The 80s are Alive and Well: Forgotten Songs From the Neon Decade
Written by Mia De Los Reyes on February 6, 2024
The 80s bled with colors so bright you almost had to look away. With big hair, parties by night, and a societal progression towards a better world during the day, the 80s were about innovation in the most self-proclaimed way. The old records that your parents keep hold more secrets than you think. The roots of the music played on the radio today dwell in forgotten records, old CDs, and dusty cassette tapes.
The 80s is one of my favorite eras of music to dissect. What used to be the everyday radio replay has now become an acquired taste. However, there’s something special that emanates from the 80s. Here are some of my favorite songs.
1. “When Love Breaks Down” by Prefab Sprout
The British pop band, Prefab Sprout, is known for their impeccable lyricism. Paddy McAloon was a true poet, and it is visible through each album. Prefab Sprout speaks truth through a jubilant mix of sounds.
2. “O Pamela” by The Wake
One of the most underrated 80s bands, The Wake dips into post-punk and indie pop in an extraordinary way. They balance the typical synth with guitar riffs that cannot be ignored. They turn a catchy tune into a melodramatic metaphor in the finest way possible.
3. “Ask Me Jon” by The Ocean Blue
Forming the band as teens in the late 80s, The Ocean Blue’s self titled is a gem painted with a beautiful interpretation of angst and the perfect amount of nostalgia.
Heavily inspired by bands like Television, Felt created their own definition of post punk/pop inspired music.
5. “We Could Send Letters” by Aztec Camera
This Scottish band never felt short of providing the perfect blend of indie and pop. Aztec Camera opens the door to a different perspective on jangle pop.
6. “The Soul Awakening” by China Crisis
7. “Lemon Firebrigade” by Haircut 100
8. “Don’t Let Go” by Pink Industry
Following the break up of Pink Military, Pink Industry emerged from the partnership of Jayne Casey and Ambrose Reynolds. Never quite making it on mainstreams terms, they still carried the 80s sound well.
9. “Wonderland” by XTC and Alex Sadkin
One of those songs that brings feelings of reminiscence and hope at the same time, XTC is a staple band from the new wave scene.
10. “No Words” by Clan of Xymox
With their atmospheric sound coupled with a gothic influence, Clan of Xymox is an inspiration in the dark wave and goth electronic genre today.
11. “Don’t Fall” by The Chameleons
12. “Messages” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Orchestral Maneouvres in the Dark contributed to the immense staple electronic sound of the 80s. Perhaps seen as just another typical one hit wonder band, OMD’s discography has so much more to offer than “Enola Gay” or “Electricity.”