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September 11, 2018 9:25 PM   Subscribe

The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s [Pitchfork Media] “Our list still reflects the realities of the ’80s—many great artists worked more successfully in singles than in full albums, for example—but we hope it represents the best of what this innovative decade has to offer, as well as how people consume music now. Tune in.”
posted by Fizz (160 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
 
I started liking this list even more after I saw the inclusion of Whodini.
posted by nightrecordings at 9:32 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


*checks to make sure Kate Bush is in top 10*
*nods head in agreement*
posted by Fizz at 9:36 PM on September 11 [16 favorites]


I'm scanning through the list and am surprised by some things on it, appreciate that some things are on it even while its not to my taste, and some things are entirely foreign to me (then again, this is Pitchfork). It's a good list, really.

One of my favorite things about it is how it has a couple of paragraphs about the album and why it was important and the singles and whatever, and then it lists a totally sideway recommendation as the track to listen to. I appreciate that sense of obtuseness because often it's not the hits, but it's those couple of other tracks that really provide the insight.
posted by hippybear at 9:59 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


quick look at top twenty reveals at least a dozen albums that everybody ought to be aware of which leads me to rank this list much higher than most.
posted by philip-random at 10:02 PM on September 11


Violent Femmes is far too low on the list, and they seem to have missed three or four Cure albums, but eh, for an internet list it's not awful.
posted by pompomtom at 10:07 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Oh my god I'm not even two pages in and already I want to put on leather fingerless gloves, an acid-washed denim jacket, and some ray bans
posted by drinkyclown at 10:12 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


Damn, there was a lot of great music in the 80s, my high school and college years.

I really enjoyed scrolling through this list even if I would have changed it up somewhat, especially in the bottom 100. Swapped out The Frenz Experiment for the obligatory The Fall album. Given a nod to some industrial dance like Ministry. I prefer Malcolm McClaren's Fans to Duck Rock, though maybe that's just me. I definitely prefer Joe Jackson's Body and Soul to Night and Day.

Would have elevated Stop Making Sense to someplace higher than 61.

Was Midnight Oil in there somewhere? No? Eh, maybe it's for the best.

I love the inclusion of Technique by New Order although it's maybe my third favorite album by them.

I love the inclusion of Hotter Than July by Stevie Wonder because it's just so fantastic.

And Solos by Philip Glass was a really nice surprise.

Billy Bragg isn't in there, correct? That's criminal.

I'm not saying that all of these should have made the list, but if the list had been expanded then I'd have liked to have seen the Triffids, Julian Cope, New Model Army, Mission UK.

Also, if I wanted to have donuts thrown at me, I'd point out that 1985 was the year that Weird Al gave us Dare to be Stupid.

Also also, Zappa's Baby Snakes came out in 1983, but perhaps that's a bridge too far and I should just stop.
posted by vverse23 at 10:14 PM on September 11 [13 favorites]


This post is nightrecordings fault. I'm not angry about it all. Listening to all the 80"s songs.
posted by Fizz at 10:14 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Oh goodness, this is literally the first list ever posted to MetaFilter where I've gotten to the top 10 and have scrolled down saying "okay, okay, okay, Okay, Okay, OK OK OKAY OKAY OKAYOHMYGOD"

nice post. I'll have to investigate some of the stuff i've never heard of.
posted by hippybear at 10:14 PM on September 11 [6 favorites]


Damn, there was a lot of great music in the 80s, my high school and college years.

Or, as I like to refer to them, "Back when MTV was Music Television".
posted by hippybear at 10:18 PM on September 11 [6 favorites]


I think a really good "best of" list both validates you for liking the things you like and recommends new things you've never experienced. This list goes both. Cool post, thanks.
posted by Rinku at 10:32 PM on September 11 [8 favorites]


Maybe they should have split the decade up into the first and second half.

But I'm happy with their number one. I mean, just listen to the synths in The Beautiful Ones... who puts synth layers into a song like that? It sounded so good on cassette, too.
posted by Catblack at 10:58 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


Fail. No Go Betweens. In fact, I didn't see any Australian bands listed. Friggin' northern hemisphere-centric list. You can all go get wasted in your lead-fuelled cars and your stone wash denim. I'll be over here listening to Go Betweens, TISM and other top musical 80s artists from Australia and New Zealand.
posted by Thella at 11:56 PM on September 11 [8 favorites]


I don't agree with everything on this list and tbh only read it because I wanted to see which X album they'd pick and where it'd be (spoiler: Los Angeles, no surprise; 110?! highway robbery!!) but I kept reading because there were A LOT of albums on that list that were really important to me that I hadn't listened to in ages. It's a good and thought provoking list.
posted by potrzebie at 12:16 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Not all my taste, and certainly it wouldn't be my list, but this really isn't a bad list. I'm surprised.
"3 Feet High and Rising" is so often overlooked, criminally.
"British Steel" " The Pretenders" and "Back in Black" are all way too low.
"It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" is correctly in the top 10.
Where's J&MC "Automatic"?
Swap "Purple Rain" and "Sign o the Times".

"Follow the Leader"; greatest hip hop track ever?

The early 80's and late 80's were so completely different worlds it hardly makes sense to put them together on the same list.
posted by bongo_x at 12:18 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Nice to see,"My life in the bush of ghosts" at 81, but i would have put it higher.
posted by quazichimp at 12:35 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Criminally under recognized, Victoria BC's own Nomeansno released Wrong in 1989, a thundering, complicated slab of jazz inflected post hardcore heavyosity and my single favourite Canadian album.

A sample, if you will. Raga and Bones
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:45 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


Very pleasantly surprised by the presence of Alice Coltrane, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Deep Listening, and Meredith Monk. I think there are a few glaring omissions (No Bauhaus? Seriously?) but all in all, it's quite solid. And there are a ton of artists on it that I know little or nothing about, whose work I can't wait to explore further.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:59 AM on September 12


I came to complain, but it's a very well-considered collection of recommendations - a lot of the things that of course they'd forget are included, which is disarming. It looks like someone has actually taken the fulmination that greets any such list serious. Well done, Pitchfork.

One thing I find curious about the 80s, at least in music, is that while the albums from 1980 aren't simply hangovers from the 1970s - as though the decade can't wait to get started, and does with things like Remain in Light, or Colossal Youth - the 1990s arrive with a bang in 1989 - I clearly remember that everything changed. In all sorts of directions - I must have spent a phenomenal amount on records that year, and it's nice to see so many of them included - Drifting Into the Night, Three Feet High and Rising, Raw Like Sushi, The Stone Roses and numerous others.

Things that I want to speak up for that aren't on the list (or that I missed - I'm not great at reading for detail) - Discipline by King Crimson; Lincoln by They Might Be Giants; The Trinity Session by Cowboy Junkies; Drum by Hugo Largo; On Land and In the Sea by Cardiacs. I'd have found a place for Songs to Remember by Scritti Politti - Cupid & Psyche is lovely, but StR is a fantastic record and holds up beautifully; Did they miss The Serpent’s Egg by Dead Can Dance? And Life’s Too Good by The Sugar Cubes? I wouldn't expect them to remember Voice of America by Cabaret Voltaire, but I do. Or The Draughtsman's Contract by Michael Nyman.

That they took such care with the things I do expect to be there, though, gives me confidence to look into the things I don't remember.
posted by Grangousier at 1:32 AM on September 12 [8 favorites]


Some interesting items in the list, and it's not bad for what it is. I'm certainly not going to blow a gasket over their choices. I couldn't argue with most of them.

Some I feel they missed though:

Thompson Twins - Into the Gap
Split Enz - Really now? You missed them? Surely I missed it on the list. That must be it.
Crowded House - When You Come is still one of the more amazeballs songs from the decade and this album and other Finn brothers projects like Split Enz or their solo work's influence is still being felt.
The Primitives - Crash. Words cannot express my delight that they started recording again the past few years and are spot on fantastic, still.
Eurythmics are missing? How is that possible?
Love & Rockets or any admission that Bauhaus and other projects existed?
The Sneetches - Sometimes That's All We Have. Holy shit but does this album's influence get overlooked.
Wait, was goddam Squeeze missing off that list? Holy shit indeed.

Christ, I want a single list of their choices so I can double-check, but I'm not paging through all that again. Apologies if I missed some. Still, it was good to see Scritti Politti recognized. Cupid and Psyche '85 really is some of the most intricately crafted and amazingly dense pop ever made. A bit surprised that while both Murmur and Reckoning made the list, Life's Rich Pageant -- surely R.E.M.'s Revolver if any album is, didn't.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:44 AM on September 12 [8 favorites]


I'd have found a place for Songs to Remember by Scritti Politti - Cupid & Psyche is lovely, but StR is a fantastic record and holds up beautifully…

Grangousier, I believe you're the only other person I've ever met who's referenced Songs to Remember. It is indeed a wonderful album, but at least on the American side of the Atlantic is essentially unknown.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:47 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


This more closely matches my own tastes than almost any other Pitchfork list.

I've always been one of the Pitchfork haters, mainly because they have always seemed to embody the changing tastes of fads and trends, ready to completely invert their old reviews based on the flavor of the month. Case in point, Kate Bush's Hounds of Love jumps from number 92 in their 2002 rankings to number 4 in this one.

