My Top 80 Songs of the 80’s

Welcome to Pop Music Life Support’s first ever “list” blog. This piece took me a few weeks to write. Between my domain blog as well as other stuff I am working on nowadays, this turned into a rather big undertaking. If I had to pick one decade to really sit down and over analyze, it would be the 80’s. As I went through this process, I realized that I actually like some songs a lot more than others I thought I liked more. I really had to dig deep and figure out not only what these songs meant to me in the past, but what they mean to me today. How well have these songs held up in my personal opinion? Were there any great ones I missed that pretty much feel like I grew up with them? This is not meant to be a general “Best of” list. This is a list of songs that have impacted me throughout the years. Many of them I grew up with and can recall where I was and what I was doing when I was hearing them. Some others are gems that I found 10-20 plus years later. I would say a lot of these songs are pretty much placed in chronological order, but could change depending on my mood. At the very least the top 10-20 is pretty much in order. Without further adieu, here is my ultimate top 80 songs of the 80’s list!

 

80. Live To Tell by Madonna

Madonna has quite the reputation for doing outlandish things over the course of her career. This seems to get mixed in with the reputation that Madonna is a colorful artist who has made lots of dance hits. This is all  very true, but I think her ballads are criminally overlooked. Live To Tell has always been a favorite of mine and it still is today. Of all of the great songs she’s recorded, I think this one is her best. Another ballad from the early 90’s, This Used To Be A Playground, comes in a close second on my Madonna list.

79. Lost In Your Eyes by Debbie Gibson

Despite having a piano opening that sounds awfully similar to John Lennon’s Imagine, Lost In Your Eyes stands out as one of the best ballads of the 80’s. How can you not get goosebumps listening to this song. Much like her other ballad, Foolish Beat, this song is performed with an incredible amount of emotion. Especially for a teenager. I think that emotion is what makes this such a great song and a great example of why the 80’s had some of the best ballads of all time.

78. Dare Me by The Pointer Sisters

This may seem like an odd choice considering all of the great songs the Pointer Sisters released, but this has always been a favorite of mine. I find the combination of musical build up and lyrics to be motivational. Especially when I was single. The song basically tells guys to get off their butts and make a move. Something that is much easier said than done. Even if you know the girl likes you. Either way, This is a fantastic song that has seen the repeat button pressed on it a number of times over the years.

77. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson

I knew this was an 80’s favorite the day I drove around Washington D.C. with this song blaring so loudly out of my car that I got some stares from the passersby. I can’t think of any song that has a better bass line and groove than this one. Little did I know that Hall & Oates I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) was the inspiration for this song. After learning that, the connection became clear to me. I don’t think I would have made the connection otherwise. To me, this is a great example of MJ’s brilliance.

76. Paper In Fire by John Mellencamp

I remember this song getting a ton of airplay on MTV back in 1987. I felt like I saw this video every hour for a few months during that time period. I would describe this as a rootsy rock song with a rich arrangement. The incorporation of back up singers and accordion takes it all over the place, yet it works so well. It’s probably one of the more unique singles of the decade. I think this song could have been a hit during just about any era over the past 50-60 years. That alone says a lot about how good this song is.

75. Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley by Will To Power

Back in the 80’s, this song was nothing more than a sleepy ballad meant for adult radio and lite radio stations. This wasn’t a “cool” song to like. However, that was way before I knew about the origins of the two songs within this song. Once I got a little older and let the brilliance of this track sink in, it became an 80’s favorite. I would never have put this song on a list like this 10-20 years ago. Perhaps I have finally caught up to Will To Power’s demographic with age!

74. Don’t Cry by Asia

The inclusion of this song is not meant to overlook the greatness of Asia’s two classics Heat Of The Moment and Only Time Will Tell. This was a great minor hit for the band, but more than anything, I love the video they made for it. An overproduced epic with an Indiana Jones type of storyline. That’s what I think they were going for anyway. It was an over the top production and very 80’s. Despite the fact that the other two of their biggest hits were much better songs, this song stands out a little more to me because of the amazing video.

73. We Built This City by Starship

I am completely lost on why people hate this song so much. Sure, it’s a very commercial song. It is the complete opposite of what the original Starship stood for. However, as an 80’s song, this is an absolute classic. I think if you are what I would consider to be an “80’s fan” you will understand this song’s greatness. If you are firm in your fandom for more “artistic” statements, then this song isn’t for you. In my opinion, this song will always stand out as an 80’s favorite. They had some other good ones like Sara and Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (two tough songs to leave off the list), but this was probably their best statement.

72. The Sun Always Shines On TV by Aha

Aha is a band that gets labeled as a one hit wonder far too much. Sure, Take On Me was an amazing song. It should easily be on most “Best of the 80’s” lists that are created. If I made an objective “Best Of” list, it would be there. However, this is not that kind of list. I can remember seeing the video on MTV back when it came out. I don’t even think I knew it was Aha. I just knew it was a fantastic song. When I started hearing it again on 80’s radio stations as an adult I was transported back to that era when this amazing, but under appreciated track came and went. That’s too bad, this is an amazing song that deserves to take Aha over the top and away from the One Hit Wonder label.

71. The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats

There are atleast two versions of this song that I am aware of. One of them is the album version that has a slowed down tempo to it and the other version is the single version that I believe most people are familiar with. I very much prefer the latter. Especially when put together with the quirky video. Men Without Hats is another artist that I wish could be appreciated for more than just the one or two hits they have. This was an amazing band. Especially if you like synth pop. Although The Safety Dance was their masterpiece, there are many other good ones in their catalogue.

70. The Search Is Over by Survivor

This song is an absolute masterpiece among all of the rockin’ tracks this band produced. It’s a song that really hits home for me. I know i’ve felt all of the sentiments expressed in this song over the course of my life. So much so that it still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. This is what I would consider a really great musical composition. Truly one of the standout ballads of the 80’s.

69. Crazy by Icehouse

Somehow this song always seems to get stuck in my head. Despite being more or less buried in the 80’s dustbin, this song has remained on my playlist throughout the years. This is a solid rock ballad that should have been enough to keep this band relevant for a few more years. Especially when you pair it up with their other big single Electric Blue. Sadly, this band pretty much came and went without being heard from again. I don’t even think a lot of people remember this band, but they always stood out to me. Listening to more of their stuff is on my music things to listen to in the future.

68. Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

I’ve heard a few different stories about what this song is about. I could have sworn that I heard somewhere that this song was about the relationship Boy George had with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss. It’s possible that a lot of songs were about this topic, but this one always stood out as one of THEE defining songs of that relationship. Putting that aside, this song is a masterpiece. It’s hard to not hit the replay button on this one as i’ve proven many times over the years. A unique song compared to many others released during the early 80’s era and a true 80’s classic.

67. Nobody’s Fool by Cinderella

I don’t think there are many guys who haven’t felt this way at some point in their life. I think the arrangement of the song really captures the mood and feeling that is heard in the lyrics so well. Once again, the video delivers with due to the image of the two girls wearing clock hats on their heads at the beginning. Typical over the top 80’s fashion, but truly a standout hard rock/heavy metal track from the era. I love the guitar work on this song too!

66. Piano In The Dark by Brenda Russell

Whenever I hear this song, I try to dig back in my mind and recall if I did actually hear this song back in the 80’s. I feel like I might have, but probably wrote it off. It may have also been aimed at an older demographic as well. In hindsight, I wish I had heard this song much sooner because it may very well be the best ballad of the 80’s I love the arrangement and the performance by Brenda Russell is perfect. I made a promise to myself to check out more of her catalogue at some point. Something I have yet to do. Hopefully someday soon I will remember to do that. Until then, this song will be rattling around my brain somewhere.

65. The Next Time I Fall by Peter Cetera & Amy Grant

The Next Time I Fall is another amazing ballad that gives me goosebumps. Who hasn’t ached over a missed opportunity in love? I’m sure most of us have. This song expresses that sentiment with perfection. I also think this is the best vocal Amy Grant has ever recorded. Her voice sounds absolutely amazing on this song. That’s saying a lot because her voice always sounds great, but there is something extra special about her vocals on this track. I think that alone pushes this one into the 80’s favorites category for me.

64. You’re A Friend Of Mine by Clarence Clemmons & Jackson Browne

Although I remember hearing this song when it was a hit, I have to admit that I forgot about it for a few years. Then in the early 90’s I started hearing it every morning in the strangest place. I don’t know if they do this anymore, but my school always broadcasted a news program for kids from a network called “Channel One”. Maybe I should do more research on what exactly this was, but they ran a commercial that featured this song. When I heard it, the memories flooded back to me. Especially the parts Daryl Hannah sing on. Those are probably the best parts of the whole song. I don’t know if they are talking about true friendship or a relationship, but I love the sentiment. We need more songs like this in today’s world.

63. Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant

The bombastic beats of this song never fail to get me pumped up. I can confirm that this is a great song to hear while exercising. More than anything, it is a timeless new wave track that didn’t need to incorporate synthesizers in order to stand out or be hip. I was a little young when this song came out so I don’t really remember it from its heyday. However, much like some other 80’s classics, I do remember seeing this one on MTV and VH1 years after its release. For years, especially as a young kid, I thought this song and video were kind of weird. That obviously changed. I don’t remember when, but I woke up one day  and I understood what made this song so great. The fun video didn’t hurt either.

