It’s no secret that we love the music of the 80s. Whether it’s the explosive pop music of Michael Jackson and Prince, the hilarious excesses of hair metal, or even the electronic cheesiness of Duran Duran, it was a real golden age of music that seemed larger-than-life.
While tastes have changed and we have entirely new breeds of massive acts, there are still plenty of artists around that are keeping the spirit of the 80s alive for an entirely new generation. Here’s a sampling of some ones you should check out if you want a trip back to the past.
Arguably one of the biggest rock bands of the 2010s, Halestorm have made an already-prolific career off their old-yet-new take on the arena rock and hair metal of the 1980s. Formed by dynamo singer and guitarist Lizzy Hale (whose vocal chops make tongue-in-cheek songs like “Love Bites (So Do I)” and “I Get Off” equal parts rocking and seductive), the band was soon signed to Atlantic Records in 2005.
The old guard of rock bands have even taken notice. Since their formation, Halestorm have gone on to tour with household names like Def Leppard, Lita Ford, and Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio). The band has even released several covers albums, featuring their own take on 80s mainstays like Skid Row’s “Slave to the Grind,” Pat Benatar’s “Hell is For Children,” and Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night.”
Representing the darker side of 80s synth music on this list is Swedish electronic musician Johan Bengtsson, better known by his stage moniker, Mitch Murder.
Citing his influences as “jazz, cheesy ’50s bossa nova, ’70s motown, and ’80s pop,” Mitch Murder’s albums are a combination of synth club jams and what sound like excerpts from John Carpenter movie scores. His sound is so 80s in fact, that he was contacted to collaborate with David Hasselhoff on the soundtrack to Kung Fury, the most 80s movie ever.
While not as well known as some of the others on this list, this Portland, Oregon band have been at the center of some of the most 80s music heard throughout the past decade. Describing themselves as “Italo disco-influenced,” Chromatics’ music have not only released several albums throughout the 2000s, but have also provided bits for some of the most popular soundtracks of the last few years.
The band made numerous contributions to the soundtrack of the film Drive in 2011, and their music has appeared in shows like Gossip Girl, Bates Motel, Twin Peaks and Mr. Robot. They may not capture the over-the-top spirit of the decade like other bands, but Chromatics capture the 80s mood and atmosphere like no other.
Equal parts a parody and loving tribute to the over the top hair metal of the 80s, Steel Panther are possibly the funniest act in modern music.
Formed as Metal Skool in 2000, the band rose to fame for their ridiculous live show on the Sunset Strip, before changing their name to Steel Panther and signing to Universal in 2008. Since then, they’ve risen to infamy thanks to over-the-top, crass hits like “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’,” “17 Girls in a Row,” and “The Burden of Being Wonderful.” If that isn’t 80s, I don’t know what is.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Daft Punk have been bringing back the 80s for decades now! While you’d be right, we’d argue that they’ve been especially leaning into this in recent years.
With the release of Random Access Memories back in 2013, the French duo aimed for an especially 80s sound, influenced by the likes of 80s music alumni Nile Rogers and Giorgio Moroder. So influenced, in fact, that these two actually contributed to the album! The album went on to be their first to top the Billboard 200 sales chart, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this 80s revival continued to be a thing for them.