They've always been playing catch up to the DJs and record store nerds who have been saying these were the "good" records all along. Looking at the variety of this list, I think Pitchfork may have finally caught up for the most part to the eclectic music nerd aesthetic, but it's weird- while I love stuff like Manuel Göttsching's E2-E4 or Arthur Russell's World of Echo, I know better than to recommend them to most people. E2-E4 is basically a 40 minute looping guitar riff. And the people who most love the "80s sound" would probably hate Daniel Johnston.

I guess I'm just not sure what the purpose of these lists are - to encapsulate the overall culture of the day or to curate a list of influencers on modern music and culture. This is a good list, but it is definitely more the latter than the former.
posted by p3t3 at 2:19 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm just not sure what the purpose of these lists are

Clicks and serving of online ads, I assume.
posted by hippybear at 2:23 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


50 Country Albums from 1980 to 1990, because fuck Pitchfork:

. Back to the Bar Rooms Merle Haggard
Drunk and Crazy Bobby Bare
Honeysuckle Rose Willie Nelson
But What Will the Neighbours Think Rodney Crowell
I've Got Something to Say David Allen Coe
Habits Old and New Bocephus
White Shoes Emmy Lou Harris
Feels so Right Alabama
Out Where the Bright Lights are Glowing Ronnie Milsap
Town and Country Ray Price
Girls Like Me Tanya Tucker
Who ever's in New England Reba
White Limozeen Dolly
Yesterday's Wine George Jones/Merle Haggard
Night Games Charlie Pride
Pancho and Lefty Merle and Wille
Rockin the Rytyhm The Judds
Plain Dirt Fashion Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Toyko Oklohmaa John Anderspn
Country Boy Ricky Skraggs
Walk the Way the Wind Goes Kathy Mattea
Highwaymen Highwaymen
Old 8x10 Randy Travis
West Textures Robert Earl Keen
Guitar Town STeve Earle
Guitars Caddillacs, etc Driwght Yoakham
Killybilly Hill Southern Pacific
If My Heart Had Windows Patty Loveless
Kings Record Shop Roseanne Cash
Angel with a Lariat kd lang
The Only One OB McClinton
Out Goin Cattin' Sawyer BRown
Inroads Bela Fleck
16th Ave Lacy Dalton
Gideon Kenny Rogers
Repossed Kris Kristofferson
Lost and Found Jason and the SCorchers
Lyle and his LArge Band Lyle Lovett
Fear and Whiskey Mekons
Old Friends Guy Clark
Lone Justice Lone Justice
Blue Nun Carlene Carter
This Woman KT Oslin
Western Standard Time Asleep at the Wheel
Garth Brooks Garth Brooks
I Wonder Do You Think of Me Keith Whitely
THe Road Not Taken Shenandoah
Killin Time Black
Aimless Love John Prine
Salt of the Earth BIlly JOel Shaver
posted by PinkMoose at 2:27 AM on September 12 [36 favorites]


PinkMoose: "50 Country Albums from 1980 to 1990, because fuck Pitchfork:"

I regret that I have but one favorite to give this. Thanks!
posted by chavenet at 2:59 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


A friend introduced me to Remain In The Light just a couple of months ago and I listened to nothing else for a week.

There's too much music, I despair at all the gold I must be walking by.
Everyone's wearing earphones and I'm asking myself, "What great tunes do you know about that I don't?".
posted by AnhydrousLove at 3:04 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Disappointed (but not surprised) that Lolita Nation by Game Theory didn’t make the list. The sprawling opus of experimental power pop is the best double album with the word “Nation” in the title that Enigma released, and I’ll stand on Thurston Moore’s coffee table in my high-button shoes and say that.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:25 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


On the one hand, “The Number of the Beast” is rated below “Ride the Lightning”, which is clearly wrong. On the other hand, they included Lucinda Williams, so I’m going to allow this.
posted by wintermind at 4:05 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Nice to see,"My life in the bush of ghosts" at 81, but i would have put it higher.
posted by quazichimp at 3:35 AM


Agree this is a serious oversight; weirder yet, the last time Pitchfork did a best albums of the 80s list, I believe they had it at 21. I can understand an adjustment of 5-10 spots up/down but dropping 60?
posted by nightrecordings at 4:17 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I don't see why Abba should be five notches above Flipper.
posted by scratch at 4:30 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


No ABC or Matt Bianco?
posted by fordiebianco at 4:45 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


As usual with these kinds of lists, I know I'm going to find it annoying (I'm sorry, Paul McCartney?), but some pleasant surprises on the first page. If "Reign in Blood" isn't somewhere near the top I'll still throw it on the ground in pique, but that's fine.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:53 AM on September 12


I am 50 years old, so I became a teenager with the 80s, and I lived in LA as KROQ blossomed into a Cinderella of defiance and indulgence, so this is so very my thing.
posted by Glomar response at 5:07 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Thella: Fail. No Go Betweens. In fact, I didn't see any Australian bands listed.

AC/DC and INXS were in it.

Was expecting to see the wrong Midnight Oil album, but no Diesel and Dust nor the vastly superior 10, 9, 8…

But the list did introduce me to The Clear, from across the ditch.
posted by puffmoike at 5:07 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Someone above mentioned the absence of the Eurythmics, seconded.

Purple Rain is the best choice for #1, IMO. Recently I stumbled upon this 1983 demo for "17 Days", a demo for the song which ended up as the B-side to "When Doves Cry" and it's amazing, I keep listening to it on replay. It's just Prince and a piano and goddam was he talented.
posted by jeremias at 5:11 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


I think a lot of my favourite 80s records came out in 1977-79.
posted by Devonian at 5:15 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


I can't argue with the top 10, but I think any top 200 list of the 80s needs Def Leppard's Pyromania. Pyromania spawned 4 or 5 big hits and sold a zillion copies, and basically kicked off the commercial success of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. It might just 4 chord rock, but so are The Replacements, and they (deservedly) got 2 records on the list.

I'd also make a case for Queensryche Operation Mindcrime, which I personally far prefer to anything from Def Leppard.
posted by COD at 5:18 AM on September 12 [8 favorites]


Well, that was fun. Like half the playlist at every other party I went to throughout the 80s, and half of my cd collection.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:20 AM on September 12


Despite having come of age in the 80s, I am extremely not cool enough for this list. I didn't recognize 95% of it until we got to the 120s or so.

Whether Farrell was lyrically channeling Ted Bundy, an abandoned child, a junkie, or a prophet, it was all framed in a way that could be easily understood by Midwestern kids from the suburbs.

Ouch, dude.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:27 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Why can't they just put the whole list on the front page & you can click through to the verbal crap for each? Ugh. I only looked at page 1.
posted by yoga at 5:41 AM on September 12


Why can't they just put the whole list on the front page & you can click through to the verbal crap for each? Ugh.

Advertising and clicks. It is sad that this is a thing we have to accept, that being said, click on print in your browser and the print preview should display everything in one continuous scroll. It works in Firefox.
posted by Fizz at 5:43 AM on September 12


The Blade Runner soundtrack listed (the actual Vangelis score) wasn't released until 1992. The 'original' soundtrack release was arranged and performed by a studio-furnished Mexican non-union Vangelis equivalent.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 6:07 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


....They actually included Joe Jackson Night and Day. Awesome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:11 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


And I have NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER with Rain Dogs at number 42 on the list, and similarly NO PROBLEM with their choice of sample song.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:15 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


50 Country Albums from 1980 to 1990, because fuck Pitchfork

I really want to know how many of these were available on 8-track. And possibly found in the glove compartment of my grandparents' Coupe de Ville (I already called shotgun for sitting on "the hump" - the armrest in the middle of the front bench seat - so don't ask!)
posted by thecjm at 6:17 AM on September 12


As a metal head I am happy to see that Reign in Blood is the highest ranked metal album, above Master of Puppets. It is amazing to see how contrary to Slayer's first 2 albums, Reign in Blood has not aged at all.

Also Kate Bush \0/
posted by Berend at 6:17 AM on September 12


Pitchfork also has a Spotify list for 'The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s'.
posted by Fizz at 6:18 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I do think there should have been a limit of one album per artist. Michael Jackson’s Bad lived up to its name, and I have a hard time believing anyone has listened to Evol since 1986.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:32 AM on September 12


Why can't they just put the whole list on the front page & you can click through to the verbal crap for each? Ugh. I only looked at page 1.

Because capitalism makes everything worse.
posted by howfar at 6:38 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I was also a little new wave/post punk in the 80's in Los Angeles. I hung out at Marilyn's in high school and in front of Raji's or Madame Wong's trying to get in, before I was of age.

I'm a little surprised at how high the Pixies are on the list for both albums, but not upset about it at all. I love that they included Vangelis for the Blade Runner soundtrack(!). I haven't listened to Prefab Sprout in 30 years, so I'm off to find the album on Amazon.

Great list, lots to remember, lots to look into!
posted by Sophie1 at 6:49 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Skylarking at 133? Hrumph. No Oingo Boingo, or did I miss them?

