Poll — October 7, 2013 at 9:31 am

Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s, Part 9: Vote for your top albums of 1988

Best of 1988

It’s the first full week of October, which means it’s time for our year-long Best of the ’80s poll to continue on to 1988 as we once again ask Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers to help rank the releases of each year of the decade throughout 2013 — concluding, come December, with a poll to determine the best records of the entire 1980s.

VOTING: It’s a simple process. Below, we’ve assembled a list of about 250 albums released in 1988, and you’re welcome to vote for up to 10 of them — or write in any title(s) you wish that we didn’t include.

A few notes and reminders on how this works:

  • Given the theme of this website, the albums that made the ballot are generally those that fall under the very loose and ill-defined “alternative” banner, titles from the punk, post-punk, goth, college rock, indie, synthpop, industrial, New Wave and related genres. This time around we’ve once again broadened the selection a bit to include some key albums from outside the genre. And, of course, you’re still free to write in any album released in 1988 that you want.
  • Speaking of write-ins, you may list multiple albums in the box at the end of the poll, but, please, limit your total votes to 10. If you run out of room, e-mail info@slicingupeyeballs.com.
  • As has been the case with all of the polls in this series, this is a ranking of studio albums. So no EPs, live albums or compilations. We’ll run additional polls to determine the best EPs, comps and/or live albums of the ’80s when this series is done at the end of 2013.

DEADLINE: Voting will be open through 5 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 25, and results will be posted at the beginning of November — after which we’ll launch the 1988 poll and take it from there.

Sound good? Then vote away.

And feel free to discuss/list/explain/lobby for your picks — or gripe about the shocking exclusions and/or inclusions on this month’s ballot — in the comments section below.

PAST RESULTS: Finally, if you missed any of the previous results, here are the Top 100 albums of 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987— as voted by Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers.




NOTE: If this app isn’t letting you vote, you also may vote directly via Polldaddy: poll.fm/4frxa.






  1. The Church/Starfish. No question the best album of 1988.

  2. Easy. Viva Hate.

  3. gregory lush

    these lists are great!!!

  4. Why do you guys keep omitting Jason & The Scorchers?

  5. Kevan Dalzell

    The Mission “Children” plus b-sides.

  6. The Gear Daddies “Let’s Go Scare Al” is a must for this list! A true classic!

  7. Morrissey!

  8. UGH this time I have 25 to whittle down…

  9. Edward Neary

    Viva Hate was the best, absolutely, but this was the hardest list, yet.

  10. Linda Martin

    so many to choose from

  11. Patrick Harrison

    The easiest year to pick so far. I don’t remember 1988 being this poor. ’87 was way better

    • I agree – I think this is the weakest year yet

    • Agreed – this was a very uneven year — partly because the New Wave vets were going in different directions, and Alternative/Grunge was on the horizon. If Tracy Chapman or Michelle Shocked’s albums had come out 3 years earlier, they wouldn’t be on this list.

  12. I think Morrissey will win this one

    • I don’t think anything else comes close to Nothing’s Shocking – i will be surprised if that doesn’t win

      • I think Nothing’s Shocking will place well, but I imagine it stands little chance against the armada of folks on here who vote for Morrissey- related albums (which, this year, includes me).

        • I agree…what the hell is Godley & Creme doing here ? …Nothing’s Shocking has to be in the top 10 (also no Rollins Band ‘Do It’ or The Beasts of Bourbon ‘Sour Mash’

      • I would be surprised if Nothing Shocking places in the top ten. It’s gonna be difficult with some many great albums.
        I didn’t vote for the Morrissey album, too many others to pick over that one.
        REM Green, Sonic Youth Daydream Nation, Galaxie 500 “Today”, Nick Cave “Tender Prey”, Waterboys “Fishermans Blues”, My Bloody Valentine “Isn’t Anything”, Ministry ‘Land Of Rape”, Pixies “Surfer Rosa”, Pogues “If I should Fall” and House Of Love.

  13. Some decent choices, but not a stellar year overall.

  14. As usual, Matt knows exactly what he is doing putting the covers up for this contest. Most of them are going to be in the top ten. It’s not hard to figure out what most of them are going to be, only in what order.

  15. Mine….

    1) The Smithereens, ‘Green Thoughts’
    2) Peter Murphy, ‘Love Hysteria’
    3) Jane’s Addiction, ‘Nothing’s Shocking’
    4) R.E.M., ‘Green’
    5) The Church, ‘Starfish’
    6) Ministry, ‘The Land of Rape and Honey’
    7) Pixies, ‘Surfer Rosa’
    8) Social Distorition, ‘Prison Bound’
    9) Morrissey, ‘Viva Hate’
    10) U2, ‘Rattle and Hum’

  16. I played my ‘blue bell knoll’ cassette so much you couldn’t make out any words on it anymore!

  17. My votes are all over:

    Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
    Ministry – The Land of Rape and Honey
    Erasure – The Innocents
    Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll
    Siouxsie & The Banshees – Peepshow
    Book of Love – Lullaby
    Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
    Camouflage – Voices & Images
    Wire – A Bell Is A Cup… Until It Is Struck
    Morrissey – Viva Hate

    Including Metallica and G’NR is kind of strange…and revisionist.

    • Our lists are rather similar…I think it isn’t revisionist, there was crossover for these two, esp. for that metallica album in particular, the GNR thing was more like wishful thinking then it flopped. Didn’t we all enjoy “I used to love her, but I had to kill her” as lyrics even if we hated them?

      • I don’t about calling Lies a flop. It sold 5 million copies.

        • Oh no,,, serious hard rock groups. The horror. The horror.

        • C’mon now, I’m not convinced you don’t see my point. Compare sales for Lies vs. Appetite, it’s a flop. If that’s not good enough for your knee jerk contrariness, go back and read the press, it’s a flop. We’re talking from the alternative music prism here–you’ll be hard pressed to show people into alternative music went on to buy their next release.

    • As is the Slayer inclusion.

      But judging by the comments in the 1987 results, people seem to be more up in arms over bands that were ACTUALLY played on alternative/modern rock stations than the placement of bands like Guns n Roses in the top 20. *shrug*

      • That’s because they think obscurity = greatness. I was so sure people from the 80s scene didn’t fall for that “indie cred mentality” BS that was touted all over the place in the 90s too.

