College Countdown: KROQ-FM’s Top 40 Songs of 1987, 14 and 13

14. “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2
There’s nothing like a collegiate existence defined by college radio to absolutely ensure there are lots and lots of earnest late night conversations about the deeper meanings of songs. I remember one night, probably fueled by steady consumption of blue bullets, when my roommate and I swapped theories about various songs. At one point, he theorized that the U2 hit “Where the Streets Have No Name” was about Heaven, which seemed extremely profound at the time. Of course, it’s also entirely wrong. Bono’s lyrics were instead inspired by a story the singer had heard about the presumed ability to predict the political views of Belfast residents based on which street they lived on. He mentally compared that to a recent visit he’d made to Ethiopia, where he felt free from imposed expectation. No one was bothering to compartmentalize the residents there. Being Bono, he also noted the song was about transcendence and the goal of all art and stuff like that. It’s entirely possible we lit on some of those sidebar possibilities during our speculation. We had both beer and completed college philosophy credits. This is the third of four U2 songs on the countdown.

13. “No New Tale to Tell” by Love and Rockets
One of the surest ways for me to determine how thoroughly the songs on this chart crossed over from more daring outlets like KROQ-FM is to consider whether or not the complete doofuses I attended high school with were aware of them. Somewhere amidst the debates over whether Whitesnake or Poison was awesomer, “No New Tale to Tell,” the dominant single from Love and Rocket’s Earth, Sun, Moon penetrated their collective consciousness. That’s not to imply that those guys liked the song. They were more likely to make fun of it than anything else (to be fair, lyrics like “You cannot go against nature/ Because when you do/ Go against nature/ It’s part of nature too” are pretty easy to make fun of). But it was there, and that was impressive enough. The far more significant crossover was yet to come. Two years later, the band released a self-titled album, yielding the single “So Alive,” which unbelievably made it all the way to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

An Introduction
40 and 39: “4th of July” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”
38 and 37: “Heartbreak Beat” and “Not My Slave”
36 and 35: “Alone Again Or” and “Absolute Perfection”
34 and 33: “Love Removal Machine” and “The Passenger”
32 and 31: “It’s Still Warm” and “Hourglass”
30 and 29: “Alex Chilton” and “We Care a Lot”
28 and 27: “Crazy” and “It’s a Sin”
26 and 25: “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Rules and Regulations”
24 and 23: “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” and “Twenty Killer Hurts”
22 and 21: “We Close Our Eyes” and “Please”
20 and 19: “Rain in the Summertime” and “Behind the Wheel”
18 and 17: “The Sweetest Thing” and “Rent”
16 and 15: “Is It Really So Strange?” and “The Motion of Love”

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