I do want to go through the list and check out some of the albums I missed the first time through. Even though Nirvana and NIN were technically out in the 80s, I consider them 90s bands. I first picked up Pretty Hate Machine in early 1990, and was soundly mocked or ignored by anybody that I tried to share it with. (Same folks in many cases who were clamoring for seats to see them a few years later.)

#188 Yoko Ono ... nope. Sorry, but nope. There's an audience, I guess, for atonal caterwauling but calling this a best album of the 80s is incomprehensible. I often wonder whether music critics actually listen to the albums they call great when they're at home relaxing, or if putting "difficult" music in best of lists is just an affectation.

Did I miss Vivid on this, or did Living Colour not make the cut? No Robyn Hitchcock either. Starfish by the Church?

I wonder if we could get a group of MeFi'ers together and create a top 100 album list...
posted by jzb at 7:00 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


The Feelies, Only Life
posted by kirkaracha at 7:12 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I think that they could have chipped away at some of the more frequently-listed artists to make room for some of the glaring omissions already mentioned; I think that having Born in the USA and Nebraska are both justified (and Springsteen not breaking the top 20 is pretty dumb), but Tunnel of Love could have been nudged off the list. I'm also glad that Scary Monsters was ranked higher than Let's Dance.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:12 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


jzb - you're right. No Oingo Boingo. Major oversight.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:14 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


But there was room for Yellowman.
posted by thelonius at 7:20 AM on September 12


I've just been listening to the League of Gentlemen album (the group that Robert Fripp toured during 1980 before reforming King Crimson) along with the live album Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx, and for anyone who likes Discipline-era Crimson and the kind of guitar Fripp put on Scary Monsters, Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx in particular is worth checking out - he did the Scary Monsters guitar in a session right in the middle of the tour (straight off the tour van, if I remember right). Boppy instrumental music, a sort of new-wave, math-rock Shadows. I was always disappointed in the 80s that it never managed to pay off on that possibility.
posted by Grangousier at 7:29 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Searches for Toto, 0 results, closes browser window.
posted by PenDevil at 7:38 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Straight Out of Compton is not better than Nation of Millions and where are the Crucifucks?
posted by PHINC at 7:43 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I just don't who best of lists of albums (not singles or songs, albums) that cross genres are for. I mean, I was listening to the Pixies and others specifically so I didn't have to listen to entire albums from Janet Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and George Michael, which were everywhere, but oddly not as ubiquitous as the singles of today. That's why indie music existed. That's was its whole point.

I mean seriously, it's ok for an artist like Madonna to be about the singles - is there anyone who likes Michael Jackson or Madonna album tracks? My daughter loves Taylor Swift and even she skips the boring filler. It's funny because Pitchfork can't even follow through - they put a singles for Michael Jackson and Prince instead of some filler like Darling Nikki or the endless guitar noodling of Computer Blue.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:22 AM on September 12


The_Vegetables I was with you... until you put Purple Rain in the same boat as Madonna. I love the entire album, front to back.
posted by jzb at 8:27 AM on September 12


Hmmm, not a single Lou Reed album to be found, Surely The Blue Mask, New Sensations, and/or New York belong in the top 200 somewhere.
posted by e1c at 8:28 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


The_Vegetables I was with you... until you put Purple Rain in the same boat as Madonna. I love the entire album, front to back.

Sorry I have a Prince shaped hole in my heart for him putting out Pussy Control, which was his most ubiquitous song during my college years. I'd piss on his grave for that track. I understand I'm in the minority.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:29 AM on September 12


The The?
posted by Keith Talent at 8:31 AM on September 12 [10 favorites]


I am a little put out by them leaving So out of the list (although I am a little appeased by the inclusion of Peter Gabriel 3). Yeah, okay, it was like the "Gabriel Goes Pop" thing, but just because "Sledgehammer" was all poppy that didn't mean it wasn't good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:33 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


A friend introduced me to Remain In The Light just a couple of months ago and I listened to nothing else for a week. There's too much music, I despair at all the gold I must be walking by. Everyone's wearing earphones and I'm asking myself, "What great tunes do you know about that I don't?".

I was introduced to Remain in Light by being RIGHT UP FRONT at the Heatwave Festival in August 1980, when the Heads first showed off the new lineup and a few of the songs. I got to buy the album in October at The Record Peddler on Queen East.

But I share your despair at the missed gold all around me, including some older material I never got to and all the new stuff spilling out all over. In the 80s I was in university and could spend hours and days making art and listening to CKLN and the slowly accumulated set of albums I purchased almost every week. Every one was played in sequence, every one was cherished.

It's different now. Grownup life working with words means that I can't actually listen to most music for much of my day. I keep grabbing some old and new music, but I have fallen way behind in listening to it. I'll never catch up again.
posted by maudlin at 8:39 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Nice to see,"My life in the bush of ghosts" at 81, but i would have put it higher.

Seconded. One of the most innovative recordings I know of, from any decade.

Similarly, Paul's Boutique in the top 20 is well deserved. That album is bonkers fantastic.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:52 AM on September 12


"I share your despair at the missed gold all around me, including some older material I never got to and all the new stuff spilling out all over... I keep grabbing some old and new music, but I have fallen way behind in listening to it. I'll never catch up again." - maudlin

Oh, god. So much this. About six months ago I started finding some sources of 60s and 80s treasures I'd never heard of - we're talking bands that made a single album or garage surf rock bands - and have been grabbing those obsessively. Also thanks to Bandcamp I've been digging through Buckethead's catalog (good lord, y'all... that fella is prolific on a level that I couldn't imagine existed) and stuff like Khruangbin and The Comet is Coming, as well as mainstream stuff from the 70s-00s I missed the first time, and...

I have a Plex server full of stuff to listen to, and tons of stuff at my fingertips via Spotify and YouTube, and just one lifetime to try to get to it all. Somewhere the perfect album is out there. I must find it.

And even when I do, I'll only be able to talk about it with Internet strangers - only one of my friends shares my music obsession, and the venn diagram of our musical tastes intersects very, very narrowly.
posted by jzb at 9:02 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, kudos to them for intentionally creating a more diverse list (both in genres and race/gender) than a lot of "Top Whatever" Lists - there's a bunch of stuff that I was either unaware of or ignored at the time that certainly seems to be worth checking out or revisiting.

On the other hand, of course, seems there's still a pretty fair amount of Pitchfork-style hipper-than-thou contrarianism, whether in the ranking in general, the selection & ranking of albums by the same artist, or the inclusion/exclusion of artists. (Personal examples: The Pixies' Doolittle ranked higher than Surfer Rosa = NO; Sade's Diamond Life in the top 200 = yes, in the top ten = no, and that's really the only Sade album that needs inclusion, especially given the absence of work from (as others have mentioned) The Sugarcubes or The Eurythmics or etc etc etc.)
posted by soundguy99 at 9:25 AM on September 12


"Somewhere the perfect album is out there"

Here we go. Delighted I could help.
posted by fordiebianco at 9:29 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Somewhere the perfect album is out there.

Here it is.
Sunnyboys debut album 1981, every song a cracker.
posted by h00py at 9:38 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Also I love this list but bemoan the lack of Madness.
posted by h00py at 9:42 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


I don't hate the top 20. I quite like it. That's a first for pitchfork.
posted by gaspode at 9:52 AM on September 12


I'd probably ding NWA a little and elevate some of the hip-hop people that were doing more inventive stuff in the free-sampling era. I would definitely add more out jazz. Control is a better album than Daydream Nation. Lydia Lunch's Queen of Siam has a place in my top-200 list.

All that said, Pitchfork is pretty good at this--they include more international music, and experimental/avant-garde/etc, stuff, than almost anybody. They have some blind spots (country's a big one), but their top-x records lists are by far the least bad, and it's great to live in a music-criticism world where Pauline Oliveros can hang out with Anita Baker and Exene Cervenka.

(Also, on kinda-preview, I agree with the authors that Diamond Life and Stronger than Pride is the right number of Sade albums in a top-200-of-the-'80s list.)
posted by box at 10:10 AM on September 12


No Oingo Boingo. Major oversight.

I'd leave them off for their name alone. Any band that makes you sound like an idiot just for saying their name deserves at least some disrespect.
posted by philip-random at 10:18 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Oingo Boingo's best album is 1994's "Boingo" anyway. It's possibly the best album ever, IMO.
posted by hippybear at 10:24 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


"Oingo Boingo's best album is 1994's "Boingo" anyway. It's possibly the best album ever, IMO."

Hmmm. I've a slight preference for Dark At The End of the Tunnel, but both were released in the 90s (though Dark was recorded in the 80s...).

"I'd leave them off for their name alone."

Heresy. Anyway, Danny Elfman inherited the name from his brother's performance art troupe The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, so it could have been worse. A long way from their Gong Show appearance, that's for sure.
posted by jzb at 10:34 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Geez, I didn't even think about "Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc." or any other because Dwight Yoakum is timeless. Major penalty for not including him.
posted by bongo_x at 10:41 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I agree with the authors that Diamond Life and Stronger than Pride is the right number of Sade albums in a top-200-of-the-'80s list.

Stronger than Pride prompted one of my favorite bad reviews (full text):
...and quicker than Sominex
posted by kirkaracha at 11:24 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I love this list but bemoan the lack of Madness.

