It feels like I tended to like a little less the songs that were big hits—maybe it’s my contrarian nature, maybe I just got burned out in retrospect. Regardless, there are probably fewer tunes I still like to hear in this half of the show.
#20: Go-Gos, “Head Over Heels.” I’m a fan of this one, but it’s much less spontaneous and fresh than the stuff on Beauty and the Beat. Alas, they were just about done.
#19: Alan Parsons Project, “Don’t Answer Me.” The Project was one of my favorites in high school. But by this time they were also almost through with commercial success, too.
#18: Kool and the Gang, “Tonight.” They wound up being a hit-making machine a little longer than I realized. I can’t say that I found too much of their later stuff especially compelling. This one’s not bad but it’s pretty innocuous.
#17: Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” Honestly, this deserved to be the national phenomenon it was. Goofy, loopy, lack of self-consciousness—check, check, check. And the video features Steve Forbert at the end!
#16: Dwight Twilley, “Girls.” I dug this quite a bit. Don’t ask me why it took decades for me to realize that Petty is singing backup on it.
#15: Weird Al Yankovic, “Eat It.” It probably helped Al that MJ was still in the music public’s mind. He was certainly fortunate that His Badness gave permission for a parody.
#14: Van Halen, “Jump.” While lots of folks don’t think this song is very good, I’ve always liked it a ton (so yeah, it’s a big hit that I was pretty high on). It’s plenty pop-oriented, but in my book it’s leaps and bounds above the other stuff on 1984.
#13: Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.” The third out of the last five tracks to have the word “girls” in its title. I guess this one is harmless enough but it’s never done much for me.
#12: Daryl Hall and John Oates, “Adult Education.” I like this somewhat more now than I did in 84 but there are plenty of H&O songs I’d still rank above it.
#11: Cars, “You Might Think.” While Heartbeat City isn’t as awesome as either of their first two albums, I really like a lot of it, especially this one, “Magic,” and “Hello Again.” The video was considered cutting-edge in its day but doesn’t look nearly so cool now.
#10: Tracey Ullman, “They Don’t Know.” Covered this one Sunday.
#9: Eurythmics, “Here Comes the Rain Again.” The Talk Talk song is far and away my favorite in this countdown, but it’s a fairly close race for second between the Eurythmics and Paul Young. It has a synth line that places it pretty precisely on the timeline of music history, but this is simply a brilliant piece of work.
#8: Rick Springfield, “Love Somebody.” I thought this was an above-average offering from him.
#7: Rockwell, “Somebody’s Watching Me.” I don’t think there’s any way this is a hit without Michael singing backup. I also don’t think there’s any way Kennedy Gordy gets a contract without being his father’s son. Sorta catchy, but it’d be alright if I didn’t hear it again for a while.
#6: Pointer Sisters, “Automatic.” Break Out was an appropriate name for their most successful album. All four of its hits are fine by me.
#5: Culture Club, “Miss Me Blind.” I like the singles from Kissing To Be Clever, their first album, more than those of the follow-up, Colour By Numbers. This song does get bonus points, though, for incorporating the debut disk’s title in its lyrics.
#4: Thompson Twins, “Hold Me Now.” This is another very good one, and my favorite of theirs, by a decent margin.
#3: Lionel Richie, “Hello.” There are just a very few Richie solo songs I actively like, and this is one of them. It’s likely to get mentioned in another post sometime later this spring.
#2: Kenny Loggins, “Footloose.” His movie stuff generally didn’t groove me all that much, though I can certainly understand the appeal of this song.
#1: Phil Collins, “Against All Odds.” Another movie tune and the first of many weeks that Collins would spend at #1 through the rest of the decade. As far as his ballads go, this is definitely one of the better ones, though that’s not exactly high praise from me.
And there you have it, my awesome takes on the entries in a countdown near and dear to my heart. As usual, I’ll end with a video. The man-fighting-to-defend-a-woman trope was plenty tired (and should have already been retired) by this time, but I’ll still go with the animated Adventures of Nick and Sugar (seriously?), as relayed by APP.