Music
223 voters

The Best '80s Synth Songs

Updated August 22, 2020 1.7k votes 223 voters 10.6k views30 items

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.

Photo:
...more
  • Don't You Want Me1
    70
    25

    Don't You Want Me

    The Human League
  • Take On Me2
    85
    41

    Take On Me

    a-ha

    ComposerMorten Harket, Magne Furuholmen, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy

    More 

    #5 of 30 Songs That Make For Unbelievably Awesome Drinking Games#17 of 82 The Best Love Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

  • Blue Monday3
    70
    34

    Blue Monday

    New Order
  • Sweet Dreams4
    65
    30

    Sweet Dreams

    Eurythmics

    AlbumsSweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

    ComposerAnnie Lennox, David A. Stewart

    ProducerDavid A. Stewart

    Length (seconds)3:32

    More Sweet Dreams 

    #3140 of 3,867 The Best Songs Of All Time, Ranked#63 of 122 Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals

  • Tainted Love5
    59
    34

    Tainted Love

    Soft Cell

    AlbumsNon-Stop Erotic Cabaret

    ComposerEd Cobb

    ProducerMike Thorne

    Length (seconds)2:32

    More Tainted Love 

    #2 of 246 The Greatest Pop Songs by One-Hit Wonders#2 of 142 The Greatest Songs by One-Hit Wonders

  • Don't You Want Me6
    46
    21

    Don't You Want Me

    The Human League
  • West End Girls7
    53
    30

    West End Girls

    Pet Shop Boys

    AlbumsPlease

    ComposerNeil Tennant, Chris Lowe

    ProducerStephen Hague

    Length (seconds)4:35

    More West End Girls 

    #24 of 107 The Greatest Songs by '80s One-Hit Wonders#62 of 115 The Best '80s Dance Songs

  • Just Can't Get Enough8
    45
    24

    AlbumsSpeak & Spell

    ComposerVince Clarke

    ProducerThe Normal, Depeche Mode

    Length (seconds)3:37

  • Smalltown Boy9
    41
    22

    Smalltown Boy

    Bronski Beat
  • Enola Gay10
    43
    29

    Enola Gay

    Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

    AlbumsOrganisation

    ComposerAndy McCluskey

    ProducerOrchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Mike Howlett

    Length (seconds)3:31

    More Enola Gay 

    #8 of 13 Songs About Historical Events That Are Surprisingly Accurate#30 of 72 The Best Songs About Planes

  • Only You11
    29
    16

    Only You

    Yazoo
  • Are 'Friends' Electric?12
    27
    18

    AlbumsReplicas

    ComposerGary Numan

    Length (seconds)5:20

  • Fade to Grey13
    44
    38

    AlbumsVisage

    ComposerMidge Ure, Billy Currie, Chris Payne

    Length (seconds)3:39

  • Cars14
    14
    4

    Cars

    Gary Numan

    Date Recorded1979

    AlbumsThe Pleasure Principle

  • Vienna15
    29
    23

    Vienna

    Ultravox
  • The Model16
    28
    22

    The Model

    Kraftwerk
  • Love Action17
    23
    18

    Love Action

    The Human League
  • Together in Electric Dreams18
    21
    16

    Together in Electric Dreams

    Philip Oakey, The Human League

    AlbumsPhilip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder

    ComposerGiorgio Moroder

    ProducerPhilip Oakey, Giorgio Moroder

    Length (seconds)3:49

  • Time After Time19
    35
    34

    Time After Time

    Cyndi Lauper

    AlbumsShe's So Unusual

    ComposerCyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman

    Length (seconds)4:0

    More Time After Time 

    #15 of 73 The Best Classic Rock Songs For A First Dance#14 of 179 The Best Pop Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

  • Jump20
    40
    41

    Jump

    Van Halen
  • 199921
    31
    30

    1999

    Prince

    Albums1999

    ComposerPrince, Prince

    Length (seconds)6:16

    More 1999 

    #12 of 87 The Best Apocalyptic Songs#2 of 88 The Best Songs For Your New Year's Eve Party Playlist

  • Hyperactive22
    14
    13

    Hyperactive

    Thomas Dolby

    AlbumsThe Flat Earth

    ComposerThomas Dolby

    ProducerThomas Dolby

    Length (seconds)4:10

  • Say Hello Wave Goodbye23

    AlbumsNon-Stop Erotic Cabaret

    ComposerMarc Almond, David Ball

    ProducerMike Thorne

    Length (seconds)5:24

  • Wonderful Life24
    8
    5

    Wonderful Life

    Black box

    AlbumsEngland Made Me

    Length (seconds)2:16

  • Hymn25
    5
    2

    Hymn

    Ultravox

    Date Recorded11/19/1982

    AlbumsQuartet

    ComposerUltravox