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What's the most '80s song of all time? People share their most bodacious answers.

A time for big hair and even bigger energy.

best 80s song, 80s music, 80s songs

A sound uniquely its own.

Maybe we have nostalgia-driven television shows like “Stranger Things” to blame, but music from the '80s has made its way back into the mainstream. Just what makes that '80s sound so distinctive?

You could go the scientific approach and attribute it to the heavy use of synthesized piano. And you’d certainly be right. A study published by Humanities Commons noted that one particular preset (E. PIANO 1) on the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer could be heard in up to 61% of No. 1 hits on the pop, country and R&B Billboard charts by 1986.

Of course, I think we’d have to acknowledge that there was more to it than electric piano. That music just had a certain attitude all its own. It was loud, both audibly and visually. And perhaps best of all—it encouraged people of all shapes and sizes to be bold and embrace their inner weirdo.

So, just what is the "most '80s '80s song" of all time? That was a question recently posed on AskReddit. Here are 16 of the best answers:


"Take On Me" – A-ha

@Starstarstar42 said it best: “It is the 80's distilled, run through a charcoal filter, then run through a 2nd distillation to remove any 70's & 90's impurities, leaving only the concentrated 80's with delicate woodsy overtones and hints of plum.”

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Tears for Fears

It certainly helps that this song plays during an iconic scene in “Real Genius,” a quintessential '80s movie.

“I Ran (So Far Away)” – A Flock of Seagulls

Flock of Seagulls … the band who brought us the '80s most iconic (and unflattering) haircut.

​“Rio” – Duran Duran

With the constant sailboat imagery in the music video, perhaps “Rio” started yacht rock.

“Let's Go Crazy” – Prince

The '80s were a time for epic guitar solos. And Prince delivered the most epic guitar solos of all time.

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper

Lauper’s first single as a solo artist not only became an instant hit, but a bona fide power anthem for girls everywhere. Especially those who just wanted to wear loud colors and cheap jewelry.

“Video Killed the Radio Star” – The Buggles

Technically this song came out in 1979. But, being the first music video ever shown on MTV in 1981, this classic by The Buggles really paved the way for every other '80s hit. Little did the creators of this ode to nostalgia realize, it was only the beginning of the rise of technology in the media.

“Material Girl” – Madonna

Though Madonna has gone through several different incarnations since, the robot voice and heavy synth arrangement in “Material Girl” definitely had her in full-on '80s mode, despite wearing a dress inspired by Marilyn Monroe in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

Of course, an even better version of this song came out in 1989 when Sesame Street made “Cereal Girl.”

“Just Can't Get Enough” – Depeche Mode

Because the '80s wasn’t just about outrageous fashion choices. You could also dress like Neo from "The Matrix."

“Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley

Astley had no idea that this one song would immortalize him as a meme forever.

“Every Rose Has Its Thorn" – Poison

According to @momzilla, it’s the quintessential "sitting heartbroken on the bleachers at the 8th grade dance because your crush is dancing with someone else" songs.

“Danger Zone” – Kenny Loggins

Can anyone hear this song and not think of “Top Gun?” I don’t think so.

“Don't Stop Believin'” – Journey

Journey’s signature song was ahead of its time structurally, with the hook coming after two pre-choruses and three verses. Still, “Don’t Stop Believin’” became a phenomenon that still shows up in pop culture everywhere, not to mention your local karaoke bar.

“99 Luftballons” – Nena

Childlike wonder mixed with images of a nuclear holocaust? There’s nothing more '80s than that.

“Don't You Forget About Me” – Simple Minds

Because ”The Breakfast Club.” Obviously.

"Walk Like an Egyptian" – The Bangles

“We were all doing that stupid dance all the time.” – @killebrew_rootbeer

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. But it's enough to give anyone an '80s playlist starter pack. Be warned: Listen for too long and you might find yourself in neon spandex and saying things like “gag me with a spoon.” Which might not be a terrible thing.

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Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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All GIFs and images via Exposure Labs.


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Tracy Chapman makes rare appearance to sing 'Fast Car' with Luke Combs at the Grammys

The late 80s hit is finding new life as a country song—and topping the charts.