62. Let The Music Play by Shannon

Sadly, this is another song that is on my list of great songs I don’t really remember hearing. I was only 5-6 years old when this song came out so you’ll have to forgive me for that. It amazes me that this song didn’t grab my attention more. Even at that age. This song pretty much commands you to get up and dance. This is what 80’s dance music is all about. An incredibly catchy beat and synth lines to go with it. I don’t think this song really start to stick out for me until I started hearing it on the radio over the past few years. My memories of this song don’t go back too far, but it is easily one of my favorites from the 80’s. How can anybody not love this irresistible track?

61. Wipeout by The Fat Boys

This another one of those songs that all of us kids loved. From the silly video to the Beach Boys harmonies, this was an unlikely pairing that managed to work out well. As far as I can recall, it is one of the first examples of sampling that I was introduced to. Just hearing this song takes me back to those carefree days of growing up in the late 80’s. It may not be what most people would consider a great song, but it has remained a nostalgic favorite of mine throughout the years.

60. Wait by White Lion

Music videos always had a way of planting impressions in my young mind thanks to the music and images I was seeing. If you combine that with the missed opportunities and crushes I had in my younger days, you get a song I can easily relate to. The pop/metal urgency of this song also made it song that was easy for an 80’s kid like me to grow attached to. I wouldn’t consider this an uptempo song, but I wouldn’t consider it a ballad either. It’s somewhere in-between all of that.

59. If This Is It by Huey Lewis & The News

I remember hearing this song on the radio a lot before I knew who Huey Lewis & The News was. As a very young child, I would listen to the radio without necessarily knowing who most artists were. The exceptions would be artists like Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna. As I grew up and started seeing their videos on MTV, I became aware of who they actually were and their great talent. These guys were one of the very best at using MTV to promote themselves. They did this buy producing great music and by not taking themselves too seriously in their videos. They produced so many great singles throughout the decade, but this one always stands out as my favorite from this band. Even more so than the awesome Power Of Love.

58. Summer Of 69 by Bryan Adams

Who doesn’t love this song? From beginning to end, this is about as perfect of a rock n roll song as you can get. The video was also very well done which certainly helped the songs success. Even as a 6 year old kid, this song was very memorable right from the time it was released. The video received a lot of airplay on VH1 into the early 90’s. This one is well liked today for a reason. Richard Marx told a great story about this song at an acoustic gig  I went to in the DC area a few years ago. He said a fan of his kept yelling up at him to play this song because they thought it was his. Oddly enough, this is one of my favorite memories of this song. I think it says a lot about how classic this song is.

57. Never Surrender by Corey Hart

This song has become a source of inspiration to me as i’ve gotten older. Most people probably only remember Corey Hart for his song Sunglasses At Night, but to me, this is the best song he recorded. The video also does a nice job of telling the story of the song through pictures. This song always helps to keep me going if I am feeling a little bit down about life. It’s a little overlooked compared to his biggest hit, but I’m happy to know that this song still receives a decent amount of airplay on 80’s stations today.

56. We Don’t Need Another Hero by Tina Turner

If I’ve ever seen the movie Mad Max, I can’t say I recall much from it. What I do remember is hearing this song everywhere during the mid 80’s. For as well loved as some of Tina Turner’s other classics are, this has always been the best of the bunch in my opinion. It stands up as one of the top songs I think about when I think of 80’s music. The incorporation of the choir adds so much to the emotion to this song. For as well loved as What’s Love Got To Do With It is, I don’t think it is in this song’s league.

55. Notorious by Loverboy

Not only is this a very overlooked track by Loverboy, it also taught me about life thanks to the video….or so I thought 30 years ago. As a pre-teen kid, for some strange reason, I thought that my adult life would be similar to lives portrayed by Loverboy in this video. You know, hanging out with your bros, checking out all of the beautiful women passing by, getting into mischief, boys will be boys, etc. I am now 10 months away from turning 40 and I can confirm that being an adult isn’t like this. At all. But they did do a great job of capturing that spirit in the video. For all of these reasons, this song has been a standout track of the 80’s for me. I still like to crank this one up to 11 and reminisce about how I thought adult life would be.

54. Hourglass by Squeeze

Most people probably know this band for their biggest hit Tempted, but I think this song is much better. It is a fun, uptempo song from beginning to end. The video for this song is one of my all time favorites as it uses all kinds of optical illusions throughout. I can’t think of any other video that used this theme. That makes this song extra special in my book. I really wish this song would get more airplay as I think more 80’s fans remember this one than some radio stations might think.

53. Faithfully by Journey

Although 80’s ballads hold a special place in my heart, some took more time to grow on me than others. For as great as this song is, it took time for me to really appreciate its greatness. As a very young kid, very slow tempo ballads tended to sound too boring to me. Sadly, this song fell into that category for awhile. You’ll have to forgive me since I was born in 1979 and probably wasn’t quite ready for some of the deeper songs I was exposed to. As the years went by I started I hear this song over and over thanks to my siblings. With all of that repetition, the greatness of this song finally started to sink in and is now a song that holds a lot of meaning to me. I also love cranking this one up to 11!

52. Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses

The opening riff for this song is my ringtone. This song and album, Appetite For Destruction, were everywhere during the late 80’s. Although Welcome To The Jungle was a great breakthrough track, this one was their masterpiece on the album. I will never get tired of this song. One reason I know this is because i’ve been using the ringtone for three years and haven’t gotten tired of it yet.

51. Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran

There isn’t much I can say about this song that hasn’t been said already. In over 30 years of hearing this song, I’ve never once felt compelled to turn it off or change the channel. If anything, I crank it all the way up. This is probably one of the few artists I know of that has a huge hit like this that I just can’t get enough of. They have many other great songs, but this is clearly not only their best song, it is one of the best of the 80’s.

50. I Found Someone by Cher

I listened to this song during one of my recent walks around the neighborhood and noticed something I didn’t really hear in the past. That backing band for this track is really good. Especially the drum work. No wonder this song stuck out to me so much growing up. Cher‘s 1987 self titled album is filled with great songs. This song and We All Sleep Alone were its two biggest songs. Both songs also had great instrumentation. This is an album that might be worth revisiting down the road.

49. Parents Just Don’t Understand by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

As far as I can recall, this was the first rap song I ever heard. The song and video couldn’t have sent a more perfect and identifiable message. If there was ever a formula on how to make a hit kids would easily devour, I believe these two found it. This song was an instant hit with me and all of my friends from the first time we saw the video on MTV. The Fresh Prince hasn’t looked back since.

48. I Need Love by LL Cool J

I message like this from a rapper, let alone LL Cool J, was a little taboo when it first came out in 1987. LL Cool J typically had a bit of a hardcore image, especially by 80’s standards. However, this song proved to be pretty groundbreaking. It is, as far as I know, the first love rap song I had ever heard. It’s just a great song in general. The theatrics and acting in the video is also worth noting. Much like a lot of songs from this era, the video really helps to make this track so memorable. However, it can and does stand on its own as a great song.

47. Superstitious by Europe

You might think that The Final Countdown would be among one of my 80’s favorites, and it is, but this song edges it out thanks to an amazing guitar solo by former band member Kee Marcello. The song probably isn’t all that memorable otherwise, but I can’t get enough of that amazing solo. For me, it makes the list despite everything a song like The Final Countdown gives you. In my opinion, that is how awesome this solo is.

46. Let’s Go All The Way by Sly Fox

If you’re going to make a hit you might as well put everything you have into it and go out with a bang. I feel like that is exactly what Sly Fox did on this song. An amazing, bombastic track that you can really get lost in and get pumped up. Some might consider this cheesy since it is a pop song, but believe me this song rocks pretty hard.

45. Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears

As a person who feels like they are very driven and motivated to succeed, this song is pretty much on the soundtrack of my life. I think their intent was to speak more about what was going on in society at the time, but I view it as a song I look to when I need a reminder of what kind of attitude I want to have about life and what I want to accomplish. I don’t necessarily want to rule the world, but I want to feel like I do. No other song that I can think of makes me feel that way. The opening and middle guitar riffs help to make this a memorable track even if you don’t hear the message the same way I do.

44. Black Velvet by Alannah Myles

When this song came out I loved it. Then it got overplayed. I got tired of it and more or less forgot about it for a long time. Years later, I started hearing this on 80’s radio stations again and started to fall in love with it all over again. I have no idea what else Alannah Myles has done, but I do know that this song has held up extremely well over the years. With a big pulsating beat and seductive vocals, this song rocks without really rocking too hard. It’s a rocking, bluesy number that is hard to resist. This song fit in well with the “blue eyed” soul genre that was so popular in the late 80’s and is probably one of the few songs of that genre that has truly stood the test of time.

43. Let’s Go by Wang Chung

This was a fun song that came at the perfect time in my life. The grade school kid in me still likes this song a lot more than the overplayed Wang Chung classics Dance Hall Days and Everybody Have Fun Tonight. It’s certainly not among one of their most memorable singles, but it was a good one that tends to get overlooked. I’ll even be honest and say that it probably deserves to be in the “lost hit” realm of the 80’s landscape, but it is a personal favorite of mine as this song always brings back good memories for me.

42. The Boys Of Summer by Don Henley 

I don’t know if I can add much to this song that hasn’t been said already. Amazing guitar work and a meaningful message makes this one hard to resist. As a person who likes to reflect on the past and uncover the meaning behind the ups and downs of my life, I find this song to be extremely relatable. Others must have felt the same way as it received heavy airplay on VH1 well into the 90’s (before they changed to a more modern, hip format that is).

