Best of the '80s Redux, Poll — November 30, 2020 at 6:57 am

Top 100 Songs of 1988: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s Redux — Part 9

After taking an inappropriately long time to tabulate the most recent round of voting,  we’re back with the ninth installment of our Best of the ’80s Redux series, the sporadic Slicing Up Eyeballs poll in which our readers have now ranked the Top 100 songs of 1988.

A quick refresher: The Best of the ’80s Redux song polls were launched five years ago following our wildly popular Best of the ’80s year-by-year album polls, but slowly petered out after we conducted the Top 100 songs of 1980 and 1981 surveys. (This whole site went dormant for nearly two years.)

RELATED: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Top 100 songs of 1988 playlist on Spotify

We resurrected the polls in 2018, and have since completed balloting on the 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987 surveys. Now comes the results for 1988.

For the ’88 poll, readers were asked to vote for up to 25 of their favorite songs that first were released in some form — as a single, B-side, on an album, etc. — during that calendar year.

We received 5,550 total votes, and, after weeding out songs from the wrong year — including a few that got a good number of votes despite having appeared on the 1987 list, including Camouflage’s “The Great Commandment,” Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning” and The Sugarcubes’ “Birthday,” and a couple that should have appeared on the ’87 list (When in Rome’s “The Promise” and Depeche Mode’s cover of “Route 66”) — and flipping a coin to break ties, we created this list.

So thank you all for voting and sharing your thoughts. Take a look at the Top 100 list below — and feel free to offer your own take on the results, good or bad, in the comments below.





1. New Order, “Fine Time”
2. Sonic Youth, “Teen Age Riot”
3. The Primitives, “Crash”
4. Morrissey, “Everyday is like Sunday”
5. Cocteau Twins, “Carolyn’s Fingers”
6. Ministry, “Stigmata”
7. Jane’s Addiction, “Jane Says”
8. Pixies, “Gigantic”
9. Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Peek-a-Boo”
10. R.E.M., “Orange Crush”


11. The Mighty Lemon Drops, “Inside Out”
12. Front 242, “Headhunter”
13. Pixies, “Where Is My Mind?”
14. Morrissey, “Suedehead”
15. Jane’s Addiction, “Mountain Song”
16. The La’s, “There She Goes”
17. The Church, “Reptile”
18. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Sidewalking”
19. Camper Van Beethoven, “Eye Of Fatima”
20. Erasure, “A Little Respect”


21. Peter Murphy, “All Night Long”
22. The Psychedelic Furs, “All That Money Wants”
23. Soul Asylum, “Sometime to Return”
24. Cowboy Junkies, “Sweet Jane”
25. They Might Be Giants, “Ana Ng”
26. Billy Bragg, “Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards”
27. The Fall, “Victoria”
28. The Proclaimers, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
29. Erasure, “Chains of Love”
30. Living Colour, “Cult of Personality”


31. The Sugarcubes, “Motorcrash”
32. Dinosaur Jr, “Freak Scene”
33. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “The Mercy Seat”
34. Talking Heads, “(Nothing But) Flowers”
35. Tracy Chapman, “Fast Car”
36. Information Society, “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)”
37. Michelle Shocked, “Anchorage”
38. Duran Duran, “All She Wants Is”
39. U2, “All I Want is You”
40. The Wonder Stuff, “Give, Give, Give Me More, More, More”


41. Siouxsie and the Banshees “The Killing Jar”
42. The Dead Milkmen, “Punk Rock Girl”
43. U2, “Desire”
44. The House of Love, “Christine”
45. The Mission, “Tower of Strength”
46. Siouxsie and the Banshees, “The Last Beat of My Heart”
47. Duran Duran, “I Don’t Want Your Love”
48. Hothouse Flowers, “Don’t Go”
49. Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, “Balloon Man”
50. Pet Shop Boys, “Left To My Own Devices”


51. The Smithereens, “Only a Memory”
52. Peter Murphy, “Indigo Eyes”
53. Pet Shop Boys, “Domino Dancing”
54. The Sugarcubes, “Deus”
55. The Go-Betweens, “Streets of Your Town”
56. Big Audio Dynamite, “Just Play Music!”
57. Prince, “Alphabet St.”
58. The Sugarcubes, “Delicious Demon”
59. R.E.M., “World Leader Pretend”
60. Billy Bragg, “She’s Got a New Spell”


