For my 25th article, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite types of song.

I enjoy ballads because they carry all sorts of emotions in them...Love, heartache, remorse and even happiness. I've felt all of those at one point or another. The 80s has always been a favorite decade for me when it comes to music, and 80s ballads have a certain something to them...A certain magic that connects with me on many levels.

Here are a few of my favorite ballads from my favorite decade. Some of them remind me of my personal life, while others make me think in cinematic images, but I love all of these.

1:

Let's start off with one of my favorite 80s dance groups, Expose, who slowed things down with their 1988 smash "Seasons Change" from 1987's album "Exposure".



I first heard this song in 2000, which was a very uncertain year for me, as I've talked about in several previous articles. I was 17 years old that year, turning 18 on December 22nd of that year, and I was caught in this bizarre nexus between youth and adulthood, an area that lasted between 2000 and 2001. I didn't know where things were going for me. I had assorted mental and emotional issues, I was having some monetary difficulties, I was arguing with teachers over being allowed to act more like adults (meaning I wanted us to be able to curse and watch R-rated movies without getting in trouble), friends were moving on...Things were changing.

I heard this song and I could relate to it. It may seem to be a song about love on the surface, but I heard it and what came to mind was how time was moving on and moving too fast. Hell, I still have vivid nightmares about going back to school, but at the age I am now. Seasons have changed from those years, too, but it's sometimes hard to believe that, though.

2:

The next song I would like to talk about is "Heart Of Stone" by Taylor Dayne from her 1989 album "Can't Fight Fate".



This song has a great air of mystery to it. The instrumentation carries an emotion to it. One can imagine the rain falling on the ground as they walk down the street, longing for comfort of some sort, but not really being able to find it.

Dayne carries that sentiment in this video, as we see her holding herself tightly while the curtain behind her is being blown by a fan as if it were the air bursting off the raindrops that fall to the ground.



There's a desperation to the song that, although I hesitate to say it, I find great. When I say "great", I don't mean I'm glad the song is this way. I mean that Dayne's emoting carries a great sense of drama to it. Singers are like actors...Their job is to sell writing to an audience, and Dayne sells it like she's straight off of Wall Street.

3:

One of my favorite 80s ballads happens to be a cover. Although quite a few people performed it before her, from Sheena Easton to country singer Gary Morris, Bette Midler made the track her own. That song is "Wind Beneath My Wings".



This song does something to me, and the thing it does is remind me of my old friend "Bruce" (For more information on him, read my article "The Age Old Question"). We both liked this song, alongside all sorts of other 80s songs. We had a great bond. We would spend the weekends in our 11th and 12th grade years cruising around the county, always picking up used VHS tapes and music cassettes, taking time to partake in pizza and milkshakes, just doing the things that friends do. He was by my side for a long time, but then he exited without saying goodbye.

As he said goodbye, another friend from my youth re-entered my life. His name is "Chris", and we rekindled our friendship in late 2006. We caught up with each other and reminisced about old times. We now talk regularly...Not as regularly as we should, but we talk to each other a lot.

Friends are like that, and this song reflects the power of friendship, through good and bad. That's why I love this song.

4:

The next track on my list is "Live To Tell" by Madonna.



This is another song that takes me back to my high school years. I was in despair at times. Being in a special education class can do that to you. I'm proud to say that we were nowhere near as challenged as the mentally retarded, but we still had our own crosses to bear. There were regular fits of anger, both from me and from others. It was difficult trying to go along with other people, and even more difficult trying to be myself. My 80s fandom was accelerating in my high school years, but other students laughed at that, while the teachers just thought it was cute. That was tough to deal with, but dealing with my thoughts towards other students was even more difficult. I was thinking some horrific things, and this was in the wake of Columbine, so it was doubly frightening. There were times when I didn't know if I was going to "live to tell" anything about my high school years, but here I am, almost a decade later, behind this computer and writing about things I love.

You know what they say: Every dark cloud has a silver lining.

