1983: The Plimsouls - “A Million Miles Away”

One of the most depressing songs in the world to me is “A Million Miles Away” by the Plimsouls. Not because it’s a bad tune or an overtly sad song. It’s actually a great singalong track that’s well executed and stands the test of time, one of those songs that stays with you after a single listen, that you swear you’ve heard before but can’t really place. It’s a quintessential power pop songs that should have topped the charts like Cheap Trick, The Replacements, or Marvelous 3. But it didn’t. And that’s what makes it so depressing.

As I’m writing this, I feel terribly lonely and sad for no good reason, at least not a good reason if you’re an adult. The John Belushi movie Neighbors is on TV but I’m not paying attention to it at all. I’m switching tabs to browse my Tumblr and checking Twitter for signs of life; I’ve been listening to punk records for the majority of the evening and I feel like I’m on the verge of tears but not quite there yet, not quite tired or enthusiastic enough to actually let go of the lump in my throat. Now I listen to my treasured copy of the Plimsouls Everywhere at Once — which still has the price tag stuck on the cover, displaying $2.99 US mint — and I keep replaying “A Million Miles Away”, a song that, if you have no idea of it’s actual historical impact, sounds like the biggest hit of 1983. It was featured on the famed movie Valley Girl, proving a common occurrence in teen cinema: the little known but melodic band rocking onscreen instead of a big act. And it makes me feel empty, nostalgic, and pathetic that the world never did justice to this song — the radio played it but not as much as they should have and it didn’t chart very high. Nowadays, hardly anybody sings the praises of the song or the band. Why is it that some bands have all the luck? Is it timing?

Although the cause of my angst and embarrassing adolescent night has little to do with the perceived success of an 80s pop rock band, it saddens me that talent for writing wonderfully constructed pop songs doesn’t come with any guarantees. Of course, a great song has nothing to do with popularity; radio hits, the ones that aren’t trendy or novelty, aren’t made for the masses, they’re songs that speak to an individual and fill their particular lives with something — fun, excitement, sadness, yearning, all and more of the above. These songs can speak to a universal feeling, accepted by millions of individuals, not a faceless mob of hands-swaying drones. If you write about something more particular, the song might speak to a selection of the crowd instead of the whole, and “A Million Miles Away” is that kind of song, one that could have reached millions but was only heard by a few. Still, it rings true to those who have received it, their very own hit song that topped the charts in their particular world for a time. There it remains a classic, like a true friend you hardly see anymore but feel comfortable enough when you do see him/her to just lay in silence, interrupted only by a knowing glance and the cascading sound of laughter from memories of good times that have passed.


There’s a lot of good music out there, and it’s not all being released this year. With DeLorean, we aim to rediscover overlooked artists and genres, to listen to music historically and contextually, to underscore the fluidity of music. While we will cover reissues here, our focus will be on music that’s not being pushed by a PR firm.

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