More than any other decade, the metal scene has truly peaked at 1980-89. What was left from the ’70s heavy metal, known as this dark-hard rock genre, has evolved into new breeds of subgenres that truly broke the familiarity of traditional songwriting. Now we were getting new sounds that truly sounded much heavier, faster, and innovative that it would made Christian parents scared of such “Satanism” to possess their children. During the Regan-era, these were rebellious times for the audience and the bands coming out figured out new styles that were a transformation of their influences that got them into the metal scene to begin with. Many kids everywhere had their start in the metal scene during this era and since then, bands that got their start here have forever been remembered and some still performing & releasing albums to this very day. I think part of 80s metal’s success is that anger has always been human’s most familiar emotion and many albums that came out of this era really matched our darkest desires for revenge and even got really creative to disturb many that are in their comfort zone. I am however talking about the new wave of British heavy metal, Speed Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Grind-core, Doom Metal, Industrial, and Black Metal as being the highlight of this era, specifically. However, there is this horrible scene in metal called Hair Metal (or ’80s hard rock) which was this horribly commercialized scene of music where bands were womanizing, poppy, and horribly fashioned that it made 80s not worth going back to some. I promise you that you will not see any of that garbage metal in this list. These are the metal albums that withstood the test of time and have so much replay value that it will remain timeless to listen to.
No matter how much time moved on from the hair metals, neon new wave, materialistic pop, obscure college rock and old-school sample-style rap that this decade is most known for still is relevant today. It never went away and it never will. Doing throwbacks of the 1980s remains the most welcomed radio-friendly era of music that grabs many attention more so than any era of music. Even millennials & Generation Zs that never existed in this era somehow became the new audience of many icons of the 80s. This level of likability that many of these musicians left from January 1st, 1980 to December 31st, 1989 somehow pops out any loudspeaker system. But really, I don’t see the 80s as just being this beloved series of music that is explainable to like, but instead a time of creative risk and ambition of innovation no matter how ridiculous the times had really gotten. Just examining this decade of music, year by year, got me this realization of of how revolutionary many of these releases once were.
- Top 10 Albums of 1980
- Top 10 Albums of 1981
- Top 10 Albums of 1982
- Top 10 Albums of 1983
- Top 10 Albums of 1984
- Top 10 Albums of 1985
- Top 10 Albums of 1986
- Top 10 Albums of 1987
- Top 10 Albums of 1988
- Top 10 Albums of 1989
Despite the 80s being responsible for the worst fashion, fads, and music of any decade of the 20th century, give ’em some credit, it was a step up from the disco and punk from the 70s. The boundaries of music has gotten more and more significant with music-playing technologies (Compact Disc, Walkman, and Boombox radio) & the MTV channel being the time’s best method of getting attached to what everyone was listening to. And here we are today still celebrating this unforgettable time of pop culture that continues to give all of us warm feelings. I could just make a list of the most iconic or familiar albums that came out of these ten years of music, but that would mean that I wouldn’t be able to share what are some of the most impressive songwriting of the time. Thetoplister’s goal is not to list down albums that have been heard hundreds of times on the radio, but instead show the better ones than what has been replayed countless times on many DJ sets. Its time to lay rest on what anyone can guess what are the most familiar 80s songs and take a look at the much better ones that deserves your attention and qualifies as some of the best listening experiences of all time.
Continue reading Top 10 Albums of the 1980s
Number 10. – Skid Row – Skid Row
There’s a serious love or hate of the hair-metal genre. So many were so fake, flashy, and commercialized that it can be sickening to look back at. But there were those few bands that proved that this genre that only existed in 80s was were existing. At the very end of the genre’s peak, we have the last great hair-metal band to come out of this close-to-dying scene. The material are well composed and basically vers/chorus structured rock´n´roll played with a bit more distortion and attitude than usual. And still “18 and Life To Go” still gets me goosebumps to this day. That relatively simple approach to writing and playing music works wonders here though because the tracks are as memorable and well played/sung as they are. Big fat choruses with backing choirs will have you humming the melodies long after the album has ended. This is instantly memorable music. The sound production by Michael Wagener is not surprisingly detailed and professional. The music could have prospered from a more organic sound, but considering that this was recorded and released in the 80s, it´s in the better end of sound productions from the decade. Overall it´s a great debut album by Skid Row, who didn’t have to work their way up before they became big in the mainstream. They started at the top of the world at the very near end of the 80s.
