Best of 1986

We’ve reached September, which means it’s time to unveil the results of Part 7 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, at the end of 2013, we’ll run a monster best-of-the-decade poll to crown the overall champs.

Each poll continues to be bigger than the last, and 1986’s was no different, receiving nearly 53,000 total votes. All told, just over 300 different albums earned votes, both via the pre-selected ballot and write-ins. Once again, the Top 10 albums landed more than 1,000 votes apiece, with the records that made the Top 3 each scoring more than 2,000 — and, for the first time, the No. 1 record exceeding 3,000 votes.

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 1987 poll, which will launch next week.

PAST RESULTS: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985




The Smiths

1. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead

BACKSTORY: The band’s third album is seen as its masterwork by many fans, managing to balance the silly (“Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”) with the sublime (“There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”).
SINGLES: “The Boy With the Thorn In His Side,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again”
BAND: Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce
PRODUCER: Morrissey and Johnny Marr
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Depeche Mode

2. Depeche Mode, Black Celebration

BACKSTORY: With their fifth album, Depeche Mode continued to darken their sound (most noticeably on the title track) while still churning out classic singles and offering Martin Gore an unusual four lead vocals.
SINGLES: “Stripped,” “A Question of Lust,” “A Question of Time”
BAND: Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, Alan Wilder
PRODUCER: Depeche Mode, Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)




3. R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant

BACKSTORY: On their fourth album, R.E.M. bulked up with a more muscular rock sound, and began touching on more overt environmental themes in songs like the classic single “Fall On Me” and “Cuyahoga.”
SINGLES: “Fall On Me,” “Superman”
BAND: Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe
PRODUCER: Don Gehman
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



New Order

4. New Order, Brotherhood

BACKSTORY: New Order, with this, their fourth studio album, continued to mix post-punk instrumentation with increasing electronics, the latter of which resulted in a breakout U.S. hit in “Bizarre Love Triangle.”
SINGLES: “State of the Nation,” “Bizarre Love Triangle”
BAND: Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Love and Rockets

5. Love and Rockets, Express

BACKSTORY: On their sophomore effort, the former Bauhaus members delved further into psychedelia-fueled glam. The U.S. release of the album had the single “Ball of Confusion” shoehorned onto Side A.
SINGLES: “Kundalini Express,” “Yin and Yang (The Flowerpot Man)”
BAND: Daniel Ash, David J, Kevin Haskins
PRODUCER: John A. Rivers and Love and Rockets
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Peter Gabriel, 'So'

6. Peter Gabriel, So

BACKSTORY: On his fifth studio album, the former Genesis frontman re-teamed with Daniel Lanois and moved firmly into pop, resulting in a global smash record and a string of hit singles and videos.
SINGLES: “Sledgehammer,” “Don’t Give Up,” “Big Time,” “In Your Eyes,” “Red Rain”
BAND: Peter Gabriel, Tony Levin, David Rhodes, Jarry Marotta, Manu Katche
PRODUCER: Daniel Lanois and Peter Gabriel
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)




7. XTC, Skylarking

BACKSTORY: XTC’s ninth album became a fluke hit in the U.S. after the success of B-side “Dear God,” which, after garnering airplay, was added to later pressings of the album and released as a proper single.
SINGLES: “Grass,” “The Meeting Place,” “Dear God”
BAND: Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Dave Gregory
PRODUCER: Todd Rundgren
BUY IT: (CD, digital), iTunes (Digital)




8. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Tinderbox

BACKSTORY: With their seventh album, the Banshees introduced new guitarist John Valentine Carruthers, and scored their best-performing U.S. single to date with modern-rock classic “Cities in Dust.”
SINGLES: “Cities in Dust,” “Candyman”
BAND: Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Budgie, John Valentine Carruthers
PRODUCER: Siouxsie and the Banshees
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Pet Shop Boys

9. Pet Shop Boys, Please

BACKSTORY: The 11-track debut from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe was a hit-filled affair, a synthpop favorite that spun off four now-classic singles that helped send the record to No. 3 in the U.K.
SINGLES: “West End Girls,” “Love Comes Quickly,” “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money),” “Suburbia”
BAND: Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe
PRODUCER: Stephen Hague
BUY IT: (CD vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Husker Du