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Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs performed an epic duet of "Fast Car" at the 2024 Grammys.

It had been rumored that Tracy Chapman might be making an appearance at the Grammys this year, after Luke Combs’ country version of her iconic song “Fast Car” earned a grammy nomination.

Combs' rendition of the late 80s classic, which won him Song of the Year at 2023 Country Music Awards, has been met with both great praise and great criticism.

Many applauded Combs for giving the tune a major resurgence and even bringing it to a whole new audience. At the same time, some took umbrage with the fact that Combs’ version had placed higher on the Billboard Hot 100 charts than Chapman’s original and argued that it was a symptom of long-endured racism within the country music genre.

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Scientists tested 3 popular bottled water brands for nanoplastics using new tech, and yikes

The results were alarming—an average of 240,000 nanoplastics per 1 liter bottle—but what does it mean for our health?

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Columbia University researchers tested bottled water for nanoplastics and found hundreds of thousands of them.

Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, Dasani—it's impressive how many brands we have for something humans have been consuming for millennia. Despite years of studies showing that bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water, Americans are more consuming more bottled water than ever, to the tune of billions of dollars in bottled water sales.

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And now, a new study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands is throwing more data into the bottled vs. tap water choice.

Researchers from Columbia University used a new laser-guided technology to detect nanoplastics that had previously evaded detection due to their miniscule size. The new technology can detect, count and analyze and chemical structure of nanoparticles, and they found seven different major types of plastic: polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.

In contrast to a 2018 study that found around 300 plastic particles in an average liter of bottled water, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2024 found 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter bottle on average between the three brands studied. (The name of the brands were not indicated in the study.)

As opposed to microplastics, nanoplastics are too small to be seen by microscope. Their size is exactly why experts are concerned about them, as they are small enough to invade human cells and potentially disrupt cellular processes.

“Micro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point. They’ve been found in human lung tissues. They’ve been found in human feces; they’ve been found in human blood,” study coauthor Phoebe Stapleton, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy told CNN Health,

We know that nanoplastics are making their way into our bodies. We just don't have enough research yet on what that means for our health, and we still have more questions than answers. How many nanoplastics does it take to do damage and/or cause disease? What kinds of damage or disease might they cause? Is whatever effect they might have cumulative? We simply don't have answers to these questions yet.

That's not to say there's no cause for concern. We do know that certain levels of microplastic exposure have been shown to adversely affect the viability of cells. Nanoplastics are even smaller—does that mean they are more likely to cause cellular damage? Science is still working that out.

According to Dr. Sara Benedé of the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Food Science Research, it's not just the plastics themselves that might cause damage, but what they may bring along with them. “[Microparticles and nanoparticles] have the ability to bind all kinds of compounds when they come into contact with fluids, thus acting as carriers of all kinds of substances including environmental pollutants, toxins, antibiotics, or microorganisms,” Dr. Benedé told Medical News Today.

Where is this plastic in water coming from? This study focused on bottled water, which is almost always packaged in plastic. The filters used to filter the water before bottling are also frequently made from plastic.

Is it possible that some of these nanoplastics were already present in the water from their original sources? Again, research is always evolving on this front, but microplastics have been detected in lakes, streams and other freshwater sources, so it's not a big stretch to imagine that nanoplastics may be making their way into freshwater ecosystems as well. However, microplastics are found at much higher levels in bottled water than tap water, so it's also not a stretch to assume that most of the nanoplastics are likely coming from the bottling process and packaging rather than from freshwater sources.

The reality is, though, we simply don't know yet.

“Based on other studies we expected most of the microplastics in bottled water would come from leakage of the plastic bottle itself, which is typically made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic,” lead author Naixin Qian, a doctoral student in chemistry at Columbia University, told CNN Health. “However, we found there’s actually many diverse types of plastics in a bottle of water, and that different plastic types have different size distributions. The PET particles were larger, while others were down to 200 nanometers, which is much, much smaller.”

We need to drink water, and we need to drink safe water. At this point, we have plenty of environmental reasons for avoiding bottled water unless absolutely necessary and opting for tap water instead. Even if there's still more research to be done, the presence of hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water might just be another reason to make the switch.

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