That was an ’80s video?! You may ask this very question after viewing some of the selections on today’s playlist. Others may evoke specific memories of the ’80s, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the songs themselves are timeless. I’ve been thinking about this playlist for awhile now, collecting tracks that could hold up alongside some of my favorite current tunes. And the videos are all fabulous as well, which is why they’re included in the fun! Scroll down for the ’80s playlist, as well as some notes on each piece. Enjoy!
Breaking the Girl – Oops! This first track was actually from the very early ’90s, showing just how big of a stylistic difference a few years can make! A wonderfully bizarre video filled with interesting color palettes (helpful if you’re brainstorming a new art project)! And no disrespect to the other members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but Flea’s spastic dancing totally steals the show and elevates this piece to the level of art.
Legal Tender – Another vibrant video, this B-52s piece is the perfect example of Midcentury-meets-’80s style. Retro-fabulous in an eternally stylish way!
Buffalo Stance – Um, this was an ’80s video? Psychedelic visuals and Neneh Cherry’s confident performance make this a timeless favorite. (see the screen shot below)…
Once in a Lifetime – I totally didn’t appreciate the weirdness of this Talking Heads video as a kid, waiting for it to be over in hopes that the latest from Duran Duran would follow it up. Hey, it’s never too late to wake up, right?! Definitely an ’80s video, but boy, does it hold up!
Such a Shame – On the coldest of winter days, I put on this video and watch as Talk Talk lead singer Mark Hollis, layered in neon scarves and a heavy coat, emotes with theatrical expression.
Under the Milky Way – I used to roller skate each week in the early 2000s on adult night. I was friends with the manager of the rink, who let me make music requests. One night I requested this gorgeous track by The Church, and he dimmed the overheads, put on the specialty lights, then true magic happened. The song became a weekly tradition that lived on long after I stopped skating there.
Streets of Your Town – Like the previous track, this one is straight out of Australia. When it appeared on my ’80s Pandora station, I was sure it was a mistake. It truly transcends the decade. I’m still mourning the news that The Go Betweens’ lead singer Grant McLennan passed away well before his time from a heart attack in 2006. A lovely talent.
Left of Center – An independent thinker and a true beauty, Suzanne Vega is the epitome of the poetic ’80s singer-songwriter. This tune, which I first heard on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, features Joe Jackson on piano.
Mary’s Prayer – Danny Wilson is the name of the band, which features no members named Danny Wilson! A beautiful song that doesn’t scream ’80s, yet the video is filled with fabulous ’80s visuals.
What Have I Done to Deserve This – The Pet Shop Boys + Dusty Springfield = pure magic. And what better way to end this playlist than with a video filled with showgirls?! I used to watch this before every middle school dance. I’m not sure why, but it calmed my nerves–ha! Maybe it was the way band member Chris Lowe breaks into uncharacteristic spontaneous dance at the end of the second verse…
Andrew Briggs says
you have great taste.
Thank you, Andrew!!!
Robert Taylor says
Great tracks. But “Breaking the Girl” is 90’s. I’ve liked your blog for years.
You’re so right, Robert!!! For some reason I had 1989 in my head on this one. Thank you so much for catching this. I’ve made the correction in the track description above.
Two timeless 80s tracks for me are Surrender (1987) by Swing Out Sister and My One Temptation (1988) by Mica Paris. They have that perfect mix of synth and brass which was synonymous with the late 80s British neo soul sound.