Song of the Day #398: ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ – Tears for Fears

tearsforfears20 Best Songs of the 80s – #8

I have a half-baked theory that it takes three great songs to make a great album. Not three pretty good songs, but three really great ones. The realization goes something like this… “Does [ALBUM NAME] have [SONG A]? Cool. Oh, [SONG B] too? That’s a really good one. Wait… it has [SONG C]? Really? Damn, that’s a great album.” Doesn’t really matter what else is on it.

So by that standard, Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair (1985) is a great album. ‘Shout,’ ‘Head Over Heels’ and ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ are three truly great songs (‘The Working Hour,’ ‘Mothers Talk’ and ‘I Believe’ ain’t shabby, either). If I were to make a list of the best albums of the 80s, this one would be high on that list.

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Song of the Day #397: ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ – Crowded House

crowdedhouse20 Best Songs of the 80s – #9

If I was organizing this list by quality, this song would most likely occupy the first or second spot. In fact, its quality has pushed it up the list to #9 as it is because I don’t have any specific memories of ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ — it’s just a tune I love that happens to belong very much to the 80s.

I’ve always felt that I should make an effort to better know Crowded House and lead singer-songwriter Neil Finn. Finn was an early pop rock singer-songwriter in the vein of so many artists I like, from Elvis Costello to Josh Rouse. But I’ve managed to never own one of his or their albums… too much music, not enough time.

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Song of the Day #396: ‘Our Lips are Sealed’ – Go-Go’s

go-gos20 Best Songs of the 80s – #10

As Amy mentioned on the first day of this 80s theme month, it’s easy to know some of these songs like the back of your hand without having any idea what they’re about.

I’ve loved this song since it first came out (in 1981) but until five minutes ago when I looked up the lyrics to paste them below, I had no idea what it was about. Belinda Carlisle may as well have been singing in French for all I’ve cared about the lyrical content of this song. Incidentally, this is the same sort of experience that makes some foreign language songs just as appealing as songs sung in English. How is a Shakira song in Spanish any different from a Go-Go’s song in English that I don’t bother to register in any meaningful way?

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Song of the Day #393: ‘Down Under’ – Men at Work

menatwork20 Best Songs of the 80s – #12

My father used to confuse Men at Work with The Village People. His argument, which admittedly makes a lot of sense, was that a group made up of men dressed in the garb of various occupations — including a construction worker — should almost certainly be named Men at Work. Still, the thought of a gay-themed disco concept band being confused for Australian rockers is pretty funny.

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Song of the Day #392: ‘Jesse’s Girl’ – Rick Springfield

rickspringfield20 Best Songs of the 80s – #12

I’m not proud of this, but I have a vivid memory of the first time I heard of Bruce Springsteen. It was in the early 80s, probably around the time Born in the U.S.A. was released. A DJ mentioned that Bruce Springsteen had a new album coming out and I thought to myself… “Ha! That guy totally said Rick Springfield’s name wrong.”

Yes, my musical knowledge was limited for a 12-year-old boy.

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Song of the Day #391: ‘She Drives Me Crazy’ – Fine Young Cannibals

fyc20 Best Songs of the 80s – #13

Fine Young Cannibals isn’t a one-hit wonder, but a one-album wonder. Several songs off their 1988 album The Raw and the Cooked charted, including #1 positions for today’s song and the jaunty ‘Good Thing.’ The album also featured such gems as ‘Don’t Look Back,’ ‘Ever Fallen in Love,’ ‘I’m Not the Man I Used to Be’ and ‘As Hard As It Is.’

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Song of the Day #390: ‘Time After Time’ – Cyndi Lauper

lauper20 Best Songs of the 80s – #14

Cyndi Lauper is one of the few artists on this list who went on to do great things after the 80s — at least creatively. Unfortunately she never again achieved commercial success anywhere close to her peak in that decade.

But in the 80s, she was the bomb. ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun,’ ‘She Bop,’ ‘All Through the Night,’ ‘True Colors’ and today’s song were ubiquitous and her quirky fashion sense and cutesy demeanor made her an MTV favorite.

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