- Track Marks 2020: “One Night Standards” by Ashley McBryde - January 13, 2021
- TRACK MARKS 2020: “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd - January 7, 2021
- The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: 1999 Albums – 69 Love Songs by Magnetic Fields - October 28, 2020
Track Marks is a recurring SportsAlcohol.com feature that invites writers to briefly discuss a song that is meaningful to them in any way. Though they can appear on the site at any time, we always run a bunch of them in December and/or January and/or February, looking back at the year in music.
1. History and Context
Do you ever listen to an old song and ask, if this song came out today, would it still be a hit? Sure, there are songs that are clearly of their time — a grunge anthem that typifies the ’90s or an early hip-hop song of the ’80s that might not translate well. But then, there are those songs from whenever they came out that make you think, yeah, this is still a banger.
“Blinding Lights” answers a different question: If you created a perfect ’80s synth pop song with post-2000s production technology in the year of a quarantine, would it be popular?
Sure, the ’80s has its gems. Yes, Pitbull can sample Ah-ha’s classic “Take On Me” in “Feel This Moment” to push out a party anthem, but Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) along with Max Martin and Oscar Holter (with a few others) did something remarkable: They created a song for 2020 with its roots clearly in the 1980s (if not a little before), and they made it slamming.
Continue reading TRACK MARKS 2020: “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd