Memorable Hits from the 80’s

The 80’s: an era filled with luminescent colors, crazy hairstyles, and fashion-oriented influences. This decade was especially well-known for its variety of music that people still listen to today.

As a product of two parents who were teenagers in the 80’s, I feel that this decade of music left a mark on my life. It feels as if I grew up with this decade of music, as well.

Not many of us today understand how much of an influence this decade has brought towards fashion, music, television, and political stances in the 21st century. With that being said, those who  are interested in listening to music from the 80’s feel unsure where to begin. Lucky for you, I have created a playlist to start you off with some of the most memorable songs of the 80’s to pique your interest.

To begin our list of 15 songs, let’s begin with the meme-worthy track:

1. “Take on Me” by A-Ha

This beloved track was released in 1985 off of their album, Hunting High and Low. From what I know, this track was placed in a famous vine and later grew in popularity for its trendy sound. In my opinion, this is one of those songs that you’ll want to sing a-long at a karaoke cafe.

2. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

If you haven’t heard this song before, I assure you that this is one of the most uplifting songs that I’ve ever heard. George Michael’s vocals in this song impress me so much during the higher notes of this song. Though George Michael passed away in 2016, fans of his vocals can continue to dance to these famous hits written by Wham!

3. “Our Lips are Sealed” by The Go-Go’s

This song is a bit more well known to those who have heard the Hilary & Haylie Duff cover from 2004. However, hearing the original version really helps you envision the 80’s feel that this song exudes. This 1981 hit started off the series of songs that would always be remembered from the 80’s.

4. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M

By far. this song struck a political accord onto everyone who heard this 1987 track. R.E.M has lyrics that were considered to focus on a seemingly stream of consciousness with a number of diverse references throughout the song. In all honesty, this is your go to song when you are also struggling to handle all the social and political issues that occur today.

5. “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol

This new wave/post-punk artist brings his own flair onto this well-known Rock-band featured track. My mother told me how Billy Idol was the first artist she had ever seen live back when she was a teenager, and to this day she has no regrets. The type of music he created was very central to a punk/rock style that influenced fans to show up in bright colored hairstyles and mohawks.

6. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson

While there is some controversy going around about Michael Jackson’s past, most of us can say that the 80’s was nothing with this hit song. This Grammy Award winning track was written in 1982, which came off of his Thriller album. If you never were given the opportunity to listen to Michael Jackson’s music, I honestly feel bad for you.

7. “The Metro” by Berlin

You cannot have an 80’s playlist without this amazing track by Berlin. Every time I hear this song, I feel like I have been zapped into another dimension as it has a synthesizer in the background of the track. I feel that this should be one of the songs that people remember the most as it is very unique and has a very vintage feel.

8. “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners

I’m certain that this 1982 track played at almost everyone’s high school dances. This track is also featured in the Perks of Being a Wallflower soundtrack. If I could say one thing about this song to sway you into hearing it, it would be this: listen after 2:55 and tell me that this does not make you want to dance.

9. “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins

As a fan of both Top Gun and the television series, Archer, this song is one of those feel good tunes you want to blast in your car after a long week. This is the first song I ever heard by Kenny Loggins and it was all thanks to an animated adult-series that referenced “danger zone” so often.

10. “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds

Thanks to the film, The Breakfast Club, we all should know this very memorable 80’s song. Every time someone played this song, you can tell they are expressing a very sincere emotion for this tune. Plus, you really can’t forget about this song…

11. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

Okay, I know what you are thinking…this is not a rick roll. This is the one song that I know every single person on the planet knows about thanks to meme culture and Wreck It Ralph 2. Whether you enjoy the song or not, we would not have the meme culture of today without this man. Cheers to Mr. Astley!

12. “Rock Lobster” by the B-52’S

Based on my survey with people I talked to, most have never heard of the group the B-52’S. Though, I know this song was very popular because of Family Guy‘s reference to the song & Dance Dance Revolution featuring it. While I know this song came out in 1979, this could still pass for a famous 80’s track.

13. “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Joan Jett

For all my rock fans out there, Joan Jett is the very reason I was able to get into rock music. I feel that her influence on the rock genre in the 80’s is the reason we have such amazing rock music today. If you don’t believe me, please listen to her.

14. “La Bamba” by Los Lobos

As a Mexican-American student, this was one of the songs that my family would love to play. Even though this song was originally written by Ritchie Valens, their cover for this song is just as amazing if not memorable in my eyes. This was a way to bring back the memory of Ritchie Valens.

