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Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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The Sound of 1985 for the Listeners of Today

Baylee+Parsons+in+the+style+of+1985
Abigail Cutlip
Baylee Parsons in the style of 1985

“Out of Touch” may have been in Billboard magazine’s top 10 singles of 1985, but the song’s title is not accurate in describing the generation listening to it nearly 40 years later.

From TikTok to Netflix, the music of the 80s finds its way into the lives of Generation Z every day, whether they realize it or not.

As the product of two Gen Xers, when I look at Billboard’s top 10 of 1985, the chorus of each begins to run through my mind without me thinking about it. Let’s be honest, I shamelessly recreate the saxophone solo of “Careless Whisper” by Wham! using only a string of strange sound effects too – you almost definitely know the one and likely do the same thing. 

Billboard magazine’s top 10 singles of 1985 (Abigail Cutlip)

I firmly believe I was born in the wrong generation, which is why it makes me happy to hear the songs of my parents’ teenage years making their way back into pop culture.

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“Careless Whisper,” for instance, can be heard playing in the background of 30-second TikTok videos, as it has resurfaced today in the form of a meme. Side note: I would really like to know what George Michael would think about this. 

Coming in at number seven on the charts, we see “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears. Now, my mom would tell me this song was hardly even relevant at the time. Listeners of today, on the other hand, would tell me how they instantly downloaded the song after seeing it all over social media following the release of season three of “Stranger Things.” 

While the song was not actually used in the show, season three was set in 1985, which inspired several edits using the 1985 song. Another side note: I highly recommend watching “Stranger Things” with your mother if she was in high school in the 80s. She will absolutely know when the producers have used a song that was not released the same year of the season you’re watching, and she will ask you to Google it to make sure she’s right.

Rounding off the top 10 is “Take on Me” by A-ha. A song which has since been recreated by rock band Weezer, “Take on Me” is one of those where I’ve never met an individual who doesn’t know it. Whether your parents grew up in the 80s or not, you are going to try to hit that high note at the end of the chorus when you hear it. 

With the songs of 1985 turning 40 next year and Gen Zers still carrying their tunes, it is clear that the music of everyone’s favorite decade is here to stay. 

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