still the 80s

The 50 Best Modern Songs That Sound Like the 1980s

Photo-Illustration: Maya Robinson/Vulture

All week on Vulture, we’re examining ‘80s pop culture, and how it lives on today.

Owing to an array of one-hit wonders who overstuffed their tunes with synthesizers and went a little too heavy on the Aqua Net, it’s often easy to dismiss the music of the 1980s — and for a long time, many people did. But then fans who grew up secretly loving those songs stopped being embarrassed. Critics came around to laud the achievements of ‘80s artists they once dismissed. The cool kids appreciated the tracks without sarcasm. And a new crop of musicians, from pop stars to indie darlings, embraced those sounds, emulating them in the same way other artists repurposed the blues, classic ‘60s rock, and ‘70s punk.

There are countless tracks since 2010 (the time frame we’re using as our definition of “modern”) that borrow from the ‘80s, and a great deal of them should be embarrassed by neither their sound nor its provenance. Here are the ones we consider to be the 50 best, lovingly presented with respect and awe for that amazing, strange, and often groundbreaking era.

50. MUNA, “Winterbreak”
The women of MUNA try to get over great love lost on “Winterbreak.” The track could easily be mistaken for Sade, with gorgeous harmonies and keyboards that drip like water out of a faucet. Ilana Kaplan

49. Dum Dum Girls, “Lost Boys & Girls Club”
After years of making lo-fi, girl-group-inspired garage rock, Dum Dum Girls took on a darker vibe for their third full-length, 2014’s Too True. “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” the album’s first single, opens with a reverb-heavy guitar pattern reminiscent of the Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now” before powering into gloomier Jesus and Mary Chain–Cure territory. What ‘80s goth wouldn’t love putting on mascara to lyrics like “Your eyes are black x’s/Of hate and of hexes”? —Dan Reilly

48. Jessie Ware, “Tough Love”
It’s not every day you come across a song that oozes Prince and isn’t also an insult to his memory. “Tough Love,” with its breathy vocals and classic Bobby Z. drum kicks (producer Benny Blanco’s touch), hits all the purple notes. I pray Prince heard it at least once while he was still alive. The music aside, even Ware’s voice is awash in that unmistakably emotive, acrobatic style of the Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. It’s all so stunning. —Dee Lockett

47. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance”
The quartet’s 2014 hit opens with a riff that’s almost an exact copy of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name.” You can get mad about that or, as the title suggests, get off your ass and enjoy the moment. Singer Nick Petricca wrote the song after a night out at a club with his girlfriend, later citing Pat Benatar, the Cars, and Rick Springfield as influences. “The ‘80s and some of the ‘90s was a time when weird was celebrated,” he later said. And you know what else won’t be weird, soon enough? Hearing this song blasted at a wedding with at least one dude playing air-keytar during the solos. —DR

46. Christine and the Queens, “Science Fiction”
At first listen, the rolling bass line and buoyant synthesizers on French alt-pop star Christine and the Queens’ “Science Fiction” sound uncannily like Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Couple that with the fact that Christine (the moniker of singer Heloise Letissier) has a penchant for wearing menswear and doing a fair amount of stiff, hip-thrusting moves, and at surface level she could come off as stridently worshiping the king of pop. But dig a little deeper and you’ll realize that “Science Fiction,” and Letissier’s Christine and the Queens project as a whole, is about so much more than musical hero worship. Letisser’s an artist whose songs tackle gender fluidity and feelings of being an outsider, and “Science Fiction” uses seductive finger snaps and an upbeat tempo to sneak in lyrics about feeling alienated while out in public with her partner: “In this sea of eyes, every move’s a coup.” Think of it as throwback bilingual pop made for our gender-neutral future. —Samantha Rollins

45. Lucius, “Born Again Teen”
“Born Again Teen” is as emotionally crushing as it is holy, thanks to Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig’s euphoric vocals. Catchy and captivating, “Born Again Teen” takes cues from ‘60s girl-pop with its enticing melodies, but the pounding beat and scathing keys put it firmly in ‘80s territory. With the sharp, witty lyrics about religion and reliving your youth, try not to imagine it in your favorite old-school teen movie. We dare you. —IK

44. Divine Fits, “For Your Heart”
Led by Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner, this group’s album was a hit with critics and fans, thanks to the surprisingly tight chemistry between the leaders. But credit is due to keyboardist Alex Fischel and drummer Sam Brown for anchoring 2012’s A Thing Called Divine Fits, especially under Boeckner’s vocals on this alternatingly tense and tender track. —DR

43. Classixx, “All You’re Waiting For”
Like Chromeo, Classixx seem to have made it their mission to get as close to time travel as possible. They breathe the ‘80s, and it’s no more evident than on “All You’re Waiting For.” This is everything the once-thriving monoculture loved about Nile Rodgers–era Madonna, from the funk-infused groove to singer Nancy Whang serving shades of Madge’s signature spoken-sung vocals (think especially “Holiday”). –DL

42. Neon Indian, “The Glitzy Hive”
If it’s not apparent from Alan Palomo’s moniker and song titles, his Neon Indian project is not subtle: On “The Glitzy Hive,” he unabashedly draws from a grab bag of ‘80s influences, from pop and New Wave to Italo-disco and R&B. That Palomo’s vocal melody recalls Prince is basically a foregone conclusion at this point — and while that could make his music seem derivative, Neon Indian’s woozy concoction of inspirations is just so diverse, flashy, and fun that it could never be considered anything but original. —SR

41. Lady Gaga, “Perfect Illusion”
Gaga’s “Perfect Illusion” is the electro essential from her latest album, Joanne. While the record tends to be heavily rooted in country folk and roots rock, the LP’s lead single could easily have appeared on 2008’s The Fame, which skewed way more toward electro-pop. Gaga’s layered, vibrato-rich vocals are what give this track shades of peak Pat Benatar and Heart. —IK

40. Arcade Fire, “We Exist
Nowadays, lawsuits get filed left and right for ripping off classics (and, more and more, artists are losing), so it’s surprising that Arcade Fire would also so brazenly lift the bass line from “Billie Jean.” But, hey, if you’re gonna risk it all, make it count. “We Exist” isn’t full-on Michael, though. This is more like Win Butler channeling Morrissey going through a disco phase. —DL

39. Foals, ”My Number”
With production from Flood (New Order, Ministry, Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, U2), it’s no mystery why this funky electro kiss-off to both a relationship and city living sounds like it was written a few decades before its 2013 release. —DR

38. Tame Impala, “The Less I Know the Better”
For a man with two ‘60s-indebted psych-rock albums in his catalogue and a voice that bears an uncanny resemblance to John Lennon’s, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker is no stranger to leveraging his talents to pay tribute to the past. The Aussie’s third album, 2015’s Currents, saw Tame Impala find inspiration in a new decade, with Parker describing it as his attempt to “convince a few die-hard rock fans that ‘80s synths can fit over a ‘70s drum beat.” “The Less I Know the Better” uses that formula to great effect, resulting in a track that deftly infuses its retro influences while managing to create something that transcends pastiche. —SR

37. La Roux, “Uptight Downtown”
Like other artists on this list, Elly Jackson is barely an ‘80s baby, and yet the decade has had a lasting impact on her work, particularly on 2014’s Trouble in Paradise. To wit: “Uptight Downtown” is equal parts Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and the best of Duran Duran. Like so many songs of the ‘80s, it masks the song’s lyrics about political unrest (she wrote it about the 2011 London riots) with a danceable groove, so it keeps light on its feet like you would be, too, if you heard this in the club. —DL

36. Brandon Flowers, “Lonely Town”
Let’s not pretend like the Killers weren’t (aren’t?) one big ‘80s tribute act — not to any one band in particular, but to the whole era. That’s their schtick, and they wear it well. But when front man Brandon Flowers went solo, he really ran away with it. “Lonely Town” is exactly the sort of song Iona would’ve played at her record store in Pretty in Pink. Even the video screams John Hughes: a young woman dancing at home all alone, just her and her Walkman. The damn song even makes reference to a Gravitron. It’s a nostalgia-baiting synth-rock oasis. —DL

35. Miranda Lambert, “Priscilla”
Country superstar Miranda Lambert tackles big ballads, porch-front folk jams, and rockers alike with the same Texas charm. “Priscilla,” off her last album Platinum, wraps her vocals in acoustic guitars and drums that dance around the classic Bo Diddley beat, sounding for all the world like George Michael’s “Faith” until the chords change midway through each verse. —Craig Jenkins