5:

The next ballad I would like to talk about is one I've done at karaoke several times. At karaoke, I've performed all sorts of songs from Guns 'N' Roses "Welcome To The Jungle" to "Rumors" by Timex Social Club, but I've been willing to slow things down, and this was a great example of that. The song I'm talking about is "Just Once" as performed by James Ingram on Quincy Jones' 1981 album "The Dude".



I first heard this song on a James Ingram CD my Mom had (maybe my borrowing this is what led to her stealing my old school funk CDs away, but that's beside the point). Anyway, I liked this song when I first heard it. It had a great sense of rhythm. A few years later, I started paying attention to the lyrics, and this song was shattering. This is another song about desperation. You can hear it in the lyrics:

"Just once,
Can we figure out what we've been doing wrong?
Why the good times never last for long?
What are we doing wrong?
Just once,
Can we find a way to try and make things right?
To make the magic last for more than just one night?
I know we could break through it,
If we could just get to it just once".

This isn't just lyrics...It's the plea of a man who wants one last chance. Ingram takes the song on with everything he has in him, and comes out swinging all the way.

I love this song, and I have it in my YouTube favorites list, just like this next track, performed first and best by the 1989 one-shot group Pandora's Box.

6:

The song is called "It's All Coming Back To Me Now", as performed on the album "Original Sin".



I touched upon this in my article "Some Of My Fave 80s Women", and now I would like to bring it back by talking about the woman who vocalized this one, Elaine Caswell.



Caswell doesn't really get respect. She was the first one to perform this track, and she did so stunningly. I hear her vocalizing and I imagine a woman standing alone in the middle of a city. Her lover is walking away from her, and in a booming voice, she's singing about their love and hate so loudly that traffic comes to a halt, businessmen stop in their footsteps, and everything shuts down. These entities then get into the spirit and start joining her. That's what I get out of Jim Steinman's production. Caswell's is a commanding voice, and she did this track very well.

Let's detour for a bit and go beyond the 80s:

The song would later end up being covered, in separate versions, by Celine Dion on her "Falling Into You" album and Meat Loaf alongside Marion Raven on the 3rd "Bat Out Of Hell" album.



Out of these 2, I prefer Celine Dion's take on it. Her version isn't a song demanding attention...It's a song about secret remorse. It may not seem secret with her loud singing, but I'm sure that all of us have screamed out our true feelings when no one else is around. It isn't something that should be done, due to the draining it can do to you psychologically and even physically if you're that rip-roaring angry, but in private, at one point or another, we have all spoken loudly about our feelings, for better or for worse.

We now arrive at Meat Loaf and Marion Raven's version. When Meat Loaf is given the right material, he can still tear the fucker up. On the 3rd "Bat Out Of Hell", there's a raucous ball-buster of a tune called "If It Ain't Broke (Break It)" that kicks all sorts of ass. Unfortunately, the 3rd "Bat Out Of Hell" album is also host to his version of "It's All Coming Back To Me Now". He had been meaning to record it for many years, but assorted difficulties too complicated to mention caused a delay in his version. When he finally performed it, I think his voice wasn't suited to a track like this. His voice is hard-edged and hence it needs a hard track. This one, while dramatic, can often seem soft. I feel like the reason that they bought Marion Raven in was because they needed someone to make this version seem less weary by comparison.

It didn't really work, at least to me. Meat Loaf is straining here...You can feel his vocals getting worn like an old wrinkled suit. Give him something hard-edged and he'll fuck things up good...Give him a ballad and he'll fuck things up bad.

To end this mini-discussion of the song, I would once again like to toast Elaine Caswell. Her vocals bring in the right combination of minimalism and excitement that a lot of Steinman's work requires. "Original Sin" turns 20 next year. Let's see a re-release of it!


Now let's loop back to the 80s with the 7th song on the list.

7:

I would like to discuss the song "Human Nature" by Michael Jackson.



I have made quite a few jokes about Jackson. Many of us have. It's a recurring theme on here. In the midst of all these jokes, though, it's sometimes easy for me to forget his singing abilities.

