Sunday, March 31, 2019

#1. "True Faith" - New Order (1987)

I always feel so extraordinary when I listen to this song. 

An addictive song about dealing with addictions, "True Faith" by New Order has always been a go-to track throughout the years.

First, and as corny as it may sound, "True Faith" got me through my first breakup. 

Musically, it's a band playing at its peak in 1987 with everyone making notable contributions: from Stephen Morris' dramatic drumming to Peter Hook's melodic bass and Gillian Gilbert's danceable synths. 

The surreal video shows costumed dancers slapping each other and hopping on gym mats to the beat of the tune.

It's also the song that cracked the band in North America. 

But it's Bernard Sumner's honest vocal delivery of poignant and edgy lyrics about the struggle we all experience that puts this track over the top. 

The "morning sun" take on the old adage of a "tomorrow's another dayis proof we all get another chance.  

Fave lyrics: "I feel so extraordinary / Something's got a hold on me / I get this feeling I'm in motion / A sudden sense of liberty"

This is a song that keeps sounding better. Although the instrumental bridge is amazing in the original single, the replacement guitar solo improves it as shown in this recent concert clip from Berlin below.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

#2. "Things Can Only Get Better" - Howard Jones (1985)

Just hearing the first few seconds of "Things Can Only Get Better" by Howard Jones releases the dopamine and always puts me in a great mood.

The song is one of my favourite cheerleading anthems, a reminder that adopting an optimistic attitude towards whatever the problem may be is half the battle.

It's also a reminder of how great music was in the 80s. 

And whoever said that synth has no soul has obviously never heard of this tune.

The rambunctious beat, the bursts of brass and an uplifting falsetto chorus are the obvious highlights. But it's the "Whoa, whoa whoa whoa oh oh-s" in the refrain that liberates us from all our worries.  

Fave lyrics: "It may take a little time a lonely path, an uphill climb / Success or failure will not alter it"

Friday, March 29, 2019

#3. "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" - Tears For Fears (1985)

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears For Fears is one of Gen X's greatest anthems, this stunning song is a bit cynical yet also ambitious and optimistic.

One of those rare tunes with a near-universal appeal, it resonates with just about everyone. Is there a catchier song from the decade that also touches on the issues du jour like the environment, yuppies and the Cold War? 

From the profound and ambiguous lyrics that make you think, the vocals, and of course the incredible arrangement. The short but captivating vocal bridge is out of this world just before the sweeping synths and guitars kick in for a longer instrumental one.

The uplifting vibe of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" puts me in a great mood despite the lyrics being a bit on the cynical side. The song only reinforces the type of music I love best: melodic music and dark lyrics.

The lyrics challenge us to live life to the fullest (at the time it was during the Cold War of course) by taking full advantage of its pleasures and liberties before the true nature of the world, war and turmoil, come back again as per the history books.

Fave lyrics: all of it is so thought-provoking. But if I have to choose it's the universal truth of the opening line: "Welcome to your life / there's no turning back...".

One of the best driving songs ever made, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" always makes me want to put the top down and hit the gas. Even in the winter.

The classic video features Curt Smith driving an antique sports car around Southern California interspersed with shots of the full band performing the song in a studio.

My deep affection for the track has a lot to do with the timing of its release. In the spring of 1985 I'd just gotten my contacts and in the midst of a personal re-branding of sorts: I had the feeling I could do anything I wanted to in life. After getting my license days later, it was one of the first songs I cranked in Dad's Ford Escort hatchback. 

When I hear this song today i still get that same feeling. So I'm destined to never, ever tire of this tune. That's some powerful nostalgia.

#4. "Just Like Heaven" - The Cure (1987)

That sweeping layered 50 second instrumental intro is right up there with the best intros of all time (love those cymbal splashes!).

And the rest of the song isn't too bad either. In fact, it's pure ecstasy. 

The churning, shimmering guitars, the melodic synth, the driving beat. The piano at the bridge. 

Combine this with Robert Smith's passionate vocals and poignant lyrics and "Just Like Heaven" is also probably my favorite love song. 

But of course like many of their tunes, it has a twist and not a happy ending. But that's ok because it's all about the journey, albeit a short one at three minutes and nineteen seconds.

Proof that The Cure can produce a pop song as good as anyone from an era of classics.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

#5. "Something About You" - Level 42 (1986)

There's something about "Something About You" by Level 42 that's hard to pinpoint that make me look forward to hearing it again and again

Could be the amazing bass line. 

Those epic falsettos and the harmonies. 

Or perhaps the delicious chorus.

Can't forget about that surreal video, with the lead singer playing the Vaudeville clown in the engaging video.

In fact, it was all of those aspects and more: "Something About You" is simply a perfect pop song with a little R &B and synth tossed in. All the right hooks in all the right places.

All those little things that combine together to make me appreciate the whole of the song.

The tune still transports me back to when Dad used to drive me home for lunch back in Grade 11. The great ones will do that to you, take us back upon hearing the first note. 

Pure nostalgia.

Fave lyrics: 
"These changing years, they add to your confusion
Oh and you need to hear the time that told the truth"

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

#6. "Wrapped Around Your Finger" - The Police (1983)

As a young teen I'd always been mesmerized by "Wrapped Around Your Finger" by The Police. I still am, 36 years later on headphones. So mellow, yet so hypnotic.

The magic of Sting's melodic and lyrical prowess, Andy Summer's sparse effective guitar and Steward Coupland's intricate drum work all reach new heights on this textured tune.

From the lighting of the first candle, the video had always entranced me. 

The obscure literary references in the verses made me flip through the encyclopedias as Sting found a creative way to weave in such words as apprentice, Charibdes, Mephistopholes, tuition, fruition, and from the iconic bridge, alabaster.

And what a bridge! It never fails to give goosebumps. Both lyrically and musically, the tune picks up the tempo when the tables are turned on the master and servant relationship dynamics in question as "You'll be wrapped around my finger". Captivating stuff.  

The simple "I'll be wrapped around your finger" chorus shimmered. The synths are hauntingly beautiful.

Decades later, I still dream of knocking all those candles down at the end of the video like Sting did when he channeled the 'boy inside the man'. 

Fave lyric: "Devil and the deep blue sea behind me".

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

#7. "Strangelove" - Depeche Mode (1986)

"Strangelove" wasn't the first song I liked from Depeche Mode; but it was the one that sold me.

There is so much to appreciate here: the punchy synth, the deep bass, the entire production is irresistible. And it's moody as hell.

The original single release was deemed by the band to be too poppy and not dark enough for the Music for the Masses album, so they produced a darker mix known as "Strangelove '88" that became the group's first #1 dance hit in the US.

The dark lyrics navigate the territory between pleasure and pain; and appear to be about going off the grid, of being emotional unavailability of sorts. A perfect teen anthem.

Fave lyrics: "I'm always willing to learn, When you've got something to teach"

Monday, March 25, 2019

#8. "West End Girls" - Pet Shop Boys (1986)

Recorded in one take, "West End Girls" by the Pet Shop Boys originally missed the UK Top 40 in 1984 until re-recorded with producer Stephen Hague. Once slowed down and the story told a little clearer, the single vaulted to #1.

"West End Girls" isn't just another synth-pop song: it's intellectual pop. The song creates a cityscape in your head. 

The music was inspired by hip-hop artist Grandmaster Flash's "The Messagewhile the lyrics inspired by TS Eliot's poem 'The Waste Land'. The lyrics recount the class tensions and inner-city pressure in London, specifically how the boys from the East End of London pine for rich girls from the West End.

The street chatter and car horns intro followed by hypnotic synths before Neil Tennant's dead-pan vocals immediately grab our attention. But it's that unforgettable bass-synth hook and cryptic lyrics that keeps bringing me back to live vicariously in the "dead-end world". 

Watching the video as a 17-year-old verified that a much bigger world laid out there waiting to be explored.

When Joelle and I visited London in 2012, I couldn't help but point out the many famous London landmarks shown in the iconic video:
- Waterloo Station
- a No 42 red double-decker bus to Aldgate
- Tower Bridge
- Westminster Palace Clock Tower
- the South Bank
- Leicester Square

Fave lyrics: "Which do you choose. A hard or soft option"

In 1993, New Zealand-based artist Flight of the Conchords paraodied "West End Girls":

Sunday, March 24, 2019

#9. "Eyes Without A Face" - Billy Idol (1984)

"Eyes Without A Face" is two tremendous songs for the price of one. 

