1984: Not Really Orwell’s Dystopia


Growing up, the year 1984 always seemed to be a year of impending doom. In some ways it was, what with the Ayn Rand-driven Reaganomics unfortunately becoming the dominant economic philosophy leading to the undermining of the middle class. But when were still a decade away from much of Orwell’s dystopic vision of society, although this was not coming from the left but the right. Actually, a book that came out around this time entitled The Handmaid’s Tale may actually be closer to reality today than Orwell’s vision. Sorry, but there was not really a new morning in America but more of an impending doom.

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And, believe it or not, the underground music scene reflected this queasiness with Reagan’s America. Go back and listen to music of Run-D.M.C., The Replacements, Hüsker Dü or The Smiths, and you can hear this anger building. While, the media was attempting to push a party-hearty music of glam metal to keep the youth diverted from reality.

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Yet, through it all, some of the finest music was being released during this pivotal year. 1984, of course, was Prince’s year. At one point during the summer of 1984, the man had the number one album, single and movie in the country. But, other artists were hitting the bullseye with their music. The Cars released a terrific album, Heartbeat City, that was loaded with hits. Van Halen, another band who debuted in 1978 with The Cars, released a great commercial album with 1984. And, one of my personal favorites, The Style Council, was bringing their Motown/Europop vision to the forefront of the music scene.

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On a personal level, 1984 was my senior year in college. I was facing adulthood, marriage, a career and an impending parenthood all at once while attempting to figure out how to mature into the vision of myself without too much compromise. At least the music was great that year to help me through this terrifying moment in my life. But, it was a hell of a year to be the soundtrack of that kind of year, which ends my decade of development as Gen X-er coming of age.

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So, let’s put a cap on this decade with what I consider to be the finest year of this ten-year run of when I might have actually been somewhat “cool.” Let’s count ’em down!

9.16 Roxanne-Shante-1984

100. “Roxanne’s Revenge” – Roxanne Shante

99. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr.

98. “Rock Box” – Run-D.M.C.

97. “Rock You like a Hurricane” – Scorpions

96. “Footloose” – Kenny Loggins

95. “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” – Deniece Williams

94. “Holiday” – Madonna

93. “Let the Music Play” – Shannon

92. “Cruel Summer” – Bananarama

91. “Jump (For My Love)” – The Pointer Sisters

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90. “Talking in Your Sleep” – The Romantics

89. “Legs” – ZZ Top

88. “Eyes Without a Face” – Billy Idol

87. “Dance Hall Days” – Wang Chung

86. “On the Dark Side” – John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band

85. “Original Sin” – INXS

84. “Break My Stride” – Matthew Wilder

83. “Nobody Told Me” – John Lennon

82. “Lucky Star” – Madonna

81. “Middle of the Road” – The Pretenders

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80. “Automatic” – The Pointer Sisters

79. “Hot for Teacher” – Van Halen

78. “(She’s) Sexy + 17” – Stray Cats

77. “Jungle Love” – The Time

76. “Relax” – Frankie Goes to Hollywood

75. “You Might Think” – The Cars

74. “The Warrior” – Scandal (Featuring Patty Smyth)

73. “99 Luftballoons” – Nena

72. “Valotte” – Julian Lennon

71. “Roxanne Roxanne” – U.T.F.O.

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70. “Lovergirl” – Teena Marie

69. “Close (To the Edit)” – The Art of Noise

68. “Magic” – The Cars

67. “Got a Hold on Me” – Christine McVie

66. “Dancing in the Sheets” – Shalamar

65. “That’s All” – Genesis

64. “Head Over Heels” – The Go-Go’s

63. “Adult Education” – Daryl Hall & John Oates

62. “Going Down to Liverpool” – The Bangles

61. “Run Runaway” – Slade

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60. “They Don’t Know” – Tracey Ullman

59. “I Want a New Drug” – Huey Lewis & the News

58. “State of Shock” – The Jacksons & Mick Jagger

57. “Sunglasses at Night” – Corey Hart

56. “Who’s That Girl” – Eurythmics

55. “Stuck on You” – Lionel Richie

54. “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper

53. “Blue Jean” – David Bowie

52. “Last Christmas” – Wham!

51. “The Boys of Summer” – Don Henley

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50. “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner

49. “Cover Me” – Bruce Springsteen

48. “Purple Rain” – Prince & the Revolution

47. “I Feel for You” – Chaka Khan

46. “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” – Phil Collins

45. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Twisted Sister

44. “Born in the U.S.A.” – Bruce Springsteen

43. “Oh Sherrie” – Steve Perry

42. “Round and Round” – Ratt

41. “Hold Me Now” – Thompson Twins

40. “Rebel Yell” – Billy Idol

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39. “Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell

38. “Authority Song” – John Cougar Mellencamp

37. “Jump” – Van Halen

36. “Easy Lover” – Philip Bailey Jr. with Phil Collins

35. “Panama” – Van Halen

34. “I Will Dare” – The Replacements

33. “Wouldn’t It Be Good” – Nik Kershaw

32. “Out of Touch” – Daryl Hall & John Oates

31. “I Can Dream About You” – Dan Hartman

30. “The Reflex” – Duran Duran

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29. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid

28. “Give It Up” – KC

27. “The Bird” – The Time

26. “Lights Out” – Peter Wolf

25. “It’s My Life” – Talk Talk

24. “Two Tribes” – Frankie Goes to Hollywood

23. “Drive” – The Cars

22. “Radio Ga Ga” – Queen

Photo of Bruce SPRINGSTEEN

21. “Pink Cadillac” – Bruce Springsteen

20. “She Bop” – Cyndi Lauper

19. “Pride (In the Name of Love)” – U2

18. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham!

17. “Pink Houses” – John Cougar Mellencamp

16. “What’s Love Got to Do with It” – Tina Turner

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15. “Careless Whisper” – Wham! featuring George Michael

14. “Sister Christian” – Night Ranger

13. “Like a Virgin” – Madonna

12. “Missing You” – John Waite

11. “Borderline” – Madonna

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10. “The Glamorous Life” – Sheila E.

9. “You’re the Best Thing” – The Style Council

8. “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” – R.E.M.

7. “How Soon Is Now?” – The Smiths

6. “Erotic City” – Prince & the Revolution

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5. “Killing Moon” – Echo & the Bunnymen

4. “Dancing in the Dark” – Bruce Springsteen

3. “My Ever Changing Mood” – The Style Council

2. “Let’s Go Crazy” – Prince & the Revolution

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1. “When Doves Cry” – Prince

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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