61. Neneh Cherry, “Buffalo Stance”
62. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, “Dreaming”
63. The Waterboys, “Fisherman’s Blues”
64. Fugazi, “Waiting Room”
65. Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, “What I Am”
66. My Bloody Valentine, “You Made Me Realise”
67. Pixies, “Bone Machine”
68. Public Enemy, “Don’t Believe the Hype”
69. Marc Almond, “Tears Run Rings”
70. Tracy Chapman, “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution”


71. Wire, “Kidney Bingos”
72. Julian Cope, “Charlotte Anne”
73. N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton”
74. Morrissey, “Hairdresser on Fire”
75. R.E.M., “Pop Song 89”
76. Billy Bragg, “The Price I Pay”
77. Book of Love, “Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls”
78. The Pogues, “If I Should Fall From Grace With God”
79. Happy Mondays, “Wrote for Luck”
80. The Sugarcubes, “Coldsweat”


81. The Stone Roses “Elephant Stone”
82. The Wonder Stuff, “A Wish Away”
83. Fine Young Cannibals, “She Drives Me Crazy”
84. Cocteau Twins, “Blue Bell Knoll”
85. Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, “Tomorrow People”
86. A Guy Called Gerald, “Voodoo Ray”
87. Galaxie 500, “Tugboat”
88. Crowded House, “Better Be Home Soon”
89. Danzig, “Twist of Cain”
90. Talk Talk, “I Believe In You”


91. Tanita Tikaram, “Twist In My Sobriety”
92. R.E.M., “Stand”
93. Sonic Youth, “Silver Rocket”
94. Jane’s Addiction, “Ocean Size”
95. Metallica, “One”
96. Prefab Sprout, “The King of Rock and Roll”
97. Talk Talk, “Desire”
98. The Go-Betweens, “Was There Anything I Could Do?”
99. Kate Bush, “This Woman’s Work”
100. Transvision Vamp, “Tell That Girl To Shut Up”






  1. Wheeee! Great to see… just going through it… glad to see Tanita Tikaram at least made the list.

    Gotta love that the Primitives hit #3! Beat out Morrisey, Pixies and R.E.M. among others! Hilarious! (I wonder if R.E.M.’s multiple songs split the vote for them, though.)

    • Only got 9 out of my 25 on the list, but I voted for a lot of same album/artists as made the list, just different tracks. My #1 was #97

      Still… no ‘Til Tuesday making the list at all… but Metallica and Danzig? ugh.

      • Yeah, no ’til Tuesday is a real shame. “Everything’s Different Now” remains simply one of the most criminally underrated albums ever. I had a tough time limiting my votes from it to the two tracks per album rule, but “The Other End of the Telescope” was my #1.

        It’s funny. When I heard that album when it was first released I thought it was going to be HUGE. Instead it died a largely unnoticed death and its commercial failure resulted in the end of the band. But hey, we got Aimme Mann’s solo career out of it, I guess.

        • I will try it again today. I go back to it every few years trying to hear what’s so incredibly under-rated about it. There’s no Coming Up Close on the album to draw me in, but maybe today I will hear how wrong I think I must be!

          • “Coming Up Close” is a great song — no question. But EDN is a more consistent and cohesive album than “Welcome Home” (a solid album in its own right.) There is no filler on it at all.

  2. I Believe In You is only at 90…. For shame.

    • holly johnson

      I agree, I Believe in You, my favorite. Got to play that as one of my picks for guest DJ on WRNR. I think Lo Moon sounds similar.

      • And “Desire” at 97… this album vies for me #1 of the ’80s entirely and sad to see them so low.

        • Jay Montgomery

          I am very surprised that both my Talk Talk choices made the top 100 this year – and both my Go-Betweens choices too! And Galaxie 500!

          • I need to actually look into Galaxy 500. I’ve heard of them, but don’t know their music… but if you recommend Talk Talk and Go-Betweens that carries weight.

            I got lucky and saw Grant McLennan and Robert Forster open for Lloyd Cole in 90… so almost the Go-Betweens (though they were officially broken up then.)

    • And Kate Bush’s “The Sensual World” album only sees one song make the cut, and way down at #99 at that.

  3. How did Danzig’s Twist Of Cain beat Mother. Crazy!

  4. no Depeche Mode Behind The Wheel or Little 15?

  5. I am at least partly to blame for that, ha!

    I’m so proud that Neneh Cherry made the cut!

  6. I always learn things from these lists. Now it is the history of The Wonder Stuff. I was surprised to see them on this and previous lists, as only knew them for Never Loved Elvis and always thought of them as a one hit wonder early ’90s band.

    That is what they were in the states. But now I read in the UK they were big… not huge… but big enough to have all four of their original albums climb the charts and quite a long career (in various forms) so that they were touring up until recently.

    I had no idea.

