Slicing Up Eyeballs Best of 1981

Today we unveil the results of Part 2 of our year-long Best of the ’80s feature, an ambitious, year-by-year poll of Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers to determine just what were the best albums of each year of the 1980s — and then, when that’s all said and done at the end of 2013, we’ll run a monster best-of-the-decade poll to hash out the overall champs.

For the 1981 poll, we received nearly 25,000 total votes naming more than 200 different albums, with the top five vote-getters more than 1,000 votes apiece. We’ve also got our first tie in the Top 10, with Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Go-Go’s earning the same number of votes to each finish No. 9.

As with our 1980 poll, there have seen a few hitches, including at least a couple regrettable omissions from the original ballot: INXS’ Underneath the Colours and The Suburbs’ Credit In Heaven, each of which received multiple write-in votes, but not enough to crack the Top 100. Finding definitive lists of albums released more than 30 years ago is proving difficult, and we’ll keep trying to improve the balloting process.

So thank you all for voting and sharing your thoughts. Take a look at the Top 100 list below — and feel free to offer your own take on the results, good or bad, in the comments below.

And stay tuned for the Best of 1982 poll, which should launch later this week.

 

 

SLICING UP EYEBALLS READERS POLL: TOP 100 ALBUMS OF 1981

 

The Cure - Faith

1. The Cure, Faith

BACKSTORY: The third album from Robert Smith and Co., considered the middle record in the band’s early trilogy of “dark” albums. The cover art was designed by once and future guitarist Porl Thompson.
SINGLES: “Primary”
BAND: Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Lol Tolhurst
PRODUCER: Mike Hedges and The Cure
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)

 

 

Duran Duran, 'Duran Duran'

2. Duran Duran, Duran Duran

BACKSTORY: The debut from Duran Duran hit No. 3 in the U.K., but didn’t make much of a splash in the U.S. initially; it would be reissued in the States in 1983 following the success of Rio.
SINGLES: “Planet Earth,” “Careless Memories,” “Girls On Film”
BAND: Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor
PRODUCER: Colin Thurston
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital), iTunes (Digital)

 

 

New Order, 'Movement'

3. New Order, Movement

BACKSTORY: The debut from New Order, released about 18 months after the suicide of Ian Curtis ended Joy Division and just weeks following that band’s posthumous compilation Still.
SINGLES: None
BAND: Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Gillian Gilbert, Stephen Morris
PRODUCER: Martin Hannett
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)

 

 

Depeche Mode, 'Speak & Spell'

4. Depeche Mode, Speak & Spell

BACKSTORY: Depeche Mode’s poppy debut, which hit No. 10 on the U.K. charts, was largely written by Vince Clarke, who subsequently left to form synthpop favorites Yazoo and then Erasure.
SINGLES: “Dreaming of Me,” “New Life,” “Just Can’t Get Enough”
BAND: Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Vince Clarke, Andy Fletcher
PRODUCER: Depeche Mode and Daniel Miller
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)

 

 

The Human League, 'Dare'

5. The Human League, Dare

BACKSTORY: Following the departure of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh to form Heaven 17, The Human League veered into new, pop-friendly territory on its third album, which hit No. 1 in the U.K.
SINGLES: “The Sound of the Crowd,” “Love Action,” “Open Your Heart,” “Don’t You Want Me”
BAND: Philip Oakey, Philip Adrian Wright, Joanne Catherall, Susanne Sulley, Ian Burden, Jo Callis
PRODUCER: Martin Rushent and The Human League
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital), iTunes (Digital)

 

 

U2, 'October'

6. U2, October

BACKSTORY: On their second album, the members of the pre-superstardom Irish group struck a more religious tone than on their youthful debut Boy. The album features early favorite “Gloria.”
SINGLES: “Fire,” “Gloria”
BAND: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.
PRODUCER: Steve Lillywhite
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)

 

 

The Police, 'Ghost in the Machine'

7. The Police, Ghost in the Machine

BACKSTORY: The Police began bolstering their sound with keyboards and horns on their fourth album, which spun off a trio of hit singles and went multiplatinum in the United States.
SINGLES: “Invisible Sun,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “Spirits in the Material World,” “Secret Journey”
BAND: Sting, Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland
PRODUCER: The Police and Hugh Padgham
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)

 

 

Echo & The Bunnymen, 'Heaven Up Here'

8. Echo & The Bunnymen, Heaven Up Here

BACKSTORY: The Bunnymen cracked the U.K. Top 10 with their second album, which was produced by Hugh Jones after musical differences led the band to dump its Crocodile producers.
SINGLES: “A Promise,” “Over the Wall”
BAND: Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson, Pete de Freitas
PRODUCER: Hugh Jones and The Bunnymen
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)

 

 

Siouxsie and the Banshees, 'Juju'

9. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Juju (TIE)