This is a song that takes me back to the Summer Of 1997. I had graduated the 8th grade and I was off to high school after the Summer was over. In the midst of that Summer, I visited the Jersey Shore with my family. I had purchased the "Thriller" album on CD shortly before the trip down there, and I played this song a lot on the journey.

The song impacts me because it makes me wonder what human nature is. Is it to love or to hate or to simply exist? The song can be seen as a love song, or it can be seen as a look at what we can do and be as people. Is it pleasure? Is it pain? Maybe it's best to say that it is what it is.

Let's move on, shall we?

8:

The next song I would like to talk about is Honeymoon Suite's theme to the 1987 movie "Lethal Weapon".



This is one of my favorite examples of the power ballad. It only lasts for a little under 3 minutes, but within those minutes a question is raised. That question? How dangerous can love be?

The opening lyrics sort it out:

"When you lose your love,
And it makes your life turn cold.
When it tears you apart,
Your heart and soul just can't go on.
Love's alive, it sets you free,
And when it's gone, it's plain to see,
How even love can become a lethal weapon".

When I hear this song, I think of stalkers. I think of those people who want a relationship to continue even though it's over on one end. That could also be applied to Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) as well.



It's difficult for Riggs to keep going on. He has lost his love, and he's always trying to figure out a way to reunite with her. Begging for a drug dealer to shoot him and putting a gun in his mouth can be seen as him preparing to stalk his deceased wife into the next world. She was everything to him.

When Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) tries calling Riggs on his bluff, Riggs puts the gun to his face and you can hear the click-click. This leads Murtaugh to say:

"You're not trying to draw a psycho pension! YOU REALLY ARE CRAZY!"

I know I go on about "Lethal Weapon" a lot, but it's like an all-purpose movie for me. Comedy, drama, action, music, some T&A, a lot of profanity...Isn't that really what life is about?

Now let's get out of the visual and back to the aural with the next song on the list.

9:

The track is "Come As You Are" by The Tubes from the ill-fated 1985 album "Love Bomb".



This is another song of great complexity. At the same time, at least to my ears, it's a love song and a song about wanting love to return. Sometimes you can be so rhapsodically in love with someone that they become a part of you...They become part of your life, your work, your writings, you as a person. When that person walks away, they leave you with a sense of emptiness. Who lives with me now, one might wonder. You've devoted so much of your life to this person and for them to leave can do something to you that nothing else can. You want to move Heaven and Earth to get back that person, but you usually end up on your knees. That's the pressure that love can put you under, and that's why I feel this is a great ballad. It's realistic to how so many people feel.

Similar sentiments can be expressed in the 10th song on this list.

10:

The song is "Everything" by Jody Watley off the 1989 album "Larger Than Life".



I love the production on this. It fits Watley's vocals quite well. This is a relaxing song but with rather sad lyrics. When I hear it, I can imagine somebody who is housebound, discomforted by what's happened in their personal life. I've seen several relationships get ruined in my life, and I'm not talking about personal ones here. I've been working at Wal-Mart for over 6 years, and I've seen a lot of broken relationships both inside and outside the store. I won't name names or give details, but I can easily imagine them relating to a song like this.

It's a song about regret, and who hasn't had regrets that could be summed up in lyrics like this:

"I was too blind to see,
When you belonged to me,
You were my everything.
Now I'd give anything,
To feel the love you bring,
You were my everything".

It's difficult to think about, but many relationships fade. No love lasts forever. I mean, divorce rates have been climbing over the course of the past few decades, and that, combined with pre-mature deaths, can lead to distress on many levels.

It's a little heavy, but love itself can be so. They say that pain is a part of life and that life isn't fair, but if you substitute the word "love" for "life", then it could make sense as well.

Now it's time to go to 11, but not in a pop-rocking way.

11:

Now I would like to talk about the song "Forever Young" By Rod Stewart.



The song may not seem like a ballad, but the lyrics have a great dramatic impact. The screenshot above, which came from a "Pop-Up Video" airing of the piece, distills the concept quite well.

It's a song that holds some personal significance for me. It was one of the last songs I heard on the radio when a driver I had would drive me to work.

