1980 : Lingering Pop
1980 is the first year records began to be dated and labeled in the way they still are today. While music directors of the 70s wrote notes on the covers of records, they are of an entirely different style, sometimes typed and much more lengthy than what we witness develop in the 80s. In a sense, the quickly scrawled marker notes on the covers of records from 1980 on, align with the same DIY aesthetic emerging in rock music at the time and are emblematic in themselves of the changes taking place at WNUR. That being said, the 1980 collection still contains a fair amount of popular music released by major labels. This group of records against the more avant-garde records from the same year give a strong sense of the dynamics within the station at the team and paint a picture of two opposing aesthetic forces.
Fronted by a pre-fame Cyndi Lauper, Blue Angel’s self-titled 1980 album serves as an accurate example of the specific pop styling lingering on the airwaves of WNUR during its time of change. Blue Angel is a Polydor records release, an auxiliary label of Universal Music Group, and one of the small percentage of major label records in the stacks. The music director notes on this record: “let’s pop!” are self-conscious of the pop-leaning quality of the music. Because of this self-awareness, it’s difficult to discern whether this is an addition from the more rock-centric DJs of the time, with their own personal lingering pop sensibilities and tastes or from a divided music adding group within the station. The song I have selected, ‘I Had A Love’ showcases this pop sensibility as well as the backward-looking almost 50s pop song style. All in all Blue Angel is far from “The New Music FM” and it’s place in the 1980 collection shows the lingering pop sensibilities of WNUR in the early days of the rock show.