Help me make a playlist of synth-heavy tracks...
August 28, 2007 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Help me make a playlist of cheesy, synth-heavy tracks from the 80's & early 90's.

I'm looking for things like "Father Figure" by George Michael, "Drive" by The Cars, "Lady In Red" by Roy Orbison, or "Sign Your Name Across My Heart" by Terence Trent D'Arby.
posted by inactivist to Media & Arts (48 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
What about Abracadabra from the Steve Miller Band?
posted by emilyv at 7:51 PM on August 28, 2007

Milli Vanilli
posted by Burhanistan at 7:55 PM on August 28, 2007


Total Eclipse of the Heart.
posted by overhauser at 7:59 PM on August 28, 2007

"I Ran" - Flock Of Seagulls.

"Lady In Red" ... that was Chris de Burgh, wasn't it? Orbison didn't do that one.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:00 PM on August 28, 2007

Yeah, de Burgh is guilty.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:01 PM on August 28, 2007

Missing by Everything But The Girl
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:02 PM on August 28, 2007

Human League, (Keep Feeling) Fascination.
posted by ldenneau at 8:02 PM on August 28, 2007

"The Promise" by When In Rome.
posted by padraigin at 8:09 PM on August 28, 2007

Woops! Thanks for the correction. That's what you get when you, uhh... buy incorrectly labeled mp3's ;)

A few more I thought of...
The Crying Game - Boy George
In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins
No Ordinary Love - Sade
Age of Loneliness - Enigma
posted by inactivist at 8:10 PM on August 28, 2007

that song from "Chariots of fire"
posted by longsleeves at 8:14 PM on August 28, 2007

I thought that Total Eclipse of the Heart is piano, drum, strings and some guitar. There's synth?
posted by inactivist at 8:18 PM on August 28, 2007

"Situation" by Yazoo (known as Yaz) in the US.

"Fascinated" by Company B

"Take on Me" by A-ha

Anything by Kon Kan
posted by solongxenon at 8:19 PM on August 28, 2007

The Thompson Twins' pretty much define cheesy mid-80s synth-pop. "Hold Me Now," "Doctor Doctor," "Lay Your Hands on Me," etc.
posted by mediareport at 8:22 PM on August 28, 2007

Oh l'Amour - Erasure
I Want to Kbnow What Love Is - Foreigner
You Are My World - Communards
Always on my Mind - Pet Shop Boys
Modern Boys - London Suede
As I Lay Me - Sophie B. Hawkins
Alive and Kicking - Simple Minds
Follow You Follow Me - Genesis
Is This Love? - Whitesnake
Red Skies - The Fixx
Lonely In Your Nightmare - Duran Duran
Life In A Northern Town - Dream Academy
Everything Counts - Depeche Mode
Don't Know What You Got - Cinderella
posted by mr. remy at 8:33 PM on August 28, 2007

Oh man, maybe rockier than what you need but "Separate Ways" by Journey is full of 80's synth cheese.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 8:40 PM on August 28, 2007

Here, this may help. I'll always have fond memories of Split Enz' "I Got You" and a bunch of their other hits. Ultravox's "Vienna" was a monster hit (in some circles anyway) in 1980 and kinda defines this stuff for me, too.
posted by mediareport at 8:44 PM on August 28, 2007

"Don't You Want Me" by The Human League sets the standard for cheese + synth.
posted by jeffmshaw at 8:49 PM on August 28, 2007

I guess I should have defined my question better... I'm looking for more of the dreamy, sentimental, sad or sexy songs. Like my examples, which features prominent synth droning sounds, rather than jamming out on the keyboard.

A list of just all songs featuring synth would probably include half of everything made in the 80's...
posted by inactivist at 8:53 PM on August 28, 2007

OMD - If You Leave (youtube)
posted by girlhacker at 9:03 PM on August 28, 2007

"final countdown" by Europe.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:19 PM on August 28, 2007

Just Can't Get Enough by Depeche Mode
posted by dhammond at 9:21 PM on August 28, 2007

woop, didn't see the followup part about "sad and dreamy". Check out the entire back catalog of Erasure and the Pet Shop Boys. Both have some great slower sad songs, and both are synth based.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:22 PM on August 28, 2007

I missed that follow up too. Forget what I said :-)
posted by dhammond at 9:37 PM on August 28, 2007

Airwaves by Thomas Dolby [Golden Age Of Wireless], or maybe Screen Kiss from Flat Earth (also Dolby). GAOW was an incredibly underappreciated album with some very moody, melancholy songs.

Tinseltown In The Rain, by The Blue Nile

Nature Trails by Comsat Angels
posted by docpops at 9:41 PM on August 28, 2007

Uncertain Smile (the original flute version) from The The
posted by docpops at 9:44 PM on August 28, 2007

Alphaville, "Big in Japan" and Dead or Alive, "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)." Can't believe nobody has mentioned those two yet.
posted by blucevalo at 10:00 PM on August 28, 2007

lead in with Harold Faltemeyer's 'Axel F*,' just to set let your listener(s) know you're not f'ing around. its an instrumental yes, but its a like a synthesized roundhouse kick to the face.

*the theme to Beverly Hills Cop
posted by uaudio at 10:09 PM on August 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

I refuse to believe that no one has mentioned the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams and anything Soft Cell ever made (including the infamous Tainted Love), more or less.
also, dig through Gary Numan(of Cars fame)'s back catalogue.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:24 PM on August 28, 2007

Jane Child "Don't Want to Fall in Love". Not a guitar in sight but I still love it so! Wore that cassette single out!
posted by philad at 10:33 PM on August 28, 2007

Everything that Gary Numan recorded. Done.
posted by Webbster at 10:42 PM on August 28, 2007

"I Ran" - A Flock Of Seagulls.

Wishing (If I Had A Photograph) - would be a better choice.
posted by Webbster at 10:43 PM on August 28, 2007

Paul Haig - Something Good.

(I like this, could go on all night)
posted by Webbster at 10:45 PM on August 28, 2007

One more. Take My Breath Away - Berlin. Pretty much any movie soundtrack from the 80's will hook you up with more songs than you'll know what to do with.
posted by philad at 10:52 PM on August 28, 2007

Howard Jones: "Hide and Seek" from his first album, or maybe "Elegy" or "Hunger for the Flesh" from his second. These are not well-known songs, but they're among his best.
posted by kindall at 11:13 PM on August 28, 2007

I have a precious, precious playlist of this very stuff. Here's how mine goes:

Ordinary World - Duran Duran
Cold - Annie Lennox
A Thousand Hours - The Cure
Just Like Heaven - The Cure
Wonderful - Adam Ant
I Melt With You - Modern English
Tomorrow - James
She Runs Away - Duncan Shiek
Come Undone - Duran Duran
Vow - Garbage
Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
Laid - James
Riding on the Metro - Berlin
posted by ourobouros at 11:16 PM on August 28, 2007

Obsession - Animotion
posted by PenDevil at 1:19 AM on August 29, 2007

Only Time Will Tell - Asia
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:44 AM on August 29, 2007

Broken Wings - Mr. Mister
Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper
Shout - Tears for Fears
Your Love - The Outfield
True - Spandau Ballet
Listen to Your Heart - Roxette
Forever Young - Alphaville
Eye in the Sky - Alan Parsons Project
What Have I Done to Deserve This - Pet Shop Boys

Back in those days my Dad used to bring a lot of $2 bootleg tapes back from Okinawa...
posted by krippledkonscious at 3:20 AM on August 29, 2007

Two of Hearts -- Stacy Q (best synthpop song ever made)
Double Vision -- Foreigner
Shell Shock -- New Order
Smalltown Boy & Why -- Bronski Beat
Holding Back the Years -- Simply Red
posted by lastobelus at 4:22 AM on August 29, 2007

"Suddenly" by Angry Anderson
posted by Lucy Phi at 5:15 AM on August 29, 2007

Too Shy by Kajagoogoo
posted by headspace at 5:40 AM on August 29, 2007

Well, they're probably not the most synth heavy, but if you mix the last beat of "Kiss" by Prince and the first of "PYT" by Michael Jackson you're guaranteed to get people dancin'. Or at least be THAT person rockin' out in your car.
posted by doppleradar at 5:57 AM on August 29, 2007

Maybe it's not synth-heavy enough, but I can't believe no one's mentioned "The Final Countdown" by Europe.
posted by lemoncello at 7:24 AM on August 29, 2007

Oh, my bad -- someone did. Never mind.
posted by lemoncello at 7:27 AM on August 29, 2007

THE worst synth sound. Ugh, now it's in my head.
posted by Mach5 at 7:31 AM on August 29, 2007

Let's second "True" by Spandau Ballet, a truly (HAH!) beautiful song that really evokes longing...
posted by wittgenstein at 9:26 AM on August 29, 2007

Thirding Spandau Ballet. A lot of their music in general has that kind of longing/dreamy feeling. Try "Through the Barricades" or "Only When You Leave".

Also Nik Kershaw's "The Riddle"
Ultravox "Dancing with Tears in my Eyes"
posted by gemmy at 5:06 PM on August 29, 2007

Thanks for the suggestions! This will give me lots to go find....
posted by inactivist at 10:58 AM on August 31, 2007

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