Lists · Music

5 more songs from the 80’s that were ahead of their time

As a GenXer, I find it difficult, and sometimes frustrating talking about music to Gen Y-ers and Millenials. They are perfectly content to remain blissfully ignorant of anything before their time. But at least those conversations are cut short. Those with a sense of history, tend to dismiss the 1980’s culture as a whole. (Any argument given against the 80’s can also be applied to the 90’s, the aughts (’00’s), and even the 70’s.) But beneath its glitzy surface, and beyond the burning neon lights, were some hidden gems that have aged remarkably well. In fact, if they were remade today, many millennials would be hard pressed to believe the lyrics were more than double their age. I previously mentioned 5 such songs in a previous post.

Here are five more. (In no particular order)

1) “Industrial Disease” by Dire Straits

While their biggest hit, “Money For Nothing,” has the timeless realization that being a rock star is a whole lot easier than holding a blue-collar job, the refrain at the end (“I want my MTV” – sung by Sting) barely outlasted the decade. When you think about the advent of “Big Pharm” and some of the hypochondriac “First World Problems,” “Industrial Disease” could easily describe Western Sociology of the 21st Century.

2) “Eye in the Sky” by The Alan Parsons Project

Do I even has to explain this one? Not just the eye in the sky, but in the web cam, the surveillance cam, and the smart phone cam. I admit, this one is in the most dire need of a remix.

3) “Know Your Rights” by The Clash

The entire “Combat Rock” album is highly underrated and maligned by many, mainly because of the mainstream success of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” and “Rock the Casbah.” However, as the band evolved out of its punk roots into a ska/rap/rock fusion hybrid, the lyrics by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones remained timeless. Even more irony – one of the songs from this album contains the lyric, “Don’t prophisize the future.”

4) “Generals and Majors” by XTC

I’m not sure if they inspired Midnight Oil to write “When the Generals Talk”, but this does pre-date the Aussies song. Most everyone believed that WWIII was inevitably going to start sometime in the 80’s, thus the line “your World War III is drawing near.” If another global war does break out, it may not be directly caused by high-ranking military officers from the superpowers (USA and Russia), but they will indirectly be involved by selling weapons and ammunition to the instigators.

5) “Show Don’t Tell” by Rush

If any song prophesized, predicted or described the comments sections of any internet website or message board better than this song, I’ve yet to hear it. It is also the only song on this list that doesn’t even have to be remixed, remade, or re-imagined. It holds up well today, as-is.


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