The Only 1983 Playlist that Matters: Electronic & Experimental

For better and often for much worse, 1983 was a year in which the technology we take for granted went public: the Internet, cellphones, the Macintosh, Microsoft Word etc etc.

The same can be said for music: two of the creations that came to define "Eighties Music" (as its commonly known) hit the shelves that year, specifically the Yamaha DX-7 digital synthesizer and MIDI, officially known as Musical Instrument Digital Interface.



The Only 1983 Playlist that Matters: The Birth of 80s College Rock

With New Wave now dominating the mainstream in 1983, new bands arose,  taking the driver’s seat from the class of 1979. A lot of these bands were too esoteric for the majors or still hewed to punk idealism, so a new breed of independent record labels arose to serve their audiences. 

College radio stations became the go-to outlet for these bands, which naturally thrived in towns with a lot of schools.


The Only 1983 Playlist that Matters: Goth and Industrial

I have a truly shocking revelation to share with the world. I hope you’re sitting down.

Ready for this? OK, here it comes: TikTok Zoomers didn’t invent androgyny. They weren’t even the first generation to run around looking like rejects from a sideshow attraction. Zoomer girls, I mean Zoomer uterus havers, didn’t invent shaving the sides of your head and dyeing what's left weird and unnatural colors.

Mind-blowing, I know.


The Only 1983 Playlist that Really Matters: Headbangin' and Slam Dancin'

1983 was a huge year for Heavy Metal, and not only because of Quiet Riot’s soundalike cover of Slade’s 'Cum On Feel the Noize' sending the Metal Health LP to the top of the charts, the first metal band to ever do so.


The Only 1983 Playlist that Matters: The (Mainstream) Empire Strikes Back

1983 was one of those pivotal years when a new generation of kids took over and embraced a new generation of music. It was the first year that GenXers graduated high school and with the rise of MTV and few had time for the hoary, hairy heroes of yesteryear.

So while a host of acts found themselves on the wrong side of the generational divide, a number of the smarter dogs were able to learn some new tricks and stay atop the charts. It was all very exciting, since you had the New Wave pulling in influences from both disco and rock -- bitter rivals in the early 80s-- and creating this incredibly huge middle ground where all sorts of influences could meet and exchange musical body fluids.

We've already looked in great depth at what Bowie and The Police were serving up in '83, so let's have a look at how the Mainstream was striking back at the New Wave insurgency...


The Only 1983 Playlist that Matters: Synthetic Pop Pleasures

You can’t talk about 1983 without talking about Eurythmics, who bookended the year with two big hit LPs Sweet Dreams and Touch. Their sound wasn’t anything new for the genre but was certainly a bracing shock to be hearing on Top 40 radio at the time.