Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top 40 Albums of the 1980s (Postscript)

My pivotal teen years occurred in the 1980s. That made constructing my top-albums list tougher than it would be if I tackled any other decade. When I started thinking about candidates, it took only a few minutes to come up with about 100 worthy albums. I also had to think about the rules. Do I pick records that were important to me in the '80s, or does an album still have to be on my turntable with regularity in 2011? How many albums will I allow an artist to have on such a short list? (In case you're interested, I capped it at two). Should I include soundtracks and live albums? (I didn't. Thus, no 'Repo Man.') That's just the tip of the iceberg. Point is, a countdown that should have filled me with pure joy had me feeling pretty anxious.

There were so many albums worthy of inclusion that didn't make the cut. I have mentioned a few of these albums during the course of presenting the countdown, such as Tom Waits' 'Rain Dogs,' Squeeze's 'East Side Story,' David Bowie's 'Scary Monsters' and at least a couple by Elvis Costello.

Then there were some bands and artists I consider all-time favorites -- that were pretty prolific during the decade -- that ended up not even sniffing the Top 40. A few examples are OMD, New Order, Nick Lowe, Crowded House and ex-Beatles. I also thought there would be more punk albums. Bands like Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and Husker Du got me through the angst-filled years.

With all of this in mind, I wanted to post a very quick list of the records that just missed the list. These are in no particular order. This has to end sometime. So, I'm going to try to limit the comments. If you haven't heard some of these, I ask you to give them a try.

Scraps From Top 40 Albums of the 1980s

Tom Waits - 'Swordfishtrombones' (1983)
This one and 'Rain Dogs' (also from the '80s) are his his best works.

fIREHOSE - 'Ragin', Full On' (1986)
After the death of D. Boon, Mike Watt and George Hurley from Minutemen start a new band with this one.
fIREHOSE - Brave Captain (mp3)

Klark Kent - 'Klark Kent' (1980)
Solo album from Police drummer Stewart Copeland
Klark Kent - Away from Home (mp3)

Let's Active - 'Cypress' (1984)
Jangle pop from Mitch Easter
Let's Active - Waters Part (mp3)

The Crucifucks - 'The Crucifucks' (1984)
If side two was just a little stronger, this one makes the list.
The Crucifucks - Hinkley Had a Vision (mp3)

Everything But the Girl - 'Everything But the Girl' (1984)
Got this one after hearing Tracey Thorn's angelic voice on the Style Council's "Paris Match."

Carlene Carter - 'Blue Nun' (1981)
You can't go wrong with Paul Carrack, Nick Lowe, Martin Belmont, Billy Bremner and Bobby Irwin backing you.
Carlene Carter - Me and My .38 (mp3)

X - 'Los Angeles' (1980)
Pride of the Slash Records stable. Punk rockers separate themselves with powerful vocals from John Doe and Exene Cervenka.

The Jesus and Mary Chain - 'Psychocandy' (1985)
Landmark album continues to influence score of bands with fuzzy guitars.

U2 - 'War' (1983)
Yes, there was a brief period early on when Bono didn't bug me.

I could go on and on. Apologies to NRBQ, Roxy Music, Orange Juice and scores of others.

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