Number 10. – It Takes A Nation of Millions
To Hold Us Back – Public Enemy
You want a massive overview of what makes It Takes a Nation… a memorable listen, I’ve heard you. But as Chuck D says, “Don’t believe the hype, it’s just a sequel”. And that’s what made Public Enemy such a valuable listen in their early era. It was a group that understood it never mattered what the media said, it was all about the streets and the idea of “being real”. Public Enemy was the idea of an MC deconstructing the idea of what rap should be, and a production team deconstructing the idea of what rap could sound like. Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, the factors of media would begin to dilute this group’s performance going forward – especially once Flavor Flav and Professor Griff were disseminated from the group, or at least circumcised – but this is an album worth it’s own hype (excuse the term) in gold. It was at this point that the Enemy either had you, or you were their enemy yourself. People around at the time delved deeper more better, but one listen to “Night of the Living Baseheads” will tell you all you need to know about the idiosyncrasy that went into making It Takes a Nation of Millions… what it was. Find major interest in the Silver side, refuge in the Black side. If not, you’re lost.
Number 10. – Hysteria – Def Leppard
I did not exist in the 1980s, yet I consider this decade to be one of the most integral and motivating in my life regarding music. Though I only started collecting albums in 2006, my preformal listening days were ones of ’80s pop hits. A part of this was from my upbringing (‘Dad Rock’ was never a more suitable genre tag), but a BIG influence towards my ’80s development came from receiving Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as a birthday present in 5th grade. I believe that game takes place in 1986, and the in-game radio stations were jam-packed with some of the time’s catchiest tunes. When I wasn’t listening to VCPR, I was driving around aimlessly with certain stations tuned in. Remember how you’d sit in front of the stereo as a kid and you’d try to tape your favorite songs from the radio? It surprises me when I see this album as being over an hour in length, mainly because I don’t listen to it as a record but also because it certainly doesn’t feel like that when you do hear it. The music here is not the kind that is presented in such large amounts, yet it is done here completely and successfully. If you were to shave off the four songs that I mentioned as being the lesser, this would get five stars. Five stars and a place on my All-Time Favorites list; how cool would that be? Unfortunately, this album is never a cohesive whole for me and I can’t say that it will ever have that sort of placement.
Number 10. – The Queen is Dead – The Smiths
The face of British music in the eighties? Well, one would like to imagine so but then memories of the drivel populating the singles charts at the time comes to mind. Instead The Smiths can justly claim to be the guardians (if not saviours) of guitar-driven music from which countless indie bands of the future would benefit. More so than any other by The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead is a rock album. Marr fairly rips the riffs of the title track out of his guitar while “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, “Cemetry Gates”, “Vicar In A Tutu” and “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side” barrel along and prove miserablism doesn’t necessarily mean dirge. But the most impressive aspect of The Queen Is Dead are the lyrics. Just a quick turn of a phrase and a whole world is brought into the light: from isolation “Life is very long when you’re lonely”, to a contempt for modern culture “I’d rather be famous than righteous or holy, any day”, to the sheer exuberance of being in love “And if a double-decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side such a heavenly way to die. And if a ten truck kills the both of us to die by your side well the pleasure and the privilege is mine”. And if anyone sees that last couplet as depressing then maybe love is something you haven’t really experienced yet.
Number 10. – Hounds of Love – Kate Bush
Mrs. Bush is a hard musical icon to pin down. She sticks to her pop sensibilities without ever losing grip on her odd art school creativity (and I’m not sure if she ever even went to art school.) and projects to the world this notion that she simply wants to create. Always humble and warm in interviews, answering questions about her art, not about herself. She is a refreshing rarity, not just in terms of presentation of the past 30 years (her live performances are very theatrical and unique), but in terms of how utterly indefinable her work is. The pieces on this album range in influence from Art Pop/Rock to Progressive Rock to… Irish Dance music. You can never quite pin down the genre to any of this woman’s work. So I suppose that is what they are… Kate’s songs. The diversity is astoundingly impressive here. This album is almost like two EPs recorded in the same sessions stuck together to form a whole cohesive work, the two sides being vastly different from each other but you couldn’t possibly imagine them being separated. (Like Siamese twins. I couldn’t imagine separating Siamese twins.) So we shall start with the first half of this circus show, Hounds of Love. Usually known as the “accessible” side of the album, its pieces particularly Art Pop in format.