The Best '80s Synth Songs

Over 500 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best '80s Synth Songs

What are the best synth songs from the period best known for music created from computers and synthesized musical instruments? To answer that question, let's rank the best '80s synth songs that truly defined the decade and inspired all of the synth music that followed in the '00s and beyond.

One of the very best synth songs to hit the airwaves also has one of the most memorable music videos from the decade with A-Ha's "Take On Me." The '80s is full of amazing music created with synthesizers you've probably been dancing to the groove with since they first came out. Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" helped inspire a new generation of musicians with its catchy lyrics and synthetic beat that took the entire world by storm. The decade featured more hits in this genre than nearly any other sub-genre of pop music with hits like "Just Can't Get Enough," "Sweet Dreams," and "Time After Time" continuing to find a place on the radio more than 30 years since its debut.

Vote up your favorite '80s synth songs on this ranked list, and add any tracks that aren't here already.

Ranked by
  • Blue Monday

    Blue Monday

    248 votes

    Released in 1983 by British band New Order, "Blue Monday" struck a chord in a generation confronting the industrial decline with its blend of rigid drum machine beats, haunting synthesizers, and somber lyrics. Widely acclaimed as a defining moment of electronic music, the record went on to become the best-selling 12-inch single of all time. Today, it remains a shining example of innovative songwriting and production in popular music.

  • Don't You Want Me

    Don't You Want Me

    171 votes

    The Human League's "Don't You Want Me" weaves a tale of romantic miscommunication wrapped in irresistibly catchy synths and a vibrant hook. A quintessential element of 1980s party playlists, this classic track clinched the top spot on the UK Singles Chart in 1981. It still inspires celebration and nostalgia from audiences familiar with the infectious energy of the New Romantic scene.

  • Take On Me

    Take On Me

    231 votes

    The iconic 1980s synth-pop song by Norwegian band A-ha is a perfect blend of catchy melodies and innovative music video artistry. Released in 1984 as part of their debut album Hunting High and Low, this contagious tune skyrocketed to the top charts worldwide with its unforgettable high-pitched chorus and groundbreaking rotoscope animation in the accompanying music video. Revered as a timeless classic, "Take On Me" still captivates audiences today with its infectious energy that transcends generations - proving that some songs simply never go out of style.

  • Tainted Love
    160 votes

    Soft Cell's dancefloor anthem, "Tainted Love," melds synth-pop sensibilities with the heartache of a tumultuous romance. This compelling 1981 cover of Ed Cobb's 1964 composition garnered widespread acclaim, ensuring the duo's place in the pantheon of iconic 80s artists. Its resonance in contemporary pop culture stands as a testament to the pure emotional intensity that burns within this unforgettable track.

  • Sweet Dreams
    165 votes

    With its enigmatic lyrics, hypnotic synth riffs, and seductive chorus, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" embraced the spirit of the 80s as a transcendent anthem of ambition and empowerment. Eurythmics' masterful combination of electronic pop and soul exposed the world to Annie Lennox's trademark androgynous style. This unforgettable hit confidently stands the test of time as a formative influence in generations of electropop artists.

  • West End Girls

    The synth-pop masterpiece by the British duo Pet Shop Boys was released in 1984 and later re-recorded for their debut album Please in 1986. This iconic track, featuring catchy hooks and thought-provoking lyrics about class struggles and urban life, catapulted Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe to international stardom, even earning them the prestigious BRIT Award for Best Single. Today, "West End Girls" continues to be celebrated as an emblematic anthem of the '80s that perfectly encapsulates the decade's music scene while still resonating with listeners who appreciate its timeless appeal.