BACKSTORY: On their fourth album, the Banshees spotlighted John McGeoch’s guitar work and the percussion of drummer Budgie. The album peaked at No. 7 on the U.K. charts.
SINGLES: “Spellbound,” “Arabian Knights’
BAND: Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Budgie, John McGeoch
PRODUCER: Siouxsie and the Banshees and Nigel Gray
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital), iTunes (Digital)

 

 

The Go-Go's, 'Beauty and the Beat'

9. The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat (TIE)

BACKSTORY: The debut from The Go-Go’s features two classic New Wave singles, including “Our Lips Are Sealed,” co-written by The Specials’ Terry Hall and later recorded by his group Fun Boy Three.
SINGLES: “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “We Got the Beat”
BAND: Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin
PRODUCER: Rob Freeman and Richard Gottehrer
BUY IT: Amazon.com (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)

 

11. The Psychedelic Furs, Talk Talk Talk
12. Kraftwerk, Computer World
13. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Architecture & Morality
14. Bauhaus, Mask
15. Soft Cell, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
16. Men at Work, Business as Usual
17. The Cars, Shake It Up
18. Japan, Tin Drum
19. Adam and the Ants, Prince Charming
20. Simple Minds, Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call

 

The Replacements

21. The Replacements, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash
22. Black Flag, Damaged
23. Squeeze, East Side Story
24. Heaven 17, Penthouse and Pavement
25. X, Wild Gift
26. Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Trust
27. Pretenders, Pretenders II
28. Devo, New Traditionalists
29. Oingo Boingo, Only a Lad
30. Public Image Ltd., The Flowers of Romance

 

Stray Cats

31. Stray Cats, Stray Cats
32. Brian Eno and David Byrne, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
33. The Church, Of Skins and Heart
34. Ultravox, Rage in Eden
35. The Beat, Wha’ppen?
36. Killing Joke, What’s THIS For…!
37. Eurythmics, In the Garden (TIE)
37. The Cramps, Psychedelic Jungle (TIE)
37. Gang of Four, Solid Gold (TIE)
40. Modern English, Mesh & Lace

 

Grace Jones

41. Grace Jones, Nightclubbing
42. Tom Tom Club, Tom Tom Club
43. The Gun Club, Fire of Love (TIE)
43. Ramones, Pleasant Dreams (TIE)
45. The dB’s, Stands for Decibels
46. Madness, 7
47. The Plimsouls, The Plimsouls
48. Spandau Ballet, Journeys to Glory
49. The Birthday Party, Prayers On Fire
50. The Sound, From the Lions Mouth

 

Joe Jackson

51. Joe Jackson, Jumpin’ Jive
52. Einstürzende Neubauten, Kollaps
53. Prince, Controversy
54. The Teardrop Explodes, Wilder
55. Kim Wilde, Kim Wilde
56. Split Enz, Waiata
57. Robyn Hitchcock, Black Snake Diamond Röle (TIE)
57. Gary Numan, Dance (TIE)
59. Thompson Twins, A Product Of… (Participation)
60. Altered Images, Happy Birthday

 

Elvis Costello

61. Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Almost Blue
62. The Comsat Angels, Sleep No More
63. Wall of Voodoo, Dark Continent
64. Agent Orange, Living in Darkness
65. Toyah, Anthem
66. Minutemen, The Punch Line
67. Midnight Oil, Place Without a Postcard
68. Felt, Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty (TIE)
68. Matt Johnson, Burning Blue Soul (TIE)
70. Cabaret Voltaire, Red Mecca

 

Bow Wow Wow

71. Bow Wow Wow, See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy (TIE)
71. The Durutti Column, LC (TIE)
73. John Foxx, The Garden
74. UB40, Present Arms
75. Klaus Nomi, Klaus Nomi
76. Gen X, Kiss Me Deadly
77. The Blasters, The Blasters
78. Associates, Fourth Drawer Down
79. Stiff Little Fingers, Go For It
80. Wipers, Youth of America

 

Magazine

81. Magazine, Magic, Murder and the Weather
82. Au Pairs, Playing with a Different Sex
83. Iggy Pop, Party
84. The Stranglers, La Folie
85. Crass, Penis Envy
86. D.A.F., Alles Ist Gut (TIE)
86. T.S.O.L., Dance with Me (TIE)
88. The Exploited, Punks Not Dead (TIE)
88. The Undertones, Positive Touch (TIE)
90. Yello, Claro Que Si

 

Josef K

91. Josef K, The Only Fun In Town
92. David Byrne, The Catherine Wheel (TIE)
92. Debbie Harry, Koo Koo (TIE)
94. Romeo Void, It’s a Condition
95. Adolescents, Adolescents (TIE)
95. Sparks, Whomp That Sucker (TIE)
97. Television Personalities, …And Don’t the Kids Just Love It
98. Trio, Trio
99. A Certain Ratio, To Each…
100. Boomtown Rats, Mondo Bongo

 

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