20 Reasons 80’s Music Didn’t Suck

Posted: September 26, 2015 in Music, Opinion, Rock Lyrics, Rock Music, Rock Videos, Things I Love
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80sI hate it when people say the 1980’s was a decade chock-full of bad music. Well, they don’t usually say “chock-full” because they don’t have my boundless vocabulary. Now that I think of it, it was chock-full of bad music but it was also chock-full of great music. On a related note, I pretty sure I just set a record for use of the word “chock-full” in a paragraph. On another related note, what the hell am I talking about?

My point is this – not everyone was listening to Kajagoogoo, Bananarama or Mr. Mister in the 80’s. The decade was the heyday of bands like R.E.M., The Replacements and The Hoodoo Gurus, among many others. With that in mind, it was really challenging to narrow my list down to a mere twenty. But narrow I did, complete with a comment or two tossed in for (hopefully) good measure. But wait kids, there’s more! I added links so you can listen to the songs! For the love of God, click on the links! And by the way, the songs are in no particular order.

Like Wow – Wipeout – Hoodoo Gurus

My love for the Gurus is well-documented, as you can read in the critically acclaimed blog The Best Band You’ve Never Heard – The Hoodoo Gurus, and this is my favorite tune of theirs. Just a solid rock song, friends.

Fall on Me – R.E.M.

An early song by the boys from Athens, GA.  It was on their album Life’s Rich Pageant and it’s just a hauntingly beautiful song. Please listen to this song.

Cult of Personality – Living Colour

Listen to this song for no other reason than to hear the legendary Vernon Reid on guitar. Sweet Jeebus.

68 Guns – The Alarm

A soaring anthem that will make you want to overthrow . . . something. I saw these cats open for Dylan once and my mind was blown.

These Important Years – Husker Du

Straight-up power punk rock madness.

Search Your Heart – Steve Forbert

Just an achingly gorgeous song from one of the most underrated performers of the past 30-years. Listen to this song and you’ll know why I say that.

Color Me Impressed – The Replacements

Didn’t think I’d leave Westerberg and the boys off the list, didja? The Mats kick some major ass with this balls-out rocker.

Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards – Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg is an activist, socialist, and political singer-songwriter in every sense of the word. This is my favorite song by the Englishman.

Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head – They Might Be Giants

From the quirky duo from NYC. I once heard that this song was about a guy going to a psychologist because he was molested as a kid, but for the life of me I don’t get it. I understand the whole using a puppet with kids thing to get them to talk, but if you can explain these lyrics to me I’m all ears. Great great song.

Take the Skinheads Bowling – Camper Van Beethoven

Recognize that voice? If you do it’s because it’s David Lowery, who later went on to front Cracker. CVB was one of the early alt bands that got me hooked on the whole scene.

Goo Goo Muck – The Cramps

The Cramps were a punk outfit that started in the 70’s, and in 1981 came out with this gem. Sorta reminds me of “Creep in the Cellar” by The Butthole Surfers, but I’m sure you were thinking the same thing, right? Right?

Drive – Todd Rundgren

My favorite song by the greatest musician currently not residing in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dance, Mother*****er, Dance! – Violent Femmes

Click on that title to see what is most likely the single greatest music video in the history of music videos. Epic video for an amazing song.

Work for Food – Dramarama

Love. This. Song. Dramarama was one of the great alt bands, period.

Trouble Waiting to Happen – Warren Zevon

Brian Setzer plays geetar on this one, and I’ve always related to the lyrics. Zevon was a God.

E=MC2 – Big Audio Dynamite

It’s hard to describe the music of this band, formed by former Clash member Mick Jones. You’ll just have to listen.

Let’s Dance to Joy Division – The Wombats

Love The Wombats, love this song. I dare ya to try and not tap your foot.

Touch Me, I’m Sick – Mudhoney

Saw these guys in the tiny Cafe Bourbon Street in C-Bus a couple of years ago. Whatta night. They haven’t missed a beat.

Crazy Mixed-Up Kid – The Smithereens

Love The Smithereens. Saw them open for Joan Jett awhile back and they were better than the headliner.

Mommy’s Little Monster – Social Distortion

My love for Social D is well documented, and this was my first brush with Mike Ness and the boys. Love it.

So there ya go kids. Twenty reasons that 80’s music didn’t suck. And that’s just twenty, I could name fifty more easily. Hell, I didn’t even name The Church or Elvis Costello. Wait . . . I feel another blog coming on. See ya in a bit.

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