  7. First, thanks to Matt for another great effort in putting this together.

    I get that New Order was a great band, but “Fine Time”? When I think back to 1988, I remember hundreds of incredible songs, but I literally never think of “Fine Time.”

    Good to see the Stone Roses and Fugazi on the list. No love for the House of Love or the Wedding Present?

    • Neil Carver

      I totally agree… I was like, “What song is that?” (as I can never remember most of the New Order songs by title, since they have nothing to do with the lyrics)… and was like, “Oh yeah, the heavy dance Love Technique song… huh”… I mean… I knew the song, but it didn’t make my list, let alone #1.

      1988 was full of MUCH better alternative music… some of which made the list, but a lot was missed.

    • Neil Carver

      House of Love is #44… “Christine”

    • haunted when the minutes drag

      I feel the same way about New Order’s Fine Time. I love New Order as much as the next person, but Fine Time hitting number one for the year is ludicrous. Maybe top 50, but not higher.

      Also, glad they all made the list, but I would have liked to have seen the Stone Roses’ Elephant Stone (pure perfection), Wire’s Kidney Bingos, and the Pixies’ Bone Machine much higher on the list. Those are top ten for me.

      I remember this year of music well and the radio rotation of the songs. The ironic thing is that, in the moment, Marc Almond’s Tears Run Rings would probably be top five, if not number one. But after a few decades, it’s not even in the top 60. Great song though . . .

      • Elephant Stone is perfection. I’m guessing it’s a situation where everyone discovered it (as I did) in 1989 when the Stone Roses LP hit in a massive way.

      • Neil Carver

        I had to go and stream “Tears Run Rings” because I honestly had no idea what the song was. It seems mildly familiar, but I can’t say I really remember it. Interesting how I missed back in the day.

  8. ’88 was my first year in college and miss the days of leveling the dorm walls with A House “Call Me Blue” – sad it didn’t make the list. I see another omission (Matt wouldn’t have missed on his own curated list I think) by Fields of the Nephilim “Moonchild”

    • Thank you for the reminder about “Call Me Blue”! A great song and I always loved the ending.

    • Neil Carver

      Yeah, the album Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round was a tremendous album and highly under-appreciated. A House was never that good again, but they killed it with their debut.

      Call Me Blue, I Want to Kill Something, Love of the Eighties, Stone the Crow… just great songs.

  9. VERY happy to see my favorite song to dance to at #1, and approve of the entire top ten without some bullshit song people liked but can’t stand up to time. Shockers – Buffalo Stance not in the top 20 (or even 10), Delicious Demon that far ahead of Coldsweat?, U2 in their place, other people like Galaxie 500 as much as I do.

  10. 1988, the year of the All songs (lol):
    All Night Long
    All That Money Wants
    All She Wants Is
    All I Want Is You

    Great to see the Stuffies make the list with a couple of songs, Peter Murphy with a few from a great album, Sugarcubes with a few, Jane’s, Pixies. Interesting list for sure.

  11. Funny….a Chicago influenced house track makes the number one spot. New Order has always been on the forefront of musical genres. With a little help from Steve Hurley, the track went from good to great Rave culture goes main stream and the cover says it all. Congratulations

  12. Big disappointments… no Depeche Mode Route 66 and Q Lazarus Goodbye Horses

  13. thomas solimine

    Here are a few noteworthy omissions:
    The Wedding Present – Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm
    The Wedding Present – Why are You Being so Reasonable Now?
    The Jazz Butcher – Next Move Sideways
    Aztec Camera – How Men Are
    The Bats – North by North
    Razorcuts – Contract with God
    Spacemen 3 – Take me to the other side
    APB – When I feel this way
    Anyone remember APB? You should.

  14. 20 out of my 25 picks made it!

    Finally, Sonic Youth gets its due! Two songs in the 100. Silver Rocket is one of my all time favorite songs, I voted Teen Age Riot, since I thought it had the better shot at making, but I didn’t expect #2! The whole top 10 is amazing except for another boring New Order song at #1 Third year in a row and 4th #1 on these polls. Never liked New Order, I find them bland. Also, Sonic Youth would’ve been #1! I digress. For the most part, it’s a good list.

  15. thomas solimine

    Here is another I forgot to include:

    Ultra Vivid Scene – Mercy Seat
    What a great track. Should be in the top 100.
    Too many Sugarcubes songs for my liking.

    • Not enough, Sugarcubes songs for my liking, at least from “Life’s Too Good” which is such a great album. (The two followups were kind of disappointing.)