34. Chance the Rapper, “All Night”
When we talk about ‘80s music, too often Chicago house gets overlooked. But not now, not here, and especially not when it’s reemerged in such a major way and being championed by the city’s newest generation. Chance comes from Chicago, and even though he’s only 23, he isn’t ignorant of his city’s rich musical history. “All Night” is his biggest nod to the genre yet, with terrific production by young house aficionado Kaytranada. Many Chance songs feel and sound like unbridled joy, and this one’s a blast from start to finish. Frankie Knuckles would be proud. —DL

33. Justin Timberlake, “Pusher Love Girl”
After Prince died in April 2016, Justin Timberlake said, “He’s somewhere within every song I’ve ever written.” Nowhere is that more apparent than in this Timbaland-assisted cut from 2013’s The 20/20 Experience, where JT gets intoxicated and funky over a particular lady. In the end, he really contradicts himself, proving that, as the Purple One once said with a pinch or two of shade, “sexy never left.” —DR

32. Charli XCX, “London Queen”
Charli XCX was making records for years before screaming into America on the hook of Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” and on her ensuing smash hit Sucker, she was at her absolute pop-punk best. “London Queen” particularly shines, and sounds like it was pulled from the “Going Underground” era of the Jam. —Jordan Crucchiola

31. The 1975, “Somebody Else”
Their name might be the 1975, but this band’s latest album is nothing but ‘80s, baby. “Somebody Else” has all the sexual tension, slow-burning sensuality, and suspense of a song like Tangerine Dream’s “Love on a Dream,” but also the control of a Tears for Fears fever dream. To (sort of) borrow from this album’s long-winded title, the song is so beautiful yet only a little self-aware of it. –DL

30. Vince Staples, “Blue Suede”
On this 2014 track, the Long Beach rapper utilizes an unsettling Bernard Herrmann–like riff and a beefy bass-and-drums beat to underscore a tale of Long Beach life. Echoing N.W.A, Staples raps about the duality of life in the hood — one side projects a masculine identity of a young man who likes parties and the ladies, the other despairing over how growing up amid poverty and gangs likely leads to a “young grave.” The end features a hell of a hook, with Vince repeating that all he wanted out of life was a particular pair of Jordans, the tragedy of being born into a world where the highest hope for a kid is to own some sneakers and survive a little longer than expected. —DL

29. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, “Stranger Things”
It didn’t require much to prove that Netflix’s Stranger Things was, above all, a love letter to the ‘80s — you felt it in the clothes, the cultural references, its Goonies and E.T. lineage — but having a theme song drive that point home felt like the necessary bow to tie it all together. Who better for the job than Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the ‘80s-indebted S U R V I V E? The band is modern, but you’d be forgiven for mistaking their electronica style for that of Depeche Mode or Pet Shop Boys, sans lyrics. Dixon and Stein’s Stranger Things theme song may be brief (though there’s an extended version!), but it’s got a long heartbeat echoing back to precisely three decades ago. It’s no wonder every listen feels like stepping through the same portal to the Upside Down, only straight into the ‘80s-laden world the show so authentically re-creates. Both volumes of the soundtrack are the perfect homage to the sounds of that era. —DL

28. Danny Brown, “Fields”
In many ways, Detroit has been a place where the ‘80s never ended. The decade’s factory closures devastated the Motor City, and the ensuing unemployment and crime struck so harshly that it has yet to recover. As a dispatch from that crumbling world, delivered by an artist intimately attached to it, Danny Brown’s “Fields” harks back to the social commentary pioneered 30 years ago by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five in “The Message.” The older song’s refrain (“Don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to the edge / I’m trying not to lose my head”) is a motto that could easily apply to the younger artist’s entire catalogue. —Frank Guan

27. Daft Punk, “Instant Crush ft. Julian Casablancas”
The robotic DJ duo said they were inspired heavily on Random Access Memories by the late ‘70s and early ‘80s sounds of Nile Rodgers and Giorgio Moroder, both of whom contributed to this 2013 album. The addition of Julian Casablancas, whose solo LP Phrazes for the Young was its own kind of ‘80s tribute, brought new and old together for this kicking dance jam. —JC

