Top Ten Lists of Eighties Albums
What are your top ten favorite albums from the 80s?
This page currently edited by: stingr22. Past editor: Junior
- 10. Blizzard of Ozz/Diary of a Madman (1980/1981) by Ozzy Osbourne
This is really about Randy Rhodes, the best guitarist ever, not Ozzy. 80s heavy metal was hyped, sugarcoated, and overrated. And Bark at the Moon was a joke compared to these two releases.
- 9. Labour of Love (1983) by UB40
Every song is a much-improved remake in tribute to past kings of Reggea.
- 8. The Queen Is Dead (1986) by The Smiths
About 60/40 on great songs vs mediocre songs, but the great ones are most smashing.
- 7. Black Celebration (1986) by Depeche Mode
The favorite album of most hardcore DM fans. I think it is a bit too gloomy at times, but there is not a bad song on this release.
- 6. Substance (1987) by New Order
More like a "best of" album, but a massive release of their best early work, dance tracks, b-sides, mixes, and some new stuff at the time.
- 5. Disintegration (1989) by The Cure
Beautiful music! Several radio hits, but the best part is that every song is long and practically 3/4 instrumental.
- 4. The Two-Ring Circus (1987) by Erasure
They took good songs from "The Circus" (released earlier the same year) and somehow made them phenomenally better and added more songs.
- 3. Music for the Masses (1987) by Depeche Mode
I judge a great album by its lack crappy songs, not by one extraordinary song. This one - 14 solid tracks and only one song I never hear out.
- 2. War (1983) by U2
Despite 2 big hits, the most underrated of all U2's releases.
- 1. Some Great Reward (1984) by Depeche Mode
Not one bad song in the bunch, and half of them are well-known hits even by people who don't know the band. The best songs are the unknown ones. First album to blend DM's trademark dark seduction and industrial sounds.
Great albums shouldn't be about top-40 hits or a few memorable songs. They should be able to be heard over and over without getting sick of it or skipping over half the songs. Honorable mentions: 10,000 Manics - In My Tribe; Madonna - True Blue; Duran Duran - Notorious; Erasure - Wild; Echo & the Bunnymen - Songs to Learn and Sing; Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair; Book of Love - Book of Love; Some Kind of Wonderful Soundtrack; She's Having a Baby Soundtrack
By: gloria lopez
- 10. She's So Unusaual by Cyndi Lauper
- 9. Let's Get Serious by Jermaine Jackson
it's so professional.and really cool something thatu can grove to.
- 8. Crowded House by Crowded House
it's so catchy.
- 7. Songs From The Big Chair by Tears For Fears
- 6. Private Dancer by Tina Turner
- 5. Purple Rain by Prince
something you could groove to.
- 4. Control by Janet Jackson
a powerful album
- 3. Bad by Michael Jackson
one of the greatest records ever heard.
- 2. Like A Virgin by Madonna
music makes you come alive.
- 1. Thriller by Michael Jackson
the perfect album of all time. the greatest music ever heard.
Michael Jackson rules the 80's and music.
- 10. Seven and The Ragged Tiger by Duran Duran
This album is simply a modern masterpiece: the definitive soundtrack for the New Wave Eighties. Duran Duran took NW, spun it with disco and funk, added Andy Taylor's itchy, "just-right" guitar, and then added copious, impenetrable art lyrics from the brooding world traveler Simon LeBon, whose musings vacillate on "Tiger" from the blindly ecstatic ("The Reflex") to the suicidal ("Seventh Stranger"). You got taken along for the trip. Kidnapped really. And when you woke up, somewhere around the "Liberty" album, this world had become a stranger, darker place, this grimy, sweaty, sex-obsessed dungeon of horrors where a creepy horde known as Generation Y had somehow bypassed The Real Generation In Charge (that would be X), and an aural toilet known as hip-hop was called music. Thankfully that sinister era ended when Generation X called, "Enough", and the word Electroclash was born. I thank God for that critic. "Seven and The Ragged Tiger" is pretty much all you'd ever want in a good strong Eighties album; enough pop savvy to keep you bouncing on the dance floor, and just enough analog wizardry to blow a nice silver frost over it all. Luscious album; simply luscious to the ears and soul. Good work, you boys from Birmingham. YOU *ARE* GENERATION X'S BEATLES. Nuff said.
- 9. NOT ALBUM, BUT SINGLE: Oo To Be A by Kajagoogoo
I dare you to convince me Nick Rhodes did not produce this single, and that that isn't John Taylor playing the bass on "Ooh To Be A". No? Well then who else out there was capable of this kind of Michael Jackson footwork on the frets back then? One of my favorite singles ever, much less the Eighties, all the songs put me in such a state when I listen. I simply must dress gorgeously and apply as much makeup as possible, then drive around and spend wildly. The tonic to our modern times: an album that reminds us, somehow, that all music switches every 20 years, and that this genre is about to return and cast Britney, Beyonce, J.Lo and the other Stygian whores of Babylon down the cistern into hell forever. Happier days and nights approach, my loves - Kajagoogoo's delightful, sparkling, microbeaded keyboard gems would remind even the most jaded listener. The standouts, of course, "Too Shy", and "Oo To Be A" - "Oo To Be A" being the too-often overlooked better-sounding sister of THE HIT SINGLE. Reminds me of luxury, gold, happiness and champagne. When Generation Y's I-might-let-you-****-me-if-you-pay-me "music" gets to be too much for me, and I become depressed, THIS is the single I put in the CD player, and I just feel better in about four bars.
