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timschochet

The 100 Greatest “New Wave” songs 1. Everybody Wants to Rule the World-Tears for Fears

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OK time for a new music countdown thread. I thought this would be a fun one. Between around 1978 and 1985, New Wave was used to describe a wide number of disparate artists. Some were singer songwriters, some were punk rockers who had softened their tone a bit, some were guitar based power pop bands, others relied on electronic instruments. Many were British. Certain radio stations were devoted to playing these songs as opposed to AOR or classic rock (In Los Angeles it was KROQ). 

I have selected what I believe are the best 100 songs of the era. Almost all of these songs were “radio hits” in that they received extensive radio play even if the didn’t chart; I have tried to avoid deep cuts even though there are some on certain albums that are quite good. 

 

100. "Girls on Film" Duran Duran

99. "People are People" Depeche Mode

98. "Hold Me Now" Thompson Twins

97. “Words” Missing Persons 

96. “Making Plans for Nigel” XTC 

95. “I Got You” Split Enz

94. “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”  Dead or Alive

93. “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” Wham! 

92. “I Ran” A Flock of Seagulls 

91. “Local Girls” Graham Parker & The Rumor

90. “Antmusic” Adam and the Ants 

89. “Someday, Someway” Marshall Crenshaw

88. “Do You Wanna Hold Me” Bow Wow Wow 

87. “Gone Daddy Gone” Violent Femmes 

86. “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)” Squeeze

85. “Only a Lad” Oingo Boingo  

84. “Don’t You Want Me” The Human League  

83. “The Metro” Berlin 

82. “Who Can It Be Now?” Men at Work 

81. “Mirror in the Bathroom” The English Beat 

80. “Talk of the Town” The Pretenders 

79. “Oliver’s Army” Elvis Costello & The Attractions 

78. “The Killing Moon” Echo & The Bunnymen 

77. “Everything Counts” Depeche Mode 

76. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” The Police

75. “Pretty in Pink” The Psychedelic Furs 

74. “Bye Bye Love” The Cars 

73. “Turning Japanese” The Vapors 

72. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” Eurythmics 

71. “Nowhere Girl” B-Movie 

70. “Modern Love” David Bowie 

69. “Rio” Duran Duran 

68. “My Best Friend’s Girl” The Cars 

67. “King of Pain” The Police 

66. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” Culture Club

65. “Black Coffee in Bed” Squeeze

64. “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” Elvis Costello & The Attractions 

63. “Dead Man’s Party” Oingo Boingo 

62. “Cruel to be Kind” Nick Lowe 

61. “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” The Police 

60. “I Want Candy” Bow Wow Wow

59. “Mad World” Tears for Fears 

58. “Voices Carry” ‘Til Tuesday

57. “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” Joe Jackson

56. “Brass In Pocket” The Pretenders 

55. “Let’s Go” The Cars 

54. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Band Aid 

53. “In a Big Country” Big Country 

52. “Planet Claire” The B-52s

51. “Burning Down the House” Talking Heads 

50. “Cool Places” Sparks (with Jane Wiedlin) 