    • Agreed on Metallica. They were the enemy. But GnR has alt status. KROQ in LA was the first to break them and played them in somewhat heavy rotation (as least with Appetite). I seem to remember KROQ and 91X (Sna diego) also playing Used to Love Her quite a bit as well.

      Alt radio didn’t play Metallica, although this was when MTV started to do so with the “one” video. I personally still don’t like them.

      • However, Metallica was loved by hardcore fans, as they grew up on metal before they found their own niche. I think it comes from that crossover.

      • I would submit that KNAC was really the LA home of GnR. They were something different from the typical hair metal crowd though, that’s for sure, and the first time I saw them was opening for The Cult. “Lies” doesn’t make my top 10 list, however.

  18. Mari McGinnis

    What I listened to then and what I listen to now out of that choice is miles apart!

  19. No “indescribable Wow” by Sam Phillips?

  20. Great year for music.
    The Church – Starfish was a my favorite that year.

  21. George The 23rd

    Viva Hate for the win.

  22. Cotereau Fred

    Morrissey and the Pixies Two masterpieces !!!!!

  23. Jane’s Addiction
    They Might Be Giants
    Sonic Youth
    Living Colour

  24. 1989!

  25. Not nearly has hard as 1987

  26. Michael Louie

    Good albums that year, but not great. I didn’t want to lower my standards so I picked my greatest 8 albums and didn’t want to fill the last 2 slots with merely good albums. I may be tied to the early 80s because I think these last several polls have been somewhat (although of course there are gems) weaker than the early ones where it was hard to narrow my greatest albums down to 10.

  27. Steve SMith

    Wow – what a year, for me at least. “Bug”, “Nothing’s Shocking”, “Life’s Too Good”,”Surfer Rosa”, “Daydream Nation”, “House Tornado” – these are all albums that I’m still listening to week in, week out and still loving today.

    If Jane’s Addiction doesn’t top this chart, then I give up lol.

  28. man 88 must have been the year I found KROQ….

  29. Not a huge rap fan, but Straight Outta Compton and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back are clearly better than anything the Alt world put out that year.

  30. Though it didn’t make my top 10, I have to say “Beelzebubba” was The Dead Milkmen’s greatest effort and was in constant rotation when I was 15 and 16.

  31. davic satipedro

    muy bonito todo

  32. Miles Standish Proud

    Favorite album of all time: The Church – Starfish.
    Contender for Top 10 of all time list: Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation.
    Underrated gem: A House – Big Fat MGR.
    Not a bad year, 1988.

    • With that name, you didn’t pick Green????

      • Miles Standish Proud

        brian – I’m a big R.E.M. fan, but Green is probably #7 or #8 on my list of R.E.M. albums. I definitely voted for Green on this poll. And yes, Lifes Rich Pageant is #1 on my R.E.M. list.

        • Boosie Sauce

          Life’s Rich is still my favorite REM album. But I like Green very much too. The last time I saw them in concert was at the USF Sundome during the Green Tour. Around ’89.

  33. john vandyke

    as usual,so tough,i could easily do a top 20 but fun to try and figure out what to leave out.

  34. What a year. Would have been easier to pick a top 15. Waterboys and Cowboy Junkies probably got the most play.

  35. The Church – Starfish
    Pixies – Surfer Rosa
    The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues

    top picks that year for me

  36. Siouxsie and the Banshees “Peepshow” tops my list. Great year in music. Sugarcubes, Jane’s Addiction, Morrissey, Cocteau Twins…so many great offerings from so many great bands!! So many memories!!

    I want to drag them all out and listen to them now. Thanks!

  37. Here’s my vote,
    thanks for the great Slicing Up work!

  38. Matthew Jones

    Dropping Bongwater out of my top ten is the most painful choice I’ve made in weeks. A lot of good stuff this year.

  39. Nice to look back at 1988, a year full of past & future melted together.

  40. I think if you look at the lists for any of these years and say crap like “There is nothing good this year” or “That was an easy year” or “This was a bad year for music” then you clearly haven’t listened to enough music for that year, or probably any year. There are so many good bands and good albums and so much good music released through the 80’s it’s ridiculous. Start broadening your horizons.
    If you think “Viva Hate” is the best thing and can’t be bothered to try the great bands who release sometimes difficult and amazing music in a decade with such a vast array of sounds and talent, then the joke is on you.

    • Oh yeah!

    • one thing about this site that is really nice is it does try to expose people to some things they may have missed. looking at these lists, i find there are tons of albums i’ve never listened to, or even heard of, even if i am familiar with a lot of them. the album standard is a bit hard to wrestle with sometimes though, as a lot of bands really just don’t make good albums. i love the song Kansas by Wolfgang Press, but nothing else on that album comes close to that track. bands also go in waves, and some people love jangly guitar pop to the exclusion of much else. They’d hate a year filled with Skinny Puppy albums. would like to see lists of the 100 albums of each year, with a notable song or two for each one, so we can get an idea of why anyone would vote for them. always nice to try and keep an open mind. :-)

    • Well said man, very true.

    • word!

  41. Touch calls – lots in 88, but easier picking than in 1987. Gotta go with Feelies or The Church as #1

  42. To Omit Fugazi’s absolutely ground-breaking EP of 1988 must surely be surely an oversight !?

  43. Peter Koppes “Manchild and Myth” will definitely be getting my write-in vote. Gave Marty Willson-Piper’s “Art Attack” a lot of spins that year, too, with “She’s King” being one of my fave singles. More proof that ’88 was the Year of the Church.

    • Ah, forgot about the original ’87 TVT release of “Manchild…” I got the ’88 Rykodisc release at the same time “Art Attack” came out. Regardless, ’88 was theirs!

    • Whichever year it came out, I like ‘Manchild and Myth’ a lot and I’m glad someone else remembers it. I just wish Koppes had used a real session drummer. It doesn’t even sound like he bothered to program the drum machine, just found Preset No. 17 and hit ‘Play’ for one song, and Preset No. 32 for the next.

