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Pop Culture

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.

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

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Ryan Metzger and son Owen

There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

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Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

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Bryanne was approached by a man in a parking lot asking for a dollar to catch the bus. The entire time, the mom scrounged around in her purse looking for spare change and revealed she felt bad because she thought she had some. Bryanne's desire to help was a simple act of kindness to another human in need without the expectation of something in return.

During the time it took for the unsuspecting mother to dig for loose change, the "stranded" stranger, Zach, introduced himself and asked if the duo were from Philly. Once they said they were from the area, he then inquired if they were Eagles fans...the football team, not the birds. "You ever been to an Eagles game?" Zach asked.

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However popular the idea is, polyamory is misunderstood by a large swath of the public and is often seen as deviant. However, those who practice it view polyamory as a healthy lifestyle with several benefits.

Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

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Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

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The notion of living without an internal monologue is a fairly new one. Until psychologist Russell Hurlburt’s studies started coming out in the late 90s, it was widely accepted that everyone had a little voice narrating in their head. Now Hurlburt, who has been studying people's "inner experience" for 40 years, estimates that only 30-50% of the population frequently think this way.

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In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
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Community

Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.