Also - it seems you just can stop The English Beat after all. Also missing Love & Rockets or related...and since they included some jazz and experimental stuff: Pat Metheney, as well as at least something from Windham Hill...

Still a good eclectic list, lots of stuff new to me.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:35 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Better than expected, but horrifically wrong on numerous unexpected counts.
posted by The World Famous at 11:51 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


holy shit this is brilliant.
posted by nikaspark at 11:53 AM on September 12


Spotify Playlist
posted by nikaspark at 11:54 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I found a site that listed them out. Unfortunately my phone isn't letting me post html correctly today. Thanks Brooklyn Vegan!

200. Malcolm Mclaren – Duck Rock
199. Tenor Saw – Fever
198. Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break the Oath
197. Whodini – Escape
196. Virgo – Virgo
195. Cecil Taylor – For Olim
194. Patrice Rushen – Straight from the Heart
193. Flipper – Generic Album – Flipper
192. Salt-N-Peppa – Hot, Cool & Vicious
191. Bronski Beat – The Age of Consent
190. Ini Kamoze – Ini Kamoze
189. Butthole Surfers – Locust Abortion Technician
188. Yoko Ono – Season of Glass
187. Tom Tom Club – Tom Tom Club
186. Paul McCartney – McCartney II
185. Too $hort – Life Is… Too $hort
184. Change – The Glow of Love
183. The B-52s – Wild Planet
182. ABBA – The Visitors
181. Nuno Canavarro – Plux Quba
180. 808 State – 90
179. LiliPut – LiliPut
178. Joe Jackson – Night and Day
177. Queen Latifah – All Hail the Queen
176. Psychic TV – Dreams Less Sweet
175. Godflesh – Streetcleaner
174. Ornette Coleman – In All Languages
173. Tina Turner – Private Dancer
172. Duran Duran – Rio
171. Scritti Politti – Cupid & Psyche 85
170. Yellowman – Mr. Yellowman
169. The Faith / Void – The Faith / Void
168. Nurse With Wound – Soliloquy for Lilith
167. Au Pairs – Playing With a Different Sex
166. Ice T – Rhyme Pays
165. Swell Maps – Jane From Occupied Europe
164. Pauline Oliveros/Stuart Dempster/Panaiotis – Deep Listening
163. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
162. King Sunny Adé & His African Beats – Syncro System
161. Richard and Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights
160. Mr. Fingers – Amnesia
159. Various Artists – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
158. Judas Priest – British Steel
157. MC Lyte – Lyte As a Rock
156. Stevie Wonder – Hotter Than July
155. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Imperial Bedroom
154. LL Cool J – Radio
153. Meredith Monk – Dolmen Music
152. Meat Puppets – II
151. The Clean – Compilation
150. La Monte Young – The Well-Tuned Piano
149. Anita Baker – Rapture
148. Rites of Spring – Rites of Spring
147. Virginia Astley – In the Gardens Where We Feel Secure
146. Geto Boys – Grip It! On That Other Level
145. Daniel Johnston – Hi, How Are You: The Unfinished Album
144. The Clash – Sandinista!
143. Descendents – Milo Goes to College
142. Midori Takada – Through the Looking Glass
141. Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion
140. 3rd Bass – The Cactus Album
139. The Durutti Column – Vini Really
138. Big Daddy Kane – Long Live the Kane
137. Horace Andy – Dance Hall Style
136. Neneh Cherry – Raw Like Sushi
135. Big Black – Songs About Fucking
134. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
133. XTC – Skylarking
132. Prefab Sprout – Steve Mcqueen
131. Echo & the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
130. Scientist – Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires
129. The D.O.C. – No One Can Do It Better
128. AC/DC – Back In Black
127. David Bowie – Let’s Dance
126. Pet Shop Boys – Actually
125. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel
124. Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love
123. The Go-Gos – Beaty and the Beat
122. Beat Happening – Beat Happening
121. Pretenders – Pretenders
120. Run D.M.C. – Run D.M.C.
119. Steely Dan – Gaucho
118. Phillip Glass – Solo Piano
117. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston
116. Misfits – Walk Among Us
115. Madonna – Like a Virgin
114. INXS – Kick
113. Spaceman 3 – Playing With Fire
112. New Order – Technique
111. Roxy Music – Avalon
110. X – Los Angeles
109. The Cure – The Head on the Door
108. Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth
107. The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms
106. Laurie Spiegel – The Expanding Universe
105. Boogie Down Productions – By All Means Necessary
104. Public Image Ltd – Second Edition
103. Beastie Boys – License to Ill
102. Wipers – Youth of America
101. Alice Coltrane – Turiya Sings
100. Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual
99. Kool G Rap/ DJ Polo – Road to the Riches
98. Nirvana – Bleach
97. The Raincoats – Odyshape
96. Fela Kuti – Coffin for Head of State
95. Brian Eno/Daniel Lanois/Roger Eno – Apollo: Soundtracks and Atmospheres
94. Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness
93. Steve Reich – “Different Trains” / “Electric Counterpoint”
92. Fleetwood Mac – Tango In the Night
91. George Michael – Faith
90. R.E.M. – Reckoning
89. Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll
88. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
87. Tears For Fears – Songs From the Big Chair
86. Guns N Roses – Appetite for Destruction
85. The Blue Nile – Hats
84. Lucinda Williams – Lucinda Williams
83. Jungle Brothers – Straight Out the Jungle
82. Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast
81. Brian Eno/David Byrne – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
80. Manuel Göttsching – E2-E4
79. The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace
78. Madonna – Like a Prayer
77. Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses
76. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
75. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Juju
74. Bob Marley and the Wailers – Uprising
73. This Heat – Deceit
72. Michael Jackson – Bad
71. Motorhead – Ace of Spades
70. Ultramagnetic MCs – Critical Beatdown
69. Metallica – Ride the Lightning
68. Husker Du – Zen Arcade
67. Julee Cruise – Floating Into the Night
66. Vangelis – Blade Runner Soundtrack
65. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
64. Grace Jones – Nightclubbing
63. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – From Her to Eternity
62. Glenn Branca – The Ascension
61. Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense
60. EPMD – Strictly Business
59. Kate Bush – The Sensual World
58. My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything
57. Galaxie 500 – On Fire
56. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
55. Metallica – Master of Puppets
54. The Replacements – Tim
53. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
52. Minutemen – Double Nickles On the Dime
51. Sonic Youth – EVOL
50. ESG – Come Away With ESG
49. Paul Simon – Graceland
48. Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
47. U2 – The Joshua Tree
46. Dinosaur Jr. – You’re Living All Over Me
45. Fugazi – Fugazi
44. Sinéad O’Connor – The Lion and the Cobra
43. The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow
42. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
41. Bad Brains – Bad Brains
40. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy
39. R.E.M. – Murmur
38. Run D.M.C. – Raising Hell
37. Sade – Stronger than Pride
36. Black Flag – Damaged
35. The Replacements – Let It Be
34. Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man
33. Prince – Dirty Mind
32. Pixies – Surfer Rosa
31. Slayer – Reign In Blood
30. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814
29. Erik B. and Rakim – Follow the Leader
28. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska
27. Cocteau Twins – Treasure
26. Prince – 1999
25. Arthur Russell – World of Echo
24. Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden
23. Minor Threat – Complete Discography
22. Laurie Anderson – Big Science
21. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
20. Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minds
19. New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies
18. Kraftwerk – Computer World
17. Prince – Sign o’ the Times
16. Madonna – Madonna
15. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
14. Pixies – Doolittle
13. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
12. Joy Division – Closer
11. Eric B. & Rakim – Paid in Full
10. Sade – Diamond Life
9. The Cure – Disintegration
8. Janet Jackson – Control
7. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
6. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
5. Talking Heads – Remain In Light
4. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
3. N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton
2. Michael Jackson – Thriller
1. Prince and the Revolution – Purple Rain
posted by waytoomuchcoffee at 12:14 PM on September 12 [14 favorites]


because fuck Pitchfork:

a sentiment I sometimes feel, but as I noted earlier, they've served the 80s pretty darned well here. So credit where it's due.
posted by philip-random at 12:31 PM on September 12


No Simple Minds?
No Ultravox?
No Human League?
No ABC?
No Heaven 17?
No Cabaret Voltaire?
I broke out my guyliner for nothing! NOTHING!
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 12:47 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


It's not an album, but it's apt for this thread - the backstory to Owner of A Lonely Heart. Could Yes have been more 70s prog? Could they have had a more 80s Number 1 pop signal? How the very how did that happen? Well... (not HTTPS: your browser may complain, but I can't find owt else amiss.)

(apart from the banging donk on the outro to the original demo.)
posted by Devonian at 1:34 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


As per usual with this sort of thing, the Metallica albums have had their rankings reversed.
posted by Sauce Trough at 2:08 PM on September 12


How the very how did that happen?

Short version: Trevor Horn (of the Buggles) produced a new band fronted by Trevor Rabin (guitarist) that featured someone from the original Yes lineup (Chris Squire), which then added Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, so they changed the name of the band to Yes and let Trevor Horn do an amazing job at producing the album.
posted by The World Famous at 2:16 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


> I think a lot of my favourite 80s records came out in 1977-79.

