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Monday, May 9, 2011

The Top 80 Songs of 1986

1986 is the first year I became a music junkie.  It mattered.  Whether it was knowing all the lines to Beastie Boys or Run DMC songs, or admiring a long-haired lipstick wearing butt rocker for their guitar prowess, I was Lotto.  I started collecting tapes.  My brother had Licensed to Ill and Slippery When Wet was selling so well it wasn’t always in at Record Express, the downtown West Hartford Center’s lone music store.  Sure Bon Jovi doesn’t sound like they’re in the pantheon of good music, but this album is almost as responsible for any for making me love music the way I do now.  Anyways, here’s the list:

80.  Stuck With You – Huey Lewis (Pop Rock)86

Huey writes that perfect song for the cheesy love moment.   

79.  Living in America – James Brown (Funk)86

I don’t know how anyone can enjoy this song when they know Apollo Creed is about to die. 

78.  Proud to Be Black – Run DMC (Rap)86
77.  Two of Hearts – Stacey Q (Pop)86

Would you do her?  … okay, what if you were a rooster?

76.  Walking Down Your Street – The Bangles (Pop Rock)86
75.  Velocity Girl – Primal Scream (Alternative Rock)86

This is a good start for these guys, but it’s a little too short and sweet. 

74.  My Adidas – Run DMC (Rap)86

Without this song, you never get Ace’s Joe X doing “My A’Reebok” which if you’ve never heard, is a classic.  It’s probably available on itunes. 

73.  Cry Tough – Poison (Butt Rock)86

Leading off your first album with the “Be My Baby” beat is one of those great moments of butt rock ignorance. 

72.  Love Me – Tesla (Butt Rock)86

What’s weird is this song and My Morning Jacket’s “Golden” are basically about the same thing, falling in love and how it affects your rockin’.  One song is treated with high congratulations and the other isn’t. 

71.  Levi Stubb’s Tears – Billy Bragg (Alternative Rock)86
70.  What You Need – INXS (New Wave)86
69.  Postmortem – Slayer (Heavy Metal)86
68.  We’re No Good Together – Tesla (Power Ballad)86

It’s easy to make fun of Jeff Keith and crew, but they almost drop a traditional rhythm and blues song here.  Picture the Black Keys in the late 80s without big hair.    

67.  Somebody Save Me – Cinderella (Butt Rock)86
66.  I Won’t Forget You – Poison (Power Ballad)86

I’m a sucker for many of these late 80s butt rocker ballads.  They remind me of short-lived teenage romances and getting handys inside of a life-size statue of a sperm whale outside the Children’s museum of West Hartford.   

65.  Rise – Public Image Ltd. (New Wave)86

The whole, “I could be black, I could be white” lyric is pretty stupid, but aside from that this is a pretty good song.  Political songs usually don’t age well if they’re tackling a specific issue.  This is why Dylan was a master.  He didn’t tackle issues, he tackled ideas like Derrick Brooks did Rich Gannon. 

64.  Manic Monday – The Bangles (Pop)86
63.  South Bronx – Boogie Down Productions (Rap)86

Compared to the step up the Beastie Boys and Run DMC had done this year, KRS-One hasn’t reached “great” status … yet.

62.  Suburbia – Pet Shop Boys (Synthpop)86
61.  Girls – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86

It’s really not that sexist if you listen to the real message here. 

60.  Who Made Who – AC/DC (Butt Rock)86

I’ve always liked this one because it brings back pleasant memories of Emilio Estevez getting rammed by a truck with a big joker face on it. 

59.  Heartland – The The (Alternative Rock)86
58.  Big Time – Peter Gabriel (New Wave)86

Years later, you get very few points for how cool your videos were. 

57.  Never Say Goodbye – Bon Jovi (Power Ballad)86

I’ll never understand why these guys never made a video for what could’ve been one of the most famous power ballads ever. 

56.  I Know What I Know – Paul Simon (World Beat)86
55.  Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order (Synthpop)86
54.  Angel of Death – Slayer (Heavy Metal)86
53.  Peter Piper – Run DMC (Rap)86
52.  The Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby (Rock)86

I’m having a tough time with adult contemporary.  It’s not really a genre because it doesn’t define the actual music, it defines the people listening to the music, and the more accepted it becomes, the more douchebag past-their-prime performers create songs to appeal towards that demographic.  Are adults that weak? 

51.  Little Suzi – Tesla (Butt Rock)86
50.  Don’t Give Up – Peter  Gabriel (Synthpop)86

This almost songs like a DNTEL song due to Kate Bush’s vocals. 

49.  Nasty – Janet Jackson (Pop)86

This song qualifies just because my first name ain’t baby, its Janet, Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty!  Seriously, imagine dating a girl and she wants you to address her formally.  That probably isn’t going to work and a good time to leave. 

48.  You Be Illin – Run DMC (Rap)86
47.  I Want Action – Poison (Butt Rock)86

Listen to the guitar rhythm in this song’s chorus and listen to Green Day’s guitar in “Longview” and tell me with a straight face the Green Day didn’t bite it.  Green Day sucks, I promise you.  

46.  She’s Crafty – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86
45.  Comin’ Atcha Live – Tesla (Butt Rock)86

This song makes me want to ride a motorcycle through a flaming ring of fire. 

44.  The Final Countdown – Europe (Butt Rock)86

So I’m shopping around at an Aims department store during summer vacation.  I’m deciding to buy either Europe’s The Final Countdown or Poison’s Look What the Cat Dragged In.  The rest is history.

