In the spirit of looking back at the 80’s, the era that I was an adolescent in, and was definitely “raised on MTV”, I am going to put together a collection of songs, with accompanying videos, that impacted my own coming of age.

Sure, there was radio, and I was definitely a KROQ radio girl. And it was records and music magazines that I spent all my allowance, babysitting earnings, and lunch money on. That all considered, MTV and music videos were enormous to me growing up, and were formative in my connections of the visual arts to music, and in the way I craft stories (and films) in my mind when I listen to a song, even to this day.

Perhaps some of you that may be reading this would consider adding their thoughts to the videos/songs I choose to write about; or, even better, may take on a similar project in their own writing spaces.

Here is my first shot at it:

Video Killed the Radio Star :: The Pretenders :: Brass in Pocket

Brass in Pocket (I’m Special) was released in 1979, but it was not until 1981 that I first noticed it, during the summer my family got cable (and the summer that MTV began). Chrissie Hynde was different than any other woman in rock I had noticed before. She had this incredible voice that I could actually sing to (as I always hovered in the alto side of the choir); she had this approachable sensuality (not that I could define it at 13 years old), and she had this relatable mix of vulnerability and confidence.

Confidence was such a seemingly unattainable thing at that age, especially growing up in Southern California, land of the blonde waifs from all that Orange County wealth when you are a brunette girl with a penchant for thrift shop clothes and kohl eyeliner, brought up by a struggling newly single mom.

I vividly remember singing this, with my hairbrush microphone, in my bedroom – over and over again.

And that feeling, when the boys (the actual rest of The Pretenders) leave the restaurant with their “girls”, and Chrissie watches longingly from the window, left behind, forgotten. Man, the girl I was in 1981 sure could relate.

When the guys sing special while holding up the menus, that still makes me laugh and roll my eyes a little. And Chrissie’s waitress uniform? I think I may have found my Halloween costume…maybe?

Closing editor’s note: Can someone explain to me what “Detroit leaning” is?

Brass In Pocket :: The Pretenders

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