New year, new poll: Yes, after taking 2014 off to recover from that epic and quite contentious best-albums-of-the-decade countdown, we’re resurrecting Best of the ’80s in 2015 for another year-long slog through the decade, this time selecting the best songs of each year of the 1980s — then wrapping it up with a monster poll to select the best of the decade.

This time, however, we’re doing things a little differently.

VOTING: For the album polls, we presented you with a list, sometimes hundreds of titles long, to choose from, plus the ability to offer write-ins. We inevitably missed titles, and some argued this skewed the results. So this time, it’s a (mostly) free-for-all. As you’ll see below, you may vote for any 10 songs you’d like — singles, B-sides, album cuts, etc. It’s all fill-in-the-blanks this time, not multiple choice.

A few important things to note:

  • To be eligible for the final results poll, songs must have been released in some format — whether it be on an album, EP or a single — during the year 1980 (not the whole decade, just the year). That means, for example, that even though The Clash’s London Calling was released in (late) 1979, the single “Train in Vain,” issued in early 1980, is eligible for the list. Splitting hairs? Maybe, but we have to draw the line somewhere.
  • In the past, acknowledging the theme of this website, we limited voting to artists that fall under the very loose and ill-defined “alternative” banner, generally acts from the punk, post-punk, goth, college rock, indie, synthpop, industrial, New Wave and related genres. Not the case anymore — although that’s still likely how the results will skew. This time, vote for whatever you want. Even Christopher Cross’ “Sailing,” if that’s what, uh, floats your boat.  
  • Well, there is one limit. To prevent one-note fans from, say, simply listing every track off Steely Dan’s Gaucho, you may only vote for a maximum of two songs by the same artist when filling out your Top 10. Any ballots submitted with more than two songs by the same artist will be disqualified.

DEADLINE: Voting will be open through 5 p.m. EDT Friday, Jan. 30, and results will be posted at the beginning of February — after which we’ll launch the 1981 poll and take it from there.

Sound good? Then vote away via the survey widget posted below.

And because there’s not a pre-set list to choose from, we encourage you to lobby for your picks, and maybe sway some votes, in the comments below.

Finally, if you’re drawing a blank on what came out that year, take a look back at our Top 100 albums of 1980 poll results, or check out these other resources: