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Quora Answer : What are your top 10 bands that emerged from the 80's?

Oct 13, 2016

A2A by Simon Huggins

Well .. my top two all time favourite musical artists / "bands" got started in the 80s. Even though you wouldn't really classify them as "80s" bands. In fact their most definitive / "best" work comes later. In a sense they're my favourite artists because they're timeless, and go on doing their own things, without getting stale or trapped in a style or era. (And that's why I'm not going to be able to do justice to them in a short question like this.)

But, anyway ... joint first (with examples of their 80s styles) :



The pleasure, for me, really kicks in at the beginning of the 90s, but there's a lot of experimentation and interesting collaboration in the 80s. Here's an 80s song I still listen to that captures the folky / esoteric vibe of C93

And here's one probably written / produced at the very end of the 80s or 1990 (released 91)

OK. So now my three big "indie" bands of the 80s. The ones that teenage me went around claiming were the best bands ever.

Depeche Mode

The The

The ultimate teenage angst band

Cocteau Twins

All the Shoegaze you're ever going to need :

Great stuff ... but truth is, I never listen to Depeche Mode these days. And rarely to Cocteaus or The The.

Here's what I do listen to, though :


The Shamen

You can keep your En-Tact and Boss Drum. They're pretty boring except when they're good for a laugh. But this record changed everything for me. The first really plausible synthesis of psychedelic indie with the coming acid house and techno.

But to be honest, I mainly listen to their even earlier stuff :

Good call from Simon Huggins to mention Frankie Goes to Hollywood. But I'll argue that

Pet Shop Boys

are the outstanding survivors of the post- Hi NRG / gay disco pop scene. (Even if I listened to a lot more Soft Cell and Erasure during the 80s.) Still doing good work today.

OK. That's enough bands. Like all these "best band" surveys, it misses the point entirely. The greatest innovations of the 80s were all kinds of electronic dance music, house, techno ... so much was invented, but the great records are often one-offs. Or remixes. So I'm going to put

Electronic Dance Music

as "band" #9, and give these examples. The record that really turned me on to Acid House.

and one of the first hip-hop classics that caught my attention :

Finally, another cheat :


There's an entire world of 80s music which I ignored as slick / bland pop dross at the time. I've never liked it. Never had the slightest interest in it.

But then some geniuses started sampling and (not-so) subtly transforming this music, until it became one of the most compelling and mind-blowingly strange and trippy sounds of the 2010s ... I listen to (and love) so much of this stuff today.

Quora Answer : What song from the 80s still sounds fresh today?

Aug 10, 2019

There are several ways to answer this question.

What music from the 80s was so innovative that when we listen to it today, we put ourselves into the position of people hearing it for the first time, and admire how fresh it sounded?

That obviously includes a lot of innovative music from the 80s. Any classic early hip-hop tune, Planet Rock, The Message, early Public Enemy etc. You know those were radically fresh sounds when they came out. Even after 40 years of hip-hop, they rock a party as hard in 2019 as they did in 1983 or 1984.

80s synthpop and proto-techno can have similar effects. The Human League. Depeche Mode. Some Yello.

Another possibility is what music is kind of anachronistically out of its time, with no particular references we can pick up on to date it, and that might as well have been made today as in the 80s.

To answer this second, I suggest :

Richenel - L'esclave endormi

Japan - Ghosts

Two amazing songs which are never going to sound "old" because they are genuinely "timeless".

A third possibility is what music sounds like music that was made much later, but was actually made in the 80s.

For example :

Charanjit Singh - Raga Bhairav

Sounds like it's a techno-Indian crossover from the 90s or 2000s but was actually made in 1982.


Ryuichi Sakamoto - Riot In Lagos

is from 1980.

Quora Answer : Who thinks that the music in the 80s was better than today's music?

Nov 4, 2015

Not me.

I grew up in the 80s. I think the 80s was a hell of a lot better than the rockists who idolize the 60s and 70s complain about it being.

But every period has fantastic music if you know how to find it. In the 80s, the best stuff wasn't mainstream, it was on indie labels and written about in obscure fanzines. In 2010s it's on BandCamp and obscure limited edition cassette labels.

Today I listen to about 60% new music that's been released in the last 5 years. About 20% is some of my favourite artists, usually originating in the 80s and 90s but who continue making great music today. About 15% is discovering artists I didn't know from the 60s and 70s. And about 5% from the 2000s (not because this was a bad period but because it's that zone where it's too old to sound fresh, but too recent to be re-evaluated as classic)

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