17. Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over" (1986)

Despite being memorably featured in the 90210 episode where Brenda and Dylan break up, this is not a breakup song. Instead, it's a defiant song of recommitment from singer Neil Finn to his wife. It's as perfectly constructed as it is touching in its "us against the world" spirit. — P.S.

Listen: Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over"

 

16. Anita Baker, "Sweet Love" (1986)

According to "Sweet Love," when you meet the right person, there's no uncertainly or fear, only an overwhelming faith in the strength of your bond. When Anita Baker's in love with you, you need nothing else. All necessities are provided, all anxieties are soothed. — Carlos Cabrera

Listen: Anita Baker, "Sweet Love"

 

15. Tears For Fears, "Head Over Heels" (1985)

While the first few synth chords will never let you forget what year it was, Curt Smith's voice and Roland Orzabal's lyrics never get old. "Head Over Heels" perfectly captures the feeling of being blindsided by love — how scary and thrilling it can be, all at once. — C.C.

Listen: Tears For Fears, "Head Over Heels"

 

14. INXS, "Never Tear Us Apart" (1988)

Michael Hutchence sang one of the hottest songs of the '80s ("The One Thing"), and also this, one of the most romantic. My goodness, it comes complete with a sax solo! Those lilting strings and aforementioned sax send us soaring into a star-filled sky, full of confidence that they can never tear us apart. — Linda Park, of SXSW

Listen: INXS, "Never Tear Us Apart"

 

13. The Cars, "You Might Think" (1984)

Sometimes people have a hard time accepting love — they find it almost inconceivable that someone could care so deeply for them. The Cars sing about that reticence from the determined perspective of someone working hard to build their lover up, to let them know that they are, and always will be, worth it. It's a beautiful and nuanced sentiment, almost obscured by how goddamn fun this song is. — A.H.

Listen: The Cars, "You Might Think"

 

12. Sade, "Your Love is King" (1984)

There is no operator smoother than Sade. "Your Love is King" hit radio at exactly at the right moment — disco had finally died and R&B was searching for its next sound. Earthy and understated yet undeniably sultry, the song proved that passion can be subtle and still intense. Its sexiness lies in its reserve; "Your Love is King" takes its time, but when the climax comes, it's well worth it.  — C.M.

Listen: Sade, "Your Love is King"

 

11. The Smiths, "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" (1986)

Romantic in the eighteenth-century sense of the word — grandiose, sweeping, and death-obsessed — "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" is the apex of The Smiths' catalog. Maybe it borders on ridiculous, but so does young love. Only Morrissey could turn a phrase like "if a double-decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die" into a sincere plea for togetherness. — C.M.

Listen: The Smiths, "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"

 

10. Michael Jackson, "The Way You Make Me Feel" (1987)

Michael Jackson's voice lent his every performance just a hint of desperation. But the joy he brings to "The Way You Make Me Feel" is almost pure. Even when he's spouting gibberish like "Acha-hoo" and "Chika chika chika," it sounds like he's speaking in tongues out of sheer glee. — A.H.

Listen: Michael Jackson, "The Way You Make Me Feel"

 

Commentarium (81 Comments)

Nov 14 11 - 1:27am
Spinner Mason

When I read this, I thought for sure I'd see "Hold Me Now" by Thompson Twins or "The Promise" by When In Rome somewhere. Still, can't disagree with most of the picks.

Nov 14 11 - 5:17pm
b

God! Tom Waits sucks!!!!!!!! How does anybody like that shit?

Nov 14 11 - 6:50pm
Kelly

Tom Waits is brilliant. There is something for everyone...so "b" go ahead and turn up your Paula Abdul music.

Nov 15 11 - 6:32am
Tango Turner

Snap! This whole list could be Tom Waits, cuz there's about 24 other songs of his that express the emotion more eloquently. Ruby's Arms, Fish and Bird, Coney Island Baby, Little Trip to Heaven, etc., etc., etc.

Nov 15 11 - 11:23pm
Haircut 1000

Yawn.

Nov 21 11 - 11:00pm
Annie B

Love Plus One!

