Let’s face it; as far as decades go, the 80s is up there on a shiny gold pedestal crapping all over its years pre and post of this sassiness. I may have entered the world 3 years short of this era, but the dodgy perms, big ugly sweaters and bright neon eyeshadows have never failed to pass me by (and let’s not the forget the two most important things the 80s brought us – Saved By The Bell and THE GOLDEN GIRLS, YASSSS). The reminiscence of the 80s is happy, exciting and care-free enough to make those of us who didn’t even live through it ache with nostalgia. In the music world there is no sound more catchy and fun than the cheesy synthpop tunes the 80s gave us. In honor of Taylor Swift’s latest release 1989, let’s take a look at Pop’s greatest 80s/inspired tracks out there.
1) Love In The First Degree – Bananarama
Before today’s One Direction led boyband mania swept the nation, back in the 80s it was the girls who were quite rightly slaying the airwaves. The Bangles, Salt-n-Pepa, Mel and Kim, and the first entry in our little countdown, Bananarama. Three girls who still to this day hold the record as the all-female group with the most chart entries in the world according to The Guinness Book of World Records. The band are also a stand out act for their vocal style, generally singing in unison rather than in harmony like most vocal groups do – something more difficult to pull off than it sounds, think Kelly and Michelle trying to make that work with Beyonce.. This classic track is the girls’ biggest selling UK single and lightly put, an absolute CHOON. The cheesy yet super clever lyrics of being locked away in prison ~guilty of lurrrrv~ will be going around in your head for the foreseeable future after a listen.
2) This Time I Know It’s For Real – Donna Summer
Stock, Aitken and Waterman were the trio responsible for Summer’s transition from disco to this classic ‘Hit Factory’ sound. Possibly one of the most repetitive yet amazing songs on this list, we’ll ignore the rather stalkery lyrics of “should I write or call your home, shout it out with a megaphone? Radio, TV news, got to find a way to get my message to you”.. Er, alright Donna just watch out for that restraining order..
3) Sledgehammer – Fifth Harmony
Back to 2014 for number 3 on the list now. Fifth Harmony were formed by Simon Cowell and co on the 2012 season of X Factor USA and have been arguably one of the only acts to actually do.. well, anything after the show’s end. Don’t underestimate the cutesy teen image you see, these girls can saaaaaang and their latest hit proves it furthermore. Miley’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ is now so last year with ‘Sledgehammer’ on the scene. The chorus is most definitely channeling the 80s vibe with its catchy synth melody and perfectly moulded vocals. Predict HUGE things for these fabulous ladies of pop in 2015.
4) So Emotional – Whitney Houston
Perhaps overlooked slightly by the ‘How Will I Know’s of Whit’s back catalogue is this little gem. This punk pop track is as 80s as it gets with a Slash style power guitar solo giving Whitney the most ballsy, rock sound of her career.
5) Cool – Gwen Stefani
Another 21st century entry in our chart now. One of Gwen’s biggest and best solo hits, this song combines the pop and new wave sound of 80s that No Doubt also made their career upon. It’s every girl’s ‘been there, done that’ song with their one that got away~ and an anthem that almost 10 years later still sounds as slick as ever.
6) Borderline – Madonna
It wouldn’t be an 80s ‘best of’ countdown without a Madonna track. Again, a less obvious choice for the list but a bloody banger of a track nonetheless. It’s generally thought despite the fact Madonna went on to release more-clever songs like Material Girl, more-controversial songs like Like a Virgin, and more-sexy songs like Justify My Love, Borderline started off Madge’s career with its pure pop appeal, freshness and simplicity. The video for this song also generated chatter. Her clothes worn in the video were later used by designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Lacroix in Paris Fashion week. The portrayal of female power as symbolism in it, alongside breaking the taboo of interracial relationships was also a huge talking point. G’WARN MADONNA, GIRL POWER etc etc~.
7) The Power Of Love – Jennifer Rush
If there’s one thing the 80s did best, it was power ballads. Officially defined as those songs you mime along to dramatically in the privacy of your room at the end of a bad day.. The decade brought us many of these tunes, Total Eclipse of The Heart, Saving All My Love For You, It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, the list goes on. But Miss Rush brings us the ULTIMATE power ballad right here.
8) Welcome To New York – Taylor Swift
Finally, to round off the list, the most 80s sounding track you’ve heard in years.. which was released 6 days ago.. It might not be up there with Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ or as cool as Empire State of Mind, but the NY tourism board should be sending Swift a nice little thank you card within the coming weeks. This track is everything the 80s represents; freedom, reinvention, fun and fabulous cheesy sing-alongs. Thank you for bringing 1989 back to 2014, Taylor!