80’s music gets a bad rap. Anytime I hear people talking about music from the 80’s, they always shake their heads and grimace. I don’t really know why that is (okay, I might have some idea), but for some reason most people seem to conjure up the worst possible music they can imagine when they think of 80’s music.
A more thoughtful critique of the decade in music demonstrates that the 80’s were actually a pretty excellent ten years that produced loads of bands, albums and songs that should be close to any music fan’s heart. The 80’s were when hip-hop found its legs and when alternative rock bands like U2 and R.E.M. found their audiences. Hard rock started the decade with one of the genre’s best albums, AC/DC’s Back in Black, finished with outstanding breakthrough albums from Faith No More and Nine Inch Nails, passing through the likes of Def Leppard’s peak years, Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction and the rise of heavy metal, led by Metallica along the way.
Madonna transformed pop music from its yacht rock pastiche of the early 80’s to something more danceable by the decade’s end. She had a little help from the likes of Duran Duran and this guy named Michael Jackson who did okay through the decade too. Plenty of artists who enjoyed a good bit of popularity in the 70’s carried themselves into the new decade nicely as well. Bruce Springsteen’s 80’s releases were strong, Aerosmith put out two of their best albums and David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Rush all remained relevant.
Heart was another one of those bands that saw a resurgence in the 80’s. After enjoying success in the mid-70’s with classic tracks like “Magic Man” and “Barracuda”, the band went through a lengthy dry spell before putting out an eponymous album in 1985 that placed four sogns in the Billboard top 100, including the band’s first #1 hit, “These Dreams.” Their 1987 follow-up effort, Bad Animals didn’t quite fare as well, but they did reach #1 for a second and final time with “Alone.”
Everything that was once old becomes new again, at some point. Right now, 80’s looks and sounds are back in. “Alone” has a sound that is timeless enough to not sound especially dated even though it is 25 years old now. It’s a great rock anthem and it holds up very well to this day, regardless of the trends. That said, it would certainly sound like something that a band like Florence + the Machine could get a good handle on (if they could pull off the guitar solo, that is).