49. “Only the Lonely” The Motels 

48. “Whip It” Devo

47. “One Way or Another” Blondie 

46. “What I Like About You” The Romantics 

45. “Don’t Change” INXS

44. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” Simple Minds

43. “Hungry Like the Wolf” Duran Duran 

42. “You Might Think” The Cars 

41. “That’s Entertainment” The Jam 

40. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” U2 

39. “Electricity” OMD 

38. “And She Was” Talking Heads 

37. “Blue Monday” New Order 

36. “Call Me” Blondie 

35. “Come On Eileen” Dexy’s Midnight Runners

34. “Rock Lobster” The B-52s 

33. “Cities in Dust” Siouxsie and the Banshees

32. “Pump It Up” Elvis Costello & The Attractions 

31. “Here Comes the Rain Again” Eurythmics 

30. “Life During Wartime” Talking Heads 

29. “Tempted” Squeeze

28. “Roxanne” The Police 

27. “How Soon Is Now?” The Smiths 

26. “I Don’t Like Mondays” The Boomtown Rats

25. “Karma Chameleon” Culture Club

24. “We Got the Beat” The Go-Gos 

23. “Blister In the Sun” Violent Femmes 

22. “Boys Don’t Cry” The Cure 

21. “Down Under” Men at Work 

20. “My Sharona” The Knack 

19. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” Cyndi Lauper 

18. “Bad” U2

17. “Dancing With Myself” Billy Idol 

16. “Tainted Love” Soft Cell 

15. “Psycho Killer” Talking Heads

14. “Our Lips Are Sealed” The Go-Gos 

13. “Save It For Later” The English Beat 

12. “Just What I Needed” The Cars 

11. “Video Killed the Radio Star” The Buggles

10. “Time After Time” Cyndi Lauper 

9. “Every Breath You Take” The Police 

8. “Once in a Lifetime” Talking Heads 

7. “Just Can’t Get Enough” Depeche Mode

6. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” Joy Division 

5. “Heart of Glass” Blondie 

4. “In Between Days” The Cure  

3. “I Melt With You” Modern English 

2. “The Ghost In You” The Psychedelic Furs 

1. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”Tears for Fears

Edited by timschochet
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I've often wondered what January Jones would look like with numerous tomato-smeared bruises about her face & neck...

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Is this where we go for the Great Kihnspriacy??

Whoa-ooah-ooah

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1 hour ago, RedmondLonghorn said:

:blackdot:

I am going to have some strong opinions.

Me too. This is my era of music (high school/college). Top 10 must include some mix of Smiths, Cure, Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, and make sure a Violent Femmes is up there too ;)

Edited by joey

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3 hours ago, RedmondLonghorn said:

:blackdot:

I am going to have some strong opinions.

this ^

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2 minutes ago, otb_lifer said:

this ^

:blackdot:

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2 hours ago, otb_lifer said:
6 hours ago, RedmondLonghorn said:

:blackdot:

I am going to have some strong opinions.

this ^

#metoo

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4 hours ago, TripItUp said:

Let's get this out of the way right now.

Is Duran Duran new wave?

I can answer this question right away: of course! 

100. “Girls on Film”- Duran Duran (1981, from the album Duran Duran

https://youtu.be/KCjMZMxNr-0

Even at the height of their popularity, Duran Duran was derided as a “video band”, popular for their looks and presentation rather than the quality of their music. Yet this criticism ignores the catchiness of their best songs: they wouldn’t have been so big without some great pop hooks. “Girls On Film” has a strong, memorable bass line. 

As for the video I never really got it. What’s with the sumo wrestler? 

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3 minutes ago, timschochet said:

I can answer this question right away: of course! 

100. “Girls on Film”- Duran Duran (1981, from the album Duran Duran

https://youtu.be/KCjMZMxNr-0

Even at the height of their popularity, Duran Duran was derided as a “video band”, popular for their looks and presentation rather than the quality of their music. Yet this criticism ignores the catchiness of their best songs: they wouldn’t have been so big without some great pop hooks. “Girls On Film” has a strong, memorable bass line. 

As for the video I never really got it. What’s with the sumo wrestler? 

"New Wave" may be a big umbrella to some, but not for me ... hope not to see any "post punk" acts up in this countdown - that being said, DD is quintessential New Wave ... great kickoff to the list, and i agree about their under rated musicianship/songwriting- would expect a couple more from these lads.  

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22 minutes ago, timschochet said:

“Girls On Film” has a strong, memorable bass line. 

 

That's pretty much the case for just about any John Taylor bass line - the guy is a master at his craft.

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8 minutes ago, zamboni said:

That's pretty much the case for just about any John Taylor bass line - the guy is a master at his craft.

his work in Power Station was nothing short of quantum.

