The 1980s were, in my opinion, the golden era of pop music. In a decade that celebrated mass consumption and consumerism, music followed suit with fantastically catchy results. Hooks ruled the airwaves, whether the music was new wave, R&B, rap, rock, pop, or even hard rock and metal. Maybe it's just nostalgia, but there were so many songs in the '80s that seemed to have been written to make the listener feel good –- as opposed to what followed in the '90s, which was more serious and somber. Thanks, Cobain.
I have done my best to compile the ten best feel-good songs of the '80s. These are the songs that come on the radio or on the mix tape you've got in your Walkman, and you can't help but be put in a good mood. Here are my top eleven (because narrowing it to only ten was just too hard), in alphabetical order by artist.
1. "Sussudio" by Phil Collins
Back when I was 7, this was my favorite song. It's just gibberish, but it's catchy gibberish. And as adult, I certainly enjoyed its role in American Psycho. Don't just stare at it; eat it!
2. "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club
The subject matter of the song isn't overly happy (it's about karma paying you back for being too afraid to not go with the flow), but it always puts a smile on my face because it's just so damn catchy.
3. "Rhythm of the Night" by DeBarge
An upbeat song sung by a man with some of the most spectacular hair you've ever seen.
4. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston
If this song comes on at any bar, any female, age 17 to 60, will, in fact, be unconsciously compelled to dance.
5. "Walking On Sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves
The song is about walking on sunshine (metaphorically), and could potentially be the happiest song ever.
6. "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins
If this song doesn't make you want to dance, you need to reevaluate your life, and specifically, things that inspire you to dance. For Christ's sake, the whole song and movie are about dancing.
7. "Conga" by Miami Sound Machine
I will never forget the time I was at a club in Munich and, after some relatively unexciting music, the DJ played this song, and everyone went fucking nuts. People were dropping beer bottles and knocking over tables as they ran to the dance floor.
8. "St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" by John Parr
Known as the theme to the film St. Elmo's Fire, this is a great song, and the fact that I think of the Brat Pack whenever I hear it only makes it happier.
9. "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" by Wham!
How can you hear this song and not get a smile on your face and a hop in your step?
10. "Break My Stride" by Matthew Wilder
The whole point of this song is that, no matter what happens in life, you can't let it get you down.
11. "Panama" by Van Halen
David Lee Roth-era Van Halen sounded like the soundtrack to a backyard party during the summer in Southern California, and "Panama" is probably the song that, when it comes on the radio, most makes me wants to roll down my windows and crank my radio to embarrassingly loud levels.
Honorable mention: "Walk Like An Egyptian" by The Bangles; "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ-Rock; "Vacation" by The Go-Gos; "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol; "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson; "Crush On You" by The Jets; "Girls Just Wanna have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper; "Nothing But a Good Time" by Poison; "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police; "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince; "Call Me Al" by Paul Simon; "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by Deniece Williams; "Bust a Move" by Young M.C.