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Top 10 guilty pleasure songs of the '80s

Flitting high atop the pop charts these days is a song (or, depending on your tastes, a plague) called Fireflies. It's by one-man band Owl City, who coos such lyrical pap as "Cause I'd get a thousand hugs / From 10,000 lightning bugs / As they tried to teach me how to dance." • Fireflies is both annoying and addictive, like heroin or the puppetry of Jeff Dunham. And 25 years from now, the ditty will no doubt find a home on a compilation of the Guilty Pleasure Songs of the '00s. This decade has been a treasure trove of ephemeral pop: Soulja Boy's Crank That, James Blunt's You're Beautiful, Daniel Powter's Bad Day and so on. • When the Stuck in the '80s team of Sean Daly and Steve Spears heard Fireflies, it got the boys thinking. When it comes to music, the '00s are a lot like their favorite decade: fun, disposable, singles driven — and best served with Pabst Blue Ribbon. So in a special podcast, now available on iTunes, they asked their listeners to hark back to Guilty Pleasure Songs of the '80s. Here are the ooey, gooey results:

1. Tarzan Boy (1985): Just when you thought you had outrun this doozie from Baltimora, along came that Cool Mint Listerine commercial in the '90s. Remember that bottle of mouthwash swinging through the trees? "Ohhh, ohhh, ohhha-waaa!" Stop wincing. You loved it.

2. It's Raining Men (1982): Hallelujah! Those zaftig, zany Weather Girls recorded this after Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Cher and Barbra Streisand all passed. We bet Babs wouldn't mind the residuals now.

3. Lady in Red (1986): True '80s fans recoiled in horror when Chris de Burgh's slow-dance swooner was mocked by Greg Kinnear in 2008's Baby Mama. But at least Tina Fey loved it!

4. Naughty Naughty (1985): Exceptionally coiffed John Parr had a bigger hit in '85: St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion). Still, we prefer Naughty Squared's irresistible drunk-frat-boy chorus.

5. High on You (1985): Poor Survivor, forced these days to mock themselves in Starbucks commercials. But hey, let's remember the good times, when they were the kings of MTV and FM. Trust us, the world is a better place with Survivor on the radio.

6. Wipe Out (1987): Which was the more shameless, Brian-Wilson-is-sobbing moment for the Beach Boys? Recording the lucrative (and ludicrous) Kokomo or pimping out their vocals for this Fat Boys cover of a '60s classic?

7. You're a Friend of Mine (1985): Remember the vid for this awkward duet? When Jackson Browne and Clarence Clemons almost kissed? Yikes! Don't expect Browne to warble it at his Friday show at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

8. Arthur's Theme (1981): Our fans could have picked any Christopher Cross tune — Think of Laura, Ride Like the Wind, Never Be the Same — and made our list. Topic for debate: Owl City is the 21st century Christopher Cross!

9. Far from Over (1983): Frank Stallone's in-your-face anthem was the only highlight in big bro Sly's film Staying Alive — and his career. (Yeah, we feel guilty.)

10. Strut (1984): Sheena Easton could take the Morning Train to visit the Sugar Walls. (Oh, that's definitely For Your Eyes Only.) But only Strut can burrow your cranium as a true '80s earworm.

Top 10 guilty pleasure songs of the '80s 11/14/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 16, 2009 5:53am]
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