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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"