Best of 1984

It’s the first of the month, which means it’s time to unveil the results of Part 5 of our year-long Best of the ’80s feature, a year-by-year poll of Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers to determine the best albums of each year of the 1980s — and then, when that’s wrapped up at the end of 2013, we’ll run a monster best-of-the-decade poll to crown the overall champs.

For the 1984 poll, we received more than 35,000 votes — the most yet — naming some 285 different albums, including, as always, write-in votes for a number of records that were not actually released in 1984 (don’t worry, you can vote for Psychocandy and Low-Life next week).

Speaking of write-ins, Prince’s Purple Rain — the subject of much debate here and on our Facebook page after it was left off the ballot for not fitting the genre — received 43 such votes, which would have tied it with Felt’s The Splendour of Fear at No. 122 if we’d expanded the list that far.

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 1985 poll, which will launch next Monday.

PAST RESULTS: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983




The Smiths, 'The Smiths'

1. The Smiths, The Smiths

BACKSTORY: Having scrapped their original sessions with Troy Tate, The Smiths made their debut with this John Porter-produced collection — although many fans still prefer the BBC session versions of some of these songs that appeared on the Hatful of Hollow compilation later in 1984.
SINGLES: “What Difference Does It Make?”
BAND: Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce
PRODUCER: John Porter and The Smiths
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



R.E.M., 'Reckoning'

2. R.E.M., Reckoning

BACKSTORY: R.E.M. re-convened with its Murmur production team for its second album, fending off pressure to sound more commercial and instead focusing on better capturing the band’s live sound.
SINGLES: “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry),” “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”
BAND: Bill Berry, Peter Buck Mike Mills, Michael Stipe
PRODUCER: Don Dixon and Mitch Easter
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Echo and the Bunnymen, 'Ocean Rain'

3. Echo & The Bunnymen, Ocean Rain

BACKSTORY: Recorded, in part, with a 35-piece orchestra, Echo & The Bunnymen’s fourth album has been called “the greatest album ever made” by frontman Ian McCulloch, a man prone to hyperbole.
SINGLES: “The Killing Moon,” “Silver,” “Seven Seas”
BAND: Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson, Pete de Freitas
PRODUCER: All Concerned
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



U2, 'The Unforgettable Fire'

4. U2, The Unforgettable Fire

BACKSTORY: U2’s fourth studio album featured a new, more ambient and atmospheric direction as the band for the first time worked with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.
SINGLES: “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “The Unforgettable Fire”
BAND: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.
PRODUCER: Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Depeche Mode, 'Some Great Reward'

5. Depeche Mode, Some Great Reward

BACKSTORY: For their fourth album, Depeche Mode continued to grow darker and adopt more industrial-like flourishes even as they scored hits like “People Are People” and “Master and Servant.”
SINGLES: “People Are People,” “Master and Servant,” “Blasphemous Rumours/Somebody”
BAND: Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Alan Wilder, Andy Fletcher
PRODUCER: Depeche Mode, Daniel Miller, Gareth Jones
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The Cure, 'The Top'

6. The Cure, The Top

BACKSTORY: The Cure’s fifth album, which followed a string of pop singles that were compiled on Japanese Whispers, found Robert Smith getting dark and weird on what almost was a solo record.
SINGLES: “The Caterpillar’
BAND: Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Andy Anderson, Porl Thompson
PRODUCER: Robert Smith, Chris Parry, Dave Allen
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The Replacements, 'Let It Be'

7. The Replacements, Let It Be

BACKSTORY: The ‘Mats toned down the punk and focused more on songwriting on their third album, delivering songs both goofy (“Gary’s Got a Boner”) and heartfelt (“Answering Machine,” “Unsatisfied”).
SINGLES: “I Will Dare”
BAND: Paul Westerberg, Bob Stinson, Tommy Stinson, Chris Mars
PRODUCER: Steve Fjelstad, Peter Jesperson, Paul Westerberg
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Cocteau Twins, 'Treasure'

8. Cocteau Twins, Treasure

BACKSTORY: The Cocteaus’ third album was the first to feature bassist Simon Raymonde, and found the now filled-out group honing in on its signature spacey, ethereal sound.
BAND: Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie, Simon Raymonde
PRODUCER: Cocteau Twins
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Husker Du, 'Zen Arcade'

9. Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade

BACKSTORY: For their second studio album, the Hüskers dropped a four-sided concept record that showed there was much more to the band than merely playing very fast hardcore music.
BAND: Bob Mould, Grant Hart, Greg Norton
PRODUCER: Hüsker Dü, Spot
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Siouxsie and the Banshees, 'Hyaena'

10. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Hyaena

BACKSTORY: The Banshees’ sixth album, and major-label debut, is notable as being the only studio album on which Robert Smith wrote and recorded during his short tenure as the band’s guitarist.
SINGLES: “Swimming Horses,” “Dazzle”
BAND: Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Budgie, Robert Smith
PRODUCER: Siouxsie and the Banshees, Mike Hedges
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



11. INXS, The Swing
12. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Welcome to the Pleasuredome
13. The Psychedelic Furs, Mirror Moves
14. Talk Talk, It’s My Life
15. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Rattlesnakes
16. The Pretenders, Learning to Crawl
17. Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime
18. The Cars, Heartbeat City
19. This Mortal Coil, It’ll End in Tears
20. Dead Can Dance, Dead Can Dance


Simple Minds

21. Simple Minds, Sparkle in the Rain
22. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, From Her to Eternity
23. Thompson Twins, Into the Gap
24. Public Image Ltd., This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get
25. Tones on Tail, Pop
26. The Bronski Beat, The Age of Consent
27. Alphaville, Forever Young
28. Howard Jones, Human’s Lib
29. Violent Femmes, Hallowed Ground
30. The Art of Noise, Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise?


The Alarm

31. The Alarm, Declaration
32. The Style Council, Cafe Bleu (aka ‘My Ever Changing Moods’)
33. Meat Puppets, Meat Puppets II
34. The Cult, Dreamtime
35. Hoodoo Gurus, Stoneage Romeos (TIE)
35. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Junk Culture (TIE)
37. Ramones, Too Tough to Die
38. General Public, All the Rage
39. Midnight Oil, Red Sails in the Sunset
40. XTC, The Big Express


Red Hot Chili Peppers

41. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Red Hot Chili Peppers
42. The Pogues, Red Roses for Me
43. The Blue Nile, A Walk Across the Rooftops
44. The Fall, The Wonderful and Frightening World Of…
45. Robyn Hitchcock, I Often Dream of Trains
46. Thomas Dolby, The Flat Earth
47. Billy Bragg, Brewing Up with Billy Bragg
48. Eurythmics, 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)
49. David Sylvian, Brilliant Trees
50. Julian Cope, World Shut Your Mouth


Elvis Costello

51. Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Goodbye Cruel World
52. The Go-Go’s, Talk Show
53. Joe Jackson, Body and Soul
54. Ultravox, Lament
55. Big Country, Steeltown
56. The Waterboys, A Pagan Place
57. Black Flag, My War
58. Alison Moyet, Alf
59. Aztec Camera, Knife
60. David Bowie, Tonight


Skinny Puppy

61. Skinny Puppy, Back & Forth
62. Berlin, Love Life
63. The Human League, Hysteria
64. Cabaret Voltaire, Micro-Phonies
65. The Icicle Works, The Icicle Works (TIE)
65. Dalis Car, The Waking Hour (TIE)
67. The dB’s, Like This
68. Guadalcanal Diary, Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man (TIE)
68. New Model Army, Vengeance (TIE)
68. Butthole Surfers, Psychic… Powerless… Another Man’s Sac (TIE)


Let's Active

71. Let’s Active, Cypress (TIE)
71. Everything But the Girl, Eden (TIE)
73. The Fixx, Phantoms
74. The Bangles, All Over the Place
75. Blancmange, Mange Tout
76. Bananarama, Bananarama
77. Christian Death, Catastrophe Ballet
78. Prefab Sprout, Swoon
79. Soft Cell, This Last Night in Sodom (TIE)
79. The Go-Betweens, Spring Hill Fair (TIE)



81. Madness, Keep Moving
82. Modern English, Ricochet Days
83. Laurie Anderson, Mister Heartbreak
84. Devo, Shout (TIE)
84. Fad Gadget, Gag (TIE)
86. Black Flag, Slip It In’
87. Xmal Deutschland, Tocsin
88. The Gun Club, The Las Vegas Story
89. Nena, 99 Luftballoons
90. The Stranglers, Aural Sculpture


Julian Cope

91. Julian Cope, Fried
92. Coil, Scatology
93, The Dream Syndicate, Medicine Show (TIE)
93. A Flock of Seagulls, The Story of a Young Heart (TIE)
95. Gary Numan, Berserker
96. Alien Sex Fiend, Acid Bath
97. Spandau Ballet, Parade (TIE)
97. And Also the Trees, And Also the Trees (TIE)
99. Danny Elfman, So-Lo
100. Lou Reed, New Sensations