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Freshen up your throwback playlist with these pre-90s hits

If you're looking to spice up your playlist but want to take a blast to the past, feel free to check out this Spotify playlist.  – Photo by Rania Rizvi

Some things never go out of style: blue jeans, red lipstick and all the music your dad probably loves.

While new classics are being created every day and plenty of up-and-coming artists are taking the music world by storm, your next musical #ThrowbackThursday doesn’t just have to be early 2000s Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus.

After all, who needs the pop hits you remember from your middle school dance when there’s a whole trove of classics pre-1990 for you to discover and stream?

While I’m not one to listen to grouchy complaints of "they just don’t make good music anymore!" some of these songs truly can’t be beat. And whether you’re more into Billy Joel or Whitney Houston, this playlist will help you stream a blast from the past — even if streaming is very 2021.

“Storm” — Fleetwood Mac (1979)

It was difficult not to add all of Fleetwood Mac’s discography to this playlist, let alone not add all of the iconic album “Rumours.” The highlighted pick comes not from the uber-famous album that features “The Chain” but rather their lesser-known 1979 album “Tusk.”

“Storm” is a unique track, and no matter who you are, where you are or when you were born, it’s hard not to resonate with Stevie Nicks’ mournful croon of “But never have I been a blue calm sea/I have always been a storm.”

If you give it a listen, it could narrow out some of the most popular Fleetwood Mac picks to become a new favorite. Eat your heart out, “Go Your Own Way.”

“Fast Car” — Tracy Chapman (1988)

“Fast Car” is an indulgent choice for me for this playlist, considering I’ve been obsessed with this song since I was approximately seven years old. And now, a decade and change later, it finally gets its highlight somewhere other than my Instagram story.

Chapman’s song is often praised as a working-class anthem — and also adopted as a lesbian one — both facets that modernize it and made it pretty groundbreaking at the time of release. “Fast Car” is also a beautiful, if not a little bittersweet, tale of escaping your darkened past and finding a brighter future with someone you love. Does it get more timeless than that?

“Free Fallin’” — Tom Petty (1989)

The opening track to Petty’s debut album, “Free Fallin’” is another longtime favorite of mine, and the classic track certainly has earned a spot on any throwback playlist. Half ode to California and half love song, the indisputably warm vibes of this track will keep you toasty as the weather cools down.

Its catchiness will also keep you playing it once it feels more seasonally appropriate — that’s also what’s kept it popular since its 1989 debut and made it deserving of a spot on my personal favorites list.

“Vienna” — Billy Joel (1977)

Joel is a music icon, and “Vienna” might just be as iconic as him. Another addition to the Fleetwood Mac club of “I wish I could add every song he’s ever written to this list”, Joel has created a masterpiece with this song. It is not only my favorite of his long discography but also one of my, if not my first, favorite songs of all time.

It’s also incredibly appropriate for the transitional years that are college and for any student that feels stressed or lonely. This is the perfect song to listen to on loop and stare at your ceiling, wondering where it all went wrong … or on a lighter note, just to appreciate the excellent lyrics and vocals — because, duh, it’s Billy Joel.

“Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” – Kate Bush (1985)

On the topic of existential dread, Bush comes to mind. She is the original sad girl Messiah for people whose top Spotify artists in 2020 were Fiona Apple or Phoebe Bridgers.

“Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” is a forever classic, and Bush's iconic and unique vocals make this track special enough for its inclusion on this list.

While the lyrics are surprisingly about men and women swapping places to experience one another’s struggles (you do you, Kate), I’ll continue to use this song as both the perfect throwback and a way to angst in peace as I walk around campus, running up Rutgers’ own hills to get to class.

“Give A Little Bit” — Supertramp (1977)

To end the list on a brighter note, Supertramp’s “Give A Little Bit” is a song with more warm fuzzies attached to it than anything else highlighted here. The song encourages people to love one another, support one another and has often been used for charity promotions — even being re-released in 1992 for the ITV Telethon Charity event.

Nothing is more timely (or timeless!) than a song that encourages you to care about other people — mostly because along with the aforementioned style picks, the thing that really never does go out of style is kindness. If “Give A Little Bit” is the song of love, play on!

To listen to the full playlist and impress the next group of fifty-somethings you come across, click here.

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