“One of the things I like about music is it’s an abstract art, totally abstract, where you can convey an emotion, which I find amazing.”- Bernard Sumner of New Order. Music is an abstract art that us, the listeners, determine whether we enjoy or dislike the sounds we hear, whether we can convey or relate to the emotion that is embedded in a song. The reason I love new wave, post-punk, and classic alternative music is because I can relate and feel the emotion in the music that I don’t find in much of modern music.
New wave can be described as an emergence of new sounds through the use of synths and other electronic instruments, while drawing inspiration from previous rock, punk, and post-punk bands and sounds. New wave also incorporated other sounds from music around the world, such as ska or salsa. New Order, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (O.M.D.), Depeche Mode, Blondie, and Eurythmics are prime examples of bands with a diverse sound that defined what it means to be a new wave band.
Before there was new wave, there was post-punk, and before post-punk, there was punk. Punk grew in popularity as quickly as it declined in popularity thanks to efforts of The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks, The Ramones, and The New York Dolls. The rise of punk in England was during the late 70s, and everyone wanted to start their own punk band. Post-punk bands kept their main sound as punk, but they added experimental sounds to their music. Sounds of electronic bird chirps, breaking glass, xylophones, and wind effects. Bands credited with being pioneers in this genre are Siouxsie & The Banshees, Joy Division, Public Image Ltd., Iggy Pop, and The Talking Heads.
Music during the 80s is always described as being synth driven pop songs. Some bands during the 80s chose to avoid that trend. They instead developed the sound of their guitars to attract anyone who was just as tired of the new synth sounds of 80s pop music. Alternative was a term that was used to describe those underground bands who chose to go with a different sound than what was being played. The Smiths, R.E.M., The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Alarm, and Echo & The Bunnymen are responsible for the growing popularity of alternative music during the mid and late 80s.
Despite the difference in each genre, they all enlist the same emotions in me. I can feel when listening to these bands listed and unlisted. I can feel the depressed lyrics of The Smiths and Joy Division the same as the energetic sounds of Squeeze and The Jam. This is the music I love. This is the music I want to share.