The Amazing Russian Pop – 80s Edition Posted by yelena on Jul 5, 2011 in Culture, Russian for beginners, Russian life
I’ve been very busy «на прошлой неделе» [last week]. What was I so busy with you might ask. Well, I was wasting time doing research on YouTube. All those hours of watching and yes, singing, Russian hits from late 80’s and early 90’s…
I am no «меломан» [audiophile]. Instead, «что для меня ценно» [what matters to me] when I listen to these old songs is not so much their «слова и музыка» [lyrics and music], but «воспоминания» [recollections] they stir up. «Ну вот, опять ностальгия» [Here goes nostalgia again].
This post is not about the short history of late-Soviet and early post-Soviet music. Instead, «это скорее о личном» [it’s more about something personal].
Ok, so I was too young to remember this song by «ВИА Верасы» [pop-group Verasi] when it first came out. But it remained hugely popular for a long time. So I’d say that’s probably my earliest musical memory, hearing the song about «малиновка» [robin] on «радио Маяк» [the Mayak radio station]. «Маяк» [Lighthouse] was the official “voice of socialism” radio station, broadcasting over the entire Soviet Union. Even if you’ve never heard of this radio station before, you mostly likely have heard its official «позывные» [call sign]. By the way, you can still listen to this radio station online.
This one reminds me of that hazy period when old-style «танцплощадки» [dance floor] were getting renamed «дискотеки» [discos], but not everywhere at the same time. So when I was at «дом отдыха» [sanatorium] with parents, we went «на танцы» [to dance]. But at «летний лагерь» [summer camp] there were already «дискотеки» [discotheques] even thought the songs were the same.
As a child, I could not for the life of mine understand why it is such an unattainable goal to find a man «чтоб не пил, не курил и цветы всегда дарил» [who wouldn’t smoke, drink and would always bring flowers]. Turns out, this is one of the «вечные проблемы» [eternal problems] that has yet to be solved by many (since there’s only one Putin, but that’s from a different era).
The words to these songs are both remarkably ridiculous and heart-warming in their lack of sophistication. How can you not feel «Я играю на балалайке. Это – самый русский инструмент. Я мечтаю жить на Ямайке. На Ямайке балалаек нет» [I play balalaika. It’s the most Russian instrument. I dream of living on Jamaica. There are no balalaikas on Jamaica]. Or how about the profound truth of «Бухгалтер, милый мой бухгалтер. Вот он какой, такой простой. А счастье будет, если есть в душе покой» [Accountant, my darling accountant. He is just like this, simple like this. Happiness will come if the soul is at peace.]
BTW, the word «комбинация» means both “combination” as in alpha-numeric combination for a password and “a slip” as in a type of undergarment. And that was probably the first all-girls band too.
Next, logically, would be the first boy band (ok, the first with a major «сексапил» [sex appeal]). Wanna take a guess at who that was?
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