      Still, a good bit of esoterica for Church fans. Viva ‘Starfish’!

      • Very true! And some rinky-dink synths, too. Still, both add to the album’s charm. And imagine something like “Take a Vow” as a full-blown Church song–WOW!

  44. That was a good year!

  45. Easy one, the mission “children” wins every time for me :-)

  46. Morten Foldager

    The best of 1988….. But what a “weak” year…..

  47. awesome!!!

  48. Wow, this was hard to pick 10…because this was the first crap year of the poll…

    That said, why put Level 42 on here now? They had much stronger albums in previous years…this was their weakest.

    The good: For Against, Abecedarians, The Church, Go-Betweens, Janes Addiction…all incredible albums

    Also love Jaz Coleman’s solo LP…badged as a Killing Joke release

    R.E.M. & Morrissey and The Fixx round it out.

    While 1988 is weak…this is just a teaser for the big year ahead, 1989!

  49. 88 was not a great year…all the other years had more and better choices but my picks are; siouxsie, pet shop boys,erasure, marc almond, Everything but the girl,Prince,REM,Skinny Puppy,morrissey, and peter murphy are my choices for 88

  50. Some great 90s bands had their debuts in 1988. Off the top of my head, there’s Buffalo Tom’s self-titled and “Failure” by the Posies. Neither would obviously rank high, but they should be included.

  51. 1988 – atrocious year for music

    • Usually the pathetic bitter rantings don’t show up until the pole results are posted. Your life must be particularly depressing.

  52. Talk Talk was the best, Followed by MBV

    • For me
      a couple of stunning works of art stand out. The Talk Talk record and The House of Love. The Video for Talk Talk “I Believe in You” actually brings me to tears. Heroin is a nasty thing.

  53. The hardest year yet…to pick 10. Not the greatest year.

  54. Death In June didn’t have one out in 1988.

  55. Rattle and Hum unfairly shunned. Some great songs on there. Pixies and Sonic Youth changed the face of alternative music. A foreshadowing of the grunge invasion to come soon after.

  56. 88 paled in comparison to 87, but some great records were released.

  57. xavier fitzpatrich

    good list

  58. Good to see Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers on this list. Conscious Party is a great album.

  59. Ernesto Alfredo Jara

    “Bringing Home The Ashes” by THE WILD SWANS is the best of its kind.In a perfect world it would have been a massive hit since every song on Bringing Home The Ashes is pure pop perfection:Paul Simpson’s haunting and captivating voice, jangling and lush guitars,pensive lyrics and fantastic keyboards.It definitely captures 80s mood in their heartmeltingly seductive and ethereal sound.

  60. I had to leave off the Waterboys and the Pogues. Can’t believe Rollins Band “Do It” wasn’t on the list. That one is still in regular rotation for me.

  61. Hope Beatnik Beatch’s self-titled album gets some write-in love. Doesn’t sneak into my own Top 10, but I’ll almost certainly be voting for Jellyfish if the polls continue into the early ’90s–pretty please, Matt! :)

  62. There’s a lot of people with crap taste commenting above who can’t see that 1988 was actually the high water mark of Alternative music. My 10 from a wealth of options:
    Butthole Surfers
    Nick Cave
    Dinosaur Jr
    My Bloody Valentine
    Public Enemy
    Sonic Youth
    Thin White Rope

    …so bollocks to ya!

  63. Jim Anderson

    Ziggy Marley Conscious Party is still a crowd pleaser, start to finish. Top vote for sure is The Church Starfish with The Wild Swans a very close second.

    • Whoa! Good call on the Wild Swans. I somehow missed it during my first pass. I guess I have to leave off G ‘n R Lies.

  64. Jane’s Addiction, R.E.M. and Morrissey are definitely the top 3 of the year. Picking another 7 was hard. The Waterboys, the Smithereens and Public Enemy also released fantastic albums that year.

  65. Charlie Conner

    American Music Club for the win! You really REALLY need to check out this under-appreciated gem. Once you hear the song “Western Sky”, you’ll thank me…

    • It’s an excellent record, and ‘Western Sky’ is a high point for sure!

      AMC really got a lot of attention after this record, with write-ups in Rolling Stone and so forth. But I think this was their best of the various records I heard.

    • I love AMC too. California and Mercury.

  66. Joe Cameron

    Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and Morrissey had a really strong 88. I know not a day seemed to go by where I did not listen to one of those albums that year.

  67. Awesome 1989 alternative faves not included here:

    Siglo XX, Fear and Desire
    Manufacture, Terrorvision
    Nice Strong Arm, Mind Furnace
    Bastro, Rode Hard and Put Up Wet
    About 40 albums released on SST (if you’re including Guns and Roses you should be including all the SST–Das Damen, Screaming Trees, Angst ‘Cry For Happy’, in particular, were college radio hits overlooked here)

    A bunch of Wax Trax! is also missing: Greater Than One’s London; In The Nursery’s Koda; A Split-Second, From the Inside; Pig, A Poke In the Eye w/ a Sharp Stick…this is the year WT! really took off; it should be reflected here!

  68. 1988… possibly my favorite year of the ’80s for music. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Peepshow is, in my humble opinion, the greatest album ever recorded. Can’t be beat. You also have Book of Love – Lullaby. Sure, the self-titled debut gets all the attention, but Lullaby is their masterpiece. Rounding out my top 10: Marc Almond, Dead Can Dance, Erasure, The Legendary Pink Dots, Morrissey, Pet Shop Boys, The Sugarcubes, Voice of the Beehive.

  69. Not the best of years…

    The Church – Starfish
    Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll
    Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Session
    Peter Murphy – Love Hysteria
    Pet Shop Boys – Introspective
    R.E.M. – Green
    The Sugarcubes – Life’s Too Good
    Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden
    They Might Be Giants – Lincoln
    Throwing Muses – House Tornado

  70. Ragnarsdaughter

    The Sun and The Moon!!!