The first half sees a chill Billy Idol crooning a ballad, with no screaming nor squealing guitars in sight. The synths are dreamy and laid-back.

One of the best hooks of the decades, I've always loved the female vocals leading into the chorus. The angelic "les yeux sans visage" harmony literally translates the track’s name, and encouraged me to translate other pop singles of the day into French. 

The second half is a complete 180 turn. 

Kicking in around 2:25, the minute-plus bridge features a Steve Stevens' guitar riff slashing through while Billy goes on a road trip bender whilst "trying to stay hip".

Billy returns to do his best Sinatra impression to wind up the power ballad.

#10. "Major Tom" - Peter Schilling (1983)

"Major Tom (Coming Home)" by Peter Schilling will always remind me of the space shuttle missions in the 80s.

The song is a sort of a sequel, an homage to David Bowie's astronaut character ("Space Oddity" and "Ashes to Ashes") who cuts off communication with Earth and floats into space.

The melody is so addictive, and the glorious exploding chorus with the 4-3-2-1 countdown is a natural singalong. I can't help but feel a little sappy while watching the video and imagining Major Tom looking down on Earth. 

So what happened to our hero? The sweeping melodramatic finale sounds like he made it home. 

In space.

On one hand, Major Tom may be left drifting out in space, unable to return to Earth. But perhaps that was his intent all along: could it be he just wanted to go away to some place, a new home, and not have to answer or reply to anyone?

Since the song was originally written in German perhaps something is getting lost in translation or interpretation. I'd be interested in a German's take on all this.  

Fave lyric: "This is my home. I'm coming home."

Here's the original German version:

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Bonus 10: songs rediscovered too late to add

I admitted earlier that picking 100 favourite 80s songs was not an easy task.  

Even after pouring over a myriad of music charts and falling down countless YouTube rabbit holes, I still missed a few hidden gems. Thankfully, friends on Facebook shared some of their favourites including some diamonds in the rough. 

Many of the next 10 tracks could have easily slotted in between the 80 to 100 positions several weeks ago on my countdown. These "top ten too late to add" are ordered by year of release:

"Innocence" - Harlequin (1980)
The best of the Canadian releases from the 'April Wine' era will always remind me of when we built tree forts in the woods. Shout-out to Lee Turner for sharing this rock classic as his fave 80s Canadian tune.

"You Should Hear How She Talks About You" - Melissa Manchester (1982)
A long-forgotten solid radio staple until I recently saw it on a year-end chart.

"Twilight Zone" - Golden Earring (1982)
A K-Tel compilation special with a great bass line and a killer chorus.

"Space Age Love Song" - A Flock of Seagulls (1982)
Get lost in the whirling drumming, swirling synths and dreamy lyrics.

"Melody" - Boys Brigrade (1983)
I've been obsessed with playing this long-lost nostalgic Canadian new wave tune since Debbie Roberts posted it as her fave Canadian 80s track (and thanks to Joel Deveau for the mp3). I recall enjoying it in my small room growing up in the trailer court. 

"The Lebanon" - The Human League (1984)
The band known for their synths replaces them with a seriously hypnotic bass line and a soaring guitar riff. Not a typo. 

"Beatbox" - Art of Noise (1984)
An English early hip hop classic.

"Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" - Icicle Works (1984)
Paul Lalonde reminded me about this catchy slice of dreamy pop from post-punk England.

"No Promises" - Icehouse (1985)
Australian group with obvious Bowie influences on this atmospheric number with great synth hooks.

"Theme from S-Express" - S'Express (1988)
Old school house anthem I rediscovered from sifting through a few hundred top 10 80s lists posted on this amazing site. Word of caution: this site is highly addicting!

#11. "A Forest" - The Cure (1980)

After having bought the "Standing On A Beach" singles collection in the mid-80s, "A Forest" was the song that hooked me on The Cure, making me double-down to explore the rest of their deep catalogue. 

A former all-time favourite, I no longer binge listen to it. Brooding guitar, ominous bass and haunting keys all build a relentless atmospheric tension. Years later, it would have fit right on the soundtrack for The Blair Witch Project

The song is utterly brilliant and taps into a primal part of my brain. 

"A Forest" has such an edgy presence and creates a feeling of unease, over-the-shoulder glancing, shivers down the spine and general claustrophobia. This is a song best enjoyed in solitude, cranked up high on headphones or on a stereo with a good set of speakers.