For monetary and personal reasons, I feel that learning to drive would be hard for me. As such, I have to rely on taxis to get to and from work. I was cool with this driver for many years, but then something came about that pissed him off. I don't know what it was that I had done to do so, but all of a sudden, he was angry at me. This was an older guy who I sort of related to as a father figure. I would tell him about things at work and in my life, and vice versa. Things went flying out the window and all of a sudden, I was number one on his shit list.

I tried reasoning with him and making peace with him, but it never worked. A mistake that worried a whole bunch of people tore things up between us once and for all. He was insulting both me and my Mom, and I just said "fuck it". I now use another cab company when he's driving.

It gets me to wondering what it means to be forever young. Does it mean to be angry or to be peaceful? Both are youthful emotions that can be carried into adulthood, and while it may seem easy to do, it's difficult to reconcile the two.

I guess Rod was just trying to say "be calm"...That makes sense. It's what we all aspire to be, even if it doesn't always work.

Let's go to number 12.

12:

I was buying cassettes well into this decade, even as the format was on its' last legs. One of the albums I picked up was Living In A Box's self-titled album.



The song that stayed with me the most on this album was the track "So The Story Goes". Not all ballads have to be slow. Some can be quite danceable, and this song is a good example of that.

This song brings about a set of images to me. The images are of a man cruising through a big city. He's reminiscing about his lost love...He's remembering the places they would hang out, but he's too uncertain about what to do next.

It's the chorus that has these thoughts come to mind:

"If it's love you want,
Let the feelings show.
Follow your heart,
So the story goes.
If there's time for us,
Baby, Heaven knows,
Love will return,
So the story goes.
I love you".

There's a sense of uncertainty to this song. Should I make a move or let things be? Sting once sang "If you love somebody, set them free". I get the same thing out of this song. Sometimes it's best to let things go. It may hurt, but that's the way it has to be, but things may end up turning back in your favor someday.

One can only hope.

Let's move on to track 13.

13:

The next song I would like to talk about is "Woman In Chains" by Tears For Fears and Oleta Adams.



This is another song I can relate to. When I say that, I mean that I can relate to the nihilism of the song. It's ostensibly about a woman's struggle, but it can be about anyone's struggle, really. When you work in retail, you can see the desperation first-hand.

I've been working at Wal-Mart for over 6 years now, and while I have had a few problems with co-workers and managers, all in all, the store has helped me. It's provided me with a steady job and helped me to learn skills that don't always come easy to people. I enjoy working there.

There are many who don't, though. They come in day after day and complain about the store. It's par for the course, to be sure, but these guys take the annoyance to its' outer limits. They never compliment the store...They always attack it at every turn. The term "Wally World" is frequently used. I don't whether they mean that they think the place is wacky, or that they're about to snap and take everything with him, but when I hear them going on like this, I want to say "Hey, you don't like working here? There's the door. Don't let it hit your ass on the way out!". Why continue doing something when it's something you hate?

Okay, let's calm down and head to the movies for our next ballad.

14:

The next song I would like to talk about is "Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes from the hit "An Officer And A Gentleman".



I first heard this song on an episode of "Alvin And The Chipmunks", where the Chipmunks and Chipettes were working to preserve some wildlife. The metaphors became illustrated as the groups performed this song outdoors.

I later heard the lyrics when I was older, and I really paid attention to it. What I got out of it was a tale of how love can inspire you. It doesn't matter what happens in your life...If you have someone who loves you, then everything can be okay. You can wake up, look at the world and feel relaxed. You'll say "Here I am...What do you have?".

We should all be so lucky as to have inspiration like that in our lives.

The 15th song on my list also came from a movie soundtrack.

15:

The next ballad I would like to discuss is the song "For Your Eyes Only" by Sheena Easton from the 1981 James Bond movie of the same name.



This is a song about a solid bond (forgive the pun). For some, love is about sex, and for others, it's about companionship. This song combines those two sentiments and tosses in so many other elements that it's hard to list them all. The end result is a sweeping ballad about the glorious mix we call "love". I earlier made reference to how life can be hard, and love can be, too, but when things are clicking, both can be wonderful things.