The flip side of that is my friend who said "Early '80s [music] was the best '70s."
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:23 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Yes, but I'm very impressed by how Clever Trevor rammed it home against what sounds like the severe reservations of everyone else involved, over months and months, in what have must have been a Land of Golden Egos.
posted by Devonian at 2:25 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Dire Straits, Making Movies
Squeeze, East Side Story
John Hiatt, Bring the Family
Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
The Clash, London Calling
posted by kirkaracha at 2:33 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


It was the best 200 not the best 300 sorry those were the criteria I didn’t make them up.
posted by nikaspark at 2:39 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


(Not joking though the clash London calling is a great album and heaven 17 and human league are awesome too....)
posted by nikaspark at 2:41 PM on September 12


Technically, London Calling is a '70s album; released Dec. 14th, 1979, in the UK but not until January in the US, which is why it pops up on Best Of lists for both decades.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:54 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


The The?

Too much energy.
posted by The Tensor at 2:56 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Squeeze, East Side Story

Oh my god YES. Tempted was practically my freshman year dorm floor's national anthem.

And I do mean "national anthem," we technically seceded from the country one night and declared ourselves "Little America"; on another evening we annexed a landing in the stairwell that had a particularly good view
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:44 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I've found the trick for me not getting too annoyed by lists is to ignore the individual rankings and just be satisfied when something good makes it in the first place. And there are a lot of great albums on this list, but I agree that there are a lot of omissions, some glaring, some not so much. If there were room for a few more, these would be my choices:

Butthole Surfers: Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Tender Prey
Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session
Dead Can Dance: The Serpent's Egg
Einstürzende Neubauten: Zeichnungen des Patienten O. T. and Halber Mensch
Peter Gabriel: Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ (soundtrack)
Diamanda Galás: Masque of the Red Death
Mary My Hope: Museum
Michael Nyman: The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover (soundtrack)
The Pogues: Rum Sodomy & the Lash
Public Image Ltd: The Flowers of Romance
Sisters of Mercy: First and Last and Always
Skinny Puppy: Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse
Soundgarden: Louder Than Love
This Mortal Coil: It'll End in Tears and Filigree & Shadow
Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones and Franks Wild Years
posted by homunculus at 4:26 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Actually, Diamanda Galas's Masque of the Red Death is an anthology of 3 albums, so if I had to pick just one of them it would be Saint of the Pit.
posted by homunculus at 4:37 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, Paul McCartney?

McCartney II isn't even Paul McCartney's best '80s album. The "Coming Up" video is fun, but the live version is about a million times better than the album version.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:37 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


The Pogues: Rum Sodomy & the Lash

+ If I Should Fall from Grace with God
posted by kirkaracha at 4:38 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Well shit, I forgot the Dead Kennedys. I guess I'd pick their Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death compilation album.
posted by homunculus at 5:05 PM on September 12


It looks like Phillip Glass's Solo Piano is the only contemporary classical album on the list, unless I missed one. John Tavener finished The Protecting Veil in 1988. I don't know its recording history so I don't know when it was first released on vinyl, but if an album came out before 1990 then it should be on the list too. It's one of my favorite modern classical pieces.
posted by homunculus at 5:14 PM on September 12


"Oingo Boingo's best album is 1994's "Boingo" anyway. It's possibly the best album ever, IMO."
Hmmm. I've a slight preference for Dark At The End of the Tunnel, but both were released in the 90s (though Dark was recorded in the 80s...)


I'm a Good for Your Soul guy. For me, that was the point where they started to move past the overcaffeinated New Wave/ska thing, but before they became The Danny Elfman Band.
posted by MrBadExample at 7:44 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


homunculus, there are also Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Virginia Astley, La Monte Young, Midori Takada, and Laurie Spiegal, for some values of contemporary classical.

I think there's more than a few albums on that list that could have been left to the dollar bins. I don't think I've thought about 3rd Bass since, like, 1990. I'm sorry, MC Lyte--I had your CD but I don't remember a single track.

It would found space for Camper Van Beethoven, Opal, Lounge Lizards, The Cramps, The Dream Syndicate, Pylon, Half Japanese, DNA, John Zorn, and Glenn Branca.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:29 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Oops, my bad, Branca made the cut.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:01 PM on September 12


Overall, a pretty good list that doesn’t lean on the worst excesses of the 80’s, which had some egregious music, but a good solid undercurrent of innovation. They’ve tapped the latter, whether you appreciate the specific choices.

Yeah, leaving Los Lobos off the list is kinda harsh, but really their best work was in the 90’s. I would have liked to see English Settlement in there just because it was such a curveball from earlier XTC, & was their most powerful political statement, but I know the token slot is always going to go to Skylarking.

Number 5 should have been number 1.

And just to be me, “What? No Tin Machine?”

(Also, what? No Jesus Lizard? They were way influential beyond what the sales numbers suggest)
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:25 PM on September 12


(Also, what? No Jesus Lizard? They were way influential beyond what the sales numbers suggest)

I had the same reaction, but actually Jesus Lizard's albums were all released in the 90's. I could have sworn they'd started in the late 80's, but there you have it.
posted by homunculus at 9:49 PM on September 12


Pitchfork mentality: ranking REM's Murmur higher than Reckoning. Yes, Murmur was first and "Radio Free Europe" is the jam, but Reckoning was the absolutely refined perfection of that sound.
posted by rhizome at 11:20 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I compared the entire list to Pitchfork’s 2002 list of Top 100 Albums of the 80’s to see exactly what changed. It looks like they mostly wanted to include more genres like metal, reggae, and mainstream pop, as well as adding more women and minorities.

All changes in relation to the previous 2002 rankings marked below:

