Average Jane

RIP Love (1982-1993)

I present to you something that I have, until this point, been unable to fully provide: culture. I have enlisted a Cultural Contributor. Enjoy!

Please G-d: Bring Back the 80s Power Ballad

If you leave me now….you’ll take away the biggest part of me…

There was so much to love about the 80s, though I have to admit, my firsthand memories consist mainly of Barbies, My Little Ponies, and She-Rah dolls. However, as I’ve grown older and developed a heightened sense of musical appreciation, I find that my “Hairband” iPod playlist has become a cherished favorite. So, whilst drudging through another Monday in Corporate Cubicle Hell, jamming to my favorite power ballads, I find myself wondering: Did romance die in the 80s? And can we bring it back, please?

Seriously. There was a time when almost every hardcore metal and rock band felt the need to unleash the obligatory “power ballad.” (C’mon, we’ve all seen the Monster Ballads infomercials. And, if you’re like me, yes, you totally own the CD.) It was a beautiful time really…big tough rock and rollers going acoustic to write about heartbreak, desire, lust, and love. All with a “sing-along-in-the-car-20-years-later” hook. As opposed to the sappy and predictable likes of today’s soft rock artists – most of whom just make you want to curl up and cry yourself into a depressed stupor – 80s love songs, rock.

Maybe the 80s were just so self-indulgent, as opposed to singing about the political issue of the day as in the 60s and 70s, all that was left was introspective romance-rock. Maybe the whole goal was to make teenage girls swoon and Make Me Lose Control while Faithfully rocking out in your Trans Am. Maybe the Grunge movement of the mid-90s did in romance in rock music. Maybe by the time the 90s rolled around, we were so chock full of the sugary 80s ballads, the music loving populace was just All Out of Love. Regardless, Ooh La La, it was some good shit.

Frankly, I think they’ve stood the test of time because they’re just oh-so-true. These romance-rock lyrics are applicable to anyone fighting their way through single-dom. In my case, while I Would Do Anything for Love, these songs remind me that there still have to be men out there that feel the same way (as most of these rockin’ 80s tunes are male vocalists). As a professional woman in her mid-20s, I’ve been through the ups and downs of the dating scene, and just when I’ve given up on finding a guy who’s not obsessed with sports, beer, video games, wrestling, and/or porn….Journey reminds me to Don’t Stop Believin’. So, realizing that it is humanly impossible to sound any more desperate than that last sentence, in all my Single Girl Glory, I don’t care.

So did romance die in the 80s? Or does it just feel that way today? I guess I don’t know. All I know, is that Anyway You Want It, these songs are priceless. And for a single gal just trying to make it through another work day, they always leave me with Something to Believe In.


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  1. * Jo says:

    You know you’re totally right… there aren’t many Power Love Ballads nowadays. However, I think music runs in cycles. In the 90s we had the Backstreet Boys and the like doing Love Ballads, so they’ll be back, just in a different format.

    I gotta say, Open Arms is one of my favorites. Drunk in a Taco Bell drive through inging at the top of our lungs… oh the memories.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  2. * carrie m says:

    actually, there was a top 10 power ballad just recently: “lips of an angel” by hinder. it had all the makings of a power ballad: sappy, including something inappropriate (what’s up, cheater?), guitar solo, the last line of the song is the same as the first “baby why ya calling me…so late” it’s the best example of a power ballad in the last 10 years at least.

    and oh, i don’t own the power ballads CD. you know why? b/c i own all the CDs that individually contain those songs. THAT’S RIGHT! i’m so cool.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  3. * Cultural Contributor says:

    Basically, anything you can sing aloud to, loudly, at the drive-thru, ranks pretty high on the “awesome-meter.”

    I guess anything that gives you that feeling of “rocking out” is fabulous music. And, Carrie, I stand impressed by your CD collection. I feel like after buying a “Mr. Big” album for “To Be With You”….and then realizing the rest of the album was total crap…turned me off to beefing up my 80s collection with unknown filler. You are a braver soul than I.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  4. Reading this, I was in HEAVEN. (Warrant) I mean, the truly great LOVE SONG (Tesla) may well have died in the 80’s. I’m NOBODY’S FOOL (Cinderella) but really, I need SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN (Poison) and without that sticky sweet Aqua Net sap flying out of a boombox, how am I supposed to FLY TO THE ANGELS? (Slaughter) How can I get HOME SWEET HOME? (Motley CRUUUUUE)

    Ahh the Power Ballad…I REMEMBER YOU (Skid Row) and I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO (Steelheart).

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  5. * Cultural Contributor says:

    You are my new hero. Excellent “embedded song title” usage. I stand in awe.

    Oh, great. Another one of my friends who worships INPY

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  6. * Jo says:

    *clap*clap*clap* INPY. That’s truly amazing.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  7. * cc says:

    Carrie points out the contemporary power ballad from Hinder, however, it takes a lot to live up to the legacy of the power ballad. Bands such as Nickelback and Hinder just can’t hang with steve perry, david coverdale, axl rose, and bon jovi. I attribute it to the 3 key factors that all power ballad artists possess:

    1. Talent
    2. Hair
    3. Tight Pants

    Unfortunately the 80s were unique inflection point that allowed for a plethora of all of these factors, thus allowing the proliferation of the power ballad and hair band. With any luck, there will be a second coming, but for now,

    p.s. if you are a nickelback or hinder fan and i’ve offended you, DON’T GO AWAY MAD (JUST GO AWAY)


    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  8. * Cultural Contributor says:

    Well said!!! But for now, all we can do is hope for a triumphant return of teased hair and neon spandex.

    Those were the days……

    p.s. And with an online message to Axl: No more dreadlocks, dude. Seriously.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  9. * Carrie M says:

    I am proud of all my blog friends today.

    Bravo, CC. that last shout out to the Crue made me LOL. Although can Nobody’s Fool really be classified as a power ballad? You should have gone for COMING HOME, INPY. Or DON”T KNOW WHAT YOU GOT (TILL IT’S GONE). Those are the quintessential Cinderella power ballads.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  10. But Nobody’s Fool is the OLD SCHOOL one, yo!!! That was the post rocker obligatory power ballad follow up to Shake Me, which I flat out loved as a little INPY.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  11. * Cultural Contributor says:

    Oh man. Excellent comments. Also underrated 80s power ballads, much like Nobody’s Fool:

    1. Your Love, The Outfield
    2. She’s a Beauty, The Tubes
    3. Love Song, Tesla
    4. Somebody’s Baby, Jackson Browne
    5. Some Guys Have All the Luck, Rod Stewart (would this even be considered a power balled? probably not, but I still love it)

    Happy Wednesday everyone!

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  12. * Poopsack Brigade says:

    first time poster – love the power ballads. Listen to more metal. They never died. I do have to clarify one point, however.

    The song lyrics “If you leave me now….you’ll take away the biggest part of me” is from Chicago (“If You Leave Me” is the official song title). Chicago had no power, so was incapable of writing a power ballad. However, even if we disagree on that point, it still came out 4 years before the 1980s. I think the late and no-so-great Gerald Ford was in the White House, the Yankees were swept (Thank Jeebus) by the Reds in the World Series, and I was 5.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  13. * Cultural Contributor says:


    Thank you for the clarification, much appreciated. It’s true, Chicago is on the softer side of things, but I’ve always been a fan.

    Thanks for setting us straight, and including some historial highpoints. When I first read that, I thought it said “Yankees were swept by the Red SOX in the World Series” which couldn’t possibly be true. I must be hitting the afternoon wall at work and my reading skills are “livin’ on a prayer.”

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  14. * Poopsack Brigade says:

    I think the epitome of the 80s power ballad was Angel by Aerosmith. Cheesy, retarded, great for slow dancing at the CYO.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  15. * carrie m says:

    good call on Angel. Also I have to say that Tesla’s Love Song was not underrated. If anything, it was overrated. there was a time when I swore if I had ever heard that song again…I mean look at that band. Only a song like that can put guys that ugly on the map.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  16. * Average Jane says:

    Can I just say that it is 7:29am and my day has already been ruined: I just saw Poison on VH1 covering “what i like about you”. POISON! Come on boys! Retirement can’t be THAT BAD! *le sigh*

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  17. * Poopsack Brigade says:

    Very important that power ballads start with a soft percussion that becomes loud at some later point for emphasis. Also, there has to be a key change, but no tempo change. Tempo changes are for 70s epic songs (Stairway to Heaven, Behind Blue Eyes) or 90s-00s metal (South of Heaven, Metallica’s One).

    Follow the formula, and Angel is in fact the best in breed.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago

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