One of the perks of getting old is that radio station formats shamelessly pander to your demographic. But instead of exploring slightly less obvious territory, these retro-minded stations often stick to the same songs that were overplayed in their heyday. I guess I'm thinking about this because my high school reunion is coming up, and I'm sure the party soundtrack will be heavy on the Tears for Fears.
Off the top of my head, here are a few songs from that era that ought to be permanently retired:
Everybody Wang Chung Tonight: Wang Chung's darkly seductive "To Live and Die in L.A." is a much better song, but if I had a dollar for every time I'd heard it on the radio in the last couple of years, I'd have maybe one dollar.
(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party: I hate this damned song. I've always liked the Beastie Boys, but it annoys me to no end that this was their biggest hit, the one that supposedly introduced millions of Americans to rap music. Almost every other song on "Licensed to Ill" is superior: "Paul Revere," "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn," hell, even "Brass Monkey."
Purple Rain: Prince put out a lot of product in the '80s, much of it excellent. Yet, it's as if the only the megahits from his seminal album of the same name count. It's not that "Purple Rain" isn't a magnificent song, but "Erotic City" wasn't exactly shabby.
Girls Just Want To Have Fun: It's not Cyndi Lauper's fault that this song has been used to promote Ladies Night drink specials for nearly 25 years, but I think we've all heard it enough.
Perfect Way: Does anybody even know what the &%#* Scritti Politti were saying? I don't, and it still pisses me off.
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go: I loved it at the time, but I also thought George Michael was straight.
Take My Breath Away: I can't listen to this song without thinking of the cringe-inducing scene in "Top Gun" where Kelly McGillis confesses that she's fallen for Tom Cruise's character, Maverick. And I can't think of Tom Cruise's character Maverick without thinking of lines like, "I feel the need -- the need for speed!"
If You Leave: The only good part of this "Pretty in Pink" classic by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark is the synth intro. The rest of it is full of whining and WTF lyrics like "Seven years went under the bridge like time was standing still."
Come On Eileen: Even then, I knew Dexy's Midnight Runners were not destined for a long, storied career.
Rock Me Amadeus: I've always much preferred Falco's "Der Kommissar," even if it's almost identical.
It Takes Two: When I arrived at FAMU in the fall of 1988, this song was played roughly between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11:59 p.m., nonstop. The only reason it stopped playing at midnight was because campus parties were required to shut down by then. In fact, my friend C. was driven to tears the night someone on her dorm floor played this song on an endless loop ("Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! Yeah!" ...). No one was killed.