first Flashback is her 1984 hit, "Material Girl." The second single from her second studio LP, Like a Virgin, "Material Girl" hit the #1 spot on the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart on March 30, 1985. It also cracked the top ten of the UK Singles, the US Billboard Hot 100, and the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles charts. It even enjoyed some crossover appeal in the US Hot Black Singles chart. Written by songwriters Peter Brown and Robert Rans, and produced by Nile Rodgers, Madonna was attracted to the song because the song was provocative and had a concept that was similar to her life's situation at the time [according to Wikipedia]. The song was a huge success and enjoyed regular play on MTV (back when they played videos), and the music video mimicked Marilyn Monroe's 1953 performance of "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend."
Flashback #2: "A heartless hand on my shoulder | A push - and it's over."
Our next Flashback isn't entirely in keeping with the theme of hyper-consumerism, at least not in terms of buying stuff in a store. "Shoplifters of the World Unite" was released by the Smiths as a single in 1987. It did not have a home on a studio album, but it can be found on three different compilations: Louder Than Bombs, Singles and The World Won't Listen. Some might note that a song about shoplifting has nothing at all to do with buying let alone Black Friday. However, during an interview, singer Morrissey shared that the song was more about "spiritual shoplifting, cultural shoplifting, taking things and using them to your own advantage." Well, as retailers are leveraging their huge advantage over shoppers, I'm saying the core point of this tune is applicable today.
Flashback #3: "We're S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G. We're shopping."
Our final Flashback of the day was not released as a single, but I simply could not resist sharing it. "Shopping" is the third track from Pet Shop Boys' second studio album, Actually (1987). Now, "Shopping" is more about political corruption than a day walking the mall, but the lyrics still seem rather appropriate for our increasing loss of private identity.
Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!