  71. Great memories of Fillmore shows looking at the list :)

  72. Morrisey
    The Fall x2
    Go Betweens
    Happy Mondays
    House of Love

  73. How could Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction’s “Tattooed Beat Messiah” not make the poll?

  74. Along with “Starfish,” Crowded House’s “Temple of Low Men” is an absolute favorite here for me. Most everything Neil Finn touches is gold, but this album is truly something special. Too bad too few people heard it and/or gave it a chance, but it’s never too late! The “Tour of Low Men” (’89) was incredible, too. The SF Warfield show, when they joined opener Roger McGuinn on stage (Byrdhouse, indeed!), ranks up there with the best concerts I’ve seen.

    p.s. The amazing triple bill of Tom Verlaine, Peter Murphy, and the Church was another major highlight of ’88!

    • AndyP- Greetings fellow Church fanatic. I was there in ’88 as well. I could be wrong, but wasn’t the show at the Orpheum Theatre instead of the Warfield?

      • Cheers, Scott. Indeed it was the Orpheum. My Warfield mention above was just for the CH show–sorry for any confusion.

        What a gig, huh! And remember Marty swinging his Rickenbacker at the end of the performance, as if he was going to launch it into the crowd?! He seemed a little pissed off, and then I turned around and realized very few folks remained–so am guessing a good chunk of the crowd exited shortly after Peter’s performance. Their loss, huh.

        And just before the show I met Michael Franti at a friend’s apartment. He was in the Beatnigs then. Had no idea he’d become so famous later on–I just remember thinking, Damn, this dude is tall! :0

        Bring on the ’92 Poll! “Priest=Aura,” baby!!!

        • ’92? Lets not get ahead of ourselves. We still have ’90 for GAF. I don’t remember 1990 being a stellar year, so I’m looking forward to another top 10 finish. Three thoughts come to mind on that show. 1. The band walking out to Happy Hunting Ground in complete darkness. 2. Marty and his Rickenbacker’s feedback illuminating under the spotlight as Constant an Opal kicked of the show 3. the guy two rows behind screaming at me that if I didn’t sit down he was going to kick my a$$ outside, even if my dad was waiting in the car (I was 14 at the time).

          • Classic! Man, great memories. Can laugh about #3 now, but that same crap happened to me at a show just a few months ago–may have even been the same dude! :0 “Cortez the Killer” was a personal highlight of our show. And I remember “Unsubstantiated” sounded great. (Too weird that that song is one of a few gems on the “Tequila Sunrise” soundtrack!) Sadly, Marty’s introduction of “Spark” was a plea for the audience to do just that. :(

            So can you confirm that most of the goths followed Peter out the door after the Church started their set? Again, I remember that feeling of shock when I eventually turned around and saw so few people remaining right after their last song–and proof that I was totally mesmerized during the Church’s performance. Too weird. But Peter was amazing that night. It was like, I’ll show you who the real headliner is. “Socrates the Python” was scarily brilliant AND brilliantly scary!

            And, yeah, first the ’88 results (“Starfish” seems to be kicking major booty!), then that ’90 poll, and finally “Priest” duking it out with “Automatic” in ’92!

            p.s. Major shout-out to your dad for driving you to a Church show! :)

          • 1990 was actually pretty kickass..here are the albums i will have to choose from for that year (and this is excluding all the “non-alternative” ones:

            the sundays/reading, writing, and arithmetic

            the posies/dear 23

            sinead o’connor/i do not want what i haven’t got

            jane’s addiction/ritual de lo habitual

            depeche mode/violator

            peter murphy/deep

            prince/graffiti bridge

            cocteau twins/heaven or las vegas

            galaxie 500/this is our music



            midnight oil/blue sky mining

            living colour/time’s up

            public enemy/fear of a black planet

            boogie down productions/edutainment

            a tribe called quest/people’s instinctive travels and the paths of rhythm

            digital underground/sex packets

            indigo girls/nomads indians saints

            concrete blonde/bloodletting

            alice in chains/facelift

            sisters of mercy/vision thing

            mazzy star/she hangs brightly

    • You are not alone. Crowded House and Neil Finn are terribly overlooked. Finn is a world-class songwriter and I agree, what he touches turns to gold.

      • Amen, James!

        • I’m pretty sure that same guy tried to beat up my friend on the Hologram of Baal tour. Yes, in ’88, the band stopped, and as the crowd screamed out for various songs, Marty said something like “Spark, everybody. Everbody, Spark!” I also remember Kilby telling the crowd that all the applause was going to their heads. Peter Murphy was fantastic that night. For a goth god, he played to the crowd- also offering a Bauhaus medley if I’m not mistaken.

    • Man, what a show that must have been! My mind would have been totally blown.

      • It was, lotus. Definitely a show for you. And your memory is sharp, Scott. Now the Steve stuff is coming back, too. And spot-on about Marty. Can still hear him saying, “Spark, everybody!…”

        Another great part of my evening that I totally forgot to mention earlier was that I went to the show with Joel Gion, later of Brian Jonestown Massacre and “Dig!” fame. Same high school, same art class, same intense love of music, but Joel was the guy with the coolest tunes and who unfailingly attended all the coolest shows. And can’t vote for it here because of the compilation rule, but “Barbed Wire Kisses” got major, major plays from me in ’88 thanks to a tape Joel made me with some additional JAMC rarities. Cheers, Joel. Still got the tape and hope you’re also aboard at SUE!

  75. Blue Bell Knoll has always been my favorite Cocteau Twins album. Not to mention, this is the year for The Sugarcubes’ Life’s Too Good!!

  76. After 1985 the volume of seminal punk and new wave releases really tailed off. 1988 saw a handful of quality releases at best, and only a couple of truly great albums. 1989 was even worse.

  77. Certainly not a bad year if you can find 10 albums you loved (and probably still own) from 25 years ago.

  78. 1988 – so much to answer for: one year that gave us
    Daydream Nation
    Isn’t Anything
    Surfer Rosa

    And so many more… It makes my head spin

  79. Basically: Isn’t Anything, Surfer Rosa, Daydream Nation and UVS. Then whatever

  80. sorry, and God in Three Persons!!!!

  81. Richard Evans

    Hoping that Erasure will chart high.

  82. englishmastiffzeus

    “A-House- On Our Big Fat Merry-go-round” is the best album nobody seems to talk about.

  83. was surprised to find The Glamour Chase included since it wasn’t officially released until after Billy’s death.