43.  Take My Breath Away – Berlin (Pop)86
42.  Gumboots – Paul Simon (World Beat)86
41.  I Want You – Elvis Costello (Slow Rock)86
40.  Slow and Low – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86
39.  Blood and Roses – The Smithereens (Alternative Rock)86
38.  Too Far Down – Husker Du (Slow Rock)86

Did the power ballad phase of the 80s even reach Husker Du?  Probably not, but give this one a listen and tell me it didn’t. 

37.  You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi (Butt Rock)86
36.  Crazy Love Part 2 – Paul Simon (World Beat)86
35.  Wild Life – Talking Heads (New Wave)86
34.  Sorry Somehow – Husker Du (Punk)86
33.  Brass Monkey – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86
32.  Welcome Home (Sanitarium) – Metallica (Heavy Metal)86
31.  Eric B. Is President – Eric B. and Rakim (Rap)86

… and the B is for Barack!  Have you noticed since Barack Obama single-handedly killed Osama Bin Laden with his own gun and reconnaissance mission that people have started referring to him as President Obama? 

30.  Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel (Funk)86
29.  Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles (Pop Rock)86

Somehow this song has aged pretty well. 

28.  Behind the Wall of Sleep – The Smithereens (Alternative Rock)86
27.  Some Candy Talking – The Jesus and Mary Chain (Alternative Rock)86
26.  Kerosene – Big Black (Alternative Rock)86

This almost sounds like the formula Rage Against the Machine would nail several years later.    

25.  Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes – Paul Simon (World Beat)86

Yes world beat had been done by this point, and even favorites of mine the Talking Heads made attempts at it, but this is the best example thus far of it crossing over into the mainstream, Graceland is indeed a classic album, probably the best since Thriller in 1982. 

24.  Look What the Cat Dragged In – Poison (Butt Rock)86

This song embodies everything butt rock is about, a bitching boss, clichés, and most importantly waking up with a girl on the left and a girl on the right. 

23.  No Sleep Till Brooklyn (Rap)86

As a young Wyatt Crosswhite once told me, “The Beastie Boys don’t sleep until Brooklyn because that’s where they have their women.”  You have to love 6th grade.

22.  Peace Sells – Megadeath (Heavy Metal)86

As much as I love this as thee one and only Megadeath song to rule them all, they still sound like pussies compared to Metallica.   

21.  Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House (Slow Rock)86
20.  Battery – Metallica (Heavy Metal)86
19.  Slow Ride – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86
18.  Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi (Butt Rock)86

Without this song you may not have MTV’s Unplugged, which doesn’t sound like a big deal now, but in the 90s would’ve meant something.  No LL Cool J doing “Mama Said Knock You Out” acoustically, no “Tears in Heaven” and most importantly, no performance of Kurt Cobain performing his own eulogy. 

17.  Graceland – Paul Simon (Pop Rock)86
16.  Walk this Way –Run DMC(Rap)86

Yes this song probably did more for rap than “Rapper’s Delight” but it’s not even the best song on the album for these guys.  No new lyrics, nothing.  It gets rated because of what it did for rap and I’ll slightly ignore the fact that it’s nothing more than a bad remake.

15.  Modern Day Cowboy – Tesla (Butt Rock)86

I’m not sure how exactly, but this song kick’s ass. 

14.  Time to Get Ill – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86
13.  Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi (Butt Rock)86

Say what you want about these Jersey lads but they can write a helluva song.  This was my favorite song ever back when it came out.  I’d watch MTV just hoping this video would be played. 

12.  Rhymin’ and Stealin’ – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86
11.  You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon (Pop Rock)86

Putting Chevy Chase in your video is always a good idea, whether or not it takes away from how spectacular the bass is in the song or not. 

10.  Master of Puppets – Metallica (Heavy Metal)86

Granted Metallica has been great thus far, but this song shows you how special they are going to become. 

9.  It’s Tricky – Run DMC (Rap)86
8.  Fight For Your Right – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86

I love this song, I do, but when selecting great Beastie Boys songs, though quite popular, the rhyming doesn’t touch some of the other classics on this album.  This is almost more of a “butt rock” song than an actual rap song. 

7.  Talk Dirty To Me – Poison (Butt Rock)86

Fun is a very important factor in music and Poison were masters of it.  It’s been over twenty years, it’s okay to love this song everyone.

6.  The Boy in the Bubble – Paul Simon (Rock)86

Graceland is arguably the best album of the year, and this is the best song on it.  That’s why it’s first on the album, duh.

5.  Hold It Now, Hit It – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86

Back when this album first came out, I remember seeing something on the news about some concerned parents action network complaining about their lyrics, and this was the song they picked.  Thank god they didn’t choose “Slow Ride.”  Those parents must be even more pissed off with rap lyrics today … well, aside from the fact that their children are older now and it’s no longer a concern for them and they’ve probably lost interest. 

4.  Kiss – Prince (Funk)86

You know a good funk song when the artists lays it down, and Prince lays this song down like a cougar does her cub. 

3.  The New Style – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86

There are many songs on this album I had to know all the lyrics too, and this was one of them. 

2.  Raining Blood – Slayer (Heavy Metal)86

You have to love any time a band calls their album “Reign in Blood” and have a song on said album titled, “Raining Blood.”  This could be my favorite traffic jam after shitty day of work song ever. 

1.  Paul Revere – The Beastie Boys (Rap)86

Now that the Beastie Boys have done Fight For Your Right Revisted, I believe it’s time for Paul Revere: The Movie.  After all, don’t we all want to see Adrock go after the Sheriff’s daughter with a whiffle ball bat AND punch the piano player in the face?  

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