By the time the second verse is over I'm totally gripped, lost inside a dream inside my head. The throbbing bass, the pounding drums and the synths are all working overtime. After the bridge, I imagine running in the woods in the dark as the guitar jangles and dangles.

Fave lyrics: "The girl was never there, it's always the same, I'm running towards nothing again and again and again..."

Below is a video of an almost 14 minute long live version from The Cure's Wish tour in 1992. It's far and away my all-time favourite live version of any song. I love how it builds then quiets down only to build back up again (and again and again....). Robert Smith even gives us a bonus, an extra verse as a sort of second bridge before the tune explodes for the grand finale. 

I can listen to it again and again and again...

Friday, March 22, 2019

#12. "Bizarre Love Triangle" - New Order (1986)

"Bizarre Love Triangle" is probably the catchiest of New Order's singles and the one most recognizable for music fans.

After years of experimentation, New Order had perfected the use of synths and drum machines by 1986. The result is a pop masterpiece. 

In terms of layers of electronic music, this song is near the top of the pedestal. 

So many gorgeous, magical highlights:
- the opening lyric is impressive: "Every time I think of you / I feel shot right through with a bolt of blue."
- the swirling synths interlude in the pre-chorus
- the undulating pacing of the chorus
- Hooky's bass as the foil to the euphoric synths and strings

A superb song to zone out to on headphones and a great groove for the dance floor.

The most bizarre thing about this song: it never charted well, peaking at a dismal #98 on Billboard and #53 in Canada.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

#13. "Pale Shelter" - Tears For Fears (1982)

One of the first Brit invasion songs to catch my attention back in 1982, "Pale Shelter" by Tears For Fears is among the very best from this era. It seems ludicrous now that the single only peaked at #15 in Canada. 

The song is completely memorizing: from the get go in the intro an acoustic guitar pleasantly strums along with the ubiquitous synths making a truly magical sound. 

I was always captivated by this video and the hundreds of paper airplanes tossed out the school windows, reminiscent of similar antics by David "The Pilot" in Mr. McInness's Grade 7 English class at Prince Arthur Junior School.  

I wonder if Hampton Court Palace staff will supply us with paper airplanes to toss in unison from the ramparts during the bridge when we see the band live in London this June. Or maybe we'll just have to bring our own?

While Roland Orzabal sings most of the hits on the 1985's Songs From The Big Chair, Curt Smith's softer vocals are a better fit for this melancholic number. 

Fave lyric: "When all I want to be is, completely in command." 

If you enjoy this track then you'll love this live version from 1983:

The 2016 single "Secrets" by The Weeknd has introduced the Millenials to Tears For Fears and other 80s artists, as the song samples vocals from both "Pale Shelter" and "Talking in your Sleep" by the Romantics. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

#14. "This Charming Man" - The Smiths (1983)

"This Charming Man" is the most iconic song in The Smith's repertoire: a veritable Marr & Morrissey masterpiece.

Johnny's Marr's trademark jangle guitar kicks it off and shimmers the rest of the way.  

Vintage Morrissey lyrics articulate obscure and elegant literary references delivered with verve. 

The bass is catchy, almost funky making the rhythm punchy, the melody upbeat. 

The buoyant and bubbly song is just so darn uplifting; imagine that for a second, from a band often branded as being miserable.   

The tune is short and sweet, clocking in at less than three minutes. Dare I say this "This Charming Man" rivals a typical single from The Beatles.

Fave lyric: “I would go out tonight / But I haven’t got a stitch to wear / This man said, ‘It’s gruesome/ That someone so handsome should care'”

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

#15. "It’s My Life" - Talk Talk (1984)

"It's My Life" by Talk Talk is a synth-pop masterpiece and pure magic: both song and video.

A soaring chorus, warm synths and a catchy bass line carry it along.

In the video the animals for the most part are in the sync with the sounds: check out when the whale breaches and the running ostrich. Perfect. 

The nostalgia factor cuts deep, as I find myself wondering whatever happened to all those animals in the zoo and in nature. 

It's a powerful and even joyous tune that should make us want to follow our dreams and respect and protect the natural world. Not a bad ROI on a 80s new wave tune.