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1 minute ago, otb_lifer said:

his work in Power Station was nothing short of quantum.

Taylor's primary influence was Bernard Edwards of Chic. He obviously listened well.

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On board for this.   Should be fun except for the expected relentless debate as to what is “new wave”.  

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32 minutes ago, DocHolliday said:

On board for this.   Should be fun except for the expected relentless debate as to what is “new wave”.  

Has keyboards. But not disco. Not rock. And not country.

It sounded "new". 

That should clear it up!

 

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5 minutes ago, jwb said:

Has keyboards. But not disco. Not rock. And not country.

It sounded "new". 

That should clear it up!

 

But where are the waves?!

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1 hour ago, otb_lifer said:

"New Wave" may be a big umbrella to some, but not for me ... hope not to see any "post punk" acts up in this countdown - that being said, DD is quintessential New Wave ... great kickoff to the list, and i agree about their under rated musicianship/songwriting- would expect a couple more from these lads.  

Interesting. I thought the terms were practically synonymous - can you unpack a little?

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1 minute ago, Dr. Octopus said:

Interesting. I thought the terms were practically synonymous - can you unpack a little?

Joy Division = Post Punk, Culture Club = New Wave ... Squeeze = New Wave, PiL = Post Punk ... Duran Duran = New Wave, Pixies = Awesome. 

basically, any guitar driven act will be frowned upon ... ergo, outfits like the Smiths and the 'Mats and the Cult are a no-no under the "New Wave" umbrella, imo ... and no Depeche or Cure, either ... they straddle the line (disco and wine) but are not what i call classic New Wave. they are genre defiant, but not good calls on a list like this. 

anyways ... no worries ... the moment i see it breached i'll just bow out :shrug:

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21 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

But where are the waves?!

Ask Katrina.

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8 minutes ago, otb_lifer said:

Joy Division = Post Punk, Culture Club = New Wave ... Squeeze = New Wave, PiL = Post Punk ... Duran Duran = New Wave, Pixies = Awesome. 

basically, any guitar driven act will be frowned upon ... ergo, outfits like the Smiths and the 'Mats and the Cult are a no-no under the "New Wave" umbrella, imo ... and no Depeche or Cure, either ... they straddle the line (disco and wine) but are not what i call classic New Wave. they are genre defiant, but not good calls on a list like this. 

anyways ... no worries ... the moment i see it breached i'll just bow out :shrug:

Wow. 

Um this list might not be for you. Sorry about that. 

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1 minute ago, timschochet said:

Wow. 

Um this list might not be for you. Sorry about that. 

duly noted ... guess there's not enough Haysi Fantayzee or Men Without Hats or Frankie Goes to Hollywood, etc to go around. 

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10 minutes ago, otb_lifer said:

Joy Division = Post Punk, Culture Club = New Wave ... Squeeze = New Wave, PiL = Post Punk ... Duran Duran = New Wave, Pixies = Awesome. 

basically, any guitar driven act will be frowned upon ... ergo, outfits like the Smiths and the 'Mats and the Cult are a no-no under the "New Wave" umbrella, imo ... and no Depeche or Cure, either ... they straddle the line (disco and wine) but are not what i call classic New Wave. they are genre defiant, but not good calls on a list like this. 

anyways ... no worries ... the moment i see it breached i'll just bow out :shrug:

Thanks. I prefer post-punk based on your examples (and others I can think of based on your definition) but generally speaking my genres are probably a bit broader. 

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5 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Wow. 

Um this list might not be for you. Sorry about that. 

Call it a New Wave/Post Punk countdown to give yourself some wiggle room.

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THE quintessential New Wave radio station of the 80s was WLIR, based in Long Island, NY (there’s a great documentary "New Wave: Dare to Be Different" about WLIR's fame and eventual demise). They would occasionally do a Top 100 of all time countdown and The Smiths "How Soon is Now?" almost always topped that list. I believe the Cure's "In Between Days" was up there as well, plus Depeche Mode. WLIR shaped what I consider "New Wave" and what drove kids like me from Brooklyn to listen to a static-y little radio station from out on Long Island instead of powerful, crystal clear, NYC, rock radio station mainstays like WPLJ.  
 

if you haven’t seen that doc and love New Wave, check it out. 

Edited by joey
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10 minutes ago, Dr. Octopus said:

Call it a New Wave/Post Punk countdown to give yourself some wiggle room.

Nah. I respect otb’s point of view but I’m not that big on those type of exact definitions. I suspect that most reading this aren’t either. 

Looking at my list I honestly don’t think there’s a song on it that a lot of people are going to object to as outside of the New Wave genre. I’d be surprised if that happens. I’m sure people will take issue with some of my rankings, that goes without saying, and even more with my omissions. But not the genre too much I hope. 

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25 minutes ago, otb_lifer said:

Joy Division = Post Punk, Culture Club = New Wave ... Squeeze = New Wave, PiL = Post Punk ... Duran Duran = New Wave, Pixies = Awesome. 

basically, any guitar driven act will be frowned upon ... ergo, outfits like the Smiths and the 'Mats and the Cult are a no-no under the "New Wave" umbrella, imo ... and no Depeche or Cure, either ... they straddle the line (disco and wine) but are not what i call classic New Wave. they are genre defiant, but not good calls on a list like this. 

anyways ... no worries ... the moment i see it breached i'll just bow out :shrug:

Yeah...guitar driven vs synth driven at a basic level. I'd add that post punk also plays with rhythm more than typical 3 chord 4/4 guitar driven bands.

But for me- if I see somebody talk about "80s new wave" in a general way like this, I immediately assume it will straddle the spectrum of lots of genres.

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1 hour ago, otb_lifer said:

his work in Power Station was nothing short of quantum.

I wore the Power Station debut (only?) album tape out in high school.

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6 minutes ago, joey said:

THE quintessential New Wave radio station of the 80s was WLIR, based in Long Island, NY (there’s a great documentary "New Wave: Dare to Be Different" about WLIR's fame and eventual demise). They would occasionally do a Top 100 of all time countdown and The Smiths "How Soon is Now?" almost always topped that list. I believe the Cure's "In Between Days" was up there as well, plus Depeche Mode. WLIR shaped what I consider "New Wave" and what drove kids like me from Brooklyn to listen to a static-y little radio station from out on Long Island instead of powerful, crystal clear, NYC, rock radio station mainstays like WPLJ.  
 

if you haven’t seen that doc and love New Wave, check it out. 

i stuck with it all the way thru the WDRE days ... back at the time you source, sure, and i listened as far back as it was able to be picked up ...  was misnomered as "new wave" for lack of a more genre defining tag ... but as we've moved further from that era, it certainly bodes that the splinter genres (such as post punk) deserve their own slotting.   same as folks who called Talking Heads punk cuz they came outta CBs -

5 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Yeah...guitar driven vs synth driven at a basic level. I'd add that post punk also plays with rhythm more than typical 3 chord 4/4 guitar driven bands.

But for me- if I see somebody talk about "80s new wave" in a general way like this, I immediately assume it will straddle the spectrum of lots of genres.

agreed on all of that - i really don't think it blurs as much as some allow, but to each their own. 

7 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Nah. I respect otb’s point of view but I’m not that big on those type of exact definitions. I suspect that most reading this aren’t either. 

Looking at my list I honestly don’t think there’s a song on it that a lot of people are going to object to as outside of the New Wave genre. I’d be surprised if that happens. I’m sure people will take issue with some of my rankings, that goes without saying, and even more with my omissions. But not the genre too much I hope. 

yeah ... my definitions are much more focused ... and definitely my opinion, not gospel 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(but it should be) :D

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39 minutes ago, otb_lifer said:

Joy Division = Post Punk, Culture Club = New Wave ... Squeeze = New Wave, PiL = Post Punk ... Duran Duran = New Wave, Pixies = Awesome. 

basically, any guitar driven act will be frowned upon ... ergo, outfits like the Smiths and the 'Mats and the Cult are a no-no under the "New Wave" umbrella, imo ... and no Depeche or Cure, either ... they straddle the line (disco and wine) but are not what i call classic New Wave. they are genre defiant, but not good calls on a list like this. 

anyways ... no worries ... the moment i see it breached i'll just bow out :shrug:

No offense, but you realize being this pedantic is a little weird, right?

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2 minutes ago, RedmondLonghorn said:

No offense, but you realize being this pedantic is a little weird, right?

It's assumed in a Tim thread, no?

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This might be a safe space to admit that my freshman year in high school I wore a denim jacket with a small and carefully curated selection of band pins on it. Included were the Fixx and the Clash.

I also today remain firmly a major advocate for pre-"Gonna Have Fun Tonight" Wang Chung. I just listened to the To Live and Die in LA soundtrack in its entirety the other day at the gym.

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15 minutes ago, That one guy said:

I’m here for the OMD links

But if you leave...

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1 hour ago, otb_lifer said:

 anyways ... no worries ... the moment i see it breached i'll just bow out :shrug:

My two cents is that you ignore your impulses, just ignore it and comment regardless, you new waver. Some of us want to hear what you have to say, chief.

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I always thought of the synthesizer as a common instrument in New Wave, but not necessarily a definitional instrument of the genre (loose as it is). Plenty of guitar-driven New Wave.

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Really, to me, [Punk --> Post-Punk --> New Wave] is kind of a loose continuum, both in temporally and stylistically. Sometimes you'll see oversimplications such as "punk + synths = new wave", but I'd reject that as way too superficial.

EDIT: I analogize it to how one can draw the stylistic line between [Traditional Blues --> Electric Blues --> Proto-Metal --> Heavy Metal --> a zillion offshoots]. After the baton was passed that many times, latter-day listeners didn't typically recognize the line drawn between, say, Muddy Waters and Slash -- but that line was there.

Edited by Doug B
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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

My two cents is that you ignore your impulses, just ignore it and comment regardless, you new waver. Some of us want to hear what you have to say, chief.

 

:popcorn:

definitely interested to see this unfold ... it's an ambitious nut to crack, i'll give him that - i've already checked my criticism criteria, so i'll just leave the ones i disagree with alone - should be an enjoyable thread. 

MoCS?

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1 minute ago, Doug B said:

Really, to me, [Punk --> Post-Punk --> New Wave] is kind of a loose continuum, both in temporally and stylistically. Sometimes you'll see oversimplications such as "punk + synths = new wave", but I'd reject that as way too superficial.

I think loose continuum is a very good way to put it. I just googled The The and I saw an article calling "This is the Day" a post-punk masterpiece.

I happen to think the entire Soul Mining album is essentially perfection, but it is also super synth-heavy, so why isn't it "New Wave"?

 

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26 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

In for the XTC, INXS, Talking Heads and R.E.M. tunes. 

... think you want the "alternative" or "college radio" threads :lol:

 

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2 hours ago, timschochet said:

I can answer this question right away: of course! 

100. “Girls on Film”- Duran Duran (1981, from the album Duran Duran

https://youtu.be/KCjMZMxNr-0

Even at the height of their popularity, Duran Duran was derided as a “video band”, popular for their looks and presentation rather than the quality of their music. Yet this criticism ignores the catchiness of their best songs: they wouldn’t have been so big without some great pop hooks. “Girls On Film” has a strong, memorable bass line. 

As for the video I never really got it. What’s with the sumo wrestler? 

This is one of those vids (one of the first, i think) that had a "premiere" on MTV. I've been the opposite of a fanboy most my life but, for a second there, them hot models and mod boys and clanging music put me in a "More Snickers, More Coke" (as Bill Hicks used to say) state of mind.

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