I swear i'll be writing more in 2014

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Top 50 Songs of 1982

It's a better year than 1981, I can say that much.  The obvious reason for this is the release of Michael Jackson's Thriller.  It's also the first time I've run into good Prince songs.  The downside is The Clash turn nearly into a pop rock band.  Here's the list:

50.  Atomic Dog – George Clinton (Funk)82

As usual George has some great stuff going on … and on … and on … and on …

49.  Eye of the Tiger – Survivor (Butt Rock)82

Even though this song will never amount to anything more than memories of the Rocky movies going through my head, it qualifies for that alone. 

48.  Pretty Woman – Van Halen (Butt Rock)82

I’m a sucker for artificial harmonics. 

47.  Senses Working Overtime – XTC (New Wave)82
46.  State Trooper – Bruce Springsteen (Folk) 82
45.  Night Nurse – Gregory Isaacs (Reggae)82
44.  Shock the Monkey – Peter Gabriel (Pop Rock)82
43.  Little Red Corvette – Prince (Pop)82

Here’s my first Prince song.  He’s had some stuff before this, but I didn’t think it was very good. 

42.  Back on the Chain Gang – The Pretenders (Rock)82
41.  Buffalo Gals – Malcolm McLaren (Rap)82

The more I find out about how unique this McLaren dude is, the more impressed I get.  This is barely a rap song, but there’s record scratching and well, as soon as you hear the first couple lines you say, “Oh, that’s where Eminem got it from!” 

40.  Little Guitars – Van Halen (Progressive Rock)82

This almost sounds like a Rush song … kinda weird. 

39.  Run to the Hills – Iron Maiden (Heavy Metal)82
38.  Our House – Madness (Ska)82
37.  Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash (Rock)82
36.  Don’t Go – Yazoo (Synthpop)82
35.  Rockin It – The Fearless Four (Rap)82
34.  Mexican Radio – Wall of Voodoo (New Wave)82
33.  Pass the Dutchie – Musical Youth (Reggae)82
32.  Mickey – Toni Basil (Pop)82

This song is like a sequel to “My Sharona.”

31.  Rio – Duran Duran (New Wave)82
30.  Situation – Yazoo (Synthpop)82

These guys really remind me of LCD Soundsystem, so I like them for that.

29.  Beat It – Michael Jackson (Pop)82

You beat it!

28.  Rock the Casbah – The Clash (Pop Rock)82

Even though I’m not the biggest Clash fan, it’s still hard on me to hear them sell out. 

27.  Wasted Life – Tom Petty (Slow Rock)82
26.  Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson (Synthpop)82
25.  Mad World – Tears for Fears (Synthpop)82
24.  Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners (Pop)82

Do you ever wonder if this band’s other material is any good?  This song has some key changes and other good stuff going on with it.  They must have had other good songs, right? 

23.  More Than This – Roxy Music (New Wave)82
22.  Never Say Never – Romeo Void (New Wave)82

After all, who can’t agree with the line, “I might like you better if we slept together.”  The 80s have sure come a long way from “Let’s Spend the Night Together” which was quite controversial at the time.  Gotta love how far we've come as a society when it comes to freer sex.  The hippies were good for something. 

21.  P.Y.T. – Michael Jackson (Funk)82
20.  White Wedding – Billy Idol (Gothic)82

I’m really starting to miss actual drummers.  This song could’ve been a great rock song if only it had a real drummer.  Instead, due to its content, it’s a pure goth song … well, aside from the fact that goth kids wouldn’t like it due to its popularity. 

19.  Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran (New Wave)82

This video used to freak me out at as a kid. 

18.  Dancing in the Street – Van Halen (Pop Rock)82

I have to say, I’m quite impressed with what Eddie Van Halen pulled off with the synthesizer here.  This song is a great listen. 

17.  Safety Dance – Men Without Hats(Synthpop)82

I may actually be ranking this too low.  Along with “Take on Me” it’s the anthem of a generation, just not sure which generation. 

16.  The Number of the Beast – Iron Maiden (Heavy Metal)82

One way to tell the difference between hard rock and heavy metal is the involvement of I don’t know … SATAN!  (That was my Michael Scott referencing lame SNL joke moment). 

15.  Straight to Hell – The Clash (Rock)82

I always wondered what Clash song MIA got “Paper Planes” from. 

14.  Kiss Off – Violent Femmes (Punk)82
13.  I’ll Melt With You – Modern English (New Wave)82

This song is definitely a notch above the typical 80’s pop cheese. 

12.  Temptation – New Order (Synthpop)82

Here’s electronic music with a little bit of integrity.  I’ve never been a fan of these guys, but this is some good good shit. 

11.  Eminence Front – The Who (Rock)82

Even the Who try to cash in on to the synthpop fad, which I suppose is the best they can do without Keith Moon.  This will be my last Who song. 

10.  Thriller – Michael Jackson (Funk)82

You really have to admire what Quincy Jones did on this album.  A couple of these tracks have transcendent funk grooves, but rather than just let someone jibber jabber over them for 9 minutes, he carefully constructs great pop songs led by someone who earns the title “The King of Pop”.  He even teases a little bit of disco, which somehow makes it better. 

9.  Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes (Punk)82

If these guitars were distorted, this would be pure uncut 1977 punk.  Sometimes all it takes is a simple idea … take something that already exists and change it a little. 

8.  Abracadabra – Steve Miller Band (New Wave)82

1982 is the beginning of songs I remember loving as a kid and wanting to buy the singles.  This could very well be the first song I ever loved.  It still sounds good today, however, it’s a little sad hearing people like him and Tom Petty synth themselves out. 

7.  Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye(Rhythm & Blues)82

Between Gaye and Michael Jackson, it’s great to get some soul back into music after a several year layoff. 

6.  The Message – Grandmaster Flash (Rap)82

Here’s the first great rap song which keeps it’s duration in the pop length.  With this one, you can already hear rap moving forward rather than just being a drum machine (though it’s still just a drum machine).    If Ice Cube samples it, it’s gotta be good, and let’s be real here, many rappers have sampled this one. 

5.  Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' – Michael Jackson (Pop)82

This song never gets the pub that “Beat It” or “Thriller” get, but it’s a much better song.  Though it’s impossible to reinvent pop music, Michael Jackson comes pretty close to doing it in 1982. 

4.  1999 – Prince (Pop)82

This is my first “favorite” Prince song.  He had two sexy ladies playing the same keyboard!  How can you not love that? 

3.  I Ran – Flock of Seaguls (New Wave)82

This should have been the last song of new wave.  It would’ve been a great way to go out.  I’ve always wanted to be in a band that covers this song, Toast unfortunately would not. 

2.  You Got Lucky – Tom Petty (Rock)82

This may be my favorite TP song.  After all, when I was kid, he and the Heartbreakers drove a DeLorean to an arcade in the middle of the desert and Petty shot one of the video games.  How could I not love that being 7 years old?

1.  Billie Jean – Michael Jackson (Pop)82

There’s nothing quite like a perfect song.  The bass Quincy has laid down is remarkable to the point this may be the smoothest fucking song ever.  I don’t see how someone could not love this song.

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