Whether you're a starry-eyed teen, a generous parent or a grown-up superfan, you'll need a soundtrack for the buildup to this weekend's big Taylor Swift show at AT&T Stadium.
This time around, Swift will be showcasing '80s-inspired tunes from her blockbuster 1989 album, so it might be a good idea to make yourself a "Tayl-gating" playlist in order to get pumped before the concert. And why not make said playlist using only pop gems from the decade that so inspired our superstar on her album?
Allow us to suggest 13 tunes that could be stylistic and lyrical cousins to the tracks on 1989. And listen to this entire playlist via Spotify at the end of the article.
1. Starship, 'We Built This City'
Yes, it's the cheesiest thing to ever come from Grace Slick, but it was the '80s, when cheddar was better. And the anthemic, melodic spirit of this track matches that of 1989's almost-as-gooey opener, "Welcome to New York."
2. Cyndi Lauper, 'Change of Heart'
The way "Blank Space" trades in staccato verses and seize-the-moment romanticism takes us back to the heyday of Lauper, who took a similar approach (with admittedly weirder dance moves and hairstyles).
3. Kim Carnes, 'Bette Davis Eyes'
You know the pop-star glam and elusive lovers that so define "Style"? You'll find them in spades in the '80s' "Bette Davis Eyes," as well as in Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" from the previous decade.
4. Billy Idol, 'Eyes Without a Face'
The driving beat, the repeating line in the chorus, the moody synths: There's no better precursor for Swift's "Out of the Woods" than this.
5. Kate Bush, 'This Woman's Work'
All You Had to Do Was Stay" is the first real moment of dejection and regret on 1989, and while it can't hold an emotional candle to Bush's piano ballad, it's in that same lane. And there's a hint of Bush's chilling tenor in that "stay" refrain in the Swift tune.
6. Toni Basil, 'Mickey'
Handclap beats, bratty vocal delivery and cheerleader imagery draw a natural comparison between this '80s classic and "Shake It Off." The one difference? "Mickey" is about frustration with a lover; "Shake It Off" focuses more on the haters of the world. So many haters.
7. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, 'If You Leave'
In both "If You Leave" and "I Wish You Would," moody guitars segue into a soaring chorus. In fact, you could mash up footage from Pretty in Pink and the Swift song, and the result would make total sense.
8. Pat Benatar, 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot'
You want a rumble and you've already worn out "Bad Blood"? Pull up some Benatar. After all, she's the undisputed queen of harmony-rich '80s pop 'n' roll. She's got the attitude that Swift was looking for on this song. Add Pat to the squad, Taylor. It's a must.
9. Blondie, 'Heart of Glass'
Blondie's song is a little more spirited than "Wildest Dreams," but they're both concerned with the push-and-pull of fated love. And they both feature melodies that are nearly impossible to shake free from the brain.
10. Whitney Houston, 'How Will I Know'
Sweet melodies and romantic notions drive the protagonists of Houston's bubblegum classic and Swift's "How You Get the Girl." Somebody mash them up, stat.
11. Peter Gabriel, 'In Your Eyes'
"This Love" stems from a woo-back moment that's worthy of John Cusack's in Say Anything. So why not draw the comparison between Swift's tune and the track used in the movie, a Peter Gabriel classic? And here's something: Both end with cathartic chanting.
12 Madonna, 'Live to Tell'
Minor- chord meditations are key in Madonna's slow jam and Swift's "I Know Places." Lessons learned from pain, a running theme in pop music.
13. Corey Hart, 'Never Surrender'
Hart's hit and "Clean" both start with warm bell synths and contain lyrics seeking some sort of wonderfully melodramatic resolution. It all makes us want to wear sunglasses at night.
Taylor Swift: The 1989 World Tour, with Vance Joy and Shawn Mendes, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at AT&T Stadium, 1 AT&T Way, Arlington. $97-$149.50. Ticketmaster.