  84. Jill Richardson

    I needed 15 votes.

  85. SuburbanDissent

    Daydream Nation may be the best recording of all time. :)

  86. Nothing’s Shocking will always win 1988 for me

    I was 17, dropped acid and went to a strip club and got served in a bar for the first time in my life. Before that and after and well into the daylight, the first Jane’s and Nothing’s Shocking got played. I never looked at music or the world the same.

  87. Camper Van Beethoven’s “Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart” is magical, but 1988 belonged to The Church, Morrissey and The Sugarcubes for me.

  88. The church’s Starfish was w/o question the best of 88!

  89. Had to vote for Starfish by The Church. I bought it on cassette and still have it! Got the inside of it signed by The Church when they were in Tucson!!! Best day EVER!

  90. Starfish by The Church is not just one of the great albums of 1988, it is one of the greatest albums ever. Up there with Tago Mago, Madcap Laughs, Underwater Moonlight, Vol 4 (Sabbath), and Art Attack by Marty Willson-Piper.

  91. Starfish definitely tops 1988.

  92. Another great year for music:

    1. Church ‘Starfish’
    2. Jane’s ‘Nothing’s Shocking’
    3. Ministry ‘Rape And Honey’
    4. Siouxsie ‘Peepshow’
    5. Cocteau Twins ‘Blue Bell Knoll’
    6. Danzig
    7. Iggy Pop ‘Instinct’; criminally underrated, so stoked to see it on this list.
    8. Pixies ‘Surfer Rosa’
    9. Peter Murphy ‘Love Hysteria’
    10. Fields Of The Nephilim

    Honorable mentions: Prince, Erasure, Wire, Living Colour, Wonder Stuff, Soundgarden, Afghan Whigs, When In Rome, Front 242, Nick Cave…just to name a scant few. Hard to choose!

  93. Starfish for sure. A classic in the long and meandering career of The Church. Also Talk Talk should be at the top of every list EVER.

  94. It is pretty cool being able to pick N.W.A and The Pixies from the same list.

  95. Oingo Boingo “Alive” is missing

  96. 1. A House, ‘On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round’
    2. A.R. Kane, ‘Sixty Nine’
    3. Christian Death, ‘Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ’
    4. Fields of the Nephilim, ‘The Nephilim’
    5. Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians, ‘Globe of Frogs’
    6. The House of Love, ‘The House of Love’
    7. The Jazz Butcher, ‘Fishcotheque’
    8. The Mighty Lemon Drops, ‘World Without End’
    9. The Railway Children, ‘Recurrence’
    10. Wire, ‘A Bell Is a Cup… Until It Is Struck’
    I remember me at 19 playing all those vinyls all day long. But alt scene had clearly started to decline about 2 years ago.

  97. My Top 5

    Peep Show
    Viva Hate
    Tender Prey
    Blue Bell Knoll

  98. I can’t believe more people aren’t mentioning The House Of Love’s “Butterfly” album. A true classic and a complete album experience with peaks and valleys and an overall tone and mood. It’s still beautiful. I agree about “starfish” though and would add “16 lovers lane” and “December” by for against as well.

  99. Love these older but super relevant albums :)

  100. Difficult to decide, but still it is impossible for me to ignore these candidates:
    The Church: Starfish
    American Music Club: California
    Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden
    Go-Betweens: 16 Lovers Lane
    The House of Love: The House of Love
    The Godfathers: Birth, School, Work, Death

  101. Can’t believe how many of these are my all time favorite CD’s, in order:

    The Church
    House of Love
    The Pursuit of Happiness
    Zodiac Mindwarp & the Love Reaction
    Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
    Jane’s Addiction
    Guns N’ Roses

  102. i was born in 1998. im glad i recognized alot of the albums.
    my favorites were The Church – Starfish and The Feelies- only life.

  103. Awesome awesome year for music, perhaps the most important in my musical youth.
    American Music Club, Sonic Youth, Waterboys, MBV, Dinosaur Jr., Leonard Cohen, Morrissey, REM, Pixies, Cowboy Junkies

    With honourable mentions for Happy Mondays, Felt, The Fall, Buffalo Tom
    And where is Mary Margaret O’Hara’s Miss America??? Beautiful album

  104. It’s funny; I wasn’t expecting much from this year, but reviewing the list, I’m realizing how much great stuff came out. Perhaps not my personal all-time faves, but some home runs and some gamechangers.

    Some really cool artists on the upswing; some great bands releasing fair-to-middlin’ music; and some interesting-sounding things I’ve never had the opportunity to hear. And then there’s the stuff I personally would never have qualified as “modern” or “alternative” (realizing that yes, mileage varies) and the stuff that I WISH I missed back then (e.g. Escape Club) and things that were so run into the ground I could do without ever hearing them again (“What I Am”).

  105. Isn’t U2 Rattle and Hum technically a compilation – similar to the Smiths Louder than Bombs.Hatful of Hollow. For example – it includes Pride.

    • Jack Watters

      Yep. Shouldn’t be on her. It’s like a GH with an added new few songs.

      • It’s more of a new album with added live tracks. Out of 17 songs only 3 were previously on other U2 albums (certainly not a greatest hits album). And the 9 new songs are enough for an album themselves. Rattle and Hum is a much better album than it gets credit for (mainly due to the inclusion of the inferior live cuts)…At least that’s the way I see it.

        • I don’t view it as a greatest hits album – just similar to the many Smiths “albums” in which they included some new songs but added older songs (live, John Peel, or alternate versions). These albums are in a grey zone on whether to be included – but was just thinking there should be consistency. GH albums are more like Bunnymen’s Songs to Learn and Sing (IMO absolutely great) and the Cure’s Standing on a Beach – which obviously should not be included despite how great they were. I was under the impression that to be included it had to be a complete original album so it could be assessed as an album – which meant track selection, track order, side 1, side 2, etc. That is what made analyzing the quality of the albums so great. Sorry for being so technical – just pointing it out.

  106. Mary Eleazar

    They Might Be Giants. Pixies. Sonic Youth.

