I hate to tip my hat to Taylor Swift, but she really was onto something.
1989 really was a watershed year for pop music.
As the months roll on this year, you'll find that your social media feeds will be brimming with 30 year anniversary posts.
Some key albums from 1989 have had a lasting impact worldwide; others proved transformative in their local markets.
There was something about 1989 that pushed a lot of eighties acts to lift their game; to do something to justify your attention into the next decade. So many eighties pop acts seemed to come of age that year.
In Australia, as in some other countries in the colonial world, we were still coming out of a bit of a rock music haze. We certainly had lapped up the work of the international superstars, but we were a bit late to the pop party locally.
For better or worse, genres other than rock really only started to gain traction in the mid eighties in Oz. You were more likely to find yourself down the pub watching a bunch of frizzy haired guys in acid wash making their air guitar dreams come true than you were to be having a little shuffle in the middle of a heaving dancefloor back then.
There were certainly some great Aussie pop acts that emerged in the eighties (mostly for a flash) in Australia, but for the most part we had to wait until the end of the decade for female artists to be given the space to break the rock (chick) mould.
Before then it was unheard of for a record company and the media to really get behind a local lady and really give their work the kind of attention usually reserved for the blokes.
If you have even an ounce of Australian in you, then you know that Kate Ceberano is a national treasure; a versatile singer who effottlessly jumped across jazz, pop and funk as she paved out an unorthodox career that now spans three decades.
In 1989, she released her first proper pop debut; Brave, and for a year she and her Ministry of Fun were everywhere. She achieved great commercial sucess with her solo debut.
But more importantly Kate really ushered in a new era for Australian music.
There had been anomalies before her; Kylie had transitioned from TV screen to the pop charts with her bubble gum pop; a decade earlier Olivia Newtown John had beamed her film/pop offerings in via sattelite, and Jenny Morris (an adopted Kiwi and a fellow session singer) had made a well received debut but it was hardly the subject of national interest.
But Kate Ceberano achieved something wildly different.
By the time she arrived with her solo project she was so self assured and self actualised that Brave, her debut solo full of pop, dance and soul covers felt like the first proper, major pop release by an Aussie female.
Bedroom Eyes, the lead single from the album was an instant classic and a step into previously uncharted territory in Australian music. It was sultry and daring and also a huge hit; the biggest selling local song of the year and the first of a string of hits from an album that Australians really fell for.
Even back then Kate was a consumate, daring performer with a sense of humour that made her approachable. Beguiling as they say in Australia. These were aspects that worked in her favour during the Brave era and later phases of her career.
The polished music and a sense of daring that had been missing in a lot of local pop made for a winning combination. With the video for follow up Love Dimension, Kate and her team took a creative leap, paying homage to the then recently departed Robert Mapplethorpe. With the exception of INXS' Michael Hutchence (or Chrissie Amphlett of the Divinyls), no other Australian act seemed capable of pulling off such complexity and capturing the public's attention at the time.
The radio friendly Brave album was more than just a collection of earworms and covers. For every fun banger like Young Boys are My Weakness there was introspection and soul on offer.
The titular track, another classic Australian song, was a musical, public coming of age that embodied Kate's prodigous talent. Kate may have only been 23 when Brave was released but she was already bringing a repertoire well beyond her age to the table.
Her effortless and rich musicality has served her creatively for decades even if it has probably worked against her commercially. As the last of Brave's singles charted in 1990 - the latin funk infused That's What I Call Love, she'd already moved on - back to Jazz in what was already the third or fourth genre change she'd made.
Brave was a brilliantly realized project that established Kate as the country's most important female artist and paved the way for the local industry to rightfully champion subsequent albums by artists like Wendy Matthews, Margaret Urlich and Tina Arena.
So this year, when the tributes begin rolling around, keep your fingers crossed that Brave finally gets paid its dues.
Dave Di Vito
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Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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