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. – 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. – 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. – The Unforgettable Fire – U2
U2 took another massive artistic leap with their fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire. The last remnants of their post-punk origins can be detected here, as the band instead opt to take the atmospheric elements of their previous material and go headstrong into an ambient, dreamy haze of anthemic alternative rock with the help of renowned producer Brian Eno. They make their intentions clear on opener A Sort Of Homecoming, which gallops along in a psychedelic haze. The epic title track is another track in this vein, with one of Bono’s most passionate performances set to chiming guitars and glistening synth effects. As with the bands previous album War, this record closes with a simplistic and unlikely highlight. War finished off with the post-punk hymn 40, whereas The Unforgettable Fire winds down with the ambient Martin Luther King tribute, aptly titled MLK. Of course, the band would continue to experiment with many different sounds over the course of their career, but this album still stands as one of their most unique and interesting, thanks in no small part to Eno’s contributions. This was the first of many collaborations with Eno, and as such it kicked off a series of ambitious and experimental efforts which managed to have huge mainstream appeal. Call it an artistic awakening if you will. Somewhat similar to how The Beatles had Rubber Soul, injecting some ambition and psychedelic tendencies into their sound, U2 had The Unforgettable Fire.
Number 10. – The Final Cut – Pink Floyd
I think the main reason why people hate this album so much is not because of the music, but because of the background to this album. In fact, the back cover says it all: “A requiem to the post war dream. By Roger Waters. Performed by Pink Floyd.” Roger Waters was Pink Floyd at the time. And then there are a lot of piano ballads on here. But I like them. And I surprisingly like the more rocking tunes (The Hero’s Return, Not Now John) not quite as much as the more silent piano ballads. Although I do care about the history beyond an album, what it all comes down to is if it is good music. And, well, I am completely on minority on this, but this is exactly the kind of music I like. I like sad, epic piano ballads and orchestration and all that stuff. And that’s why The Final Cut is so appealing to me. I don’t care if Gilmour or Wright participated or if Roger Waters was taking control of all that was once Pink Floyd, I just want to listen to good music. Lyrically, this is a masterpiece. These are probably Roger Waters’ most touching lyrics. I know a lot of people won’t agree, but I think he has a good voice, and it really stands out on this record. I don’t know about you, but I think lines like “was it for this that daddy died?” are simply heartbreaking. And when I heard Waters singing “Shall we shout, shall we scream, what happened to the post war dream?” I knew this album was going to be an interesting experience. In conclusion, The Final Cut isn’t even half as bad as the reviews on here might lead you to believe. My suggestion is to listen to this with an open mind. What makes this album so great are the lyrics, Roger’s voice and all those epic but sad moments on here. One of the most depressing albums I’ve heard so far.
The 1980’s gave the Heavy Metal genre recognition after a full decade of being looked as a despised “noise” that started with Led Zepplin and Black Sabbath. I can honestly say that even with the pure metal and cheesy hair metal, the 1980s was best decade for the genre. After Iron Maiden & Judas Priest started the metal boom in the beginning of the decade, metal in general started expanding into new diversity around the world to trash metal, progressive metal, black metal, speed metal, hair metal, and so many more. So many bands that came out this decade are still remembered as one of the best. Unfortunately the 1990s metal isn’t as powerful or as recognized as the 1980s. At this time around, metal was facing a new genre of music called Grunge and Alternative Rock that took the musical spotlight from everyone. Plus the evolution of the genre throughout the 1990s went sour when they reached the awfulness of Nu Metal and big names like Metallica sold out with different, tasteless musical directions. But that’s not to say that metal in the 1990s were at all bad because we had new bands that went into the positive direction of metal when transforming into folk metal, sludge metal, technical metal, and other metal that sounds and feels as impacting as metal in the 1980s. If you don’t believe me, check out past Top 10 Albums list for each year of the the 1990s.
- Top 10 Albums of 1990
- Top 10 Albums of 1991
- Top 10 Albums of 1992
- Top 10 Albums of 1993
- Top 10 Albums of 1994
- Top 10 Albums of 1995
- Top 10 Albums of 1996
- Top 10 Albums of 1997
- Top 10 Albums of 1998
- Top 10 Albums of 1999
With that being said, I certainly enjoyed the good side of heavy metal in the 1990s. Not to mention that I got into Heavy Metal in this decade so I can’t overlook at this decade’s metal and stick in the past in the 1980s. Here’s the best Heavy Metal albums of the 1990s! Continue reading Top 10 Metal Albums of the 1990s