  107. This was prolly the hardest year to vote, 3rd year in college and all good music and so many new bands. I left out the House of Love, sadly, as I play ‘Christine’ still. Became a huge Smithereens fan that year as got to meet them. The Church-Starfish was tremendous, finally something that didnt sound like all the rest. Rattle N Hum, saw the movie too. New and old songs, live and b-sides, so much to like with that one. 1988 – awesome year!!

  108. Same great albums. A lot of dance and brit-pop coming into play in ’88

  109. Paul Kelly & The Messengers’ “Under The Sun” album sadly got left off the list. The irony is that he still has a fairly popular cult following in Australia.

  110. Had the majority of these albums but the only albums that are still in heavy rotation on my iPod are
    Camper Van Beethoven-My beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart,
    MOrrissey-Viva Hate
    Pixies-Surfer Rosa
    Cowboy Junkies-Trinity Session

    Funny how my tastes have changed. If I’d taken this poll in 1988 probably most of those wouldn’t have even landed in the Top 20, but theyre the ones that have held up for me.

  111. Jack Watters

    The Church – Starfish is the album I still listen to the most. Solid all the way through.
    Edie Brickell & the NB – Shooting Rubberbands… and underrated album.
    Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues
    Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
    R.E.M. – Green other than Stand…it’s work of art.
    Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden is magnificent.
    Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll not their finest, but still great
    Camper Van Beethoven – OBRS is such an under rated gem full of variety
    House of Love – self tilted 1st really sets the tone for that year since The Smiths left us
    MBV – Isn’t Anything so ahead of it’s time

    I’d say I listen to Viva Hate a LOT, but there’s a couple on clunkers on that album. It will make #1 anyway due to his fanbase, so it gave me the opportunity to vote for Talk Talk.

  112. No “House Of Dolls” from Gene Loves Jezebel? There’s a write-in for me right there…

  113. So, 1988 was the year the Church released ‘Starfish,’ and some other bands released some other records.

    If pressed, for my other nine I’d choose from amongst All About Eve, American Music Club, Cocteau Twins, Cowboy Junkies, Dead Can Dance, Dream Syndicate, The Fall, the Feelies, Galaxie 500, the Go-Betweens, Green On Red, Let’s Active, Living Colour, Luxuria, the Mission, Moev, Peter Murphy, My Bloody Valentine, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Pere Ubu, Pixies, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Throwing Muses, Ultra Vivid Scene, Lucinda Williams, Wire, the Wolfgang Press, and Young Fresh Fellows. Maybe a few others.

    But those would just be formalities. 1988 was really all about ‘Starfish.’

  114. if bad religion’s ‘suffer’ or sonic youth’s ‘daydream nation’ doesn’t win this,then it’s a fix!!!and WTF is a-ha doing in this poll????

  115. it’s wild to read the perspectives of the over-45 types with these polls. 1988 was LOADED! i chose 10 records and had to excise at least 10 more, including morrissey, my bloody valentine, the primitives, the wonder stuff, fishbone, and the three GREAT, seminal hip-hop albums (since i was so far over the limit it figured the neatest solution was to omit all the hip-hop)…it just seems to me that the “elders” (and ii’m 41, mind you) fancy themselves the keepers of the ancient scrolls of alternative-rock music, and anytime a once-revered artist got to a point in their career where they became more mature and more skilled at songwriting–an evolution common to every great, celebrated artist–they slag them off and dismiss them as, at best, not as good ad their “old stuff”, and at worst, too commercial, sellouts, etc. accordingly, this means that everything released after, say, 1985, sucks. but when formerly “underground” or “fringe” bands cross over and achieve more mainstream success, there’s usually a valid reason–namely, that they’re making better records. but if you’re truly “alternative”, then you’re supposed to have been horrified by the friday i’m in loves and everybody hurts and under the bridges of the world, when in reality all of those songs are terrific and special in their way. no, they’re not one hundred years and swan swan h and true men don’t kill coyotes. so what? a great song is a great song. the guy above who said viva hate was the only exceptional record of the whole year (and by the way, it’s not even THAT good) is, to me, just curmudgeonly proto-hipster bullshit. alternative rock music, in all its numerous forms, satellites and subgenres, got BETTER as the second half of the 80s unfolded, and peaked between roughly 1987 and 1993 or ’94. (yep. i said it. and for every bush, alanis and offspring you cite, i can counter with the likes of the smashing pumpkins, björk and jeff buckley.) that period, the late 80s/early 90s, is rivaled only by the two prior “wraparounds”–the punk/postpunk/new wave/disco/birth of hip-hop etc. of ’77-’82, and the classic rock/folk-rock/psychedelia/prog-rock/birth of hard rock & heavy metal of ’67-’72.

  116. an intersting year with some great bands plodding along putting out material not nearly as good as years past (numan,peter murphy,siouxsie,rem,cocteaus) and while morrissey DID put out his best solo album…its not nearly as good as any smiths release now is it

  117. Not a great year? The first studio album of The Pixies, and Tender Prey by Nick Cave would make it an historical year :)

  118. 1986, une belle année, de beaux albums. J’avais 18 ans et je rentrais à l’université à Paris !!!
    What Else!

  119. 1988 was a great year for music, the best since 1980.Sonic Youth and The Pixies released their best albums , and the Pogues,Waterboys,and Green On Red also released classics. I couldve picked 15 this year easily.(and i was 28 in 1988 !)

  120. Not as hard as ’87 was, but I could have easily picked 20. Decided to go with albums I own and have actually listened to in the last year. Five of these are my favourite albums by those bands. PSB are definitely tops.

    The Church, ‘Starfish’
    Fields of the Nephilim, ‘The Nephilim’
    Front 242, ‘Front By Front’
    Jane’s Addiction, ‘Nothing’s Shocking’
    Ministry, ‘The Land of Rape and Honey’
    The Mission, ‘Children’
    Peter Murphy, ‘Love Hysteria’
    Pet Shop Boys, ‘Introspective’
    Pixies, ‘Surfer Rosa’
    R.E.M., ‘Green’

  121. Has to be The Mission ‘Children’ all the way with All About Eve 2nd. Still listen to these 2 CD’s now, they take me right back to my younger days……

  122. Has to be The Mission ‘Children’ all the way with All About Eve 2nd. Still listen to these 2 CD’s now, they take me right back to my younger days……

  123. Has to be The Mission ‘Children’ all the way with All About Eve 2nd. Still listen to these 2 CD’s now, they take me right back to my younger days……

  124. THE album “Prostitute” of TOAYH WILCOX was a modern tourning
    before BJORK the album and the music is futurist

  125. I think a lot of people think it’s a weak year because the strongest bands from the earliest years were getting lame. Plenty of the acts above we’re coming into their own after a few years bubbling under. For example The Church hit their stride in ’88 while Big Country were slipping, etc.