Nov 14 11 - 2:29am
Victor

Not so much a fan of 80s love songs as I am of the 60s and 70s (despite being an 80s child). On the pop tip, I would have had Hall & Oates on the list. They're about as 80s as can be, and a song like "Kiss On My List' is undeniably awesome (or even "You Make My Dreams" [as evidenced in 500 Days Of Summer]). Come to think of it, I'm not a huge fan, but the Pet Shop Boys possibly deserved a spot (perhaps "Rent"?) Also, not to be a pedantic 80s geek, but a minor correction: Roland Orzabal (the bro with the awesome mullet) sung lead on "Head Over Heels" not Curt Smith.

Nov 15 11 - 11:24pm
Haircut 1000

Hallelujah bro.

Nov 14 11 - 2:33am
oh hell

Faithfully or Open Arms by Journey. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler. Is This Love by Whitesnake.

Nov 14 11 - 1:19pm
Alex Heigl

I fought for "Faithfully." I fought so hard.

Nov 14 11 - 2:00pm
Hipster Hustle

No Journey is a sin.

Nov 14 11 - 7:13pm
@HH:

"No, Journey is a sin."
Fixed.

Nov 15 11 - 4:31pm
LAP

Shouldn't it be a semicolon?

Nov 18 11 - 1:37am
Pedro Dias

I'm thinking quadruple exclamation point.

Nov 20 11 - 5:05pm
ChrisPV

Open Arms, definitely. Forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation -- Journey outdid themselves.

Haters gonna hate.

Nov 14 11 - 2:59am
RW

"There Is A Light..." the apex of The Smiths catalog? Put the crack pipe down and walk away.

Nov 14 11 - 7:28am
yman74

Where is the hard rock love songs?

Nov 14 11 - 9:03am
bg

No Eternal Flame?

Nov 14 11 - 10:23am
blahblah

Faithfully will forever hold a place in my heart. and I have to say this, because others may not- the 80's were kind of horrible, in a way.

Nov 14 11 - 10:27am
Jean Paul Funky

Dude.....how can you possibly leave out Madonna?!? Seriously.....Queen of the 80s pop scene aside, people STILL love Crazy for You and Like a Prayer. Leaving out Madonna completely in the 80s portion of the countdown is like rejecting pop culture. No exagerration.

Nov 15 11 - 11:25pm
JP Fucky

Because this is just a random list compiled by a bored author. Enjoy it for what it is... meaningless.

Nov 18 11 - 5:28pm
Jean Paul Funky

Ok......but did you have to fuck with my screen name? No pun intended.

Nov 14 11 - 11:13am
TAL

Where's all the smooth R&B like Luther Vandross and Gregory Abbott? And no Phil Collins?! How can you have an 80's list without "A Groovy Kind of Love?"

Nov 14 11 - 6:47pm
Kelly

Because Phil Collins s**ks, er, not good.

Nov 14 11 - 8:13pm
Victor

Actually, yeah. "Shake You Down" by Gregory Abbott should definitely have been here.

Nov 18 11 - 5:31pm
Jean Paul Funky

I actually second "Groovy Kind of Love". Phil Collins may be a joke, but that song gets me all misty......down there.

Nov 14 11 - 12:19pm
AB

Extreme: "More Than Words" was released in 1990. I got nothing else.

Nov 14 11 - 10:10pm
J

Isn't the point of this song basically "just fuck me already, so we can dispense with this 'I love you' bullshit?" It's like a song sung by a douche to a girl who's not too bright.

Nov 17 11 - 1:40pm
g

I have to agree with J - we used to call this the "blowjob song" - "you wouldn't have to say you loved me - I'd already know..." - Hope the 90s list realizes this...

Nov 14 11 - 12:29pm
Flav

Uh, Gigantic isn't a true love song. She's in lust with someone based of of his, eh, physical characteristics. You guys definitely left a lot of groove out of here.

Nov 15 11 - 11:26pm
Flavorite

Nah, it's just a random list of shit the author likes. Why do you all get so worked up about it?

Nov 14 11 - 12:48pm
Ugh

Move Closer, move your body real close until we, feel like we're really making love...

Nov 14 11 - 1:34pm
Sugarpuss

Agree with only half these tunes. Where's the whole soundtrack to Dirty Dancing?

Nov 14 11 - 1:57pm
Hipster Hustle

Those first four songs are some of my favorites in the world, great list despite all the criticism! :D

Nov 14 11 - 2:02pm
Saratoga Slim

Compared to the other lists (and having cut my teeth in the 80s), this list depresses the hell out of me. I guess I came to appreciate more unique forms of expression.

Nov 14 11 - 5:55pm
AN

Thank you for remembering "Adore" by Prince. That song made me believe in pure romantic devotion.

Nov 14 11 - 6:01pm
J.C.

Growing up in the 80s I can tell you that this list is pretty lame and very subjective.

Nov 14 11 - 9:29pm
nope

Yeah, I think it's the weakest so far of these love song lists.

Nov 15 11 - 11:26pm
Ditto

As above. Lame (max).

Nov 14 11 - 6:46pm
Kelly

Great list! BUT, I am going to be one of those annoying readers that says "you should have included...". So, you should have included something from Bryan Ferry's - Bete Noir or Boys and Girls? Otherwise, thanks for the lovely stroll down 80's memory lane.

Nov 14 11 - 7:02pm
Bev

I'd like to grind Mr Bragg on my pubic mound. Thanks for his mention.

Nov 15 11 - 11:27pm
Erly

Beautiful. Thanks for chiming in. I fantasize that your pubic mound is in need of a vast trimming.

Nov 14 11 - 7:06pm
mitchum

"This Must Be The Place" is one of the best songs of all time.

Nov 14 11 - 7:07pm
Anselmus

No Fine Young Cannibals?

Nov 14 11 - 9:06pm
eem

"All this love" Debarge. If you aren't feeling that song, you're dead. May be a bit...over the top earnest, but I listen to it once and a while anyhow. :)

Nov 14 11 - 10:25pm
RN

If you ever do that list of breakup songs, John Waite's "Missing You" has to be on the 80s list. All it takes is the first few bars, and I'm 15 again and getting my heart broken by a guy who was more interested in his BMX.

Nov 14 11 - 10:45pm
David

No "Power of Love" by Huey Lewis? D:

Nov 14 11 - 11:06pm
Lazarus77

Where is Foreigner with "I Want to Know What Love Is"?! You forget to add Gary More's ballads (i.e. "Always Gonna Love You") and Leonard Cohen's (i.e. "I'm Your Man"). A-ha's "Take on Me" should be there as well and "Love is a Shield" from The Camouflage. The great finale: "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright - lack of it (dispite the above) is just enough itself to call this list a bullshit. Wast of time and I won't revisit next week for '90. It is a shame that you used such promesing title - I hoped for some nice memmories, especially when you try to focuse only on positive ones.

Nov 15 11 - 2:46pm
faulknersaysrelax

Rufus Wainwright's first album came out in 1998, first of all. Second of all, "Hallelujah" is a breakup song. I'm not going to criticize your numerous spelling and syntax errors, since it appears that English might be your second language, but I can't let that one go.

Nov 15 11 - 11:29pm
FokkerSaysSurrender

I'm not going to criticise your egregious grammatical error, faulknersaysrelax, since it appears that English may be a lost art to you, but I can't let go of the fact that you're a knobbler.

Nov 14 11 - 11:52pm
wrigley31

You picked the wrong Cyndi Lauper song: "All Through the Night" is a much better song.

Nov 15 11 - 1:38am
George

So where is Dire Straits? Romeo and Juliet, Espresso Love, Tunnel of Love, Brothers in Arms?
"Oh Juliet when we made love you used to cry
You said I love you like the stars above
You said "I'd love you till I die"

Nov 15 11 - 11:40am
PeterSmith

Those are all breakup songs! And Brothers in Arms is about war...

Nov 15 11 - 3:17am
SH

This seems like a list of more indie type artist sprinkled with a bit of mainstream favorites. I'd say something like Stephen Bishop's "It Might Be You" or Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby".

Nov 15 11 - 11:16am
Rutherford B. Hayes

Downtown Train.

Nov 15 11 - 2:48pm
faulknersaysrelax

I fucking love that song, but I think "Johnsburg" is much more of a "pure " love song.

Nov 15 11 - 11:29pm
FokkerSaysSurrender

Fart.

Nov 15 11 - 11:58am
Jake

Sinead O'Conner "Nothing Compares to You"?

