Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Songs from the 80s

In music, writing on 05/02/2012 at 17:43

Here’s your Top 10 Tuesday…on a Wednesday! Here are 10 songs from the 80s that will get stuck in your head just reading about. Click the title for the tune.

10. “Like A Prayer” by Madonna (1989)
Like A Prayer

Now I’m not the biggest Madonna fan–I find it hard to respect who does something at age 53 the same way she did at age 20 and expects people not to find it repulsive and sad–but her first few CDs had some catch tunes. This is one of those 80s tracks with uplifting choir vocals, and in this case they are singing some highly suggestive stuff: “I’m down on my knees, I want to take you there.” Classic pop.

9. “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran (1982)
Duran Duran!

Wow, just look at how cool Duran Duran are. So many bandana/scarf accessories. “Hungry Like the Wolf” came out at the start of the decade, right when stuff was starting to get weird and bands were releasing pop songs about stalking women like animals and raping them in the subway…doo-do do do do do do do do do do doo-do do-do.

8. “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus (1988)
Goodbye Horses

I wish the beat to this song would go on forever for the rest of my life. It’s so perfect, the little guitar notes playing off each other, the falsetto cooing…and then you remember Buffalo Bill tucking his dick between his legs and asking you to bang him. Yeah. Still a great song!

7. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson (1982)

Beat it bro

When it comes to picking an 80s Michael tune it really is a battle of the bass lines. Say what you want about 80s music, their pop producers knew music a hell of a lot better than they do now. While the line to “Beat It” might not be the hottest off Thriller, it sure as hell is brilliantly conceived. Michael’s vocals are refreshingly passionate, making it one of the best sing along songs of the decade. The video is pretty BA as well.

6. “Love Is A Battlefield” by Pat Benatar (1983)

Pat Benatar

I just watched the video to this song for the first time in my life and I almost removed the song from the list. Yikes. Production values aside, this song is fire, with some impressive leave guitar and a sexual, violent atmosphere Coheed & Cambria would be jealous of. Still, this cover might be even better.

5. “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure (1980)

Boys Don't Cry

The Cure are one of the few legitimately talented bands to come out of the 80s, one of those rare acts that does not coast on nostalgia/funky costumes…not to say they don’t have a great look too! There are so many Cure songs to choose from, singles and otherwise, but “Boys Don’t Cry” is just the funnest. Especially this extended version.

4. “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper (1984)

Time After Time

God, what an amazing song. On those rare occasions I’m on a bus or some stranger’s car and this pops on the radio, I know it’s going to be a good day. Yeah, the video is shit and Cyndi is the epitome of 80s pop, all glitz and little substance, but not on this track. “Time After Time” is so honest, a painful longing, a sweet sorrow, a song that actually captures emotion. That’s to say nothing of the instrumentation, which has some wonderful guitar tones, or the melody, which is fantastic throughout but highlighted by the wonderfully understated duet during the chorus.

3. “The Promise” by When In Rome (1988)

The Promise

Is there a better example of a catchy song? Verse melody flows perfectly into the chorus which you can’t help but sing along to. Is there a better example of an 80s song? The vocals so calm, the bass pounding along, the drums big and echoing. Is there a sweeter, more innocent love song in all the world? I’d love to hear it.

2. “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac (1980)

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of these songs come either at the dawn of the decade or at the tail end. All that junk in the middle was just too much hairspray. Not “Gypsy,” which was written in 1979 and recorded early in the decade. Let’s cut to the chase–yeah, the song is spectacular start to finish, brilliantly produced, lyrically moving and Stevie Knicks’ vocals are out of this world–but this song is all about my man Lindsey Buckingham! His solo at the end of this song comes out of nowhere and just kicks the shit out of you. Wow.

1. “This Must Be the Place” by Talking Heads (1982)
This Must Be the Place

Talking Heads are one of the most interesting bands to brindge the 70s punk scene to the 80s nu wave underground. Their live movie “Stop Making Sense” should be viewed by all music fans, and it’s highlighted by the live version of “This Must Be the Place.” The lyrics read as straight poetry, sad, beautiful, grim, ethereal, existential…no amount of adjective can clarify just what works about this song. It sounds long a song you’d hear in the afterlife. I hope someone has proposed with this song playing! “Home is where I want to be…but I guess I’m already there. I came home, she lifted up her wings, I guess this must be the place. I can’t tell one from another, did I find you or did you find me?”


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