  126. Richard Rider

    How can U2’s ‘Rattle & Hum’ be on here, yet New Order’s ‘Substance 1987’ was not?

    Sure……. half of ‘Rattle & Hum’ is ‘new’, but the other half is ‘live’ as live can be. New Order’s ‘Substance 1987’ album, on the other hand, had just three songs that actually appeared on previously-released albums. All other songs on ‘Substance 1987’…… including BLUE MONDAY, were only ever made available commercially in one album when ‘Substance 1987’ was released. I was OK with the omission of New Order on the ’87 list til I saw ‘Rattle & Hum’ on the ’88 list.

    New Order gets no love for an album of singles previously commercially unavailable in a collection, yet it’s OK for U2 to get away with it? If this is a grey area, would it not be safer to simply omit U2 this year, & avoid a potential issue?

    Same goes for Ministry’s ‘The Singles: 1981-1985’. The Smiths as well. New material there too. But nothing.

    I’ve been under the impression that live albums and compilations were a no-no for this list? Has something changed, or is there some kind of ‘U2-are-so-great-that-they-require-an-exception-to-the-rule’ clause in play here? Doesn’t look very impartial to me. If close to half of ‘Rattle & Hum’ is live…… it should be disqualified in fairness to all the other bands’ albums that had to be left off from previous lists for the self-same reason.

    Am I wrong, or do live albums & compilations NOT count for this series of lists? If I’m right, then ‘Rattle & Hum’ should be re-considered and/or removed from the list.

    If they DO count, how fair is it to the people who might have voted for some of the previous years’ compilation/live albums? It compromises the integrity of the accounting.

    Perhaps a separate list for live albums and/or compilations would solve the issue?

    An explanation from the Eyeballs folks, would be greatly appreciated.

    (Still love the lists, btw!) No hate.

    Just callin out an inconsistency that I feel is worthy of some attention :)

    • Completely agree – as I mentioned above. There should be consistency. If so – New Order’s Substance plus several Smith’s albums (Louder Than Bombs, Hatful of Hollow) should have been occluded.

    • ‘Rattle and Hum’ was definitely one I thought a lot about, and actually was not going to include until fairly close to the last minute.

      But here’s why I did: It’s not a compilation of previously released material like ‘Substance,’ ‘Standing on a Beach’ or ‘Louder than Bombs.’

      Nothing on ‘Rattle and Hum’ had previously been released (the live material is all new). Nor, obviously, is it a live album.

      When I was thinking I wouldn’t include it, my problem became: But what other category would it be in? I’m going to do a separate poll for compilations. I could do one for live albums, too. But ‘Rattle and Hum’ doesn’t work for either.

      So in the end I included it, because it does appear the record is considered, at least by the band, as one of its proper albums, presumably because of the strength of the new studio material.

      Anyway, it’s not perfect, but I felt it didn’t really fit anywhere else.

      • Thanks for explanation. Cool with me. Understood. I guess all the others will get their chance as well. Great poll by the way – it would be great to create Spotify playlists for each year (like you did for 1987) – even better to have the whole album. Maybe one day I will find some time and share with the group.

  127. alphabetical order:
    Edie Brickell, the Church, Cowboy Junkies, Dead Milkmen, Fine Young Cannibals, Jane’s Addiction, Morrissey, They Might Be Giants, ’til Tuesday, U2.
    Jane’s is my #1, then the Church. Many of these albums still in rotation.

  128. Blue Bell Knoll is a great album, maybe my favorite by them. Really like The Primitives as well but am thinking it probably will not chart high here. Surfer Rosa is also one of my favorites from this year. Hoping Kate Bush/Sensual World ranks high in ’89’s listing. She consistently put out great stuff in the 80’s and changed up her sound often,

  129. Agree with many other posters on The Church being an excellent choice. I also really like The Smithereens and my top for ’88 is definitely Crowded House. U2 had a couple of OK songs on Rattle N Hum but it really is a hard album to listen to now and actually can’t recall the last time I’ve actually played it.

  130. Without question: Siouxsie & The Banshees’ PEEPSHOW…high water mark for the band…The Peepshow tour was a once-in-a-lifetime experience…Radio City Music Hall in NYC, October 1988…legendary…great sets…a Gothic carnival…Siouxsie was definitely the ringmaster…she danced virtually the entire concert…spinning, jumping, high-kicking, swinging on a swing above Budgie, rolling on the floor…one of the few things I remember her saying at the beginning of the show: “It’s showtime.”

    Looking forward to the live album of that tour FINALLY getting released in the very near future!

  131. I would probably vote for Viva Hate 10 times if I could. Best album by far.

  132. 1. Al Stewart: last days of the century
    2. kd Lang: Shadowland
    3. Cowboy Junkies: The trinity sessions
    4. Graham Parker: Mona Lisas sister
    5. Til’ Tuesday: everything’s forgiven
    6. Dream Syndicate: Ghoststories
    7. Crowded House: Temple of low men
    8. The Waterboys: Fishermans blues
    9. The Church: Starfish
    10. Neil Young: This note’s for you
    Thank you very much!

  133. I voted for “Calm Animals” by The Fixx, but unless it was released earlier in the UK, this one should be on the 1989 poll.

  134. No love for “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick”? I listen to some of my other picks more, but that’s definitely a sentimental favorite.

  135. Two watershed albums for me that year.

    Billy Bragg “Worker’s Playtime” and CVB “Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart.”

  136. The Church, Jane’s, Pixies, and Sonic Youth were the easy choices. After that it was a battle won by the Feelies, Sugarcubes, Cocteau Twins, Fishbone, and one other I’m now embarrassed to say I can’t recall. My last vote went for Billy Bragg’s Worker’s Playtime. Some really beautiful songs on that album.

