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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Song of the Day #389: ‘These Dreams’ – Heart

album-heart20 Best Songs of the 80s – #15

Of all the songs on this countdown, this is the one that seems the most ridiculous today in contrast to how cool and interesting I found it back in the day. I remember finding Nancy Wilson very attractive and getting that whole close-your-eyes-and-sway thing going on while contemplating the deep meaning of the music and lyrics.

Man, I was a tool.

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Song of the Day #386: ‘Tainted Love’ – Soft Cell

softcell20 Best Songs of the 80s – #16

Here’s an example of an 80s song that didn’t make much of an impression on me at the time of release (after all, I was only 9 in 1981 when it came out) but has muscled its way into my brain as a quintessential 80s song in the years since. ‘Tainted Love’ so typifies that 80s sound that, coming out as early as ’81, I suppose it really should be credited with creating that sound.

And that makes it all the more surprising that this is actually a cover of a 1964 song recorded by Gloria Jones. I had no idea this song wasn’t an original. Somehow that takes away from what Soft Cell accomplished. I mean, doesn’t that make them even less than a one-hit wonder? Sort of a half-hit wonder? I don’t know, maybe not. Here’s the Gloria Jones version if you’d like to compare.

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