No Doubt's cover in 2003 charted higher than the original which is a minor travesty.

Monday, March 18, 2019

#16. "Under the Milky Way" - The Church (1988)

"Under the Milky Way" by Australia's The Church is one of the most beautiful songs ever made. In terms of atmosphere and production, it's hard to top this.

The acoustic strumming sets the tone, the keys are melodic and the vocals and lyrics are perfect. The layers of jangle guitars and synth is extraordinary.

It also makes you think; think about the big things like your own existence, the universe, and why they don't make music like this any longer. 

The song is also highly addictive: I recall playing it 10 times straight after losing my job in Vancouver back in 1996.

It would place even higher if it wasn't for the bloody 'bagpipe' solo in the bridge. I don't hate it,  but it slightly ruins the ambiance. Fortunately, the tune reverts to the moody strumming and ends well with some nice reverb.

Fave lyrics: "Leads you here despite your destination. Under the Milky Way tonight."

And I totally missed it back in 1988 when released. 

Was I too busy wrapped up listening to the back collection of The Cure, Depeche Mode and New Order to notice?

Was it even released in Canada? (Wikipedia states it reached no. 69 on the Canadian RPM 100). 

When the dust settles, it's by far the highest ranking song of my top 100 80s singles that I don't recall enjoying during the 80s.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

#17. "Never Let Me Down Again" - Depeche Mode (1987)

The second single from Music For The Masses only reached #22 on the UK charts. 

Despite its modest chart success, "Never Let Me Down Again" is quite possibly Depeche Mode's most powerful jam.

And one of its darkest. 

The synths pulsate relentlessly and hypnotically.

An addictive song about drug addiction; or is it about trust?

David Gahan nails the vocals with a chorus that soars across the sky.

Absolutely perfect. And addictive.

Fave lyrics: 
"We're watching the world pass us by 
Never want to come down
Never want to put my feet back down"

"Never Let Me Down Again" is a fan favourite at concerts as per this live clip:

Saturday, March 16, 2019

#18. "Save a Prayer" - Duran Duran (1982)

With a couple of catchy singles and epic videos under its belt, Duran Duran went on to top those with the sweeping ballad "Save a Prayer". 

Filmed among the beaches and temples of Sri Lanka, the surreal video flows perfectly to the synth-pop gospel. 

The dreamy synths immediately draw me in before the synth flute takes over. Dancing children, crashing waves and five buddies on tour.

It wasn't all sunsets and one-night stands: guitarist Andy Taylor apparently fell into water used as an animal latrine during the filming of the video and ended up being hospitalized with dysentery. 

Fave lyric: "Some people call it a one night stand but we can call it paradise"

Friday, March 15, 2019

#19. "Where The Streets Have No Name" - U2 (1987)

The Edge's guitar chords in the intro always gives me goosebumps. 

"Where The Streets Have No Name" is undeniably one of the 80s great rock anthems, and for me the best of the quality singles from The Joshua Tree album that broke the band in America.  

I thought the single deserved a better video than the official version showing the band playing on a rooftop and shutting down the streets of LA. The video actually does a disservice to the song, ruining the The Edge's opening and iconic riff. 

I've therefore added a video of a more recent concert performance that demonstrates the enormous emotional attachment both band and fans exhibit towards one of U2's finest moments. 

"Streets" came out late in the summer of '87 after I graduated from high school. I remember listening to the tune on my Walkman taking the ferry to Halifax into the unknown on my way to university at SMU, equally hopeful and reticent, but most of all thinking anything is possible.

#20. "The Perfect Kiss" - New Order (1985)

New Order are often best known for their unique blend of rock and electronica, and in my opinion, "The Perfect Kiss" is the best high-end example of their trademark sound. 

Lyrically, the song is apparently about the AIDS epidemic that swept through New York clubland in the early 80s. Musically, it was inspired by the club scene in New York which had heavily influenced them.

This 10-and-half minute epic and captivating video is a must-see! 

Directed by the late great Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), the video shows close-ups of the four band members playing various instruments. Although all four are bringing it, I think the excellent bass work is Peter Hook's finest moment.

The video also demonstrates how the group excelled at constructing a song piece by piece until it becomes a cohesive whole.

