Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Best 80's Song?

Pat and I are children of the 80’s. Which, from everything that I have heard, is much better than being children of the corn. Those people are spooky! With that being said, I thought we would now give our opinions on what the best 80’s song is. Pat?  

Pat:  Where to start...

It’s going to be hard for me to not come off sounding like some pretentious asshole on this one, Christian. For example, we are, by societies standards, “children of the 80s.” But I was born in ‘72. Doesn’t that make me a child of the 70s? Moreover, more of the music that I define as foundational to my development was created in the 90s. I could go to town on this decade thing alone!

Secondly, through way too much of my own analysis (I really should have tried to date more), I have reasoned that the “Best Song of the...” question is a thought experiment (Gedanken, for our German readers) akin to Zeno’s dichotomy, that age-old query that posits that movement cannot occur as we are continually halving the distance between us and the thing we are trying to reach, thus...ah shit, look it up! Anyway, “Best 80s Song” is a trap!  

Do you mean the song that best captures the musical advancements of the 80s? Synth drums? Keytars? That thing that the Hooters made famous (I think it was called a “hooter”)?

Do you mean a song sung and played by a band whose hair (products included) weighed more than the clothes they wore?*

Or do you mean the song that best captures our modern day impression of what 80s music was, which is really focused on a small portion of all of the music that was created during the decade, a genre I would devotedly refer to as “New Wave”?

So...before I can even “go there” with you, buddy, I need you to define your terms.

*When I started this sentence, I first thought of bands like Stryper.  But then I remembered Richard Marx...he had some pretty killer hair too, and I guess should be up for consideration.

Christian: You’re wrong. It’s Take On Me by A-ha.

Pat: That’s a pretty killer song. Even though, in ways, it’s kinda’ lame. When is Norway going to rock the pop world again. They went straight from A-ha to black death metal.

Christian: Ok I see your point on defining the terms. Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction album has some great classic songs on it but most people wouldn’t consider it 80’s music despite the fact that it came out in ‘87.  

So when I think which is the best 80’s song I think which single song would best represent the decade. And the term 80’s music has become more of a description to a style of music than a time reference, which as you mentioned could also be described as New Wave (Defining what New Wave truly is, is a whole nother story). Thus following these guidelines the only logical answer is that A-ha’s Take On Me is the best 80’s song. Plus it had a killer video. Comic books coming to life? I’ll have seconds please!

As for Norway, you may not know this but my Grandma was 100% Norwegian. Which, if I remember my fractional arithmetic correctly, makes me part Norwegian. She always told me, “You can always tell a Norwegian but you can’t tell them much”. Well, either she told me that or I read it on a bumper sticker. Anyways, have you heard some of that Norwegian black death metal? It’s pretty good.

Pat: Yeah, it’s really good. ‘Cause I need more noise in my life right now.

No shit, you’re Norwish? Whoulda’ guessed? I always picked you as more of a Balkan fellow, but Norway is just fine. Nothing to be ashamed of.

You SHOULD be ashamed, however, to have used one of my all-time pet peeves of a word, simply because IT IS NOT A WORD AT ALL!  “Nother”? It started as a minor irritation when I was young, like when you forget to take off the little plastic tag on a new shirt and every now and then it scratches you. Then it turned into a slight tic. When I heard someone use it my left eye would wiggle a bit oddly. But when I read it in your paragraph above, I first winced, and then shook my head in disbelief. We gotta’ be careful with that stuff, Christian, or China is going to win grammatically too! I might be able to tolerate “‘Nother” (<---- did you see that skillfully placed apostrophe, giving it the feel of a casual vernacular pronunciation?), just as someone might lazily indicate that they come from the country known as “‘Merica”, so as not to offend our fellow Americans from the central isthmus and southern continent.

Anyway, I still disagree on the music note. “Take On Me” is simply a good song, as good today as it was then, and therefore not just good in an 80s sense. In that vein, I offer you “Kiss Me” by Stephen “Tintin” Duffy.

Christian: Stephen Duffy? Who in the hell has ever heard of Stephen Duffy besides you and Stephen Duffy? I had to look him up to see who he even was.  

It appears his biggest claim to fame is quitting that 80’s going nowhere band Duran Duran a year before they hit it big. Smart. Although to be fair he was their lead singer at the time and after listening to “Kiss Me”, I say thank god he did quit. Otherwise Duran Duran would have ended up with a whole nother career path.  

So let me get this straight. When tasked to pick a song that best represents the 1980’s decade you pick some random obscure song that only qualifies because it was poorly written and recorded in 1982? You need to pick a whole nother better song than that.

Pat: Hey there, padré...you’re not the boss of me! You can’t tell me what song I can and can’t choose. I stand by Mr. “Tin Tin” Duffy BECAUSE he is virtually erased from existence outside of the 80s. It’s almost like you need a time machine to even prove he was there, in England, with his synthesizer, wooing young girls and bisexual boys with his dreamy lyrics.

Still...if you’re not happy with that one, I’ll give you a few to choose from. Below are some songs that rocked (or popped) the 80s, in my humble opinion, and are highly effective at bringing those 80s feelings back upon listening:

1.  “In a Big Country” by Big Country. Not very creative in the title (or band name...not sure which) department, but VERY good at making guitars sound like bagpipes;

2.  “Heat of the Moment” by Asia. I miss the whole geographically named bands thing;

3.  “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco. Weird arty Austrian history rock. Cool, huh?