41. This Time I Know It’s For Real by Donna Summer

Back when this song came out the LA Lakers were on top of the basketball world. I’ve misheard a lot of lyrics over the years, but even to this day, all I can hear is “This time I know it’s Kareem”. The Kareem that always came to mind is none other than Kareem Abdul Jabbar. I was a huge basketball fanatic so it’s possible that my ears just heard what they wanted to hear. Putting that aside, this was a great late 80’s dance track. Probably one of the last great dance songs with that 80’s sound. She Works Hard For The Money was obviously a great Donna Summer track, but this one has always been a favorite of mine.

40. Fascinated by Company B

This is another one of those songs I didn’t discover until the 80’s were over. I started hearing this song a lot on Jack FM back when they had an 80’s format (for all I know they still do have this format). For whatever reason, this station seemed to put this song in the rotation a lot. As a huge fan of 80’s music, I couldn’t believe that I had missed out on such a great, high energy song. MTV must not have played this song very much because i’m pretty sure I would have remembered this great song if they had. Oh well, better late than never. I’m glad I got to discovery this one at all!

39. I’m Gonna Miss You by Milli Vanilli

Even after all these years it still feels taboo for me to like any of their songs. At the very least, I love all of their singles. Regardless of how you feel about the grammy scandal, you have to admit that the songs they recorded were good. I don’t know who the actual singers were, but they did a good job with these songs. I have a soft spot for a great power ballad and this one definitely delivers.

38. Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo

I was a little young when this song came out so I don’t really remember it being played on the radio. I do remember picking up a cassette in the early 90’s that had this song on it. I gave it one listen and said “this is way too weird for me” and didn’t listen to it again for a number of years. As time went by and I started hearing it on the radio, I started to realize that this quirky song was actually very good. It has gotten a lot of airplay from me over the years as it has grown on me more and more. At this point, it is easily an 80’s favorite. We never heard from Wall of Voodoo again after this song, but they sure knew how to make themselves standout.

37. Steppin’ Out by Joe Jackson

I would consider this one of my first “favorite songs” as a kid. The opening of the song always made me feel like I was being transported into another universe. The song itself has a really great message that we all probably need to hear more of in this digital age. This in itself has made this track even more of a favorite of mine as I’ve gotten older.

36. In My House by The Mary Jane Girls

Not only did many 80’s artists perfect the ballad, they also perfected the dance song too. This song is a great example of what I would consider a “perfect” dance track. If you want to get people on the floor to dance, this is one of those songs you need to play. It has a fantastic beat and bass line that just drives through the whole song.

35. Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen

One of my first music memories is of Bruce’s 1984 album Born In The USA. Much like Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the singles from this album were all over radio and MTV for a few years during the mid 80’s. Glory Days was one of the most played songs from this album. I think most of us can either relate to reflecting on the “Glory Days” or know somebody who spends too much talking about it. I love the feel good arrangement and message of this song. I think most of his songs stand up well today, but it is hard to resist the greatness of this track.

34. King For A Day by The Thompson Twins

King For A Day is one of the first songs I think of when I reflect on my early grade school years. It may not even be their best song by a lot of people’s standards, but it’s always been one of my 80’s favorites. It’s also a slight departure from their early new wave synth sound to something that uses more of a variety of instrumentation.

33. Jump by Van Halen

Much like Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine, I’ve been using this song as an alarm song for quite a few years. There is nothing like waking up to the opening instrumental part of this song. There is a reason I haven’t swapped it out for something else. You can’t ask for a much better track to wake you up. I can remember seeing this video on MTV and VH1 for years after it was released. There is a good reason why that was. It is the perfect cross between rock and dance. When listening to this song with headphones, you can really hear that driving rock beat under the dancey new wave synth sounds.

32. Holding Back The Years by Simply Red

This song displays the kind of heart and soul that is missing from a lot of today’s pop music. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of many modern artists, but there is no denying the fact that it is missing some of the magic that I love about pre 21st century music. This is another example of how the video and music compliment each other so well. It’s not easy to let go of some of the bad times we all go through. I can relate to the loneliness that the young Simply Red goes through in his school days. In a lot of ways, I was that kid.

31. Love Touch by Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart is known for a lot of great songs, but this isn’t one of them. This might be due to the fact that this song was aimed primarily at promoting another movie i’ve never seen, Legal Eagles. Most of his 80’s work tends to get a little overlooked these days, but I actually feel like he put a lot of good songs out during this era. This is one of many songs I secretly wanted MTV to replay so badly when it was popular. It’s a great catchy song with instrumentation that made it stand out ahead of some of the new wave sounds we were hearing during this time period.

30. Everything She Wants by Wham

This song always had a creepy magic to it that I loved due to the synthesizer work. A truly unique song that teleports me right back to 1985 every time I hear it. Wham recorded a lot of great songs, but I think this was their best statement and most artistic moment. It’s hard to imagine the mid 80’s without this one blaring out of my jukebox.

29. It’s My Life by Talk Talk

I am ashamed to say that I wasn’t aware of this song until No Doubt’s 2003 cover for their greatest hits collection. It actually took until I started listening to this version before I realized that No Doubt’s version was inferior to this one. I actually think No Doubt did a good job with this song, but Talk Talk‘s version is really great. This is another song I probably missed out on due to being a little young. For as much great music as I remember, there were clearly some songs that I missed over the years.

28. Sign Your Name by Terrence Trent D’Arby

This is the kind of song that makes it known that something deep is going on. He is feeling something very deep for the woman he is singing about here. A soulful performance plus a great, romantic arrangement makes this a stellar track for me. I could never understand why we never heard much from Terrence Trent D’Arby after this outstanding debut album. In hindsight, it really seemed like he had the kind of talent that could have maintained his career for a few decades. I am thankful for this outstanding song. It is another awesome song that taught me a little something about tasteful, seductive soul.

27. Red Red Wine by UB40

With all due respect to Neil Diamond, his version has nothing on this one. While I appreciate the authenticity of Neil Diamond’s original, I feel like UB40 took it to another level. Putting a reggae twist on this pop/rock ballad was brilliant. I’m pretty sure Neil Diamond couldn’t have imagined any of his songs turning into something this magical. I don’t know what made UB40 want to record this song, but i’m glad they did. They added so much to a song that was meant to be way more stripped down and raw.

26. Fallen Angel by Poison

Fallen Angel probably isn’t one of Poison‘s most well known songs, but its always been a standout track to me. The video really captures the “runaway to make a better life” storyline very well. It’s also amusing to see Seinfeld’s Wayne Knight, i.e. Newman in the video as the young girl’s dad. As a kid, it was a little shocking to see the brutal reality of  the swift kick to the balls that girl gives the man who is using her. Thanks to the great storytelling in the song and video, this one has always stood out a little further to me than fan favorites like Talk Dirty To Me or Nothing But A Good Time.

25. In My Dreams by REO Speedwagon

This is one of those minor hits by an artist that should have been much more loved and remembered than it is. When I dreamed about finding the perfect match for me, this is the song I always wanted to hear. Even as a kid I knew this song was something special. Sure, Their earlier work was great. Can’t Fight This Feeling is obviously one of those quintessential 80’s songs everybody remembers. However, this was the best single they released and is without a doubt one of my 80’s favorites.

24. Brand New Lover by Dead or Alive

Most people probably remember Dead or Alive for their mega hit You Spin Me ‘Round (Like A Record), which is justifiable, but I always liked this song a lot more. I think this is one of the best dance songs of the 80’s. Despite the fact that this song takes a backseat to it’s other more well known hit, I am happy that it still receives the airplay it deserves.

23. Private Eyes by Hall & Oates 

One of the first albums I can remember listening to front to back is Hall & Oates 1981 album Private Eyes. I may have secretly listened to my sister’s cassette when she was at school in the early-mid 80’s. When I revisited this album on Apple Music a few years ago, every song was very familiar to me instantly. As for the song? It really found the balance between being an insanely catchy song and maintaining it’s integrity. I say that because it is very easy for me to visualize hearing this song in a commercial. It almost sounds like they were hired to write this as a jingle, yet it is a legitimately great song.

22. Causing A Commotion by Madonna

Who’s That Girl may not have been a great movie, but the movie sure did try its best by opening up with this song. It’s pretty difficult to overlook all of the other great dance songs by Madonna, but I this song made the biggest impression on me out of all of them. The only downside to this song is that she never made a video for it. Perhaps the movie’s title track was a big enough hit that it wasn’t necessary to put one together. If i’m remembering correctly, before music streaming became a thing, this was one of the first songs I ever downloaded on Apple Music.

21. Don’t Mean Nothing by Richard Marx

Although this song was written about surviving the Hollywood record scene, I like to relate it back to my own life. I also enjoy the filtering they used for this video. Probably one of my favorite videos of the decade just for the fact that it was shot so well. Between all of the heavy metal and synthy pop sounds that were all over the place, somehow Richard Marx made himself standout just by being the talent that he is. He is proof that you don’t have to create the most trendy sound to be successful. Sometimes it’s enough to just be damn good. That is what this song is to me.

20. Got My Mind Set On You by George Harrison

Got My Mind Set On You was my introduction to the Beatles without really knowing it (ok maybe with the exception of Paul McCartney’s contribution to Michael Jackson’s The Girl Is Mine). I believe it was around this time that I started hearing a little bit more about the Beatles, but still didn’t know just how significant they were. From MTV to Look Who’s Talking Too, this song was everywhere for a few years in the late 80’s. I don’t know if this is George Harrison‘s best work, but it is hands down the best song he recorded during the 80’s. When I think of the late 80’s, this is one of the first songs that come to mind.