15. “Livin’ On a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

You are lying if you say you haven’t done karaoke to this song at all! I faintly remember the day my friend and I sang this on Guitar Hero. This song will empower you and get you through the rest of your week. Honestly though, I mean it…”Woah, we’re halfway there.”

I understand that there are other songs that should be recognized on this list; however, everyone has their own unique tastes within this genre. With the emergence of rock, punk, or new wave being introduced to the mainstream during this era of music, it is safe to say that almost everyone will love something from the 80’s.

Written by: Sofia Gomez

Kodaline at the House of Blues

Kodaline gave their audience a taste of the weekend with their thrilling and riveting performance at the House of Blues.

 

The concert was opened by Ocean Park Standoff, a band consisting of Samantha Ronson, Pete Nappi, and Ethan Thompson. The group was energetic throughout their entire set, especially Thompson, who couldn’t help but jump around the stage. It was hard not sing along, especially as the singer about to dive right into the audience. Plus, the band members chemistry was impeccable, as the three cracked jokes throughout their set. They got right along, offering words of advice before continuing onto their next song, “Good News:” “If you had any bad news this week, fuck ‘em.” With their youthful spirit, Ocean Park Standoff encouraged us to let go and enjoy. It just made everyone excited for the rest of the night.

Kodaline’s entrance was silent, but their entrance caused the crowd to go wild. They started with “Follow Your Fire”, a song from their newest album “Politics of Living”.  Known originally as 21 Demands, the group started in Dublin, Ireland with Steve Carrigan (vocals, guitar) and Mark Prendergast (guitar) as founding members of the group. The name later changed to Kodaline with the addition of Jason Boland (bass guitar) and Vinny May Jr. (drums).

 

With the moody lights and simple stage set, Kodaline focused on what was important: their music. Seemingly in his own world, main singer Steve Garrigan had his eyes closed for a majority of the songs. Though it was a contrast from Ocean Park Standoff’s interactive stage presence, Kodaline’s style of performance was just as captivating.

Listening to their music in such an environment made their vocals sound even more raw. I had always loved their music, listening on my phone or through Youtube, but to hear it in person, was an experience. Being apart of the audience felt like a dream, with everyone swaying in a trance to a deep pulse. If I had another chance to go listen and see Kodaline, I would not need a lot of convincing. Not only is their music amazing, their performance and stage presence must be seen in person. Kodaline has come a long way since their humble beginnings as a two-man band, and their fans and other music enthusiasts should look forward to their future projects indefinitely.

Review by: Veronica Yoo

Rex Orange County at the Observatory North Park

Rex Orange County brought his signature timeless energy and love to the Observatory North Park.

As I approached the Observatory North Park to see Rex Orange County on November 13, my mouth dropped once I saw how long the line was to enter the venue.  It was fascinating to me to see so many people that were all here for the same artist and who have been touched by his music in some way.

Everyone in the crowd carried positive energy and were talking about what they were most excited for during the show.  I was lucky enough to see Rex during the summer at Mo Pop Music Festival in Detroit, so I felt as if I was familiar with his show and set before it had even started.  However, during his show in San Diego I felt a whole new aroma and experience.

Once the lights went off and the cheering started, an audio recording from a vintage film began to play.  Rex walked out on stage and colorful rainbow lights flashed on, also revealing a backdrop with a picture of a peach.  The opening song was nonetheless “Apricot Princess,” which is on my favorite album of his called, “Apricot Princess” as well.

During the middle of the show, Rex decided to switch moods with the audience and play “No One” by the one and only, Alicia Keys.  I could not believe how amazing this cover was, especially because he made it sound like his very own version of the song. He played his acoustic guitar throughout the show, including during this song, which gave it a unique twist.

After Rex left the stage to prepare for the encore, the crowd cheered “Rex” as loud as they could, waiting for him to make another appearance.  When he came back on stage and the encore had started, Rex told everyone to shout the words to “Loving is Easy” and jump as high as they could throughout the chorus.  

The energy during the entire show was through the roof and everyone in the audience left the venue out of breath.  The show was an hour and a half, but felt as if I was there for barely an hour. I felt connected with the people around me because we were all bonding over the same music together.

 

Check out Rex’s website for more on the artist.

Review by: Kylie Buckfire

Tame Impala at Treasure Island Music Festival

Seeing Tame Impala live at Treasure Island Music Festival was an opportunity I’d never dreamed of experiencing. 

Led by record-producer and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker, Tame Impala is one of the world’s greatest mysteries. After being blown away by them, I wrote about the whole experience for those looking to experience it themselves.

