I achieved manhood in 1982, when the good people of Temple Rodeph Shalom saw fit to give me a bar mitzvah.
I had just turned 13, and in the real world, I was a man in the same way that Josef Mengele was a healthcare provider. If forced to fend for myself I would have been dead within a week, and I’m not even sure I had all my pubes. But I had said the Hebrew words of my forebears and worn a tie, and therefore I had crossed the threshold into adulthood.
Whatever ambivalence I may have felt about my newfound status as a man, I was perfectly comfortable accepting the various savings bonds and other monies which I had been gifted by my various relatives. I don’t know if it’s still like this today, but Jews who were over 35 or so in the Reagan decade gifted mad savings bonds, and to this day I’m not sure if the entire appeal of them wasn’t just that you couldn’t spend them right away. If there was a gratification that could be delayed, the 1982 Adult Model Jew was all over it.
While the money may not have been mine to spend at the time, the crappy music of the year of our lord 1982 could be inhaled with impunity, and I did. I can no longer remember what I spent all those savings bonds on, but I remember every note of music that provided the soundtrack to taking all of those savings bonds and putting them in a box until they matured.
If you were also bar mitzvahed or bat mitzvahed at around the same time, you can probably remember the music that provided the soundtrack to these wonderful years. While most people my age like to pretend they were listening to The Fall and Mission of Burma at the time, they’re lying. They were listening to Boston, Styx and other stuff like that, and none of the more artistically credible stuff was even on their radar. If they say it was, they’re lying to you.
With that in mind, we at The Z Review have decided that the time is right to inaugurate a new feature, The Z Review playlist. While this particular playlist is meant to provide an accurate assessment of what 13-year-old New York Jews were listening to in 1982, this feature will cast a wide net and bring a variety of perspectives, and hopefully even make you, the loyal reader, aware of some chin-scratchingly interesting new music of which you have been heretofore unaware.
With that in mind, please enjoy our new feature, and furthermore, please take this playlist as the definitive document of what doofuses such as myself were listening to way back when.