26. Chromeo, “Night by Night”
In many ways, electro-funk is a totally contemporary fusion of styles, made possible largely because of advances in the machinery that births electronic music and our collective cultural longing for the music that predated so many of us. (Vocoders have come a long way, trust.) It’s a type of retro-futurism that isn’t so divorced from the style it borrows from that you can’t pick up the references. Chromeo could be Cameo, just on designer drugs and with a lot fewer members. But what the duo of David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel really excel at is replicating ‘80s freestyle dance music with a funky twist. “Night by Night” really isn’t so different from a song like Shannon’s “Let the Music Play” — the aim is to shrug off love’s frustrations, dance your face off, and never, ever stop moving. —DL

25. Bleachers, “I Wanna Get Better”
Vince Clarke of Depeche Mode, Yaz, and Erasure helped Jack Antonoff produce Strange Desire, the 2014 debut album of his band Bleachers, so it’s no wonder the songs have, in the front man’s own words, “an ‘80s John Hughes movie feel,” with “I Wanna Get Better” being the flagship track of Antonoff’s jubilant, neon-soaked manifesto. —JC

24. Chris Stapleton, “Nobody to Blame”
Chris Stapleton is a curious presence in country radio — his music owes as much to back-to-basics ‘80s crooners and left-of-the-dial roots rockers as anything in the contemporary landscape. “Nobody to Blame” displays the nimble balance; the production is full of tense, mood-setting flourishes that call back to the generation of new traditionalists Stapleton likely grew up on, but somehow all of the songs’ overwhelming sense of pain and regret comes from the vocal. —CJ

23. Grimes, “Oblivion”
The John Carpenter–like opening synth riff sets up Claire Boucher’s 2012 single, but her gorgeously delicate singing somehow alleviates the sense of dread. But that all returns when you pay attention to the lyrics, particularly the “see you on a dark night” refrain, and learn that the song is about her sexual assault. To the Montreal singer-songwriter-producer’s credit, it’s simultaneously dark, bubbly, and catchy as all get out. —DR

22. Haim, “Falling”
The first time I heard Haim’s “Falling,” I was annoyed. Not because it’s bad, but because I couldn’t believe that this song, which was so clearly an old ‘80s hit I must have heard somewhere before, had mistakenly turned up in rotation on this satellite radio station that was supposed to be playing the newest tracks of the week. I’ve since made my peace with the fact that Haim often sound of another era, because their songs are just too catchy for me to hold a grudge. Mostly, I can’t fault middle sis Danielle for nailing those breathy, staccato vocals. —SR

21. Drake, “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
While Drake made a name for himself channeling ‘90s R&B à la Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak, the biggest hit off the Toronto rapper’s third album Nothing Was the Same harks back to ‘80s R&B with no filter at all. With its relaxing rhythm, smooth melodies, and utterly moving lyrics, the track leaves the status-anxious space Drake typically inhabits and settles into a charmed and charming world where the love between two people is all that counts. —FG

20. Kavinsky, “Nightcall”
If you listen to the Drive soundtrack’s “Nightcall” with your eyes closed and concentrate real hard, you can replace Ryan Gosling’s Driver with Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken as he trawls through the streets of Manhattan in Escape From New York. Kavinsky uncannily revived the sound of John Carpenter on the soundtrack — icy, hot pink, and breaking under the weight of its own heavy synth. —JC

19. Sleigh Bells, “Infinity Guitars”
The parallels between Sleigh Bells and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are as striking as their music: The punk-influenced rock outfits both pair crunching riffs with badass vocalists as they blur the distinction between raw and refined. “Infinity Guitars” is a percussive behemoth where the titular objects are serrated with distortion, then framed by an obliterating bass drum, hand claps, and what sound like actual sleigh bells that build to an atomic climax. It’s a perfect successor to Joan’s greatest hits. —FG

18. The War on Drugs, “Red Eyes”
Front man Adam Granduciel echoes the likes of Mark Knopfler and Born in the U.S.A.–era Springsteen on this washed-out highlight from the Philly band’s 2014 LP, Lost in the Dream. But really, this song’s DNA probably has the most direct connection to the Grateful Dead’s 1987 song “Touch of Grey,” which the War on Drugs just so happened to cover as the lead track of the National’s charity compilation Day of the Dead. —DR