19. Kissing A Fool by George Michael

Of all the hits George Michael had between his time in Wham and his solo career, this was probably his best track. This song has aged very well due to it’s jazz influenced sound. This is one of those songs that could probably be a hit today. It’s not the kind of upbeat dance track that I think he is remembered for most, but it has stood the test of time more than anything else he did. That is not a put down on the rest of his great work. This song is just a little greater than the rest of his catalogue.

18. Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi

Whenever I hear this song I always flashback to 1986 when this song was played everywhere. The success Bon Jovi found with their album Slippery When Wet took the band to a superstar level after two moderately successful debuts. This band has done nothing but evolve and adapt with the changing of the times, but this one will always be their signature song. I still get goosebumps every time I hear it. As a video production nerd, I also love the transition from black and white at the beginning of the video the color when the second chorus kicks in.

17. You Got It All by The Jets

This is another one of those songs where it makes you feel like falling in love is the most perfect thing in the world. Unfortunately, the road to getting over a relationship isn’t always this blissful, but for a few minutes it sure does feel that way. The Jets recorded a few really nice pop songs during the mid-late 80’s, but this is hands down their best. Sadly, I feel like this song doesn’t get quite enough airplay on 80’s stations these days, but it absolutely should. As 80’s ballads go, you can’t get much better than this one.

16. Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac

Gypsy has to be one of the most beautifully arranged songs i’ve ever heard. Especially the middle of the song. The whole song is otherworldly. The song makes you feel like you are being transported to some mystical place nobody has ever seen, but they can only imagine it in their mind. Stevie Nicks is known for having this type of aura. She delivers that perfectly on this track. This song gives me major goosebumps to this day.

15. Love Bites by Def Leppard

I didn’t need a reminder of how great Def Leppard is, but the fact that they finally landed a deal with streaming services in 2018 didn’t hurt. There are many great songs in the Def Leppard catalogue, but nothing tops this gut wrenching song about how much love can suck. It’s a very direct dialogue with a woman who has clearly broken somebody’s heart (i believe this was written by Joe Elliot if i’m not mistaken). Their producer, Mutt Lange, was always great at helping to bring out the best in the artists he worked with. This was especially true in regard to ballads. This one might have been the best ballad he was ever involved with.

14. I Heard A Rumor by Bananarama

One of many songs that was included in a movie I have never seen. I mostly remember it for the fact that it was a great pop song and the fact that the girls show the word “WOW” on their butts when they yell it in the middle of the song. If you had asked me what Bananarama song i’d put on a “Best Of” list 20-30 years ago, I might have made a different pick. However, oddly enough, I feel like this song has aged pretty well. This is just one of many great songs this band recorded during their heyday.

13. Heaven Is A Place On Earth by Belinda Carlisle

This song was my introduction to Belinda Carlisle. She was also my first crush thanks to the video. This is a carefree love song that just grabs your attention right from the beginning. This song is filled with irresistible hooks and verses that have made this a favorite of mine from the first time I heard it. I can’t imagine anybody disliking such an amazingly uplifting song, but I guess there is a first time for everything. This song actually helped me to eventually discover the Go Go’s who rank somewhere on my list of all time favorite bands.

12. When I Think Of You by Janet Jackson

Although this is arguably Janet Jackson’s best song, I can’t help, but to think of the cranky old man and the dancing police officers from the video every time I hear it. Putting that aside, she really got it right with this track. It has a nice build up and a catchy hook. This song just flows from beginning to end. Sadly, I don’t hear this song as much as I’d like. It was such a big hit when it came out, but it seems to have fallen off the radar a little bit. That’s unfortunate because this song deserves a lot more airplay than it gets.

11. Talking in Your Sleep by The Romantics

Not only is this a great track, it is also another sentimental favorite of mine. I can still remember the Rock A Fire band “playing” this song at Showbiz Pizza around the time this song came out in the 80’s. For that reason alone, I have a hard time getting sick of this one. This is a great jangly guitar driven track, but it is especially great to me because it takes me back to a time we will never see again. If I could go back to 1983/1984, this is one of the first songs I’d want to hear when I stepped out of the Delorean.

10. If She Knew What She Wants by The Bangles

I’ve always been a huge Bangles fan, but I have to admit that this one got overlooked among all of the other great singles off their breakthrough album Different Light. It’s not my favorite Bangles song, but it is my favorite one that they recorded during the 80’s. If you had asked me 10-20 years ago, I probably would have selected another Bangles song for this list.

9. Touch Of Grey by The Grateful Dead

Is it strange that my love for this song is growing more and more as I get older? I’m only 39, but I feel like this song gives me something to embrace about aging. I suppose this is one of the reasons this song became such a big hit. It also has the luxury of being a top 10 hit despite being over five minutes long. That doesn’t happen everyday. Especially in today’s radio landscape. Despite not have a quintessential 80’s sound, it stands as one of the most memorable songs of the era.

8. Devil Inside by INXS

INXS was pretty big in the late 80’s. Their album Kick produced a number of hits that were everywhere for quite awhile. So much so that I think I am still a little tired of some of them. Devil Inside isn’t one of them. I especially love the little instrumental jam that they did at the end of the track. Probably my favorite part of the song. I liked it when it came out, but I actually think this song grew on me a lot as I got older. I’m glad it wasn’t too overlooked by the general public since I still hear it on the radio today.

7. Right On Track by The Breakfast Club

Right On Track ranks as yet another song I was obsessed with in 1987. Much like a lot of 1 and 2 hit wonders of the 80’s, I thought these guys were the coolest. An upbeat sound and a hip, colorful video made these guys irresistible to the 8 year old me. Their song Kiss and Tell is another great one that is worth checking out. After that, much like a lot of bands that exploded onto the scene, they sadly disappeared.

6. Keep Feeling Fascination by Human League

This was probably one of my first favorite songs. I can still remember hearing this song during car rides and days at the pool during 1983. It must have been a great song because I used to get teased by my siblings for singing it anytime it came on the radio. This song makes me feel good every time I hear it.

5. Funky Town by Pseudo Echo

This is probably an odd song to have in my top ten. Especially considering most people probably only remember the version of Funky Town that was recorded by Lipps Inc (which was also very good). However, this song has a lot of sentimental value to me. It’s a rockin’ cover with a very simple video. I actually thought these were the coolest guys on the planet for awhile thanks to their video and style. They were just a bunch of guys rockin’ a really great song. The keytar usage also makes this extra awesome. This is a song I can’t help, but to crank up really loud and roll down the car windows when I hear it. Just the way great rock n’ roll should be!

4. Your Wildest Dreams by The Moody Blues

This might be one of my favorite videos from the 80’s. A gut wrenching storyline that goes along with the message of the song so well. I think most people have found themselves in the situation this song and video does such a good job of talking about. It would have been an amazing song without the video, but the fact that they did something special with that too doesn’t hurt. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the epic conclusion to this video via their other 80’s hit I Know You’re Out There Somewhere.

3. We Are The World by USA For Africa

I am floored by how much this great song has been forgotten about. Sure, this song has some amazing star power within it, but it is so much more than that. The ability to take all of these unique voices and arrange them in a way that fits the tone so perfectly is brilliant. I think this was Michael Jackson‘s best moment as an artist. The way MJ and some of the others behind this song came together and got all of these unique voices and personalities to come together and create this type of magic is amazing. This song deserves so much more credit and airplay than it gets. It is not uncommon for me to hit the replay button on this song. The only question I have after all these years is: who invited Dan Aykroyd?

2. Under Pressure by Queen

When I came up with the idea of making this list, I knew this song would fall somewhere in the top 20. However, when I really thought about what this song means to me and how it makes me feel every time I listen to it, I had to place it pretty high on my list. I get goosebumps every time I hear this song. It’s hard to imagine that anybody wouldn’t be moved by this song. It’s a powerful message with an equally powerful arrangement. I often hit the replay button on this one. This song may not necessarily have a lot of those classic 80’s sounds, but it is a stellar track that deserves all the recognition in the world.

1. Heart and Soul by T’Pau

Of all the songs I fell in love with during the 80’s, this was probably the biggest one of them all. There is so much going on in this multilayered song. Because of the video, I actually thought it was two different girls singing on this track when it was popular. I think it took until I started using Youtube before I realized that Carol Decker was doing all of the vocals. Putting that aside, I couldn’t get enough of this song in 1987. I probably should have begged my parents to get the 45 for me because I was actually pretty obsessed with this song. A very well produced track that still holds up as my favorite from the 80’s.

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We Are The World by USA for Africa

We Are The World is a great pop song that deserves to be dusted off and played every once in awhile.

As a person who created a blog in order to reminisce about popular music I grew up with, I could probably pick just about any song i’ve talked about and claim that it takes me back to the 80’s or 90’s for one reason or another. The reality is, most of the songs I grew up with never really left my conscious. It’s a little difficult for me to say that all of these songs take me back because they’ve always been apart of my life. However, for some strange reason, We Are The World is the one song I can think of that truly manages to take me back to 1985 every time I hear it. I don’t know if it’s because my kindergarten teacher, Mrs Jones, played the 45 during class every afternoon for weeks or if this song has been buried into the archives of time so much that you can’t help but to allow the song to take you back to that moment in time. Could the idealistic tone of the song somehow be tricking my mind into thinking that the era this song was created in was a much more innocent and simple time? I think all of these points play a role in why this song carries so much nostalgia for me. I was very young, it was a simpler time, and the idealistic tone of the song is irresistible to this day. Especially when you put so much talent behind it.

Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, produced by Quincy Jones, that lineup in itself is already setting you up for something really great. I probably don’t need to insert Wikipedia links into their names in order for you to know how great these guys were. All three were at the top of their game during this era. After the success of the UK famine relief anthem Do They Know It’s Christmas, an idea was concocted for US musicians to come up with an anthem featuring some of their best artists. Based on the Wikipedia article, one thing lead to another and somehow We Are The World was born within a few weeks. You would think that with the short amount of time they had to put this song together as well as the diverse group of talent and egos they recruited that something like this wouldn’t turn out that well. Even today, when I hear Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper sing their parts on this song, all I can think is “wow, how did they manage to take such a pop driven Michael Jackson sounding song and make it work for everybody involved?” The three men behind this song were at the top of their game during the mid 80’s for a reason. They certainly showed that on this amazing track.

There is something magical about the charity anthems We Are The World and Do They Know It’s Christmas. It’s actually pretty hard to pick which one I like most. The sentiment in both songs is so idealistic and heartfelt i’d be afraid of offending somebody by choosing. For as much as I like my music to stay grounded in reality, I think it is good to have a dose of idealism put out in the universe once in awhile. Sadly, this is something that is missing from the world these days. It’s great that everybody wants to keep it real, but sometimes that sense of hopefulness during rough times is good for the soul too. This is the type of attitude John Lennon tried to bring to some of his music and I feel like that same sentiment is echoed in these two songs. Sure, there was immense talent behind these songs. They bring back so many great memories for so many reasons. However, I believe that sense of idealism, in small doses, can be good too. It only fails when you have remakes like We Are The World 25 For Haiti. A very nice sentiment, but not really a heartfelt original take on that particular tragedy.

Make It Happen by Mariah Carey

Make it Happen has always been one of my favorite Mariah Carey songs due to its inspirational message

Thanks to a few coincidences, coming up with my first blog of 2018 wasn’t too difficult. Coming into this year, much like a lot of people, I have a few goals for myself. I am in the middle of writing a book which I would love to pick up on and finish. I am running two blogs which I hope will thrive in the new year as well. I also have many personal goals such as changing my diet, habits, and all of the other “typical” stuff that most of us are striving for in our lives. Logging onto social media has been very comforting to me as we left 2017 behind. As it turns out, many people also felt like 2017 was the year from hell. I have a lot of good memories from the year, but it certainly wasn’t easy. I also feel a real sense of optimism going into the year. It’s reassuring to know that a lot of people out there think more like me than I realize. When the going gets tough, I tend to get down a bit, deal with the emotions I have to deal with, and then eventually dust myself off and face the world again with some optimism. I have been seeing a lot of those sentiments on Twitter recently and that is very comforting.

So where does Mariah Carey fit into all of this? Knowing that she was going to perform on New Years Rockin’ Eve this year, I decided to download some of her albums onto my phone. I spent the holidays moving into a new house that doesn’t have internet yet so I knew I had to download some music so I wouldn’t run up my cellphone bill. I’ve always been a huge fan of hers. She is one of the first “career” artists that I was a fan of from the very beginning so anything I listen to, especially from the 90’s, has a lot of sentimental value to it. Her MTV Unplugged album was the first one I ever bought with my own money. The fact that she was coming back for another New Years Eve performance was important to me. Much like her, I didn’t like how all of that went down last year. As a fan, I know what happened wasn’t a reflection of her. It’s hard to believe anybody would think that was a reflection of Mariah considering her resume.

Through all of these things going on in the world and in my mind, at some point while moving from the apartment to the house, I realized that her song Make It Happen would be a perfect song to open up the new year with. Those who know me pretty well know that the past few years have been filled with a lot of changes and soul searching. A big reason I started blogging was to give me a platform to address some of these topics. I also know I am a good writer so that certainly helps! Nonetheless, when you are pushing yourself to accomplish such personal goals, your support system of friends and family can only push you so far. YOU have to take the wheel and aim yourself in the direction you want to go in. As somebody who has been working hard to become a successful blogger/writer on their own accord, keeping up that kind of motivation can be hard to do sometimes. Listening to a song like this can be very helpful and inspiring. Make it Happen has always been one of my favorite Mariah Carey songs. I love the pop/gospel feel and the autobiographical touch makes the message even more powerful. I will never quite know or understand some of the struggles Mariah endured in order to become so successful, but I can certainly relate to the idea of needing to keep myself motivated in order to accomplish my goals. I love this song for the fact that it serves as a reminder to keep your head up and not give up on your dreams.

Staying strong in life is easier said than done, but it does pay off in the long run if you continue to believe in yourself

As I prepared to write this blog, much like I always do, I watched the video just in case I could find something to say about it. In this case, much my surprise, I see some pretty cool stuff going on here. 26 years ago, most of us probably watched this video and said “Cool, another hit song from Mariah Carey that also happens to have a video that was thrown together for MTV”. Ok perhaps I might have been one of the only ones to say that, but in hindsight, especially after all of the education i’ve had on broadcast/film production, I can say that this is actually a very nicely put together music video. From the shoot location to the gospel choir and the lighting, they really got this one right. They really captured the idea of making a pop/gospel song look edgy while still getting its message across effectively. It was the 90’s so making sure that there was some kind of edge to the production was probably important to them. I think that is where the lighting comes into play on this one. The use shaky (possibly handheld) cameras give the video a very intimate feel. You almost feel as if you are there shooting the video yourself at certain points. For these reasons alone, i’m glad I decided to write this blog. This song and video deserves some praise as it is a bit underrated among her amazing catalogue.

Mariah Carey is generally very highly respected, but I have to admit that the mention of this song has gotten a few smirks from some people i’ve known over the years. That’s a shame because this song has a lot to offer. Especially considering the world we live in today. It’s good to go back and reflect on such an inspirational song. Perhaps it is the gospel arrangement that makes this a guilty pleasure for some? Maybe it is the uplifting inspirational message? Regardless of how this song is perceived by some, it is an absolute favorite of mine. As I push forward into 2018 with optimism, this is one of those songs that will be playing in the back of my mind. Not only when things are going well, but also on those days when I feel uninspired, too tired to work, or having writers block. The past few years have thrown my life into an interesting period of soul searching and entrepreneurship, but it has also given me some small victories along the way. One of the best things I did last year was start this blog. I can’t say i’ve made any money off of it, but it has opened my mind to something I have ignored for much of my adult life: my writing ability. Between all of the encouragement i’ve gotten from people I know and don’t know, it has really helped me to push my ideas further and challenge myself like i never have before. Now, I just gotta do the rest and keep pushing myself!

Happy New Year by ABBA

Auld Lang Syne stands out as more or less the official song of the New Years holiday. We are more or less programmed to hear this song in our heads at the strike of midnight even if it’s not actually playing. It is thee theme of New Years Day. Much like Christmas, it is a song we hear at or around the time of the holiday and then very quickly gets stored away in the way back of our minds until the next holiday rolls around. Some of us do have a New Years themed song by one of our favorite artists. Most of these songs aren’t even very famous. That either tells you how hard it is to write about the transition from one year to another or just how disinterested people are in writing about the topic. Although U2’s New Years Day is arguably the most famous rock/pop song about the topic, I personally think that ABBA’s 1980 track Happy New Year does the best job of capturing the spirit of the day/moment after Auld Lang Syne.

One of the first things many people learn about me is my love for the 70’s Swedish pop sensation ABBA. In my opinion, they are arguably the best band of all time. I might be a little biased as this is probably the first “real” music I was ever exposed to as a child. There is something about their music, even when the message is melancholy that somehow manages to lift my spirits. Their music has carried over into every phase of my life pretty seamlessly. As I transitioned from a kid who could only hear their great music when the 8 track was being played in the car to a teenager who made their own decisions on what music they played, I made sure to scrape together any ABBA records I could find. Sadly, there was a time when finding their music was extremely difficult. I’m not sure of why that was, but thanks to this challenge I had to settle for finding anything I could get my hands on at flea markets in my local area. Thankfully, as time went by, I was able to pick up all of their albums on vinyl and listen to some deep cuts I never would have heard on that “Magic of ABBA” 8-track that was always advertised during Little House on the Prairie reruns during the 80’s.

As a lot of fans know, the ABBA sound really matured into something special as the relationships between the two couples began to fall apart. Up until 1980, this maturity wasn’t reflected more than it was on their album Super Trouper. Without going into an album review, something I can do another day, I will skip ahead a few tracks and jump into Happy New Year. I have to admit, although I found it to be a beautiful song, I couldn’t understand why they dated the song the second they recorded it by talking about what life will be like “at the end of 89”. Seems like this line was thrown in there for no other reason other than to help move the song along lyrically. However, as I grew up and continued to hear this song throughout my adult life, I began to realize that the overall message and beauty of this track overshadowed any technicalities I may have found within the lyrics. I don’t know if they were actually aiming to create a song that captures the spirit of New Years, but I feel like they did just that. They managed to do it better than just about anybody I know of. The lyrics during the verses obviously help set up the chorus nicely, but it is the chorus itself that truly separates it from being just another great ABBA track to becoming something a little more festive and meaningful. The song itself might have been more of a metaphor that is meant to represent the end of a relationship as a the “party” is over, but also gives way to the optimism of looking ahead into the future.

As our world moves on from tumultuous 2017 and into 2018, I can’t help, but to think of this song more than ever. Our world needs all of the idealism and optimism it can get right now. Our world is really lacking it. The idea of a fresh start has always been appealing to me. Sometimes you need that when things just aren’t working out. I think our world needs that right now. Forget about the craziness of this past year and tackle the new one with an open heart and mind. I think we all could use that mindset right about now.

Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid

For me, the holiday season has been filled with many personal great memories. However, much like a lot of people, this time of year can also be pretty terrible sometimes too. Unfortunately, even I have had some holiday seasons that have been a little less memorable than others. I don’t say this because I think this holiday season isn’t very good. This is actually a pretty great holiday season this year. I have an amazing marriage, some good friends and family behind me, and it actually seems like a lot of the stresses I came into this season with are now all gone. With that said, something is strange about holidays this year. I don’t know if it’s due to the pessimism I see in the world, my wife and I’s decision not to decorate our apartment due to us moving into our home later this month, or if it is something a little more personal that i haven’t been able to put my finger on.

I started off this holiday season by listening to Sirius XM’s Holiday Traditions channel pretty constantly for a few weeks. Then I got out of the holiday spirit for a little bit due to  all of the moving preparations and other stuff going on in my life. Then my wife and I took a random road trip to Pennsylvania in order to see Christmas Village. It is safe to say that the holiday spirit was more than injected back into my head and heart by the time we got home. Then, life got in the way some more and before I knew it that trip became nothing more than a distant memory. After reading this far, you might start to wonder if I was really actually feeling very happy. Believe it or not, I am. It’s not because I am faking or saying it for the sake of writing a positively themed blog. I guess i’ve come to learn that you need to have a short memory in life. You can’t allow all of the challenges that get thrown at you get you down too much. You have to fight in order to maintain the life you deserve. It’s taken me a very long time to learn this, but I think I am finally starting to get it through my head.

So what does all of this have to do with the song Do They Know It’s Christmas? In my case, it has a lot to do with it. For many years, this tune has stood out as the best modern Christmas song. Hands down. Believe me, there are some very good ones out there. Some i’m sure you’ve heard of, some you may not have i.e. Blondie’s rocking’ version of We Three Kings being a great example of a great, but not well known Christmas song. Sure, we all know the story of how and why this song was recorded. If you don’t, you can click on the link to learn more. The song was written for a great cause. The message could certainly be interpreted as a bit idealistic, but when you’re talking about Christmas, there is no better time to share an idealistic message.

There is something really infectious about the arrangement of this song. I think one reason this song has managed to maintain such a lifespan on Christmas radio stations is because of how incredibly idealistic and uplifting it is. Every Christmas, no matter what is going on in my life or how I feel about my life, this song always makes everything better. A lot of night after work, especially since I tend to have such a long commute, I will play some random songs that pop into my head in order to keep my energy up throughout the long drive. One night a few days ago, I decided to play this song despite the fact that I haven’t been in much of a Christmas mood over the past few weeks. The fact that this song, even during a year where I have so much going on that is throwing off the holiday season, managed to get me back into that spirit is a testament to what an amazing song it is. It’s easy to turn on the radio, hear a few holiday standards, and capture Christmas in some way. It’s a completely different thing when one song has the power to re-caputre that feeling and then some. There is something very powerful about this song that makes it the Christmas radio staple it now is.

Although a line like  “thank god it’s them instead of you” comes across a little condescending, the message and arrangement really do a great job of reminding us of what is really important in life. To be thankful for what we have. Not everybody in the world has the luxury of celebrating the season the way we do. Although I may be celebrating a rather unusual holiday season this year, it is for a great cause as my wife and i will be moving into our first house. That in itself is certainly worth celebrating this season. Although we don’t have any decorations up and most likely won’t be exchanging too many gifts, we do have each other and an amazing gift of a brand new house on the way. I am thankful for songs like this one. It really helps to keep things in perspective during the holiday season. A beautiful song that is without a doubt my favorite Christmas song of all time.

When I thought about what I might write about during the holidays, I couldn’t really figure out what it was that I wanted to do. I have to admit, I thought about it for months. I almost committed myself to writing about 25 songs in 25 days. Sadly, reality came in and I figured out that I wasn’t up for the task and didn’t have the time. However, if I were to write about one Christmas song, this was clearly the one I was going to write about. Whether I am having a good holiday season, a bad one, or just a holiday where I am waiting for the ultimate gift coming a few days after Christmas, this song always manages to keep me in the spirit of the season. To be honest, it is one of the only Christmas songs I ever think about the other 10-11 months of the year. From my perspective, that is also a great endorsement for this song.

Maneater by Hall and Oates

It’s safe to say that Hall and Oates song Maneater is a great example of “things aren’t exactly the way they appear”. Although most people (including myself) take this song at face value, it actually has a deeper meaning. This is not a song that tells the story of a ruthless woman you don’t want to hook up with. Believe it or not, this song is supposed to be more of a reflection of the greed riches associated with 1980’s New York City. Probably more or less a commentary on the greed that was all around us during this era. This of course, is according to Hall and Oates. However, I am willing to bet that very few people ever see the deeper meaning in this song. It’s not very obvious. Even being a audiophile/music nerd I am, I often completely forget about the song’s true meaning.

It should be noted that mid December marks 35 years since this song went to number one. Again, being the nerd I am, despite the fact that I was so young when this song came out, I always tend to think about it around this time of the year. I think this is mostly due to the fact that I find it odd that such a big hit managed to come out so late in the year. It’s not often that you see a song become so popular so late in any year. Usually by December, the year has pretty much defined itself and most people are thinking ahead to the new year. Oddly enough, this song managed to become one of the biggest songs of 1982 despite all of the odds against it.

I have to admit, there are a lot of other Hall and Oates songs i’d rather write about. This is a very good song with an amazing bass line. However, I can’t say it has ever been one of the standout tracks from this band in my opinion. It’s a good thing that my opinion isn’t the gold standard because 58 million views on a song that came out 35 years ago says a lot. That doesn’t happen very often. I think that says a lot about the overall perception of this song. It probably still stands out in a lot of people’s minds because it doesn’t necessarily sound like an 80’s song. This song could probably come out today and manage to blend in nicely with some of the other stuff you here on the radio. It’s a timeless track. Although I may like some of their other stuff better, i’m not sure they did anything else that was quite as timeless as this song.

What isn’t timeless is the video. A rather mediocre early 80’s/early MTV video that doesn’t do much to give you any clue as to what the deeper meaning of the song is. It pretty much gives you exactly what the song is communicating up front. Some “maneating” woman one of them knew inspired a dark song they decided to write and record. Except for the fact that it isn’t. The great thing about music is that many songs are pretty much open to whatever interpretation you want to give them. Despite all of the random, useless knowledge I have in my head, I can’t say i’ve ever related this song back to it’s true meaning when listening to it. If they wanted this to be a more universal track, then they succeeded. Perhaps inspiration didn’t necessarily mean there was something deeper to be discovered in the first place. That might just be a reflection of my own personality. I am constantly looking for the deeper meaning in everything. I have to admit, I don’t like to have anything pulled over on me. In this case, I don’t think they are trying to do that to the listener. They just took an idea from one thing and turned it into another in order to make it more commercial. That would be the best explanation for all of this.

Hall and Oates were one of my first favorite bands that I can remember. I started hearing them right around the peak of their career. Hearing songs like Maneater are one of my first memories. There aren’t too many other things that take me back to the 80’s more than this band. Although Maneater isn’t one of my favorites from this band, they certainly deserve a ton of credit for producing a song that is clearly still very well liked and remembered by many. It isn’t often that I look up a song that is this old and has so many views on Youtube. That in itself gets my respect. It’s not even a bad song. Not all. Hall and Oates were always great at creating really interesting bass lines. They did that very affectively here. It’s a good message that most of us can relate to (on the surface atleast!). The dark tone captures the time of year it was released. Of all the songs I know, when I think December, even moreso than Christmas to an extent, this is the one song I think of more than just about any other. That in and of itself is justifies the place this song seems to hold in the history of popular music.

Re-Arranged by Limp Bizkit

I don’t think I knew what the milk was all about until I wrote this blog!

Limp Bizkit will probably go down as one of the more polarizing and controversial acts I will ever write about. Between the riots at Woodstock ’99 and the general consensus that the band is not talented or a bunch of sellout wusses, Limp Bizkit appears to have left an interesting mark on the pop music world. I can say that I was a pretty big fan of the rap/rock Nu Metal scene when it first started in the late 90’s. I loved the hard, thrashing style of bands like Limp Bizkit, Godsmack, and System of a Down, just to name a few. It was a much needed kick in the ass that rock needed at the time. With the Grunge/Alternative movement coming to a very slow end, rock needed something to pick itself up and inject some edge back into it. The aforementioned bands as well as others did a great job of putting that intense, edgy energy back into rock music. Sadly, much like all other phases, stuff happened that wound up causing the downfall of what was otherwise a great moment in 90’s/early 2000’s pop music.

After hearing a string of awesome songs such as their cover of George Michael’s Faith as well as a great set of songs from their second album Significant Other, I found that Limp Bizkit were becoming one of my favorite modern bands. Loved the energy and the unique infusion of rock and rap. However, to this day, the most memorable song they ever recorded turned out to be one of their more toned down songs. Re-Arranged was a great response to the guilt that was placed on them for what happened at Woodstock ’99. They did an amazing job of forming a trilogy between their first single Nookie and the third single N 2 Gether Now. However, Re-Arranged is where the band truly shined. The video puts the band in jail and on trial for the riots at Woodstock ’99. Not only is the tone and filtering of the video perfectly dark, the song also fits in perfectly. You even get a cameo from Matt Pinfield who plays the role of a passionate and fiery judge at their trial. Limp Bizkit was always pretty good at making videos, but this one was definitely their best.

To this day, selling rap or heavy metal to the average music listener is tough to do. If you put these two genres together, that probably makes it a much more difficult sell than hearing them separately. However, I think this is one of those songs that is worth revisiting. The video is compelling and the song is great. Even if you don’t like rap, metal, or both of them together, this one still holds up as one of the better songs of the late 90’s era. I can take or leave a lot of music from this genre at this point in my life, but I can’t help but to crank this one up when I hear it. It helps that the song is tied into an interesting story about a historical event in pop music history. Even if you think Fred Durst and company are wusses or sell outs, this is one of those songs that took some courage to put out there and sell out on.

The Secret Of Life by Faith Hill

Wait, you mean to tell me there really is a secret to life? Is it really as simple as my friend explained it to me recently?

When I started planning to write my next blog for this site, this song was one of the last ones I had in mind. Don’t get the wrong idea, this is a great song. Actually, now that I am watching the video for the first time in years, I am also seeing plenty of good things I could say about that too. Putting that aside, the reason why writing about this song became such a good idea is because I think I may have actually figured out what the secret of life really is. Unfortunately, this revelation didn’t come while I was sitting at home drinking a beer or out on a beach drinking a margarita. The answer actually came from somebody I consider a good friend and probably one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met.

Several years ago, I met this friend while interviewing for a job at a rather large corporation. In my entire career, especially by the end of the interview, I had never felt the way I did when I walked out of the building. For some reason, I felt a real connection to this guy. At that point, I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but I knew I wanted to work for him. As luck would have it, he must have been feeling the same way. Him and his boss wound up hiring me for the job. As time passed, things changed. He wound up moving on to another department and I actually wound up succeeding him as a manager in the department we worked in. Due to this new dynamic, my friend, who was initially my hiring manager and boss, started to become my mentor and friend. From the break up of my first marriage through all of the life and career transitions i’ve made, this guy has somehow managed to be there in order to impart his amazing wisdom on me. I almost feel like I took it for granted. I would consider myself to be a more passive aggressive type of personality so I tend to look within and be resourceful about the decisions I make before reaching out to others for advice. Somehow, every step of the way, this guy has been there.

Just the other day, I was having what I would consider to be one of the worst days of my life. By this point, we are no longer working at that large corporation, but still cross paths at a freelancing job at another company. Due to a random sequence of events, I just happened to be asked to work on a major project on a cold, snowy saturday night. Already feeling pretty miserable, it was probably one of the last things I wanted to do at this point. Thanks to the logic and nudging of my wife, I wound up going in despite the fact that I was giving up my saturday night in order to do so. When I got there, my former boss/friend was right there working through the project like the go getter that he is. When we caught up a bit and I started going over what I had been going through, He was right there to give me the great perspective and wisdom that he always gives me. But  this time something bigger came out of our conversation. Something I wasn’t expecting to learn.

While speaking to him about picking myself up off the couch and moving forward despite how I was feeling, he started talking about something that I don’t think I will ever forget. Somehow, the whole idea of “the secret of life” became a topic of conversation. I have to admit, there have been many times in my life when somebody has said a phrase like this and it instantly made me think of a song. Music is such a huge part of my life that this is bound to happen. Sometimes I resist the urge to say something or joke about it, but in this case, I felt like it had some meaning to it. His philosophy on the secret of life is to just keep living. You get up, you brush your teeth, you have a cup of coffee, you go to work, you sit on the couch, etc. The secret of life is to just keep living your life. I have been hearing this song off and on for almost 20 years. It has always fascinated me. All of these random stories and lyrics are thrown into this song that seem pretty meaningless to me. “The secret of life is a good cup of coffee, The secret of life is to keep your eye on the ball” etc. What does any of this have to do with what the secret of life is? Actually, if you go by my friend’s logic, it has everything to do with it. If you listen to this song, take his viewpoint, and then put it all together, frankly, I almost feel like you get your answer.

I’ve always loved this song. The Secret Of Life was never a huge hit. Frankly, I don’t think it is remembered much outside of Faith Hill and fans of the 90’s country sound. The fact that it attempts to tackle such a deep topic is a little frustrating since it is so hard to define. Perhaps it was a little too deep for mainstream radio. However, as far as i’m concerned, while me nor my friend may have truly figured out the actual meaning of life, I do think his wisdom makes a lot of sense. At the end of the day, all we really can do is keep on going. No matter how bad things seem, doing nothing at all is not necessarily the answer. But if we keep moving and keep going, we are still living. The secret of life is to just live it to the best of your ability. That’s all there is too it. Sure, this is a great little country/pop tune from a really great country music era, but in my opinion, this song has always meant a little more than that. I just couldn’t quite put my finger on what exactly that is.

I highly recommend taking a good look at this video. The cinematography and filtering used makes it look like this video was shot in 2009 as opposed to 1999. The use of the moving pictures (it’s almost as if they predicted the iPad, haha!) do a very good job telling the story of the song. In general, a very unique video that does a great job of talking about a topic that is very difficult to define. Although, I have to admit, I am feeling a little bit different about this topic after this weekend. Not only did this conversation give me some insight into the secret of life, it also served as yet another reminded that everything in life happens for a reason. Whether you are having the greatest day or the worst day, it all happens in order to teach you something. The secret is to understand that it all ties together in order to create what winds up being your life. Whether you are on an amazing beach vacation or just simply waking up to go into work for another mundane day, the key is to just living it and experiencing it all.

Popular by Nada Surf

Nada Surf’s Popular is a gem of a song and video that has been long forgotten by most people.

A week or two ago I heard Nada Surf’s Popular on the radio for the first time in quite awhile. Much like a lot of material I write, the music video is the first thing that came to mind. Although this song was never a monster hit and the band itself was more or less a one hit wonder in the eyes of many, the impact of this song and video still holds up to me 21 years later. It was one of many “perfect” alternative songs that came out during what is arguably rock’s last really great era. To be honest, I don’t really know much about this band. Whenever I google them, I do come across some people who are very passionate about them and swear by their great catalogue of work. I haven’t heard much else from them outside of this song so I can’t really vouch for that. I’ll leave that to their fans. What I can say is that this is a brilliant song that deserves a little more recognition than it has gotten.

Blogging about this song comes at an interesting time. The song came out during the summer before my senior year of high school. Not only was that the peak era of my interest in alternative rock, it was also a message I found I could really relate to. Not so much due to the lessons that you learn about dating, but more so due to nepotism and patronizing of the “golden kids” that often goes on in high school. If you play your cards right and manage to elevate yourself to another level, your ego gets boosted in spades. This is something I personally saw far too much during my time in school. It’s a big reason why I stopped participating in activities by my sophomore year. In hindsight, I regret that decision as I should have probably kept pushing myself. That might be another blog for another time. In this case, although the song is probably trying to teach these lessons on some level, I don’t think that is the ultimate message of Popular. I think it is more of a commentary on the choices kids make when they date at that age and the pitfalls of putting popularity ahead of other important things.

The classroom lecture scenes in this video are what truly makes this a great, unique song.

I have to imagine that Nada Surf knew what they were doing when it came to the song/video tie in. It’s more or less a literal translation of the song to the video. The way they used the narrated verses was brilliant. The way they tied everything together in order to create their own unique story while staying true to the message of the song makes this one of the standout music videos of the entire MTV era. Even today I still find myself highly entertained by this video. It hasn’t gotten old and is still pretty relevant. The politics of high school popularity and relationships will probably never become irrelevant. Much like back in the 90’s, i’m sure kids could learn a thing or two from a song like this. I don’t know if I necessarily needed to learn anything from this as I saw it going on a lot in my high school, but that doesn’t degrade what it is. As a song, you will be hard pressed to hear anything quite like this on alternative radio again. Alternative artists have a great history of coming up with very artistic, unique statements. This is why I love alternative rock.

Nada Surf is a band who has never won anything or done anything relevant outside of this song. They are a good band that has remained an alt/indie favorite among their hardcore audience. They’re a band that I’ve heard a few songs from here and there over the years, but have more or less disappeared. I think this is a band that deserves another listen. That goes for myself! Even if I don’t find much in their catalogue that hooks me, I atleast think these guys deserve another listen. A band that is capable of creating such a perfect song has to have something else there that is worth listening to. Sometimes, the passing of time, media, radio, and other issues factor into why we don’t hear from very good artists after one or two songs. Sometimes it’s a pretty legitimate reason, other times you scratch your head and wonder what happened. That is the case with Nada Surf. Popular will always be a song I remember fondly. It will always be a stellar alternative track with an impactful message. However, when I hear bands like this, I can only wonder if there is something else there that is worth listening to.

Michael Jackson: Thriller 35th Anniversary

This week is one of those times when I am thankful for the constant inflow of news and information that comes pouring onto my phone 24/7. Otherwise, I would have overlooked the 35th anniversary of arguably the greatest album ever recorded. A lot of things have been said about Michael Jackson over the years, but when it comes down to it, you can’t deny the greatness of this album. Personally, I went through many years of debating what the greatest album of all time really is. I know I have my personal favorites that many people probably either haven’t heard of or would never place on the pedestal I put them on (i.e. Aimee Mann‘s fantastic 2005 album The Forgotten Arm is a great example of an all time favorite of mine that most people have probably never heard of). I also tried comparing Thriller to some of the other best-selling albums of all time, but honestly, I think the numbers don’t lie in this particular case. Whether you are more of a rock fan, pop fan, country fan, etc, you can’t deny how great of an album Thriller really is.