- 8. Black Celebration by Depeche Mode
I'm not touching this one. I'll leave it at a superlative that by no means exaggerates: this is the "Sgt. Peppers" of Gothdom, hands down. Every single, classic. Anyone disagree out there?
- 7. Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti by Squeeze
One of the most extraordinary Eighties albums recorded, this understated stunner produced by Laurie Latham has all the beeps and pops in exactly the right places, along with gorgeously icy chords from Glenn Tilbrook, who of course also sings. Tilbrook's voice is one of the Wonders of The World: supple, fluid, with a gay silkiness unusual in a straight Englishman. He simply sings as an angel would, especially on singles like "Learnt How To Pray", which will rip an asymmetrical gouge in your heart with a freezer-cooled chorus of great power; then there's lovely pop treats like "Last Time Forever" (a violent tale describing something actually disturbing, and including samples from "The Shining") and "King George Street", one of the prettiest, most tear-provoking New Wave compositions in the book pretty much hands down. Go buy this album - but good luck finding it on CD. Mine's still on cassette; and I cherish it.
- 6. The Luxury Gap by Heaven 17
Required listening. When I was a teenager dancing to this album in the dark, I didn't know what the hell Heaven 17 were so conflicted about: the lyrics spoke of being torn between art and commerce; the hero, always unnamed, went to an office job in the daytime and then exorcised his soul to the drone of analogs when the sun dropped down. I never understood this; I always asked myself, "How can he work at a regular job like this and still be a new waver? Is that possible? Why doesn't he just quit?" Alas, the ignorance of youth; now I am 35 and BELIEVE ME, I GET HEAVEN 17 AND THE B.E.F. NOW. As an adult, I now see the B.E.F. as one of the most subversive statements imaginable. And as an American, I envy British courage. Could we be this anti-establishment, especially today? Ooh, such chilly, sparkling songwriting gems: "Temptation" -- "Come Live With Me" -- these singles are crafted so perfectly, their keyboards are so angular and sine wave, almost every song jets you backwards in a pneumatic tube to '82 within the first bar. Does it get any more New Wave than this album? Doubtful; Luxury Gap is pretty much canon, as exact an example of the form as you're going to find. This is audio crack.
- 5. Dare by Human League
This album truly needs no explanation or review. If you're reading this, you bought this on vinyl in 1984. And you still have it.
- 4. It's My Life by Talk Talk
Like lots of Talk Talk albums, this one sometimes sees its overall concept wander around the neighborhood a few times, but if "It's My Life" doesn't bring you safely back home, you need to get lost for real. Forget Gwen Stefani's retouch; she has the right attitude, but this is a single for a greater voice, either a man's or a supercontralto like yours truly. Cool, bleak, windy; reminds you of a very cloudy day that threatens to rain but somehow never does; what else do you want from a New Wave album? Pour into bathtub and slowly sink into the Rolands and Yamahas.
- 3. The Stars We Are by Marc Almond and Some Bizarre
I'm biased of course because Marc Almond's vocal register is exactly the same as mine, but this sensuous gay chanteuse has probably about the best pipes in all of New Wave: dark, satin and mischievous, with a real penchant for John Barry chordology - (that's the bloke of course who composed the 007 theme) but this album has so many anthems, you can't count them all. Check out neat touches like the Arabic-Greek flavored "The Frost of Tomorrow", the sublimely ambitious "Very Last Pearl" and the decadent, sugary Goth Disney Broadway tune "Kept Boy". No, "Tears Run Rings" can't stand up to the rest of this album. Idiot A&R people thought it would. The "hit single" is the low point of "Stars". Buy and cherish this album for the other tracks; then hide it in a chest full of red velvet. It sounds like that.
- 2. Secret Wish by Propaganda
One of the de rigeur "secret cult hit albums" of the Eighties, one of the ones you passed from friend to friend on cassette and listened to until the oxide strip wore into Christmas tinsel. If you like early Berlin, this is an album to go get right now. But you probably have it. After all, "Sorry For Laughing" is the No. 2 GREATEST SINGLE OF THE EIGHTIES (No. 1 is below), with all the chords just in their right places, the cool keyboards singing like angels, and that somewhat Durannishly ambitious chorus melody. (Or was it Marc Almondly ambitious? Either one) For a band of moody German groofties, Propaganda came deliciously close to distilling what makes English new wave all that it was. Somewhere north of Heaven 17, definitely in Marc Almond's coolest coat pocket, but mostly a kiss between Duran Duran and Human League, you gotta own this album. Plus, what goth club night wasn't complete without the DJ spinning "Dr. Mabuse" at least once? ("Sell 'im your soul, sell 'im your soul... nevah look back... nevah look back") One of my favorite albums ever. "Duel" makes me miss the Eighties all over again.
