Rant Of The Day
Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

THIS RANT 23/07/2002

Gusworld's Top 20 80s Songs Of All Time

Gusworld's Top 20 80s songs
(ranked alphabetically by artist)

  • Poison Arrow, ABC
  • Love In The First Degree, Bananarama
  • Don't You Want Me, Human League
  • Running Up That Hill, Kate Bush
  • Leave A Light On, Belinda Carlisle
  • Self Control, Laura Branigan
  • Buffalo Stance, Neneh Cherry
  • A View To A Kill, Duran Duran
  • When Tomorrow Comes, Eurythmics
  • One Night In Bangkok, Murray Head
  • I Wanna Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me, Whitney Houston
  • Wouldn't It Be Good, Nik Kershaw
  • She Bop, Cyndi Lauper
  • A New England, Kirsty MacColl
  • Like A Prayer, Madonna
  • Careless Whisper, George Michael
  • What Have I Done To Deserve This?, Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield
  • Automatic, Pointer Sisters
  • Sweet And Sour, The Takeaways
  • Cambodia, Kim Wilde
  • Recently, my friend Roulla set me the challenge of picking my 20 favourite songs from the 1980s, which as all Gusworld readers know is the main musical decade that matters around here. Roulla had been trying to do a similar list herself, and she said it was really difficult.

    Well, it is and it isn't. It would be much harder to do a top 100, since then it's quite likely I'd be picking multiple songs by the same people. With a top 20, it's basically a case of picking my favourite artists and then picking my favourite song of theirs from the era.

    Even that poses challenges, though. For instance, there's no ABBA songs on this list, as I had to include 'One Night In Bangkok' from Chess and I felt that used up my ABBA allowance. On another day, I might have dropped something else to squeeze in 'The Winner Takes It All', but them's the breaks.

    In some cases, individual songs stuck out even when the artist wasn't obvious. For instance, while I've no objection to Laura Branigan, she wouldn't be in my first or second rank of 80s acts. But 'Self Control' is just too good a song to skip. A similar logic applies to 'Buffalo Stance'.

    Doing this kind of list also requires a certain brutal honesty and willingness to embarrass yourself. If I had even a vague sense of dignity, then the Whitney Houston track probably wouldn't be there. But I remember just how obsessed with this song I was in 1986, and I still think it's a great piece of work.

    What else can we deduce? Well, there are more songs from 1984 than other year, but the selections range from 1981 (the Human League and ABC) to 1989 (Belinda Carlisle and Neneh). Every song has a different producer and writer. Most of the songs aren't ballads. Slightly more than half have female vocals.

    One challenge I wouldn't want to face would be putting the songs in order, which is why they're alphabetical. And I'm open to criticism and commentary, but hey: it's only my opinion.

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