  16. Forgotten on this list was one of my favorites – “Same Old Walk” by Paul Kelly & The Messengers. Even “Dumb Things” would have been a nice inclusion.

  17. I’m saddened that “Under the Milky Way” is nowhere to be seen, but I’ll forgive y’all for that because there’s multiple Go-Betweens tunes listed!

    • Neil Carver

      As above, Under the Milky Way was officially released in Australia in 1987, so it was on that list, and wasn’t allowed for the ’88 vote.

      Yes, this is a personal crisis of mine, as that song was my #1 for ’88 until the ruling about what year it was released was handed down… but that is why it isn’t on this list. Check the ’87 list for it, and Birthday by the Sugarcubes and other songs most of relate to ’88.

  18. Freddie Bingham

    The song with the Goat Samples. New Order, top five band for me, “Fine Time”, not something to be remembered by. Makes me wonder if some dance lover ballot stuffed that song to the top.

  19. Reviewing this list re-confirms 1988 as my least favorite year for Eighties music, slightly nudging out 1987. This is NOT a diss at the voters or what they voted for but just the selection available. Maybe there would be 3-4 songs from 1988 in my Top 100 of the 80’s like I Believe in You or Under The Milky Way (not available in the US until 1988 so please stop with the 1987 bullshit).

    Fine Time is a joke at #1, it is not even one of the 3 or 4 best songs on that album and barely came out in time to count for 1988. No one would associate it with what they listened to all year long in ’88.

    Thank goodness 1989 almost single handedly made up for a 3 year lull at the end of the 80’s.

  20. Question for ’89… will “Head On” by the Jesus & Mary Chain be eligible… or will the limited promo version which came out in’88 disqualify it? Is a promo really a “release”?

  21. Andrew Collins

    I had to go and listen to “Fine Time” to even remember what song that was. Left absolutely no impression on me, so seeing it at #1 is more than a little bit of a shock…

    Surprised not to see “Goodbye Horses” from Q Lazzarus. That song seems so iconic to me.

    Other than that, pleasantly surprised to see so many of my choices on here. Probably more than any past year. Dead Milkmen, Cowboy Junkies, Talk Talk, Mighty Lemon Drops, all good stuff. “Naked” from Talking Heads is also a very underrated album from them and “Nothing But Flowers” one of their finest songs.

  22. Nicely done!

    Shame Killing Joke’s America didn’t make it despite being all over Modern Rock radio in 88. The Outside The Gate album wasn’t their best but that track was great with the video being played on 120 Minutes giving these legends much greater exposure.

    Also surprised Nitzer Ebb didn’t make it…nor did a-ha’s massive Bond theme The Living Daylights or any other Mighty Lemon Drops songs.

    Seems the year of the 88 update was also disqualified…no Blue Monday 88, Mirror People 88. And the exclusion of huge tracks Route 66 & When In Rome’s The Promise also surprising.

  23. Nicely done!

    Shame Killing Joke’s America didn’t make it despite being all over Modern Rock radio in 88. The Outside The Gate album wasn’t their best but that track was great with the video being played on 120 Minutes giving these legends much greater exposure.

    Also surprised Nitzer Ebb didn’t make it…nor did a-ha’s massive Bond theme The Living Daylights or any other Mighty Lemon Drops songs.

    Seems the year of the 88 update was also disqualified…no Blue Monday 88, Mirror People 88. And the exclusion of huge tracks Route 66 & When In Rome’s The Promise also surprising. And no Jane’s Addiction’s Pigs In Zen is a headscratcher too.

  24. I’m a huge REM fan. But the inclusion of Stand on this list is criminal.

  25. MedicineCabinets

    Just discovering these lists. Fine job on all of them. 1988 was the year I discovered alternative radio in the Great White North so a lot of this stuff is near and dear to my ear. I agree with Fine Time being everywhere at the time even though it didn’t crack my top ten back when I was listing my own personal favs a few yrs back – it was still an essential track in relation to how huge rave and techno were at the time, and is a Fine choice to stand atop the list.

    Strangely 6 of my top ten aren’t represented at all.
    Doctorin the Tardis – The Timelords remains one of my fav 12” singles to throw on
    New York by Microchip League
    Def Con One by Pop Will Eat Itself
    Testure by Skinny Puppy
    Disappointed by Morrissey was originally just a b-side but remains my favourite Moz tune to this day.
    Finally an obscure Edmonton band called This Fear put out an um… haunting tune called Haunting Me – took me forever to figure out who it was elated to find a copy in a little record shop in Peterborough a few yrs back.
    Dunno if this will jar anyone’s memories but these are mine…
    overall well done tho.

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