I will note that I am not and have never been a fan of 80s music per se but rather of alternative rock, where that means something broad like “the strain of music roughly beginning with Velvet Underground and running through glam rock, punk, New Wave, grunge, and in the narrow sense indie, along with some of the things resembling or influencing those genres, such as garage rock, some prog rock, and alt-country.”
This shows (for good or ill) greater consistency on my part — and far less interest in nostalgia — than if I regarded, say, the Dead Kennedys and Katrina and the Waves as interchangeable (and, by the way, I really think the latter should have done a benefit concert to aid victims of post-hurricane flooding in New Orleans). I was even more enthusiastic about decade-old Who songs when I was ten than I am about twenty-year-old Nirvana songs now, I swear. And I still don’t like, for example, Bon Jovi, whose songs sound like they were designed to cause people to sing off-key in karaoke decades later.
All that being said: setting aside quality for the moment, my nominee for “most quintessentially 80s song” is Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone.”
P.S. Speaking of time travel, here’s what (Brown alum) Josh Friedman, who produced the tragically short-lived Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, has been up to lately (as pointed out by Megan McArdle): confronting someone who partially stole his identity (but is probably not a robot duplicate from a decade in the future). And by the way, I correctly guessed who the writer of that blog entry was even without knowing his last name, ’cause I’m just that nerdy.