It’s 1987, and the breakthrough creativity of the early ’80s is beginning to sour. Also, everyone’s hair is ridiculous, but that’s beside the point. Chris Molanphy is our guide to the year’s Billboard
’s hits, which taught us, as he says, that “fairly great art can result from commerce and studio polish.” Molanphy writes Slate
’s Why Is This Song No. 1
Plus, what to do about America’s antiquated industries, like steel and coal. And Mike answers your emails, tweets, corrections, and anger in the Lobstar.
Join Slate Plus
! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus