Alphaville – “Forever Young” (1984)

Alphaville – “Forever Young” (1984)

“Forever Young” is another one of the big iconic ’80s songs on this list, and is also both one of the main Cold War examples and one of those songs that has lived on in the popular imagination in a way that erases its Cold War elements. When you think of those ’80s stereotypes, the nostalgia and the emotional proms and the thoughts of childhood and innocence, you think of songs like “Forever Young.” But this is a song that ends its first verse with “Hoping for the best/ But expecting the worst/ Are you gonna drop the bomb or not?” It’s worth noting that Alphaville are one of the German outfits on this list; once more, artists writing from the perspective of the symbolic center of the Cold War, with aggressors on each side. It’s a masterpiece from this milieu, its lyrics mingling further allusions to the threatening world surrounding them with thoughts on aging. Perhaps more than any other song here, it encapsulates the feeling of living a life day to day, with theoretically normal hopes and dreams, under the heavy shadow of the Cold War.

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