The 1980s gave us the greatness that is Culture Club and ABC, but then the decade also stole money from us. A lot of the top songs of the decade are from the mid-to-late '80s and that part of the decade churned out more overproduced evil that put a smile on record company exec's faces. If a song is created with the thought it will make money that goes against what the art form is all about.
All of the songs that follow were top-ten singles. Many are likely still played on your favorite station devoted to only '80s music. You might also hear these in dentist offices while your friend is having a root canal.
The first song has Michael Jackson involved. I am sorry not sorry if you are a Jackson fan, but I have a good reason for having the track on this list. The other three songs ended up being from the same sad year.
Four examples of drivel from the 1980s
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson - "Say Say Say" (1983)
Paul McCartney good. Jackson bad. This song was made worse by having Jackson on it but Jackson was so popular in the early 1980s that everything he was involved with turned to gold (or platinum). Jackson was a bit like a poor man's Justin Bieber (yes, that is a joke).
But really makes this song creepy is the video. Michael Jackson's love interest is his sister, Latoya. Gross. But since this is Jackson we are talking about, I imagine it could be even worse.
Heart - "Alone" (1987)
I did not intentionally set out to have three songs on this list from 1987, but I guess as it turns out, 1987 was just a terrible year for music. As far as "Alone" goes, this was another sign that Heart had left the excellent 1970s rock behind and wanted to sell out for more money. "Alone" was so saccharine and glossy that it might eat away at your brain.
Worse, the song was not even a Heart original. At least then they could have owned up to a mistake later in life of their own doing. They heard another version of "Alone" (or two) and thought, "We can use this shrill to make millions!" One of the prior versions of the track included being the theme song to some wretched TV show called Dreams and was sung in part by John Stamos.
Whitesnake - "Here I Go Again" (1987)
When David Coverdale wrote this song it was about him getting divorced and having to learn to be single. Fair enough. But the issue is that Whitesnake first released this song in 1982 on their Saints & Sinners album and then reworked the track five years later to make the song more radio-friendly.
In other words, Coverdale created a song based on genuine fear and emotion and decided to turn the tune into a money grab. Plus, the song is overly dramatic and without any charisma. The way Coverdale sings the song seems celebratory and unlike the track's original intention.
Starship - "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (1987)
Starship went all Heart in the late 1980s in terms of the band starting off as a pretty cool version of rock and then turned into pop awfulness. That this song was nominated for an Oscar only makes the track worse. The Oscars no nothing about individual songs, only movies. The Academy's list of winners for Best Original Song includes "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," for instance. "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" was the romantic theme to the film Mannequin.
The band must have gone into the studio and said, "Let's tune our instruments to the key of worthlessness." If they did do that then they nailed their goal.