Another thing I like about this song is how grandly it expresses the idea of acceptance. Everybody has felt that there's something wrong with them, and they hope for a welcome of any sort. This song is about that kind of welcome.

These lyrics remind me of those sentiments:

"For your eyes only,
Only for you.
You see what no one else can see,
Now I'm breaking free.
For your eyes only,
Only for you,
The love I know you need in me,
The fantasy you've freed in me.
Only for you, only for you".

Those are some of the most romantic lines I have ever heard in a song. Who hasn't wanted to feel that sense of acceptance on any level? This is a song that makes you think...Is there someone out there for everyone? Maybe there is and maybe there isn't, but a song like this can make you hope that someone will come along to romance you and say "You're wonderful". We all need to hear things like that.

Let's move on to number 16.

16:

This songs comes from a movie, too, but not the type you might expect. The song is called "My Heart Has A Mind Of Its' Own", and it's performed by Kim Carnes and Jeffrey Osborne.



The song is about the distances that come about in love. Whether the separation is physical or emotional, every romance has a sense of anxiety about it at one point or another. Do I love this person? Is "'Til Death Do Us Part" a good idea? Should I call a lawyer?

Every romance has its' difficulties...All you can do is make an effort to overcome them. If you can do that, then God Bless you. If not, then hold on tight...Things can get really tough really quick.

Many ballads come from dramas or action movies, but this one came from a comedy. That comedy?

"Spaceballs"!



This song can be heard after Lone Starr and Barf (Bill Pullman and John Candy, respectively) have left the diner. Barf is complaining about his hunger, while Lone Starr is thinking about his experience with Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga). He's driving away and she's about to marry the dorky Prince Valium (Jim J. Bullock) (And remember, everybody, dork is a slang term for penis!). There's a distance for each one. Starr is distant from Vespa by way of his Winnebago, while Vespa is distant from Valium by her love of Starr, which is stoked when she finds out that he didn't take all the money he wanted.

They're able to reunite, but not all lovers can. That's the great thing about movies...They allow us to imagine things the way we want them to be, and if we play our cards right, our dreams can become reality. I dreamed of being a writer, and that dream came true. What's you dream and has it come true? Do you think it will?

Let's move on to track 17.

17:

This comes from an artist who you might not expect to do a ballad.

The lady is Samantha Fox and the ballad is "True Devotion".



In many of her songs, Fox promised to take her lover on a ride of turbo-charged sexuality. From "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" to "I Wanna Have Some Fun", her M.O was always to get her lover sexed-up. This song wasn't like that, though.

Instead, the song detailed love and not lust. Even the most charged of people need to take a break once in a while. When I hear this song, I can imagine Fox and her lover on a picnic. Some iced tea and sandwiches, a blanket on the ground, talking about the joy they feel around each other...Something relaxing. Yeah, they can get to the raunchy stuff later, but for now, they're taking things easy. That's something you should do in a relationship...Take time to relax. I think that's what dates are all about. You take your lover out to dinner or to a movie or both, and you share things...Laughs, tears, embraces.

I know I'll get something like that again someday, but it'll take a long time to get there. Love doesn't come easy, though, does it?

There's another song I like that doesn't necessarily sound like a ballad, but it impacts me the way a ballad would.

18:

The song is "Manchild" by Neneh Cherry.



For all I know, this article could also be called "My High School Playlist". This is another one of those songs that I often listened to in my 11th and 12th grade years. I found myself relating to these lyrics:

"Manchild,
Look at the state you're in.
Manchild,
Will you ever win?"

Sometimes in high school, one can feel a sense of hopelessness. The minutes seem to drag like hours, and thoughts cross your mind like "What's the point of learning this? I'll probably just end up flipping burgers". That's what I got out of this song...That was something I could relate to.

I shared this with the school psychologist, but she never heard of the song. I don't think she understood what I was talking about. She did bring up a book called "Manchild In The Promised Land", but I'm guessing that was just her frame of reference.