17. Kanye West, “Fade”
Were we to include songs from pre-2010, we’d give high praise to Kanye’s greatest ‘80s moment to date, 808s & Heartbreaks, but that’s not where his callbacks began and ended. “Fade,” much like Chance’s “All Night,” serves as Kanye’s own take on Chicago house, reaching deep into his vault of reference points to sample the legendary Mr. Fingers’ “Mystery of Love” from 1985. Further proof that this is Kanye’s ode to the ‘80s: Its video stars Teyana Taylor in what is essentially a mini Flashdance remake. Need we say more? —DL

16. CHVRCHES, “The Mother We Share”
The Glasgow trio’s first official single is carried by the ethereal lead vocals of Lauren Mayberry, but the instrumental work of Iain Cook and Martin Doherty give “The Mother We Share” an added emotional uppercut. In short, it’s Depeche Mode that’s way heavier on the low end and fronted by the lead soprano of a divine choir. —DR

15. Beyoncé, “Schoolin’ Life”
It’s one of the great pop crimes of the decade that Beyoncé’s sleek, clever “Schoolin Life” ended up a B-side on the deluxe edition of her 4 album and not a proper single. It’s one of co-writer and producer The-Dream’s great Prince homages (see also: “Fast Car” and “Yamaha”), full of howling guitars, gleefully alien synths, and busy drum programming. The lyrical conceit that there isn’t a single decade where life ceases to be amazing is warm and funny, and it’s worth your time off the strength of the hilariously enunciated “motherfucker” in verse one alone. —CJ

14. Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk ft. Bruno Mars”
The definition of a great party song, one you’d envision in the opening credits of a movie, thanks to the big-band appeal. Bruno Mars’s powerful vocals fuel the funk-filled pop jam, and the song speaks to influences from both the ‘70s and ‘80s, especially the “Minneapolis Sound” of Prince and the Time. Like their greatest tracks, “Uptown” has a vibe that’s both vintage and futuristic. —IK

13. Taylor Swift, “New Romantics”
Taylor shocked fans and skeptics alike by releasing her first full-on pop album, 1989, in 2014. “New Romantics” is one of the faster-paced tracks on the record, featuring her sharp-tongued lyrics about romantic outcasts, à la The Breakfast Club. Originally intended as a bonus track, it became the LP’s seventh and final single, and deserves even more attention than it got. —IK

12. Killer Mike, “Big Beast”
The first track on Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music heralds the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Produced by El-P, “Big Beast,” with its eerie, brutally direct force, marks the first collaboration between Mike and El that would culminate in the formation of Run the Jewels. But the song looks to the past as well. With a powerful, agile voice and lyrics focused, sometimes hilariously, on political themes, Mike had long garnered comparisons to Ice Cube. Backed by El-P’s retro-futurist production (itself reminiscent of the Bomb Squad instrumentals Cube rapped over at his peak), the similarity isn’t just remarkable — it’s undeniable. —FG

11. Future Islands, “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
This electro-pop group had the musical equivalent of a debutante ball on a taping of Letterman in 2014, largely thanks to singer Samuel T. Herring. His sweetly exaggerated dance moves and vocals that veer between Tom Jones and Tom Waits just enhanced how damn great this song is, and why it topped the year-end singles polls of Pazz & Jop, Pitchfork, Spin, Consequence of Sound, and NME. —DR

10. The Weeknd, “In the Night”
Abel Tesfaye wasn’t alive in the ‘80s, but why let that minor detail stop him from imagining himself there? The Weeknd didn’t start out wanting to look to the past, but when he shifted to 2015’s Beauty Behind the Madness, he did so with the expressed intent of making himself a pop star. Though he never said which kind of star he strove to be, after one play of “In the Night,” you know it’s Michael Jackson. The track, as perhaps a court will someday argue, re-creates the vibe of “The Way You Make Me Feel” in such a way that he even alters the top of his vocal range to mirror Jackson’s. It’s uncanny and highly effective. As far as MJ knockoffs go, there’s not much here to be mad at. —DL

