The best of 1987 mix tape
1987 was a pretty great year in music (Editor’s note: I am not referring in any way to Bruce Willis’ Return of Bruno or Mick Jagger’s Primitive Cool.) It wasn’t the insane hit-fest that 1983 was, but you could make a pretty respectable best of the year mix comprised solely of songs that I had to leave off this list for lack of space. Apologies to Echo and the Bunnymen’s Lips Like Sugar, Sinead O’Connor’s Mandinka, Beds Are Burning from Midnight Oil, and Depeche Mode’s Stranglove, among others, for leaving you out. One giant caveat here, Spotify is missing the entries from Lou Gramm and Warren Zevon for the year, both of which would have likely appeared on here otherwise. In fact, let’s listen to Midnight Blue right now.
I’m sorry, that song is just all kinds of awesome wrapped up in a big, fluffy blanket of amazing.
Just Like Heaven – The Cure
This one is at or near the alt-rock Mount Rushmore.
I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man – Prince
Oh, stop being so modest Prince. It doesn’t suit you.
Alex Chilton – The Replacements
It was incredibly hard to leave Can’t Hardly Wait off the list, but this one is the The ‘Mats apex in my eyes. A song from one of my favorite bands about one of my favorite musicians of all time is pretty much a lock.
What’s the Matter Here? – 10,000 Maniacs
Natalie Merchant was the second future Mrs. Lo who didn’t know it. True story: I once went to a Lilith Fair concert (by myself) for the sole purpose of seeing her set. That was the day I realized how Waldo from those Where’s Waldo books must have felt.
Never Tear Us Apart – INXS
Aside from being a giant hit, this is just a pretty great song.
Stop Me If You Think That You’ve Heard This One Before – The Smiths
By the time this song was heard, The Smiths had already broken up. Not that I’m bitter or anything.
Running to Stand Still – U2
I could have picked just about any song on Joshua Tree, but this remains my favorite and one of their best.
Love Removal Machine – The Cult
The mother of all 80s guitar riffs. It just grabs you by the throat from the first note and chokes you out until you submit.
Litany – Guadalcanal Diary
Love Murray Attaway’s soaring vocal take on this one.
Wishing Well – Terrence Trent D’Arby
Man this is a great song and the dude had an amazing set of pipes.
What’s My Scene – Hoodoo Gurus
Probably my favorite song on this list. The Gurus brought so much goodness all the time.
Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses
Confession. I hate Guns N’ Roses. Always have, always will. Not liking bands like Guns N’ Roses was pretty much the basis of my personal identify in high school. But like some of Madonna’s earlier entries, this was just such a huge, massive album at the time that it would seem churlish and petty of me not to include it here. They are lucky that Lou Gramm was unavailable though…
24 Hour Party People – Happy Mondays
I’m not sure the Mondays really knew what they were doing at the time due to their unmatched pharmaceutical intake, but this was basically the song that launched the Brit-Pop title wave that would hit in earnest a few years later.
Over There – The Connells
My love of the The Connells is well-known and well-documented. This is one of my favorites of theirs.
King of Birds – R.E.M.
The One I Love and End of the World are the bigger and better-known songs from Document, but this one tops them both in my eyes. A thumbnail sketch, a jeweler’s stone. A mean idea to call my own.
Here’s the Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.
Which one of your favorites did I overlook? Odds are it was on the long list, but there’s only so much room to go around.