    I also agree with a previous commenter that these lists and the comments themselves have opened my eyes to a whole bunch of music that wasn’t on my radar screen at the time but that I’m going to check out now. Thanks SUE!

  137. Fine Young Cannibals album is released in february 1989. Not in 1988. Anyway, this is worst year of the decade. I could only choose 4-5 albums.

  138. By far the worst year so far, previous lists I had to leave off albums that were fantastic. This year, not so much. Included a few weak efforts in the top 10.

  139. !!!!!!!!!!

  140. While i don’t think 1988 was quite as strong as previous years, a list that contains the likes of Tender Prey, 16 Lovers Lane, Green, House of Love, Daydream Nation, Fisherman’s Blues and Isn’t Anything is packing a very hefty punch. Some agonising choices here. Leaving out Workers Playtime will give me sleepless nights. 1988, while not an absolutely vintage year, is home to the best album of the 80s and indeed any decade – Talk Talk’s magisterial ‘Spirit of Eden’, a timeless and utterly out of time record that continues to open up secrets after the 1,000th listen.

  141. El Arreglardo

    Social D and Janes Addiction !

  142. Camper Van Beethoven
    Green on Red
    Robyn Hitchcock
    Pere Ubu
    Soul Asylum
    Asexuals, ‘Dish’ (write-in)
    No particular order. All great albums (even ‘Hang Time’)!

  143. fisherman’s blues is very under rated…and seeing the pixies open for love and rockets changed my life

  144. I agree this was not the best year, eclipsed by both 1987 and 1989. But I did love The Mission, Peter Murphy, The Church, REM, Camper Van Beethoven, Marc Almond, The Smithereens, The Waterboys, The Pet Shop Boys, and I wrote in John Hiatt, “Slow Turning.”

  145. Ernesto Alfredo Jara

    1.The Wild Swans “Bringing Home The Ashes”
    2.The Church “Starfish”
    3.Morrissey “Viva Hate”
    4.The Sugarcubes “Life’s Too Good”
    5.The House Of Love “The House Of Love”
    6.The Railway Children “Recurrence”
    7.The Mission “Children”
    8.The Primitives “Lovely”
    9.A House “On Our Fat Merry Go Round”
    10.Cocteau Twins “Blue Bell Knoll”

  146. No Beat Happening love in the comments?

    My list (in no particular order):

    R.E.M. (Begrudgingly – beginning of the end of my love affair with them)
    Beat Happening
    Camper van Beethoven
    Jane’s Addiction
    The Fall (Kurious Oranj – listened to a lot of that at one point)
    Sonic Youth

    If I had to rank them, Pixies and Sonic Youth probably are 1.a and 1.b for me. I definitely agree that Morrissey and the Church were huge that year, but for me it’s also about what stands up over time and neither of those do for me. The rap albums on this list are as good as anything else, I just don’t put them in this category.

    Thanks for the list. I had completely forgotten that there ever was anything on this earth called Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

  147. Joseph Mendoza

    A great year in music!!!

    1.THE WILD SWANS “Bringing Home The Ashes”
    2.THE HOUSE OF LOVE “The House Of Love”
    3.THE SUGARCUBES “Life Is Too Good”
    4.MORRISSEY “Viva Hate”
    5.THE RAILWAY CHILDREN “Recurrence”
    6.A HOUSE “On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round”
    7.THE CHURCH “Starfish”
    8.ULTRA VIVID SCENE “Ultra Vivid Scene”
    9.THE MIGHTY LEMON DROPS “World Without End”
    10.THE BRILLIANT CORNERS “Somebody Up There Likes me”

  148. Hey People?! Where is the Voice of the Beehive love? They are the Waitresses re-incarnated. Come on . . . .

    Such sadness. :(

  149. Love these lists for each year. Y’all always send me scurrying to my collection to see if you’ve mentioned something I’ve forgotten that I had, or scurrying online to find something I’d not heard of.
    After years of working in a small music shop, it’s fun trying to stump myself :) Cheers!

  150. Comment not required but yet requires

  151. Wow! 1988 really sucked! Can’t wait to see this shit list.

  152. Jerry Black

    Definitely not as much to choose from here compared to the other polls. Tie for Temple of Low Men and Surfer Rosa for me.

  153. Matthias Denzel

    It’s always hard to choose…
    Can’t wait for the results! !

  154. Throwing Muses, Pixies and Sugarcubes… What a great year!

  155. Wow, I definitely found myself in an Aussie leaning mood on this years vote

  156. Moz’s debut AND finest (of his canon) = ’88. Prefab Sprout = #2 soundtrack of said year.

  157. Adrian wilson

    That was hard.. Only 10

  158. Matthew Phillips

    no allegory and self? shocking!!

    1988- if this is truly the year that went alternative- you probably should include this one, if only to keep up appearances.

    1988- also the year that alternative went pop. ;)


  159. So many mememories or great shows this year. Mostly at the Fillmore in SF and some at the Warfield.

  160. this was so tough to pick just 10, lots of goodies on the list, way more then I remembered.

  161. Marco Casado Lima

    I miss that age because those 80s were really a good times. Mainly about the sounds and records :-)

  162. Yeah well skinny puppy was an option. So that is obviously the answer…

  163. I wish I could vote for “Daydream Nation” twice. Having said that, this one was particularly tough to narrow down to 10 — could have easily done 20. One of the best music years of the ’80s.

  164. Good choices

  165. I voted.

  166. Great list – hard to whittle it down to just 10!

  167. 1) Jane’s Addiction-Nothing’s Shocking
    2) Sonic Youth-Daydream Nation
    3) Pixies-Surfer Rosa
    4) Public Enemy-It Takes A Nation of Millions…
    5) R.E.M.-Green
    6) N.W.A.-Straight Outta Compton
    7) Ministry-The Land of Rape and Honey
    8) Fishbone-Truth and Soul
    9) Skinny Puppy-VivisectVI
    10) Dead Milkmen-Beezelbubba

    First three may as well be a tie, probably should’ve gone with the Church over the Milkmen.

  168. Sad Lovers & Giants- Epic Garden Music

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