10. Hüsker Dü, Candy Apple Grey

BACKSTORY: The Huskers made the jump to a major label on their fifth album, a 10-song collection that also found the band firmly moving past its hardcore roots to a more palatable college-rock sound.
SINGLES: “Don’t Want To Know if You Are Lonely,” “Sorry Somehow”
BAND: Bob Mould, Grant Hart, Greg Norton
PRODUCER: Bob Mould and Grant Hart
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



11. The Mission, Gods Own Medicine
12. The The, Infected
13. Public Image Ltd., Album
14. Crowded House, Crowded House
15. Cocteau Twins, Victorialand
16. Duran Duran, Notorious
17. The Housemartins, London 0 Hull 4
18. They Might Be Giants, They Might Be Giants
19. Talk Talk, The Colour of Spring
20. Erasure, Wonderland


the chameleons

21. The Chameleons, Strange Times
22. The Church, Heyday
23. Taking Heads, True Stories
24. Sonic Youth, Evol
25. Ministry, Twitch
26. Billy Bragg, Talking with the Taxman about Poetry
27. a-ha, Scoundrel Days
28. The Smithereens, Especially For You
29. Book of Love, Book of Love
30. Concrete Blonde, Concrete Blonde


this mortal coil

31. This Mortal Coil, Filigree & Shadow
32. Kraftwerk, Electric Café (aka Techno Pop)
33. Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Blood & Chocolate
34. Peter Murphy, Should the World Fail to Fall Apart
35. Clan of Xymox, Medusa
36. Elvis Costello (aka The Costello Show), King of America
37. Big Audio Dynamite, No. 10, Upping St.
38. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Your Funeral… My Trial
39. Bad Brains, I Against I
40. Skinny Puppy, Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse



41. Eurythmics, Revenge
42. Dead Kennedys, Bedtime for Democracy
43. Throwing Muses, Throwing Muses
44. Killing Joke, Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
45. New Model Army, The Ghost of Cain
46. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, The Pacific Age
47. Billy Idol, Whiplash Smile
48. Violent Femmes, The Blind Leading the Naked
49. The B-52s, Bouncing off the Satellites
50. Gene Loves Jezebel, Discover


david sylvian

51. David Sylvian, Gone to Earth
52. The Feelies, The Good Earth
53. The Cramps, A Date With Elvis
54. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Kicking Against the Pricks
55. Big Black, Atomizer
56. Iggy Pop, Blah Blah Blah (TIE)
56. World Party, Private Revolution (TIE)
58. Big Country, The Seer
59. Camper Van Beethoven, Camper Van Beethoven (TIE)
59. The Mighty Lemon Drops, Happy Head (TIE)



61. The Sisterhood, Gift
62. The Fall, Bend Sinister
63. Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, Element of Light
64. The Damned, Anything
65. The Bangles, Different Light
66. The Go-Betweens, Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express
67. Spacemen 3, Sound of Confusion
68. Revolting Cocks, Big Sexy Land
69. fIREHOSE, Ragin’, Full On
70. Let’s Active, Big Plans For Everybody


howard jones

71. Howard Jones, One to One (TIE)
71. Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Flaunt It (TIE)
73. The Bolshoi, Friends
74. The Call, Reconciled
75. Harold Budd, Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie & Simon Raymonde, The Moon and the Melodies (TIE)
75. The Human League, Crash (TIE)
77. The Dead Milkmen, Eat Your Paisley!
78. The Pretenders, Get Close
79. Art of Noise, In Visible Silence (TIE)
79. BoDeans, Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams (TIE)



81. Ramones, Animal Boy
82. Butthole Surfers, Rembrandt Pussyhorse
83. Stan Ridgway, The Big Heat
84. James, Stutter
85. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Liverpool
86. Alphaville, Afternoons in Utopia
87. Coil, Horse Rotorvator
88. Communards, Communards
89. Everything But the Girl, Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
90. Game Theory, Big Shot Chronicles


that petrol emotion

91. That Petrol Emotion, Manic Pop Thrill
92. Shriekback, Big Night Music
93. The Triffids, Born Sandy Devotional
94. The Woodentops, Giant
95. The Fixx, Walkabout
96. Dumptruck, Positively Dumptruck
97. Fishbone, In Your Face
98. Icehouse, Measure for Measure (TIE)
98. Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Paint Your Wagon (TIE)
100. Guadalcanal Diary, Jamboree