As I listened to this album during my commute to work, I wondered what would be the best way I could pay tribute to this album. Rather than go on and on about its greatness, I decided to do a track by track analysis of each song. Thriller is not only a great album, but it contains just the right amount of songs. Each one makes a unique statement that deserves to be recognized in that sense.

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ is a great example of what the opening track of an album should sound like. It doesn’t have to necessarily be an uptempo song that jumps out at you, but it has to set the tone in some way. Usually, an upbeat number like this one will do the job. For me, the best part of the song is the  “mama-say mama-sa mama-coo-sa” chant that can be heard for much of the second part of the song. If you read the link for this song, you will learn that this was actually taken by an artist i’ve never even heard of. I figured it had to come from somewhere, but didn’t really know the origin until now. All I get out of this song is that somebody is trying to start something and he apparently hates vegetables. Nonetheless, it is a fantastic song that is actually kind of hard to define. It’s a dance song, but not necesarily in the same style as many of his other songs. That is one of the things that made the recording of this album so great. So many songs on this album have a very unique flavor to them yet they all come together to form a cohesive masterpiece.

Baby Be Mine

Baby Be Mine is an interesting track. Although it is probably the least talked about song on the album, personally, it has always been one of my favorites. That could either be due to the fact that it hasn’t be played out quite as much as all of the others or it could very well be an underrated song. This song contains a nice dancey groove to it that probably would have fit in very nicely on his Off The Wall album, but somehow seems to fit in nicely here as well. For many artists, this song would be a hit. For Michael Jackson, it is more or less a “throwaway” album track among many other great songs.

The Girl Is Mine

The Girl Is Mine is another song that gets lost in the mix of many great tracks on this album. Paul McCartney’s time collaborating with Michael Jackson was cut way too short due to their falling out over the ownership of The Beatles catalogue. Although their previous collaboration Say Say Say was a fun, Michael Jackson sounding track with a great video to go with it, The Girl Is Mine tops it by a longshot. This is probably one of the most fun ballads you will ever come across. The thing that makes it great is that while it is a fun song, it takes itself just seriously enough that it doesn’t come across as a joke. I always liked to view what was going on here as a “fun argument” between the two of them. Although they had a falling out after this, it was probably a good way for Paul McCartney to bounce back after the sudden death of John Lennon. It’s a shame they weren’t able to continue working together as I think they could have come up with some more great stuff together. Instead, we are left with this great track fitting in nicely around all of these other upbeat tracks on this masterpiece.

Thriller

Thriller is an interesting song for me. While I full recognize and appreciate its signifiance, it doesn’t necessarily stand out as one of my favorites on this album. The thought that was put into the video is remarkable. I can still remember seeing the making of Thriller special that showed all of the work that went into making this video. It came at just the right time as this was the time period when the music video business was really taking off thanks to MTV. Not only did this video help his career, it also helped MTV too. Surprisingly, even though I was very young when this song came out, I can’t ever remember being too freaked out by Vincent Price’s narration or the creaking of the door and other sound effects that went into it. I don’t think Michael Jackson failed to spook anybody here, but for some reason it didn’t affect me in that way. More than anything, I think this song would make for a great Broadway musical number. Especially the chorus. Perhaps that is something he had in mind when creating such an elaborate video.

Beat It

Much like Thriller, Beat it is famous for so many reasons. Although much shorter than Thriller, the music video upped the game quite a bit with its theatrics and choreographed dancing between the two rival gangs. It also managed to spawn a famous spoof by “Weird Al” Yankovic called Eat It that managed to help launch his career to a new level. That is the kind of impact Michael Jackson was having at this time. His impact was felt pretty much everywhere. The song is also notable for the amazing guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen who apparently did this free of charage according to Wikipedia. To me, this is just a great song. It probably ranks atleast a notch above Thriller in terms of my enjoyment level.

Billie Jean

Billie Jean not only contains a very interesting backstory, it is also another example of how Michael Jackson would casually just kind of take ideas from other artists and make them better. I don’t know if it’s necessarily right of him to do it in the causual manner that he did it, but he did manage to take a great song like Hall and Oates I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) and make it better. It’s almost as if the Hall and Oates version was the demo and Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean was the final copy. If you don’t know what I am talking about, click here to read about how MJ was influenced by Hall and Oates. Regardless of how the song was created, much like I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), you can’t help but to crank this one up to 11. There is nothing I enjoyed more this week than cranking this song up to 11 in the middle of Washington D.C. on my way to work. There is something about this song that just says masterpiece. It is also notable as being one of, if not the first, video by an African American to be played regularly on MTV. An issue that occured despite the immense popularity of Michael Jackson and Thriller. Much like many of the other songs on this album, this one was a gamechanger and very influential.

Human Nature

How do you follow Thriller, Beat It, and Billie Jean on an album? By recording a song that was actually intended to be recorded by Toto. Oddly enough, Michael Jackson and Toto have more of a link to each other than I ever imagined. Some members of the band even played on this song. This was thanks to producer Quincy Jones accidentally hearing the demo. It just amazes me how all of these little facts keep popping up as I write this blog. Toto was always a very tight band so it’s no surprise that my favorite song from a musical standpoint would be this one. Toto songs like Georgy Porgy and Africa really showcase the type of musicianship this band was capable of. I feel like they brought that same level to Human Nature as well. Although this song may not have been quite as popular as the previous three tracks, Human Nature has to be atleast the second best song on the album with Billie Jean being the best (in my opinion). The sampled version recorded by SWV is also worth a listen. Obviously not as good as the original, but as somebody who isn’t always a huge fan of cover songs, this one gets a thumbs up from me as it put an interesting twist on something that must have been awfully difficult to cover or sample.

P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)

As I’ve worked on this blog, I have learned a lot of little facts that I didn’t know before. Knowing that Michael Jackson always thought big, the summary of each song has become similar to a scavenger hunt. Since i’ve listened to this album several times while writing this blog, one thing I became curious about is if any well known singers/people were recruited to be the “pretty young things” we hear in the song. As it turns out, when glancing over the Wikipedia page for this song, I discovered that Janet and LaToya Jackson were in fact the “pretty young thing” backing vocalists on this track. Even I learn something new everyday! With that said, this is obviously a terrific track that once again gets a little overshadowed by the big three tracks in the middle of the album. No music video for this one, but it did crack the top ten. It has that early-mid 80’s funk/dance sound that I love. One other thing that makes this and several other songs on this album so great are all of the little changes that go on. You could chalk that up to being one of the main reasons this album was so successful and so well liked. The ability to incorporate so many appropriate changes within each song so that it never gets boring to the ear. That is exactly what happens in this song. There are so many smooth changes of tempo that makes it sound so effortless.

The Lady In My Life

Much like Baby Be Mine, The Lady In My Life is an under appreciated track on an album filled with stellar songs. As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, I can’t really pinpoint what influenced MJ to record this song, but I almost feel like it was very influential on the sound of R&B ballads in the future. From the opening note, you can hear that 90’s R&B style/sound. One thing i’ve learned from writing this blog is that Michael Jackson tended to “borrow” from other artists like a housewife would borrow eggs or milk from the next-door neighbor. This was no big deal to him. This might be a topic worth exploring as i’ve rarely ever heard anybody talk about this great track. Regardless of how this song came to fruition, It is probably one of the smoothest, most R&B flavored song he ever recorded. Oddly enough, English songwriter Rod Temperton wrote this song and Baby Be Mine. Two of the most R&B flavored and least known songs on the album. I know a lot of songs got released from this album, but I think it’s a shame this one didn’t. It actually shows a much different side of MJ than pretty much anything else he’s ever recorded.

When I started this blog, I didn’t think it would be possible to gain a greater appreciation for an album that has pretty much achieved every praise and accolade imaginable. However, learning about all of the little influences and other occurrences that lead to the creation of these songs just makes it so much more fun to listen to. This is probably one of the top reasons I do these blogs. Sure, I do it for myself. I hope to find common ground with other audiophiles and music lovers over the course of time. However, when I work on a project like this and learn all kind of new things that I get to share as well as talk about how the music affects me, that makes the time I put into it worthwhile.

Putting that aside, much like everybody else, I have my list of artists and bands that I love. Although I am a pretty big fan of Michael Jackson, I can’t say he is my absolute favorite. What I can say is that it is hard to argue with the place this album holds in the history books. This one album was the absolute peak of a rather interesting persons life and career. It also represents the absolute pinnacle that any artist can shoot for. People often talk about who is going to make the next Thriller. You usually don’t hear people say “Who is going to make the next Eagles Greatest Hits” or “Who is going to make the next Zeppelin IV”. Both amazing albums that deserve their places in the record books. What most other albums are missing is that phenomenon factor. Thriller was a phenomenon. So much so that even I remember it pretty vividly despite being 3-5 years old during its lifespan on the charts. This album is one of my first memories of popular music. Its impact was everywhere in popular culture for years. There is a reason for that. Thriller was an album that everybody could agree on. You might define it as dance or R&B or even pop. I would say this is a well orchestrated piece of music filled with so many interesting changes within each song that its hard to not like it. It has some edge, but not too much edge. Everything about this album is just right. Sadly, for both this artist and every other one who has come and gone since, it is a masterpiece that is hard to duplicate. 35 years later, although i’ve heard some really good albums, I can’t say any of them compare to the type of magic that Thriller contains. Considering the direction the music industry is going in, i’m not sure if we will see/hear something like this ever again. That is what makes this album even more extraordinary to me.