The diverse instrumentation and versatile musicianship is clearly on display:

- lead singer Bernard Sumner plays cow bells (along with usual lead guitar)
- bassist Peter Hook plays the drum machine
- the (usual) drummer Stephen Morris plays keys
- Gillian does her magic on the synths

The song has several intoxicating builds until a thrilling two-minute-long bass and synth finale wraps up one of the most exhilarating climaxes ever produced.

"The Perfect Kiss" also features samples of Amazonian tree frogs croaking and sheep bleating.

The music is complex yet the quartet look to be barely breaking a sweat. They were good.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

#21. "Gypsy" - Fleetwood Mac (1982)

Once in a while during the 80s, a song from the previous decade would slip through. "Gypsy" by Fleetwood Mac is one magical power pop song from a band rooted in the 70s. 

Stevie's haunting vocals always brings on the chills and goosebumps. We can thank the perpetual tension between Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, this one written back to when the duo were struggling musicians. 

For me, this is Stevie's shining moment and Fleetwood Mac's best track: so polished yet so free. Lindsey's guitar work is subtle until his final solo tales over.

Fave lyrics:  "Lightning strikes. Maybe once, maybe twice"

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

#22. "Here Comes The Rain Again" - Eurythmics (1984)

Here comes the chill again, running up my spine...

"Here Comes the Rain Again" is a mesmerizing and immaculate new wave classic and one of the most beautiful pop songs ever made. 

Like many of my favourite tunes, I dig a cinematic opening. 

Then the powerful and entrancing vocals of Annie Lennox kick in and carry the show along with the shimmering melodies. 

The sweeping instrumental bridge and Annie's final chorus offer convincing and ample proof that synth music can churn out emotion and soul.

I used to hear this track in my parent's car while we'd take a day trip to Lawrencetown Beach in the summer of 1984 and of course for years later, whenever a low pressure system was bearing down.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

#23. "In a Big Country" - Big Country (1983)

How about them bagpipe guitars? 

As a young teen I secretly wished "In a Big Country" by Big Country was the Canadian national anthem (Big Country hails from Scotland).

The descriptive lyrics conjured up iconic images of Canada coast to coast:

"in a big country dreams stay with you"
"seeing the sun in winter time"

Although the story line in the video is hard to follow (what exactly is happening anyway?), the symbolism only solidified my sentiment, featuring clips of all sorts of outdoor rural adventures: all-terrain vehicles, jet skies and scenic landscapes. 

As for the tune itself, it's a driving tour de force of old Celtic meets new wave starring a unique bagpipe-emulating guitar and fantastic drumming.   

Lyrically, I think "In a Big Country" is a song about getting back up when you get knocked down and it still gives me chills.

Monday, March 11, 2019

#24. "Some Like It Hot" - The Powerstation (1985)

This song almost got me hooked on playing the drums. A few years ago I received drumsticks in my stocking and graduated to playing air drums for a few days. But since I sucked at the playing part, the dream quickly evaporated.  

"Some Like It Hot" was the first single of supergroup The Powerstation, composed of two parts Duran Duran (bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor), vocalist Robert Palmer and Chic's drummer Tony Thompson. You may recall that Duran split into two side projects: Simon, Nick & Roger went off in the opposite direction with the uber-synth Arcadia.

Featured in the dream sequence in the European Vacation film, the song is a barnstormer from the start to finish. It all begins with that epic drum intro. The polish and energy are through the roof as all the main ingredients roll on and off. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

#25. "Train of Thought" - a-ha (1986)

"Train of Thought" by a-ha was the third and somewhat underrated single from the Norwegian band's debut album Hunting High & Lowan incredible tune that stands up well. 

Excellent to listen to on headphones, the track is also one of my favourite tunes for my runs and commutes (it is afterall a song someone's thoughts during a commute). 

With its peppy verses and soaring choruses, I find "Train of Thought" combines the best elements of "Take on Me" and "Sun Always Shines on TV".

Although the lyrics are melancholic, the synth arrangements (and pan flutes!) are just so damn melodic and uplifting. 

And a sound that at times sounds symphonic, even classical: vocalist Morten Harket's range is quite operatic (like 5 octaves and an insane falsetto). Crank up the volume to fully appreciate the rhythm and layering

Fave lyric: "Words go up words come down, Forwards backwards twisted round"

The 4th single "Hunting High & Low" is part pop ballad, part power symphony and completely epic.