And what about Chris Deburgh(sp?) "Lady in Red"?

OMG!! Or Right Said Fred "I'm Too Sexy"?

Or at the very least Meatloaf's 'Paradise by the Dashboard Lights"? Or was that 70's?

Human League "Don't You Want me Baby?".

Just about anything by OMD...

Geez, I could go on forever....

Nov 15 11 - 11:30pm
The Snake

Please do.

Nov 17 11 - 5:53am
dude

This is sarcastic, right? This was made in full knowledge that all of these songs are awful?

Nov 19 11 - 3:37am
bg

Well, "Nothing Compares 2U" is good, but it's about someone getting dumped.

"I'm Too Sexy" is from the 90's and not at all a love song.

"paradise by the dashboard lights" is originally from 1977 and then was re-released in the 90's, and it's not really a love song either.

"Don't you want me baby"- NOT A LOVE SONG EITHER (this is obvious from the title).

Nov 19 11 - 3:38am
bg

Also! "Nothing Compares 2u" was released in the 90's, not the 80's.

Nov 15 11 - 11:59am
Zero Zero

Depeche Mode's "Somebody".

"I want somebody to share, share the rest of my life, share my innermost thoughts, know my intimate details...."

"And when I must leave, I want somebody, who will put their arms around me kiss me tenderly".

Nov 15 11 - 2:20pm
SAAN

Its a nice list of good songs. i like to listen "Running Up That Hill" of Kate Bush very much.

Nov 15 11 - 6:26pm
uhhh

This Must Be the Place and Time after Time are fine choices for the top 5. But...

Your Love by the Outfield is one of the best love songs ever. How can you miss that? And maybe even Bizarre Love Triangle could go on here.

Nov 16 11 - 3:51pm
PeterSmith

Your Love is awesome. But it's about cheating on your girlfriend. "Josie's on vacation." And it doesn't sound like he's that attached to the fling, either: "I just want to use your love tonight."

Nov 15 11 - 8:53pm
eggshell73

Wow. The 80s were a tough, sucky decade.

Nov 16 11 - 8:02am
AnonymousDoofus

Green Eyes by Husker Du

Nov 18 11 - 9:53am
096

Ok first of all, if you were going to pick a U2 love song, "All I Want is You" or "Bad" would have been better options than "With or Without You." Just my humble opinion.

Also, "Sweet Child O' Mine" in the top 10, really? Guns n Roses doesn't belong in the top 10 of anything.

Nov 18 11 - 9:48pm
Wake Up

Marvin Gaye: "Sexual Healing." 1982. End of list.

Nov 19 11 - 3:42am
bg

The theme is "Love Songs!" Pay attention! Yeesh.

Nov 21 11 - 2:03pm
Could be wrong but

I'm partial to the Dead Milkmen's "Punk Rock Girl"

Nov 23 11 - 9:32am
NooZild aka Godzone

It's one thing to complain about songs not there, but it's another to have a song from a band there that isn't even their best love song. Crowded House's When You Come is light years better than D.D.I.O.

Nov 28 11 - 7:24pm
Edward

"Athena" by The Who is a fantastic love song, great lyrics written about Pete being smitten with one of the sexiest women of the 80s Theressa Russell.

"Take my Breath Away" by Berlin, so beyond 80s iconic, it's really hard to leave off a list.

Dec 23 11 - 11:02am
b hater

b, turn down the crap ironic 80's music and listen the the genius TOM WAITS.

You been served b

Dec 26 11 - 12:09am
dreamy

Not a bad list, you knew you'd get backlash.
Just off the top of my head:
"Love Will Tear Us Apart"
Joy Division

Dec 26 11 - 1:16pm
dreamy

..."Eyes without a Face"
Billy Idol

Jan 03 12 - 10:44pm
Lou

Van Morrison 'Have I Told You Lately"

Feb 23 12 - 2:34pm
V is sharin'

Some of the songs on the CD do not represent the 80's.

Mar 26 12 - 2:51pm
sday

I actually made a tattoo with the phrase Sweet child of mine after I broke up, so, yes, this is fairly a solid recognition for my one and only love! until the next one that sees it...if any, if ever... :(

Jul 24 12 - 12:48am
abel

talk talk is the big band missing here I think.......