It's strange...For example, I talked to her about "The Breakfast Club" and how they all became friends, but she asked me "Do they remain friends?". The question is never really answered in the movie, so maybe she was just putting me on the spot, but in the end, she would talk with me about this movie, while the other teachers refused to play it in class, instead preferring the live-action version of "The Adventures Of Rocky & Bullwinkle". As a Nerd much wiser than me once said, "What were they thinking?".

We now come to number 19.

19:

I chose the song "These Dreams" by Heart.



Many people view this as a negative turning point for Heart, but I love this song. There's a great combination of hope and sadness to it.

This song is one that got a lot of airplay in my high school years, if only on my Walkman. I was dreaming way too much for the teachers. When I was supposed to be writing down facts the teacher told us, instead I was writing ideas for 80s-related entertainments. I would write lists of 80s movies and TV shows, and come up with ideas on how to utilize them. In all my day-dreaming, I forgot to write down the facts I was supposed to.

I was able to make it through the years, and I did see my dream of being a writer come true as I write for this website. I'm learning new things every day with this site, and the things I'm learning push me to dream further. That's what I got out of this song.

Let's move on to number 20.

20:

This is a song that boosted me up in the months following my dad's death.

The song is "Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.



I was thinking many things in the months following my dad's death...A lot of it was tough. As detailed in my article "Don't Call Me A Poser", my dad bought a cassette of Peter Gabriel's "So" shortly before his death.

I listened to it a lot and this song really stuck with me. My school years were always tough, but there was something about this song that kept me going.

What makes it for me is Kate Bush's singing. She has a soothing tone about her to counter the tortured cries of Gabriel. I did have a decent amount of people on my side...I just wish I could remember them. When Bush sang:

"When times get rough,
You can fall back on us.
Don't give up,
Please don't give up":

I thought that things can only get better (Oops...I think I'll save that song for an upbeat 80s songs article).

80s music has really served as a lifesaver for me. Whenever I'm feeling down, an 80s song can cheer me up, even a ballad. Pretty much all the CDs I have are 80s CDs or feature a significant amount of 80s music on them.

Some people have alcohol...Others have cocaine...I have the 80s, and it makes me feel good without killing me, although many who saw the decade first-hand look back and feel like they were killing taste and decorum. I disagree with that assessment, but that's just me.

Onward to number 21.

21:

This is a mid-tempo ballad with a soulful feel to it. The song is "Just To See Her" by Smokey Robinson.



This song reminds me of many older women I've talked to throughout the years. No, it hasn't been for romance...It's been to talk about the popular culture that I like while they saw it first-hand. These are women I've worked with, and I've always been able to find a bond with them. I've also talked to quite a few of these women online, on message boards and places like that.

I eventually lose contact with them, though. No, I'm not chalking it up to Aspergers'. What it is is that time just goes by way too fast, and people can be gone just like that.

If you work in retail, then you tend to see more turn-overs than in a bakery. Associates come and go...And occasionally come again...And then end up going. I try my best to procure leads on where these women have gone, but it's difficult. Thankfully, I've been able to talk to a few of them on MySpace, but many of them just fade away.

I can relate to Smokey's singing. This is a person who has known heartache and love and still come out through all of it.

I plan on singing this at karaoke soon. I always like to shake things up.

Let's move on to number 22.

22:

This is a song I find very cinematic. The song is "I Still Believe" by Brenda K. Starr.



This is a song I connect with my Summer 2000 trip to the Jersey Shore to visit some family members who were on vacation there. I had a 5-cassette set of a Top 100 Of 1988 countdown, and I listened to all the songs on there and enjoyed them. This track is the one that stuck with me the most, though.

Whenever I hear this song, I imagine a lonely person on the Jersey Shore. It's a great time when the Summer is at its' peak, but in the Winter, it's desolation. This person is pondering a Summer-long relationship that didn't work out. Still, there's a hope that the two lovers might reunite.

Starr sings:

"If there's one spark of hope,
That's in my grasp,
I'll hold it with both hands.
It's worth the risk of burning,
To have a second chance".

