Saturday, September 24, 2011

Top 5 Quintessential 80s Pop Songs

I was 5 when MTV first aired, and my babysitters forced me to watch music television all day.  In the end, I loved some Guns n' Roses and Poison, have fond memories of Michael Jackson (the music, not the guy), and listened to a lot of rap in its greatest age.  However, none of this triggers 80s nostalgia like the following songs do.  This list isn't the best of 80s music, but the songs below force you to imagine big hair, leg warmers, and radical jean jackets.  

5: Karma Chameleon (Culture Club) - As a kid, I didn't know if Boy George was a man or a woman, but I didn't care.  I (according to eyewitness reports, which I dispute) just wanted to run around singing: "comma, comma, comma, comma, comma, comma."

4: Jessie's Girl (Rick Springfield) - Ah, a song about lusting after your best friend's girlfriend from afar (just like the Cars sang about 3 years earlier, but whatever).  How did this become a timeless classic?  Probably not from the lyrics, "I've been funny, I've been cool with the lines..."  If you're saying it, then no, no you weren't.

3: Hungry Like the Wolf (Duran Duran) - Duran Duran was great, and this was easily their best song (until Come Undone in 1993).  Hungry was a peppy, upbeat stalker anthem ("Mouth is alive with juices like wine, an I'm hungry like the wolf," and, "High blood drumming on your skin, it's so tight; you feel my heat, I'm just a moment behind.").  Somehow, nobody finds this song creepy or disturbing.  The 80s was an interesting time.

2: Take On Me (A-Ha) - The hook ("I'll be gone, in a day or twoooooo"), with its high-pitched falsetto, is one of the most memorable moments in 80s song history.  The music is instantly recognizable, and a few lyrics were pretty cool too (For example, "But that's me stumbling away, slowly learning life is okay.").  Plus, who could forget the bizarre comic book video!

1: Come on Eileen (Dexy's Midnight Runners) - Besides having the coolest band name, Dexy's Midnight Runners sang this 80s anthem, giving rise to the dirtiest joke ever made on American Dad where the band is inspired to write the song based on "what they just did" to Francine, whom they mistakenly think is called Eileen.

I know what you're thinking, but Journey's Don't Stop Believin' can't make the list because it's timeless (and it's too closely associated with the (non-80s) Sopranos now).  You must have an opinion on this topic--let's hear it!

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  1. Who were your babysitters?

  2. where is eddie grant's "electric avenue"?

    devo, whip it
    flock of seagulls - ran

    i get it, it's the top 5...but....

  3. So many to choose from, hard to go top 5, but these would get some consideration:

    The Final Countdown - Europe
    Addicted to Love - Robert Palmer
    Simply Irresistable - Robert Palmer
    Everybody Have Fun Tonight - Wang Chung
    Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
    Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler
    We Didn't Start the Fire - Billy Joel

    There pretty much has to be some talk about Michael Jackson, U2, and Madonna being represented, but Pat Benatar (Hit Me with your Best Shot, Love Is a Battlefield, We Belong) is up there too (with perhaps less overlap into other decades than the others).

    Gotta think about Walk This Way (the Aerosmith/Run DMC collaboration version), too.

    Excuse me, I need to put together a playlist for the rest of the day.

  4. Some great songs in the comments, but most aren't "pop-y" enough. I was torn between Karma Chameleon and Whip it. I still feel it could go either way. Tainted Love is in the right direction, as is Everybody Have Fun Tonight.