The show:

Opening with the short interlude “Nangs” gave the perfect vibe of what the show would be like. The crowd was enticed by the fog pouring in from both sides of the stage, while the slowly changing lights immersed us all into the trip we were about to undertake. Slowly but surely, Kevin Parker’s voice began to sing “but is there something more than that?” Who knew 7 words could elicit such a feeling of love and excitement from a group of fans.

Tame Impala followed this moment with their hit single, “Let It Happen.” At this point, lasers began to shine, which seemed almost close enough to touch. The lasers bounced to the bass, following the sound at each turn as if they were magically being shot out of the band’s instruments. I felt as if it was the first time I was hearing the song even though I knew all of the words. As the song transitioned, Kevin did something we didn’t expect; He had the audience clap along, something you usually wouldn’t see at a psychedelic rock concert. He transformed us into instruments, adding percussion with our hands.

“Are you ready?” Kevin asked. And suddenly, confetti was covering the sky. The visuals at this concert were nothing short of breathtaking, seductive even.

Tame Impala’s lasers

Tame Impala proceeded to throw it back with “Sundown Syndrome,” their first official 2009 single. Being a sultry song, the band shifted the music into having a jazzier flow, while Kevin’s soft spoken vocals taught us how to sway.

The Moment” started and at this point we were all in our own little worlds. It’s such a fun and easy going song, it’s hard not to dance along. The band followed this with a snippet of  “Sestri Levante” to get us into the mood for something amazing: “Elephant.” This ultimate classic had us all on another level. If you’ve ever seen the Disney movie Dumbo, the song is literally like that one scene with the elephants where you think you’re on drugs. It’s crazy and hypnotic, and Kevin was throwing us through the ringer.

Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?” was a very hardcore song compared to the others. It was almost like we were in the studio with Kevin as he wrote out the words, unsure and scared of what the feelings he was having meant. Next, “Eventually” came on with its’ distorted and romantic chords. The visuals for this song were also out of this world. The layers of lasers were immersed into a moving cloudy sky of light, flowing with the sound of the guitar. This song is heavily drum based compared to the other songs, so it was amazing to see how they added everything together in person.

Afterwards, “Yes I’m Changing” threw everyone into a reflective mood, as the song holds feelings of love and heartache. This song is about growing and becoming a better person, but not forgetting about who you are and not letting your past hold you down. “There is another future waiting there for you” he sang, telling us all that there is so much we can do to change. This song is the perfect mix of nostalgia and yearning. If you’re going through anything right now, this is the song to listen to. It’s hopeful, and it really makes you think.

The almost romantic but somehow savage song that is “The Less I Know The Better” started playing and we were all in a daze. If you haven’t heard this song before, I would stop what you’re doing right now and look it up. That’s it, I can’t ruin it, you’ll have to listen to it for yourself.

Amongst the excitement and shock of hearing that song live, the audience was blown away by something none of us expected. Tame Impala’s first performance of “Jeremy’s Storm” since November 2012. We were truly lucky to be there and be witnessing something like this. Kevin even said himself that they didn’t even soundcheck it and they were just going to go for it. This song had the most simple visuals which really showed off the bands’ roots. 

Love/Paranoia” was like a lullaby to us all, waking us up to the dreams that the song emitted. For a song about cheating, it’s one of their most beautiful songs. It feels almost as if you’re trapped in a loop, trying to push out and escape. And somehow, Tame Impala makes it feel like you want to be there.

Alter Ego” felt like we were all going through some sort of time machine into the past. And it was almost as if we were all traveling together, on a journey to trying to go back to the beginning of the show, knowing the end of it was near. “Apocalypse Dreams” rang out like a cry as we all danced, not wanting it to ever end. One of their longer songs, it was perfect to end on.

Beginning the encore, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” played with a feeling of hope. Right as the song started, confetti filled the air and we were all moving in the air with it. I was realizing in this point that it really was the end of the show, and this was Tame Impala in their purest form. I didn’t want it to end.

Their last song was introduced with Kevin saying some parting words. “We will see you real soon, I promise,” he said, as “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” began. Everyone was holding onto his words of ‘seeing us real soon’, because he was still in front of us! During the interlude, Kevin spoke: “Alright guys. This is it! This is the last one. We will see you really soon. We love you! Thank you.” Confetti filled the sky one last time. It was the hardest goodbye.

WHAT NOW?

If you ever have the chance to see Tame Impala live, DO IT. Tame Impala has perfected this art of psychedelic, sexy, but somehow distorted way of catching your eye and making you never want to turn back. It was one of the most magical shows I have ever experienced, and for that I am so grateful, and excited, for what is to come with Tame Impala’s future. According to Kevin, we’ll be seeing them “real soon”, and I’ll be sure to hold him to that.

Photos by: Brittany Roache
Written by: Molly Atkins