It's that one spark that all of us have within ourselves that keeps us going. It really makes me feel good...It may sound like the kind of a track that's suited to those sentiments, but the great thing about music is that everybody gets something different out of it. There are no finite terms...The mind is as open as a canvas waiting to be worked on.

Art is life and life is art. We just need to do things as best we can, and with any luck, the results will be great.

The next song is one I played a lot on my ways to and from school.

23:

The song is "Next To You" by Paula Abdul.



I've written about many 80s things throughout the years, but Abdul has always slipped through the cracks. She was actually a major part of my high school experience as well.

In the final few weeks before 11th Grade began, I purchased a bunch of used CDs at Media Play, a now-defunct chain of stores that had a stunning array of entertainment of all sorts. I often return there in my dreams, and it's just as vivid as it was all those years ago.

The vividness is spurred on by this song, released on the album "Forever Your Girl".

I had to wake up at 5:30 AM in the morning to go over the bridge to get to school. I was often groggy, and I wanted to hear something soothing on the ride up. This song was very soothing.

They were less strict about CD players back then. If you wanted to bring one in and listen to it in free period, then the teachers wouldn't say anything. It would often allow me a chance to listen to albums with explicit lyrics. If I couldn't see R-rated movies in school, then I could at least listen to R-rated music.

When I hear this song, I think of the end of Summer. It mattered a lot to me in my younger years, but as I work now, there's really no difference in seasons to me. Not that I mind that, though...Work is a lot easier than school. I have a lot of people on my side at work. Even those who disagree with a lot of the things I say think that I'm a great cart-pusher.

The only exception is this one assistant manager who I have many nicknames for, but I have the store manager on my side. The assistant manager has to answer to him, and I can always rely on the store manager to give me a boost. He understands my issues and always compliments me on the job I do.

Let's leave work aside, though. "Next To You" is a warm and comforting track that takes me to a place and time that was mine and mine alone (well, alongside the driver). Between home and school, it was my territory, and Paula Abdul always had a place on my CD player.

It's time to move to track 24.

24:

The song I would like to write about now is "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx.



There's just something in this song that speaks to me, and that something has to do with a woman I knew for a long time. We had chatted online many times and we had exchanged phone numbers. She called me up and we talked about all sorts of things. She gave me her number again and I gave her mine again, and we both agreed to talk more in the future.

I ended up losing the number, and so I wasn't able to call her back. She still has my number, though, and I've been waiting for her to call back since.

We had a great bond with each other, and I don't know if we'll ever get it back. Marx's song is about longing for a past love...I'm longing to revive a friendship. There are some similiarities between the two. Both situations are open-ended...The song didn't have a definitive conclusion. You wonder if they reunite...The ideas are yours' to write about.

As for my situation, I just have this feeling that this friendship will come back someday.

This leads me into the final track on the list.

25:

The song is "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles.



As this song ends my article, it also ended the 80s. It came out in 1989. Things were changing, and many things that were popular in the 80s would end up becoming objects of mockery by those who viewed them, listened to them, wore them and even MADE them.

To me, the "Eternal Flame" is 80s pop culture. I go on YouTube and I notice that many of the comments on 80s videos come from people who were born in the 80s, and they almost unanimously speak in celebration of the decade's culture.

80s pop culture has come to be celebrated instead of vilified. Movies like "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" and "Back To The Future" are part of the National Film Registry. Shows like "Miami Vice" have seen their entirety released on DVD. The music, once more, is still drawing in audiences after all these years.

We don't pay attention to the aesthetics...We go for the content, and the content will always be there to entertain us, just like these 25 songs have.

This is my 25th article for the site, and I would like to thank everybody on this site for being there. Every day I'm on here I learn something new. I've learned things on here of many sorts, from matters of pop culture to ideas on how to live life.

This website has helped me to grow, and it's really been a boost to my feelings about being a writer. I always try and write the best article I can. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose, but I always get something out of what is said to me.

Thanks to all of you who read my articles, and here's to the next 25.

So, with that, the floor is open for discussions:

What are your favorite 80s ballads? What are your feelings on ballads in general? What would you have put on your list?