200. Malcolm Mclaren – Duck Rock ( new )
199. Tenor Saw – Fever ( new )
198. Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break the Oath ( new )
197. Whodini – Escape ( new )
196. Virgo – Virgo ( new )
195. Cecil Taylor – For Olim ( new )
194. Patrice Rushen – Straight from the Heart ( new )
193. Flipper – Generic Album – Flipper ( new )
192. Salt-N-Peppa – Hot, Cool & Vicious ( new )
191. Bronski Beat – The Age of Consent ( new )
190. Ini Kamoze – Ini Kamoze ( new )
189. Butthole Surfers – Locust Abortion Technician ( new )
188. Yoko Ono – Season of Glass ( new )
187. Tom Tom Club – Tom Tom Club ( new )
186. Paul McCartney – McCartney II ( new )
185. Too $hort – Life Is… Too $hort ( new )
184. Change – The Glow of Love ( new )
183. The B-52s – Wild Planet ( new )
182. ABBA – The Visitors ( new )
181. Nuno Canavarro – Plux Quba ( new )
180. 808 State – 90 ( new )
179. LiliPut – LiliPut ( new )
178. Joe Jackson – Night and Day ( new )
177. Queen Latifah – All Hail the Queen ( new )
176. Psychic TV – Dreams Less Sweet ( new )
175. Godflesh – Streetcleaner ( new )
174. Ornette Coleman – In All Languages ( new )
173. Tina Turner – Private Dancer ( new )
172. Duran Duran – Rio ( -77 )
171. Scritti Politti – Cupid & Psyche 85 ( new )
170. Yellowman – Mr. Yellowman ( new )
169. The Faith / Void – The Faith / Void ( new )
168. Nurse With Wound – Soliloquy for Lilith ( new )
167. Au Pairs – Playing With a Different Sex ( new )
166. Ice T – Rhyme Pays ( new )
165. Swell Maps – Jane From Occupied Europe ( new )
164. Pauline Oliveros/Stuart Dempster/Panaiotis – Deep Listening ( new )
163. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence ( new )
162. King Sunny Adé & His African Beats – Syncro System ( new )
161. Richard and Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights ( new )
160. Mr. Fingers – Amnesia ( new )
159. Various Artists – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto ( new )
158. Judas Priest – British Steel ( new )
157. MC Lyte – Lyte As a Rock ( new )
156. Stevie Wonder – Hotter Than July ( new )
155. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Imperial Bedroom ( -97 )
154. LL Cool J – Radio ( new )
153. Meredith Monk – Dolmen Music ( new )
152. Meat Puppets – II ( -58 )
151. The Clean – Compilation ( new )
150. La Monte Young – The Well-Tuned Piano ( new )
149. Anita Baker – Rapture ( new )
148. Rites of Spring – Rites of Spring ( -52 )
147. Virginia Astley – In the Gardens Where We Feel Secure ( new )
146. Geto Boys – Grip It! On That Other Level ( new )
145. Daniel Johnston – Hi, How Are You: The Unfinished Album ( new )
144. The Clash – Sandinista! ( new )
143. Descendents – Milo Goes to College ( new )
142. Midori Takada – Through the Looking Glass ( new )
141. Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion ( new )
140. 3rd Bass – The Cactus Album ( new )
139. The Durutti Column – Vini Really ( new )
138. Big Daddy Kane – Long Live the Kane ( new )
137. Horace Andy – Dance Hall Style ( new )
136. Neneh Cherry – Raw Like Sushi ( new )
135. Big Black – Songs About Fucking ( -81 )
134. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking ( -44 )
133. XTC – Skylarking ( -118 )
132. Prefab Sprout – Steve Mcqueen ( new )
131. Echo & the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain ( new )
130. Scientist – Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires ( new )
129. The D.O.C. – No One Can Do It Better ( new )
128. AC/DC – Back In Black ( new )
127. David Bowie – Let’s Dance ( new )
126. Pet Shop Boys – Actually ( new )
125. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel ( new )
124. Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love ( new )
123. The Go-Gos – Beaty and the Beat ( new )
122. Beat Happening – Beat Happening ( new )
121. Pretenders – Pretenders ( new )
120. Run D.M.C. – Run D.M.C. ( new )
119. Steely Dan – Gaucho ( new )
118. Phillip Glass – Solo Piano ( new )
117. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston ( new )
116. Misfits – Walk Among Us ( new )
115. Madonna – Like a Virgin ( new )
114. INXS – Kick ( new )
113. Spacemen 3 – Playing With Fire ( -25 )
112. New Order – Technique ( new )
111. Roxy Music – Avalon ( new )
110. X – Los Angeles ( -19 )
109. The Cure – The Head on the Door ( new )
108. Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth ( -45 )
107. The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms ( -38 )
106. Laurie Spiegel – The Expanding Universe ( new )
105. Boogie Down Productions – By All Means Necessary ( new )
104. Public Image Ltd – Second Edition ( -85 )
103. Beastie Boys – License to Ill ( -62 )
102. Wipers – Youth of America ( new )
101. Alice Coltrane – Turiya Sings ( new )
100. Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual ( new )
99. Kool G Rap/ DJ Polo – Road to the Riches ( new )
98. Nirvana – Bleach ( new )
97. The Raincoats – Odyshape ( new )
96. Fela Kuti – Coffin for Head of State ( new )
95. Brian Eno/Daniel Lanois/Roger Eno – Apollo: Soundtracks and Atmospheres ( new )
94. Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness ( new )
93. Steve Reich – “Different Trains” / “Electric Counterpoint” ( new )
92. Fleetwood Mac – Tango In the Night ( new )
91. George Michael – Faith ( new )
90. R.E.M. – Reckoning ( -28 )
89. Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll ( -8 )
88. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses ( -49 )
87. Tears For Fears – Songs From the Big Chair ( new )
86. Guns N Roses – Appetite for Destruction ( -27 )
85. The Blue Nile – Hats ( new )
84. Lucinda Williams – Lucinda Williams ( new )
83. Jungle Brothers – Straight Out the Jungle ( new )
82. Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast ( new )
81. Brian Eno/David Byrne – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts ( -60 )
80. Manuel Göttsching – E2-E4 ( -1 )
79. The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace ( -66 )
78. Madonna – Like a Prayer ( new )
77. Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses ( new )
76. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine ( new )
75. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Juju ( new )
74. Bob Marley and the Wailers – Uprising ( new )
73. This Heat – Deceit ( -53 )
72. Michael Jackson – Bad ( new )
71. Motorhead – Ace of Spades ( new )
70. Ultramagnetic MCs – Critical Beatdown ( new )
69. Metallica – Ride the Lightning ( new )
68. Husker Du – Zen Arcade ( -36 )
67. Julee Cruise – Floating Into the Night ( new )
66. Vangelis – Blade Runner Soundtrack ( new )
65. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes ( -29 )
64. Grace Jones – Nightclubbing ( new )
63. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – From Her to Eternity ( new )
62. Glenn Branca – The Ascension ( new )
61. Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense ( +7 )
60. EPMD – Strictly Business ( new )
59. Kate Bush – The Sensual World ( new )
58. My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything ( -36 )
57. Galaxie 500 – On Fire ( -41 )
56. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA ( new )
55. Metallica – Master of Puppets ( new )
54. The Replacements – Tim ( -17 )
53. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) ( +40 )
52. Minutemen – Double Nickles On the Dime ( -35 )
51. Sonic Youth – EVOL ( -20 )
50. ESG – Come Away With ESG ( +34 )
49. Paul Simon – Graceland ( +36 )
48. Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick ( new )
47. U2 – The Joshua Tree ( -17 )
46. Dinosaur Jr. – You’re Living All Over Me ( -6 )
45. Fugazi – Fugazi ( new )
44. Sinéad O’Connor – The Lion and the Cobra ( new )
43. The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow ( new )
42. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs ( -34 )
41. Bad Brains – Bad Brains ( new )
40. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy ( -17 )
39. R.E.M. – Murmur ( -34 )
38. Run D.M.C. – Raising Hell ( +5 )
37. Sade – Stronger than Pride ( new )
36. Black Flag – Damaged ( -11 )
35. The Replacements – Let It Be ( -6 )
34. Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man ( +17 )
33. Prince – Dirty Mind ( +54 )
32. Pixies – Surfer Rosa ( -25 )
31. Slayer – Reign In Blood ( new )
30. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814 ( new )
29. Erik B. and Rakim – Follow the Leader ( new )
28. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska ( +32 )
27. Cocteau Twins – Treasure ( +71 )
26. Prince – 1999 ( new )
25. Arthur Russell – World of Echo ( new )
24. Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden ( +10 )
23. Minor Threat – Complete Discography ( new )
22. Laurie Anderson – Big Science ( new )
21. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising ( -3 )
20. Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minds ( +55 )
19. New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies ( +9 )
18. Kraftwerk – Computer World ( +26 )
17. Prince – Sign o’ the Times ( +28 )
16. Madonna – Madonna ( new )
15. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique ( -12 )
14. Pixies – Doolittle ( -10 )
13. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead ( -7 )
12. Joy Division – Closer ( -2 )
11. Eric B. & Rakim – Paid in Full ( +41 )
10. Sade – Diamond Life ( new )
9. The Cure – Disintegration ( +29 )
8. Janet Jackson – Control ( new )
7. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation ( -6 )
6. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back ( +3 )
5. Talking Heads – Remain In Light ( -3 )
4. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love ( +88 )
3. N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton ( +32 )
2. Michael Jackson – Thriller ( +25 )
1. Prince and the Revolution – Purple Rain ( +11 )

Albums from the 2002 Top 100 list which were dropped from the 2018 Top 200 list (with previous ranking):
100. Minor Threat - Out of Step
99. Gang of Four - Songs of the Free
89. Boredoms - Soul Discharge
86. The Police - Ghost in the Machine
83. Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring
82. The Fall - Perverted By Language
80. Husker Du - New Day Rising
78. They Might Be Giants - Lincoln
77. The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come
76. The dB’s - Stands for Decibels
74. Mekons - Fear and Whiskey
73. Coil - Horse Rotorvator
72. Meat Puppets - Up on the Sun
71. The Replacements - Pleased to Meet Me
70. Elvis Costello - Trust
67. The Pogues - Rum Sodomy & the Lash
66. The Dukes of Stratosphear - Psonic Psunspot
65. The Soft Boys - Underwater Moonlight
64. Television Personalities - …And Don’t the Kids Just Love It
61. Nurse With Wound - Homotopy to Marie
57. Pixies - Come on Pilgrim
56. King Crimson - Discipline
55. The Police - Synchronicity
53. Mission of Burma - Signals, Calls, and Marches
50. Spacemen 3 - The Perfect Prescription
49. Mission of Burma - Vs.
48. R.E.M. - Document
47. John Zorn - Naked City
46. XTC - English Settlement
42. Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Session
33. The Fall - Hex Education Hour
26. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Get Happy
24. Gang of Four - Solid Gold
14. Sonic Youth - Sister
11. Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones

posted by p3t3 at 12:57 AM on September 13 [10 favorites]


I think there's more than a few albums on that list that could have been left to the dollar bins. I don't think I've thought about 3rd Bass since, like, 1990

Wrong, "Wordz of Wisdom" is a classic and still in my iTunes.

Love and Rockets would be way up on my list, "Express" for sure.
Sisters of Mercy.
Black Sabbath "Heaven and Hell"
Dead or Alive "Youthquake"
Surely there's an Erasure album that deserves to be here.
"Tattoo You"? Come on.
Fishbone EP
INXS "Shabooh Shoobah"
Does someone in The Cult owe Pitchfork money? "Love" "Electric" "Sonic Temple"?
Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction "Tattooed Beat Messiah".
Voice of the Beehive "Let It Bee"
Pop Will Eat Itself "This Is the Day...This Is the Hour...This Is This!"
Sigue Sigue Sputnik "Flaunt It" (the most 80's thing that ever 80'd)
Adam Ant? (You pick)

Now we all meet up at a dark club lit by a solitary bare bulb, and sit in the corners and indulge while "This Corrosion" blasts away.

I broke out my guyliner for nothing! NOTHING!
No, you did it for you, man. For you.
posted by bongo_x at 1:01 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


I think that they could have chipped away at some of the more frequently-listed artists to make room for some of the glaring omissions already mentioned; I think that having Born in the USA and Nebraska are both justified (and Springsteen not breaking the top 20 is pretty dumb), but Tunnel of Love could have been nudged off the list.

Sorry, you're completely wrong there. For all that I love Born in the USA for making me a Bruce fan, it's one of his worst albums and not helped by getting that generic eighties pop rock production sound.

