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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.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment "What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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People share experiences with intrusive thoughts.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

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No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.