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Best 80s Music


September 25 2014

January 2015 update: Edgar Froese, front man of Tangerine Dream, whose song Love on a Real Train is listed here, has passed away. He once said that “There is no death, there is just a change of our cosmic address.” How very true.

While listening to a really long continuous mix of 80s music, it amazes me how goofy much of that 80s music was. A lot of it has not aged well. As someone who lived in the 80s (and who really enjoyed those now-goofy-sounding pop songs) here is my list of the five best songs from the 80s:

==U2: With or Without You==

This song, indeed the entire album this comes from, The Joshua Tree, is considered one of the great classics of rock, with good reason. Brian Eno’s production makes what would have been a simple rock song in to a dreamy, ethereal soundscape with a pop song put on top almost as an afterthought.

==Depeche Mode: Get the Balance Right (Combination mix)==

Depeche Mode made a lot of really great music in the 1980s. I chose Get the Balance Right because that was my first introduction to the band. Today, the song is most famous among Depeche Mode fans for the wrong band member miming the lyrics at the beginning of the video.

The PPG baseline in this song is really great; the 8-minute-long Combination mix adds a nice long ambient sounding break before the final chorus which sounds really nice.

==Tangerine Dream: Love on a Real Train==

I didn’t discover this gem until the late oughts. This is the love theme from the movie Risky Business and it has a really nice relaxing feel to it, taking me to another world in the intensity of its soundscape.

==Brian Eno: An Ending (Ascent)==

While I was a fan of Eno’s earlier ambient work in the 1980s (Music for Airports), I only discovered this song recently. This song is featured in the end credits of Traffic as well as in a key scene in 28 Days Later.

It is a cult classic among fans of electronic music today, with good reason. There are countless remixes out there—Frou Frou’s Hear Me Out stands out—but the original is probably the best version.

==Jonn Serrie: Glyder==

Coming from 1989, this song barely counts as an 80s song. Thankfully, it is, and it’s a very beautiful one. I listen to this song every day, and have been doing so for many many years. A quiet, relaxing piece which takes what Brian Eno did with ambient music in the 1970s and 1980s and takes it to the next level.

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