Tunnel of Love on the other hand is deeply personal and a perfect album start to finish, all killer, no filler, no wasted songs, about how his life fell apart after he married and eventually ended up divorcing the wrong woman.

If we're going by a one album per artist list, I'd even rank it above Nebraska.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:19 AM on September 13


I'd rather The River than Born in the USA if it came down to it. Not a fan at all of Born, even though I like I'm on Fire, Downbound Train, and Cover Me I can't stand Bobby Jean, No Surrender, and Glory Days.

The title track too is a weird thing, there's been frequent mention over the years of it being misunderstood by fans who think its patriotic just noting the chorus and are claimed to ignore the rest of the lyrics, but it seems to me they pretty much have it right. That song really does capture the essence of so much of the lower class republican voter's belief set. No matter how bad things are, or how crappy they're treated they don't care because they're born in the USA. Patriotism trumps pain when you can see others suffer worse. The anthemic nature of the song fits that mindset perfectly.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:51 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Most significant music event of the 80’s - Live Aid.

Best act at Live Aid? Queen.
posted by jjderooy at 2:43 AM on September 13


I also thought they were leaving out compilations before noticing Various Artists – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto. So if comps are fair game, I think Wild Style needs to be in there. It's such a great encapsulation of all the players and the feeling of the initial Bronx hip hop scene. Afrika Bambaataa should also be in there somewhere.
posted by p3t3 at 2:57 AM on September 13


> homunculus, there are also Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Virginia Astley, La Monte Young, Midori Takada, and Laurie Spiegal, for some values of contemporary classical.

hydrophonic, what albums/pieces of theirs do you recommend?
posted by homunculus at 4:21 AM on September 13


I also thought they were leaving out compilations before noticing Various Artists – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto. So if comps are fair game, I think Wild Style needs to be in there.

In that case, I'd add Passion – Sources along with Passion.
posted by homunculus at 4:28 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Imperial Bedroom is an acceptable representative for Costello, but Get Happy!! and Trust are superior albums.

The lack of The The's Soul Mining and anything from the Soft Boys or Robyn Hitchcock (specifically Underwater Moonlight and Element of Light) makes me feel personally attacked.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 4:36 AM on September 13 [5 favorites]


53. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) ( +40 )

33. Prince – Dirty Mind ( +54 )
26. Prince – 1999 ( new )
17. Prince – Sign o’ the Times ( +28 )
1. Prince and the Revolution – Purple Rain ( +11 )


As usual, death is a great career move.
posted by box at 4:56 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Four Prince albums? They really should have limited it to one per artist. Two, tops.

The lack of The The's Soul Mining and anything from the Soft Boys or Robyn Hitchcock (specifically Underwater Moonlight and Element of Light) makes me feel personally attacked.

Indeed. I would have leaned towards Black Snake Diamond Röle but that might be because it was my first Hitchcock album and completely shifted my musical worldview.
posted by jzb at 5:02 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Why can't they just put the whole list on the front page & you can click through to the verbal crap for each? Ugh.

Advertising and clicks. It is sad that this is a thing we have to accept.


This is how writers and editors get paid today.

Once upon a time you would pay for a list like this in a print publication, and that payment, along with the magazine's income from print ads, would pay the staff.

That model, with a few exceptions, is dying or dead. The only way writers and editors are going to get paid is if the online publication can get as many ads in front of your eyes as possible to try to break even. They're not doing this for free. It may make for an annoying reading experience, but seeing those ads is how you're paying for this thoughtful, well-written piece of music journalism that's sparking memories and discussion and even getting some people to check out music they hadn't heard before.
posted by bassomatic at 5:21 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


That said, the omission of Soul Mining is a terrible, terrible thing.
posted by bassomatic at 5:23 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


> (Also, what? No Jesus Lizard? They were way influential beyond what the sales numbers suggest)
> I had the same reaction, but actually Jesus Lizard's albums were all released in the 90's. I could have sworn they'd started in the late 80's, but there you have it.

Maybe you're thinking of Scratch Acid?
posted by ardgedee at 6:33 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


First thing I looked for was where in the top five they would place Tom Waits' Rain Dogs. It was #42.

Even Pitchfork can't Pitchfork properly.
posted by rocket88 at 6:38 AM on September 13


I mean look I noticed the sister album was not on the 2018 list, I'm glad it made the 2002 list. I feel validated now.
posted by nikaspark at 8:18 AM on September 13


I'm also looking forward to the 1990's list obviously including Perfect Teeth by Unrest or so help me god
posted by nikaspark at 8:19 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


So I guess the folks at Pitchfork are kind of the epicenter of aggressively hating Phil Collins so it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s not on the list AT ALL. I would have expected at least a grudging inclusion of Face Value. That is an objectively great album whether you like gated reverb or not.

I would have also expected to see Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms. Pyromania is another glaring omission, as mentioned above. Also, somewhere Patrick Bateman is wondering why Huey Lewis and the News didn’t make it on the list with Sports.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:50 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Sigue Sigue Sputnik "Flaunt It" (the most 80's thing that ever 80'd)

QFT. (also Animotion)
posted by Sophie1 at 10:17 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Four Prince albums? They really should have limited it to one per artist. Two, tops.

it's the best music of the decade. Prince earned his four spots. Not that lots of great stuff didn't get left off the list, but that's the real message, I guess. The 1980s had more than two hundred great albums. Way more.
posted by philip-random at 10:59 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Patriotism trumps pain when you can see others suffer worse. The anthemic nature of the song fits that mindset perfectly.

Born In A Stupid Place!!! That's what we used to shout whenever it came one.
posted by philip-random at 11:00 AM on September 13


If you're going to have The Protecting Veil (as well you should), you're going to have to admit Feather On The Breath Of God, which came out slap-dab in the middle of the 80s. Admittedly, it was written a smidge earlier, but FOTBOG was in an awful lot of collections of people who mostly bought the Pitchfork list.
posted by Devonian at 12:04 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Stuff I wish was on the list:
Mission of Burma: Holy shit how could this list NOT have anything from MoB? Anyway since compilations are fair game, chuck the Rykodisc "Mission of Burma" monstrosity up on the board (it came out in 1988). That way you don't have to argue which of their albums are worthy because this is all of them.
Negativland: Escape from Noise
Los Lobos: How Will the Wolf Survive
Game Theory: Two Steps from the Middle Ages
The The: Mind Bomb
Mekons: Mekons Rock and Roll (I know the "correct" answer is "Fear and Whiskey", but I stand by my decision)
They Might Be Giants: Lincoln
Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Sessions
The Pogues: Rum Sodomy & the Lash
something to represent Sub Pop besides just Nirvana. Mudhoney, TAD and Soundgarden were all overshadowing Nirvana at the time.
and something to represent for the Chris Stamey / Mitch Easter / Don Dixon musical axis of southern-fried college pop. This encompasses a lot of what's called "jangle pop" retroactively, but there was a lot more going on than just chiming Rickenbacker guitars. One of Pylon's albums would be a very good choice.

Stuff I wish wasn't on the list:
That's a harder call for me to make, because there are a lot of albums on the list I'm not familiar with, or have been overexposed to the point of fatigue. I will never deny that Michael Jackson's role in 80s music is huge, but at the same time I couldn't begin to approach his 80s albums in a critical way; it would be like complaining about the letter "L".

But I do think some acts got multiple albums on the list because the current twenty- and thirty-something music critics, writing about stuff that came out in their infancy or before they were born, are eager to namecheck the things they grew up loving, or the things that they happily discovered that their heroes love. And some performers really were on a roll, churning out multiple history-making albums within ten years. But seeing, for example, Sonic Youth or The Pixies multiple times on the list feels lazy or a dodge to avoid having to declare *which* of two good children is the best child. So I dunno about a strict "one album per artist" rule. Should REM be on the list? Hells yes, they changed the way I listen to music. Were they so good that they deserved three slots? Not really, I'd rather one of the bands I just namedropped get (or retain) some attention. And anyway, everybody knows Sister is better than Evol.
posted by ardgedee at 2:40 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


I have listened to Evol many, many times since 1986.
posted by Golem XIV at 2:42 PM on September 13


Owner of A Lonely Heart. Could Yes have been more 70s prog? Could they have had a more 80s Number 1 pop signal? How the very how did that happen?

I've made several false starts at a post which is basically "these artists who were psychedelic or prog or something entirely else in the 60s and 70s suddenly were all over the pop charts in the 80s for some explicable reason" and 90215 is definitely a part of that really strange era. Someday I'll put that together, because I thought it was fascinating at the time and as the years have passed I've found it even stranger and more fascinating.
posted by hippybear at 2:58 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


I'm looking forward to that post, hippybear.
posted by homunculus at 3:35 PM on September 13


I love the inclusion of Technique by New Order although it's maybe my third favorite album by them.

The editors went round & round about whether to include it.
posted by GuyZero at 3:47 PM on September 13


I've made several false starts at a post which is basically "these artists who were psychedelic or prog or something entirely else in the 60s and 70s suddenly were all over the pop charts in the 80s for some explicable reason"

....Could it maybe because they were early-adopters of weird synth, and the 80s was "weird synth" central?