- 1. Cupid & Psyche 1986 by Scritti Politti
Sparkling new wave as crisp as a cracker. Tight enough to bounce a quarter off its analog abs. This was David Gamson at his best, sporting those crunching, whirling drum fills he was so good at. Put on your best makeup, gel your hair, and stroll through the malls to this soundtrack. Just a total delight - especially the underrated, catastrophically funky "Small Talk". John Taylor couldn't even follow this bassline; it's too black, too instinctive. DARE you not to dance to it.
Yaaaay, it's BACK
- 10. Michael Jackson by Thriller
The only pop album you'll ever find on any list I ever make and the only one I ever bought. Really the only thing worth watching on MTV besides Headbangers Ball. Also the only album on this list I NEVER played when I was a DJ.
- 9. Def Lepperd by Hysteria
Seven legit hits on this album. A DJ's rock fantasy. Plus, it was the first album back with a one armed drummer. Incredible music.
- 8. Poison by Look What The Cat Dragged In
From my interview with Brett Michaels: Me - What is Poison? Brett - "Take a bunch of different colors of paint and throw it on stage with dynamite. The resulting explosion is Poison.
- 7. Bon Jovi by Slippery When Wet
Should be higher on my list, but I don't want to re-type. The making of a supergroup. And, I sat in a hotel room with Jon and did my first big rock interview. Too Damn Cool.
- 6. Styx by Paradise Theatre
Good stuff, but not nearly good as thier late 70's stuff. Like Journey and REO, these guys decided to go commercial and sold out the classic rock feel. Still, my first "true" date was to see Styx in concert to promote this album, so I have fond memories.
- 5. 38 Special by Flashback
A greatest hits package that included late 70's and early 80's stuff. As good today as they always were.
- 4. Asia by Heat of the Moment
I think I was all caught up in the "super group" thing. Music wasn't bad.
- 3. Shooting Star by Shooting Star
Can't believe I haven't seen this on any lists. One of the most underated rock bands of the 80's. Their music is still great.
- 2. Molly Hatchett by No Guts, No Glory
Loved the Southern guitar drive of these guys. Fun music, strong riffs.
- 1. A Decade of Hits by Charlie Daniels Band
Wasn't country. Wasn't rock. It was just fun music to cruise around to and drink your first beer.
I don't even recognize any of today's "top" bands. If I ever go back on the air again, it will be to play 80's classic rock.
- 10. No Jacket Required by Phil Collins
Another well crafted hit machine of a record. Maybe less sophistacated than his most notable work with genesis, but an important 80's album.
- 9. Toto IV by Toto
A guilty pleasure, but a beautiful one. Meet you all the way!
- 8. Songs From the Big Chair by Tears For Fears
EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD!!! best 6/8 groove in popular music ever!!!
- 7. Bruce Hornsby by The Way it is
He made the piano hip again, great songs... the reason I am now a proffessional musician, nuff said
- 6. Nothing Like The Sun by Sting
Perhaps Sting's most mature melding of Jazz and Popular music, after he would continue in other interesting directions, this is one of my favorites. Great grooves, solos, and subtleties.
- 5. Graceland by Paul Simon
Infectious and profound at the same time. Important record.
- 4. The Joshua Tree by U2
With this album they made their presence heard in a major way, and it still hasn't subsided. Noone since the Beatles has so profoundly impacted the soundscape of popular music.
- 3. Sports by Huey Lewis and teahe News
How did a Bay Area bar band become 80's icons? Fun songs and a classic sound just seemed to be in the right place in the right time.
- 2. Thriller by Michael Jackson
One of the best selling albums of all time with good reason... Great grooves, hooks, and insane musicality and production.
- 1. The Nightfly by Donald Fagen
Still used by discerning audiophiles and audio technicians to test P/A and hi fi systems, a gorgeously crafted and performed album.
By: Calan Byrnes
Michael Jackson doesnt deserve to be on the same page as the rest of these musicians
- 10. Back in Black by AC/DC
Best Rock album of the 80s, just don't take it too seriously
- 9. Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen
- 8. Synchronicity by The Police
- 7. The Smiths by The Smiths
- 6. Purple Rain by Prince and the Revolution
- 5. Graceland by Paul Simon
- 4. Doolittle by The Pixies
Directly influenced a little known band fronted by Kurt Cobain
- 3. Thriller by Michael Jackson
The commercial album of the decade
- 2. Joshua Tree by U2
Best guitar album of the decade
- 1. Sign o the Times by Prince
Prince was the 80s-this is his finest work
Near misses: Joy Division, Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, Public Enemy
By: Courteney Bing
- 10. Be The One by Jackie Jackson
- 9. Don't Take It Personal by Jermaine Jackson
- 8. Lets Get Serious by Jermaine Jackson
- 7. Baby Tonight by Marlon Jackson
- 6. Jermaine Jackson by Jermaine Jackson
- 5. The Jacksons LIVE by The Jacksons
- 4. Victory by The Jacksons
- 3. Let Me Tickle Your Fancy by Jermaine Jackson
- 2. Bad by Michael Jackson
- 1. Thriller by Michael Jackson
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