Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Musical Interlude:

Here's another old favorite - "Lunatic Fringe" by Red Rider:



The song got quite a bit of airplay in northern California in late 1981, and was arguably one of my favorite tunes of the time. Never saw the video, save for a brief clip a few months ago when my wife was watching "One Hit Wonders". Just as well, as the video really didn't really add anything (true of most videos, imho, then and now). On its own, it's well-written, well-performed, and actually just unique and edgy enough among early 1980s AOR offerings to grab one's attention.

I tend to give a lot of 1980s pop music a hard time - especially that which was geared toward more mainstream audiences - for being vapid and overproduced, but the truth is that there were some gems (especially during the early part of the decade). "Lunatic Fringe" isn't particularly gimmicky, so it holds up to repeated listenings long after its 1981 release. It helps that Tom Cochran had something to say:
Lunatic fringe
I know you're out there
You're in hiding
And you hold your meetings
We can hear you coming
We know what you're after
We're wise to you this time
We won't let you kill the laughter.

Lunatic fringe
In the twilight's last gleaming
This is open season
But you won't get too far
We know you've got to blame someone
For your own confusion
But we're on guard this time
Against your final solution

We can hear you coming
(We can hear you coming)
No you're not going to win this time
We can hear the footsteps
(We can hear the footsteps)
Way out along the walkway
Lunatic fringe
We know you're out there
But in these new dark ages

There will still be light

An eye for an eye;
Well before you go under...
Can you feel the resistance?
Can you feel the thunder?
It ain't Shakespeare, but it's got some substance and enough ambiguity to be relevant outside of whatever context it was originally written. Was it an antifascist statement? A warning lest the lunatic fringe became embedded within the mainstream? It could certainly be interpreted that way. Nearly three decades hence, is it still a clarion call?

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