4.  “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” by Jermaine Stewart. Maybe this song made me feel better about being a late bloomer. Maybe.

5.  “Secret Lovers” by Atlantic Starr. I remember a middle school dance where my hands made it on the butt of a girl I was dancing with to this song. It rocks simply for that memory. And it’s about as close as I get to the R & B catalog.

There’s a start for you. See what you did? I have THOUSANDS more I could name, but will limit my compulsion to the five (six, if you’re willing to entertain my original entry) selections above.

*I’d like to add an addendum! I was just sitting in a dark wood panelled meat-based chain restaurant for a work-related meeting and the song “Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone” by Glass Tiger came on. That song screams “80s”!

Christian: OK, now you’re trying. Although, I am going to have to immediately throw out the Jermaine Stewart song, Glass Tiger song, and the song you like to grab underage girls’ butts to.  

I would file the Jermaine Stewart song more under “Songs that are so annoying they make my hair hurt” than Best 80’s song and the Glass Tiger and Atlantic Starr songs are just as forgettable as the name’s of the bands that performed them (Adding an extra ‘r’ at the end of the star isn’t fooling anyone Atlantic Starr).

If the category was “Best songs that kick ass” I would consider “Heat of the Moment”. As for best 80’s song though, it has too much kick assyness to represent the 80’s (Yes, this does makes total sense).

“In a Big Country” is a good 80’s song, and represents the decade well, but is rather confusing. Are they talking about being in a country that occupies a large geographical area or are they talking about being in their band? I don’t know, and I’m too lazy to look up the lyrics, which means we will never ever know the answer to this question.

“Rock Me Amadeus” does have a lot going for it. It’s weird in a very 80’s way, it’s from Europe, and it was done by an artist who went by a single name that made most people think he was a band (bonus points for that). But even with all that, I’m sorry Pat, it’s no “Take On Me”. Did I mention the comic books coming to life video?

Pat: Okay, so I’m noticing two trends in our conversation here. First off, you seem stubbornly fixed to the idea that A-ha scores for the best ‘80s song ever-- are you secretly working with the band to launch some 25 year reunion tour, and building up hype before they set out to re-conquer the world with semi-animation-- and I am hopelessly indecisive on the issue (case in point: I was sitting at a bar in Seattle yesterday when “On the Dark Side” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band came on, and I audibly remarked that “THIS is the best song of the ‘80s!” I’d only had one beer, and I didn’t even get deterred by the conundrum of trying to figure out what a Beaver Brown Band even looks like, all of which simply seems to say...STOP PLAYING THIS GAME!). My brain is just too fickle to pick one song that best represents the decade I most wish to forget, not because of my own experiences, but mostly due to fashion trends (day-glo?  shirts that change colors when you sweat?) and bad film-making. The more I listen to the music of the decade, the more I’m torn in my conclusion. See...I just started singing “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies, and I remember that it was released in ‘89, so...

So, good friend, I defer to your selection, not at all because I agree with you, but simply because I cannot offer a suitable counter. A-ha it is.  

Asia did kick butt, didn’t they? Under-rated, man. Under-rated.

Christian: A-ha rules!


  1. I agree with Pat on some of his song choices (the Jemaine Stewart song is fucking awesome), but ultimately- Christian is right. And here is my proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCZzyaQlwrk

  2. Aaaarrrrgg! I want that to be a link.

  3. Megiweg - I completely agree with everything you say except for the part where you agree with Pat.

  4. I am surprised there is no mention of Michael Jackson. Not that I am saying his is the best song, but I do think he deserves a mention...

  5. Michael Jackson may have been a child molester- I honestly have no idea, but he was a musical genius. And, Pat does have some good points. Falco was a great song writer. You know how much I love him.

    On the other hand,isn't Pat a teacher? Isn't it kind of inappropriate for him to be talking about groping underage girls?

  6. I kind of think of Michael Jackson in his own genre and not as 80's music. Kind of like how Cookie Crunch isn't really cereal.

  7. You two are crazy...still. What a funny blog. I couldn't even begin to try to answer this question, but I experienced vastly different emotions as I read each suggestion in this post. It felt a bit like pregnancy actually. What about Oh L'amour, Erasure? Slow-dance anyone?

  8. So...much to say. Where to start?

    Michael Jackson seems like an obvious pick, but I'm with Christian on this one. He's like the Beatles: you may not like every song, and not everyone appreciated them when they were current, but they have gone down in history as legendary (and yes, I know I have started another debate here by mentioning the Beatles. 'Stones, Who and Kinks for me...deal with it!)

    And I'd like to note that my hands were underage when they groped the underage butt. And it'll never hold up in court, because I probably only dreamed it happened and mentioned it so I'd sound cooler and more experienced to the blaudience.

  9. "Blow the Man Down" was my favorite song of the 1880s. Golden years, them was.

  10. How did I miss this one?

    Take on Me is the best video of the '80's hands down.

  11. Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - best of 80s, unless you're a guy. Karma-Chameleon? Rio? So many great songs. Probably why I still listen to them all the time.

    Stopped by from S30P.

    1. I almost went with Rio but the A-Ha video really sealed the deal for me.

      Thanks for stopping by.