Musical Time Travel: Electrifying Eighties!

I grew up with a strong distaste towards the 1980s because, in my childhood days of the 1990s, the trends of that decade were then seen as kitschy and no longer modern, contemporary or trendy.

However, this has changed over the last few years in a dramatic fashion. In 2017, I was an avid listener of a radio station that features songs released before my birth, mostly from the ‘80s. 

One day, they played Mike Francis’ “Let Me In.” The song, to my mind, had this dynamism that doesn’t grow old. It always feels “fresh” to me. As the radio station played other songs, I became more and more acquainted with the music of that decade. My distaste was soon saturated into "ambivalence" and, in a shocking turn of events, was converted into “fondness”!

In this article, a song for each year of the 1980s is featured where I picked the best ones in my humble opinion. Some years were very hard, and, without being biased, I honestly think my birthyear was one of them.



The phenomenal decade opens up on a happy mood as the best song for its first year seemed so much a welcome message for those about to enter a new era.

"Celebration" always puts anyone on a cheerful and exuberant mood that it is but the most appropriate way to begin the most electrifying decade in pop culture ever!


“One Hundred Ways”

I pick One Hundred Ways for 1981, which still sounded a lot like 1970s songs, as in any other song of the early 1980s. I think 1970s extends until 1983 at the latest...

"One Hundred Ways" has this soulful vibe to it that always puts me in a good mood.


"It Might Be You"

I pick a song for 1982 that was released until the following year, but "It Might Be You" was first performed in the multi-awarded 1982 film "Tootsie." The song was nominated as Best Original Song in the Academy Awards.

This song is also timeless; young people of today are very much familiar with it. 


“Time Will Reveal”

1983 was a big year for songs. It had some of the best ones so far. I admit that this is my favorite among all years when it comes to music. 

It had "Just Got Lucky" by Jo Boxers, "One on One" by Hall & Oates, among many others. But the song that emerges as the winner is El Debarge's "Time Will Reveal."

With all the falsettos from start to finish coupled with a nicely-blended, slightly-mellowed background music, "Time Will Reveal" is one of the best songs I've ever heard...


“Let Me In”

Continuing 1983's trend, 1984 likewise did not disappoint. This year had some of the best ones also. Among them was the danceable melody of "Footloose." James Ingram's "Whatever We Imagine" was also noteworthy for its wealth in rhythm and harmony.

But the clear winner of that year was the one that lured me into the 1980s music craze, "Let Me In" as if letting me into the bandwagon of people cheering for 1980s as the golden age of music.

After repeating it so many times, "Let Me In" still feels fresh to me. I don't get tired listening to it.



1985 seems to be the height of the new wave era that my favorite songs for this year were both from this genre. "Secret" and "Blue Kiss" both rocked the music scene in the middle of 1980s, but between the two, I prefer "Secret" for its really nice unique beat.


“True Colors”

True Colors had some of the most meaningful and liberating lyrics of any song out there, which are as colorful as the vibrant music that gives it life.

Anyone sad and confused about their identity would feel elated and inspired by merely listening to this song. It takes away all inhibitions and promotes self-love.


“Time and Tide”

1987 was a big year for songs too. It has many honorable mentions. One of them is "Better Days" which sounded very cheerful for a song dedicated to a departed grandmother. Meanwhile, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" was a spontaneous song depicting a sort of love-at-first-sight moment.

"With or Without You" is also noteworthy for its crystal-clear vocals that somehow foreshadowed the upcoming grunge era.

With so many strong contenders, 1987 was a hard year to select the best song from but since I'm a sucker for melodies, especially ones I never tire of, "Time and Tide" outshines all these honorable mentions by its soulful, jazzy rhythms and over-all arrangement.


“Sweet Child O’ Mine”

1980s' electrifying zeitgeist doubles itself in 1988 by all the big hair, heavy metal, and everything else that screams.

"Sweet Child O' Mine" encapsulates all these. It was my favorite song for a very long time  especially in my coming-of-age days when I desired everything bad-ass.

Speaking of badassery, this song certainly tops everything else, including other hard rock songs.


“You Are My Everything”

The 1980s needed to end somehow. To cap things off, I chose a song that mellows down from the hard rock song I selected for 1988.

1989 bids goodbye to everything big from the hair to the songs and to everything else. The succeeding decade had a more subdued zeitgeist characterized by subtlety and simplicity.

"You Are My Everything" foreshadows an era where everything mellows down and simplifies but the song itself still had the extravagance of many of the songs of the 1980s. 


I hope you were entertained by my selections. I was born in 1987 so my knowledge of the 1980s is limited. 

If you have any song from this decade to share, feel free to use the comments section below. :)


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