9. Tegan and Sara, “Closer”
The Quin twins were already favorites among rock fans thanks to acclaimed albums like So Jealous and The Con, where they experimented with a blend of indie pop, punk, and folk. But after turning 30, Tegan and Sara decided to pursue larger success and move in a more mainstream pop direction. “Closer,” the first single from their 2013 album Heartthrob, leans heavily on the throwback sounds of the sisters’ childhood, a Cyndi Lauper–like dance-floor jam about young love. It was a crossover moment for the duo, winning the Juno for Single of the Year, appearing on Glee, topping the Billboard chart for Hot Dance Club Songs, and leading to a cameo performance with Taylor Swift during her Red tour. —DR

8. Robyn, “Call Your Girlfriend”
It’s hard to believe Robyn is even of the modern era; everything about her just feels so reminiscent of ‘80s Europop. Her whole aesthetic is throwback, even when it feels ahead of its time. “Call Your Girlfriend” is glossy and unpredictable (that glitchy electro breakdown toward the end just kills), a massive pop anthem that’ll make you wonder how different things might’ve turned out had Cyndi Lauper also hailed from Sweden. —DL

7. Bon Iver, “Beth/Rest”
This song, with its melancholic saxophones and glowing keyboard tones, is so steeped in the ‘80s that it sounds like Lionel Richie meant to put it on Dancing on the Ceiling, but the demo tape slipped between the seats and didn’t turn up again until Justin Vernon properly recorded it for his second Bon Iver album. –JC

6. Sky Ferreira, “Everything Is Embarrassing”
“Everything Is Embarrassing” is straight out of a prom scene. The track is dance pop at its finest, and Ferreira couples the anthemic, glossy grunge with sensual, desperate lyrics. It’s the standout from her 2012 Ghost EP, bolstered by its Joan Jett–like swagger, just with more keyboards instead of guitars. —IK

5. Kendrick Lamar, “King Kunta”
“King Kunta” screams neo-soul and funk right out of the gate, while paying homage to ‘90s hip-hop stalwarts like Dr. Dre, Tupac, and Ice Cube. It’s a pure gangsta-rap party that makes you want to join in and dance, even if the grooves portend a darker mood. The militantly tight instrumentation takes cues from ‘70s James Brown, but the most obvious ‘80s callback comes when Kendrick lifts “Annie, are you okay?” from MJ’s “Smooth Criminal.” IK

4. Carly Rae Jepsen, “Run Away With Me”
From the moment “Run Away With Me” blares its faux-saxophone notes to signal the opening of Carly Rae’s roundly praised 2015 album, Emotion, it’s clear this is a record that borrows heavily from the decade best known for twinkling synth sounds and booming drums. For Jepsen, the trip back in time works. As an artist whose first megahit was pure bubblegum pop (“Call Me Maybe”), this infusion of ‘80s musical tropes is the perfect complement to her propensity for teetering on the line between the irresistibly catchy and the outright cheesy. With an ‘80s flair — here provided by a beat from Swedish super-producer Shellback — CRJ’s unabashedly sincere proclamations and anthemic choruses are injected with throwback cool. —SR

3. Blood Orange, “You’re Not Good Enough”
Alongside girlfriend Samantha Urbani, Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes does his best Prince on “You’re Not Good Enough.” The Cupid Deluxe jam features funky R&B melodies and lyrics that are straight-up vindictive: “I never was in love / You know that you were never good enough.” There’s a lack of sensitivity that runs throughout the track, but it’s Hynes’s ability to channel the Purple One that makes the song stand out. —IK

2. Rihanna, “Kiss It Better”
Guitar on a Big Pop song? In 2016? Oh yeah, “Kiss It Better” just screams ‘80s throwback. Rihanna took plenty of risks on her new album, Anti, with one of the greatest being this attempt at an old-school rock-and-roll power ballad. It’s her combo of “The Beautiful Ones” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” or a sexy siren Tina Turner singing alongside Slash, with some not-so-subtle innuendo. In five years, it’ll be karaoke gold. Just watch. —DL

1. M83, “Midnight City”
“Midnight City” put French electronic group M83 on the map. Throughout the four-minute Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming track, Anthony Gonzalez’s vocals soar hazily into the ether and the main riff sparks like a neon laser beam. Then, just when you think you’ve heard it all, in comes the saxophone solo from James King of Fitz and the Tantrums that transports you 25 years back in time. As Gonzalez told The Guardian, “Sometimes a song needs an element to be finished. You know that this element has been overused in the past and is considered cliched or cheesy, but the song needs it.” Thus, it’s the epitome of ‘80s music. —IK

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