Top 40 “New Wave” Songs: This Ain’t No Disco!

Ok, so let’s all just pretend we know what the definition of the term “New Wave” is. Let’s also say that, even though artists like Bowie, Roxy Music, Kraftwerk and Iggy Pop had a great influence on “the new wave” that they are exempt from this list. And here’s another rule: the band had to “come of age” during the years 1978-1984.

New Wave is such a ridiculous term and one we all know was used by the music industry to classify the brand of pop music that came out during the above time frame. A common misconception about this type of music is that the songs and albums were made up primarily of synthesizers and drum machines, which is categorically untrue. Also, when most folks look back at the 80’s “new wave” movement I often hear cries of “one hit wonder!”, and while that decade did give birth to a number of those I challenge any one of you out there to tell me a decade that didn’t.

There were some fantastic songs released back then, and some of the bands that released them are still going strong today; others still are finally being recognized as ‘influential’. It is no longer an un-cool thing to say you came of age during the ‘80’s, and to celebrate the many musical wonders of this much maligned decade I give you my list of the top “new wave” songs of all time below.

One caveat, though. This list is subjective. What I consider “new wave”, you may not. For instance, I don’t consider The Smiths, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe or Joe Jackson “New Wave”, along with many others, so although I adore these artists to no end you will not see them on my list. Nor will you see Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, who were branded new wave from the get-go, as baffling as that may now sound. Nor will you see some of the K-Tel types that some would say typified this genre, such as A Flock Of Seagulls or Duran Duran. The reason? I didn’t listen to them back then. The below list does typify what I listened to back then. As a matter of fact I probably had these very tracks on a series of mixed tapes!

So here we go, in no particular order!

 Pop Music, M

 Kings Of The Wild Frontier, Adam And The Ants

 Everything Counts, Depeche Mode

 Golden Brown, The Stranglers

 The Perfect Kiss, New Order

Enola Gay, OMD

 Video Killed The Radio Star, The Buggles

Heart Of Glass, Blondie

Psycho Killer, Talking Heads

Rip It Up, Orange Juice

Cars, Gary Numan

Driver’s Seat, Sniff ‘n’ The Tears

Making Plans For Nigel, XTC

Changeling, Simple Minds

Good Times Roll, The Cars

Don’t Stand So Close To Me, The Police

 Brass In Pocket, The Pretenders

Partytime, Jazz Butcher

One Of Our Submarines, Thomas Dolby

 West End Girls, Pet Shop Boys

Everyday Is Halloween, Ministry

 Mexican Radio, Wall Of Voodoo

Living In China, Men Without Hats

Ball Of Confusion, Love And Rockets

Radio Silence, Blue Peter

Life In A Northern Town, Dream Academy

Vienna, Ultravox

Situation, Yaz

 In Between Days, The Cure

 Ca Plane Pour Moi, Plastic Betrand

Kiss Me, Tin Tin

Bella Lagosi’s Dead, Bauhaus

Saved By Zero, The Fixx

 I Love You, Yello

Life In The Gladhouse, Modern English

 The Look Of Love, ABC

This Is The Day, The The

I Got You, Split Enz

 Squeeze, Another Nail In My Heart, Squeeze

Dominion (Mother Russia), Sisters Of Mercy