The Underrated Poetry of ’80s Music

I listen to a good bit of music, my taste even encompassing a lot of classical. But, most of all, I enjoy music from the eighties, specifically what falls under the new wave category. A lot of times people overlook these gems. When recalling this era of song, I feel that most fail to go past Journey, Queen, Michael Jackson, and Cyndi Lauper. I like the music of all of these artists, but so much more exists.

(Continue reading for 100% accurate reviews by a certified musicologist)

The only way I can characterize new wave music from the eighties—as well as similar music in like genres—is this: sad or dark lyrics guided by a plot and backed by upbeat synth and random instruments. Granted, a lot of songs with discernibly positive lyrics exist under this category, but that is my general observation. And, as for the instruments, I can only say that bands either consist of the following: four members playing synthesizers while singing, two guitarists singing with a drummer and a synth player, or a drummer backing two singers that play guitar, synth, and random objects. I would also like to add that violin, saxophone, xylophone, and other instruments accompany the traditional ones, often. And, of course, how could I forget a bass guitar played with a bow?

Although I can not accurately describe the sound any further, I would like to give lyric examples. Hopefully, after reading a few of them, you may understand how poetic and underrated they are. I also encourage you to listen to the songs themselves. The lyrics only tell part of the story, and they pair beautifully with the instrumental voices.

(I apologize in advance)

Tears For Fears:

You probably know “Mad World”, which, surprisingly many people have no idea they sing it. They also sing “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, which are both recognizable classics.

(a few lyrics from “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”: 

“Welcome to your life/ There’s no turning back/ Even while we sleep/ we will find You/ acting on your best behavior/ Turn your back on mother nature/ Everybody wants to rule the world”)

Another well-known song they have is “Head Over Heels.”

(a few lyrics from “Head Over Heels”:

“But traditions I can trace against the child in your face/ Won’t escape my attention”)


They sing two familiar classics: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and “Here Comes the Rain Again”. The second is personally my favorite of the two.

(a few lyrics from “Here Comes the Rain Again”:

“Here comes the rain again/ Falling on my head like a memory/ Falling on my head like a new emotion/…Here comes the rain again/ Raining in my head like a tragedy/ Tearing me apart like a new emotion”)

The Cure:

Now, they sing a good bit of definite classics. Not only is their sound musical poetry itself, but, wow, the lyrics. Everyone should know at least three of their songs because these guys were a major influence on the music and culture during this era. Although they exceed new wave, you would have to have an interesting opinion to not consider them as one of the most notable figures of this genre. Well-known songs include the following: “Friday I’m in Love”, “Pictures of You”, “Lovesong”, “Boys Don’t Cry”, “A Forest”, and more. All of these songs consist of poetic lyrics, but I only have time for one.

(a few lyrics from “Pictures of You”:

“Remembering you fallen into my arms/ Crying for the death of your heart/ You were stone white/ So delicate/ Lost in the cold/ You were always so lost in the dark”)

To conclude this post, I would like to say a few words. I apologize for any errors in the lyrics, and I also apologize for grouping some late eighties and early nineties music with the rest. They still carry an “eighties air”, I guess—although some of them serve as significant precursors for the nineties, but I do not want to delve too much into that. Again, although I have my musicologist credentials, I am only 100% certified, so I hope you pardon my scattered interpretation of these songs. Anyway, thank you for reading this; have a nice day. I hope you will listen to at least one of these songs, as they deserve some appreciation. Peace out.

Wednesday’s Fun Fact:

In Spanish, two “l’s” together are pronounced like a “y” in English. It makes you question the pronunciation of the word llama, does it not?

Author: Callie Matthews

"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." - The Book Thief

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