(Tangentially-but-related, as I was perusing this list again sometime yesterday, I overheard my roommate - who is only in his 20s - singing Naked Eyes in the shower, so the past few days have been a total revival of my adolescence.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:29 PM on September 13


> homunculus, there are also Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Virginia Astley, La Monte Young, Midori Takada, and Laurie Spiegal, for some values of contemporary classical.

hydrophonic, what albums/pieces of theirs do you recommend?


I'm mostly familiar with Steve Reich. Music for 18 Musicians (1978) is a great intro. It's performed fairly often. Different Trains, from the list, is extremely powerful. It's often performed with a video element. I'm not as fond of the Pat Metheny B-side.

I missed my chance to see Takada this summer when I got the date wrong.
posted by hydrophonic at 4:43 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


these artists who were psychedelic or prog or something entirely else in the 60s and 70s suddenly were all over the pop charts in the 80s for some explicable reason

Lots of artists were good/great in the '70s and either sucked or were meh in the '80s. Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Chicago, Styx.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:59 PM on September 13


Talking Heads, The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads
The Neville Brothers, Fiyo on the Bayou

since compilations are fair game

Squeeze, Singles – 45's and Under
The Smiths, Louder Than Bombs

something to represent for the Chris Stamey / Mitch Easter / Don Dixon musical axis of southern-fried college pop

The Connells, Fun & Games
The dB's, Like This
posted by kirkaracha at 7:12 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Oh oh, kirkaracha -- Tango In The Night and Too Low For Zero both called... Also Paradise Theater posted something to twitter.
posted by hippybear at 7:29 PM on September 13


Maybe you're thinking of Scratch Acid?

Yeah, those years kinda blur together for me, but really, both of the Scratch Acid studio albums were pretty flawed - only their debut EP was recorded worth a shit, although it pains me to say it. They were the best live band Austin ever produced though, and ever will. I saw the Jesus Lizard a couple of times in their heyday too, & while they were utterly fantastic, & maybe the songwriting was more accomplished, they never quite matched the sheer assault of the senses of a Scratch Acid gig.

I’ve got Jesus Lizard tickets for next weekend & I’m pretty goddam excited

Also, it’s telling that I’m getting old when I look at that list of all the albums removed from the 2002 list. This generation of record reviewers will never really understand what it was like to have your wife come home from her job at the record store with Discipline under her arm, saying “Don’t you like these guys?” That ensaddens me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:12 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


> I'm mostly familiar with Steve Reich. Music for 18 Musicians yt (1978) is a great intro. It's performed fairly often. Different Trains yt , from the list, is extremely powerful.

Thanks, hydrophonic!
posted by homunculus at 8:45 PM on September 13


I saw the Jesus Lizard a couple of times in their heyday too

Have You Seen David Yow's Balls?
posted by homunculus at 8:46 PM on September 13


Thanks, hydrophonic!

Steve Reich Previously.
posted by hippybear at 8:51 PM on September 13


The Blade Runner soundtrack listed (the actual Vangelis score) wasn't released until 1992. The 'original' soundtrack release was arranged and performed by a studio-furnished Mexican non-union Vangelis equivalent.

I would've preferred the Chariots of Fire soundtrack, anyway.

I am a little put out by them leaving So out of the list (although I am a little appeased by the inclusion of Peter Gabriel 3). Yeah, okay, it was like the "Gabriel Goes Pop" thing, but just because "Sledgehammer" was all poppy that didn't mean it wasn't good.

So is a magnificent album. It also features two other artists (Laurie Anderson and Kate Bush) who have their own albums on this list. Its omission is inexplicable.

It's not an album, but it's apt for this thread - the backstory to Owner of A Lonely Heart. Could Yes have been more 70s prog? Could they have had a more 80s Number 1 pop signal? How the very how did that happen?

As hippybear noted, 90125 would have definitely been a worthy addition to this list.

+1 to Squeeze and Sisters of Mercy (though I would've included Floodland.

For all these quibbles, it's a better list than many of this ilk.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 8:57 AM on September 14


Albums from the 2002 Top 100 list which were dropped from the 2018 Top 200 list (with previous ranking):
86. The Police - Ghost in the Machine
55. The Police - Synchronicity


Knocking off Ghost in the Machine I can see, but not Synchronicity. Leaving the list entirely unpoliced seems criminal.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:52 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


[On Prince, David Bowie:] As usual, death is a great career move.

Also:
91. George Michael – Faith ( new )
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:55 PM on September 14


Have You Seen David Yow's Balls?

That's a great interview. The last time I saw Dave was in the office at the old Cannibal Club where we were both waiting to get paid, & he was clearly very drunk, post-show. We reminisced for a moment about when we worked together & the first thing that popped into his mind was "Ha, remember that time when I shat my pants & had to go home & change?" I'd forgotten, but it was true. He found this somehow utterly hilarious 10 years later.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:51 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I like Yes’s “Leave It” better than “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. That’s due for a remix by one of these DJ kids.

“Let’s Dance”? Nah, let’s not. Two good singles isn’t a good album. “Scary Monsters”, for me, is Top 30. My Prince picks are “Sign o’ the Times” and “Controversy”.

No Yazoo? Seriously? They literally wrote “Goodbye, Seventies”! Allison Moyer and Vince Clarke wuz robbed!
posted by droplet at 7:12 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Dave Segal over at The Stranger has compiled a list of 20 albums that weren't on the list but should have been that might be worth a look. Includes Underwater Moonlight by The Soft Boys and a slew of albums I haven't heard of.
posted by jzb at 9:36 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


The Stranger list makes some good points, including this one;

I can only speculate about the ages of this list’s decision-makers, but I do wonder how many were actively listening to music during the years in which these releases appeared. I’m not saying it’s essential that they were, but it would help bring a deeper perspective to the era’s zeitgeist.

which I wondered about, and then goes on to name a bunch of albums I've never even heard of much less heard. We lived in our own worlds.

He did rightly point out the Psychedelic Furs missing though.
posted by bongo_x at 10:46 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I recognize about half the albums on his list (and I have about 1/3 of them). Many of them are very good but not what I would put in a time capsule or take to a deserted island; they aren't singular artistic achievements or inflection points in music's evolution the way that many of the albums on Pitchfork's list are. The ones I don't recognize are ones I don't have opinions about; maybe they belong, maybe they don't. That's the problem with the music that got limited distribution on small labels -- there's a lot of it, and it was impossible to listen to without some kind of curation that simply wasn't available in the 80s to random passers-by; you had to either be engaged in the scene or have acquaintances willing to trade tapes or loan records.

I mean, I'm kind of sniping from the margins at Pitchfork's list. For the most part I wouldn't really dispute what's on there, either out of my ignorance (I really know *nothing* about reggae, dancehall, and dub) or because I think they're fair picks. The choices I take issue with are, you know, making me want to gird for a nerdfight.
posted by ardgedee at 12:11 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


No Yazoo? Seriously? They literally wrote “Goodbye, Seventies”! Allison Moyer and Vince Clarke wuz robbed!

They're probably just tired of playing in your fashion war.
posted by Devonian at 1:41 PM on September 16 [2 favorites]


The last time I saw Dave was in the office at the old Cannibal Club where we were both waiting to get paid, & he was clearly very drunk, post-show. We reminisced for a moment about when we worked together

You worked with Yow? What did you guys do together?
posted by homunculus at 11:04 AM on September 17


Shriekback 'Oil and Gold' is sunk deep in my memories of that past age. The 1980s was best decade for music if you like dark post-punk music from England that didn't top charts. (Even more if you include some late 1970s stuff as virtual 1980s).
posted by ovvl at 6:29 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]


You worked with Yow? What did you guys do together?

He & Dave Sims were bus boys, them waiters, & I was a cook at a restaurant called The Filling Station in Austin from around ‘81 to ‘83, more or less. I think they met there, but I’m not sure. There were a ton of great musicians who worked at that restaurant for some unknown reason. It wasn’t hip or cool - it was just a job. I was pretty damn surprised the first time (as in ripped my head off surprised) the first time I saw Scratch Acid, because you know, I was just going out to see a punk band two guys at work had just started.

By ‘85 or ‘86, when I was running sound at The Beach Cabaret, they were a full-on locomotive, destroying everything in their path. That was the best gig of theirs I got to see -small club, & they had their own sound guy, so I helped him set mics & get through the sound check, then I got paid to do nothing except have my head removed.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:49 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]


That was the best gig of theirs I got to see -small club, & they had their own sound guy, so I helped him set mics & get through the sound check, then I got paid to do nothing except have my head removed.

Man, that sounds great. Thanks for the story!
posted by homunculus at 1:30 PM on September 19


He did rightly point out the Psychedelic Furs missing though.

But he should've picked Mirror Moves instead. And his OMD choice should be Crush.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:49 AM on September 20


I think you meant Talk Talk Talk.
Because any album featuring "Mr. Jones" is one of the greatest albums ever.

Oh my God, that album is from 1981. 37 years ago.
posted by bongo_x at 12:28 AM on September 21


Thanks for the story!

I just had to come in here & note that I am posting this comment from my seat at tonight’s Jesus Lizard show at the ACL theatre in Austin. (I’m chronically punctual & we’re 30 minutes from the opening act)
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:29 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


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