Best of the '80s, Poll — September 3, 2013 at 8:50 am

Top 100 Albums of 1986: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s — Part 7

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







  1. The Sisterhood. Really?

  2. Love and Rockets have a handful of songs and three times that of filler. I can’t fathom how they beat out PSB debut, masterpieces by peter gabriel and XTC and the album that finally broke Siouxsie to the US. But then, people think Black Celebration is better than incredible albums from REM and a clearly superior electronic album from new order. I was expecting that at least, in that black celebration is completely over-rated and has been since it’s release.

  3. I can’t believe came in lower than ! You people are morons.

  4. “So” should have ranked higher, but I like what I saw for the Top 10. “Tinderbox” is still one of the best produced albums of all time on my list.

  5. I am sad that Born Sandy Devotional (The Triffids) was not higher up the list. How could Liverpool by FGTH even make the list? An abysmal album.


    • Did anyone actually doubt it would finish first? I think no matter where your sympathies lie, given the gestalt of this site there wasn’t much question but that it would place on top.

      P.S. Johnny Marr thinks the lyrics to “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” are stupid and a waste of his good music.

    • William Nothing

      Bow to Morrissey Slicing Up Eyeballs scum!!

  7. Top three shook out as I thought it would; overall top ten was as expected as well (with a couple surprises).

    Just sad OMD was all the way down at 46!

    Oh well. I won’t cavil about it. After all, this isn’t “Anne S Determines the Top 100 Albums of 1986, and You All Better Agree with Her, or Else You’re Just a Poseur.” ;)

  8. People must rank these on the popularity of the band and not on the merit of the whole album. A great band doesn’t always make a great album, even though some of the songs may be amazing. People who only heard this music on the radio or in clubs and never owned/heard the albums should not vote in this poll.

  9. Agreed on The Triffids Born Sandy Devotional Ian. One of the many great Austrailian groups that didn’t register with the rest of the world.

    • I third that emotion! For anyone that has never heard Born Sandy Devotional, please dig it out…you won’t be disappointed. And whilst you’re at it, take a listen to Human Frailty by Hunters and Collectors too(also criminally ignored in this poll!). Both albums are achingly beautiful.

  10. black celebration isn’t overrated; it’s rated just as it should be. new order’s entire catalog, however? wildly overrated. DM=band with major electronic element that nonetheless manages to be dynamic, warm, sensual, sinister, emotional, etc…and with actual compositional skills, and vocalists who can sing. NO=band with major electronic element and none of those other things. and no, i am not a HUGE depeche mode fan.

    • New Order is for me much better than Depeche. New Order is a mix of everything: rock, pop, synthpop…Depeche Mode is only good as a synth-pop band with dark sound (Black Celebration, Music For The Masses..). Their albums with influence of blues, gospel, industrial rock is completely shite (SOFAD, Delta Machine, Exciter)

    • “i am not a HUGE depeche mode fan”

      No but you are a huge something

  11. Typo alert: “Heyday” should be #2, NOT #22. (Just kidding, Matt!)

    Karma says “Starfish” finishes #1, #2, AND #3 in ’88!!!

  12. DM (Black Celebration) should be switch around with the Smiths (Queen is Dead) IMO…

    • pessimystica

      Agreed… I LIKE The Smiths & a lot of singles, but I LOVE Depeche Mode, & just don’t feel nearly as strongly towards The Smiths as I do DM, Cure, New Order, & many other bands. That’s just my personal preference, just like anyone else’s preference to not listen to my personal favorites *shrug*

  13. Richard Rider

    The two best albums from this year both made the top two spots. I’m satisfied.

    Bit surprised by ‘Brotherhood’ making the top ten. It’s far from being New Order’s finest moment. I’m a deeply devoted New Order fan, and this is one album I seldom listen to. For this genre, I think OMD’s ‘Pacific Age’ is a much better album through and through.

    But hey, to each their own.

    BRING ON ’87!

    • I agree!

    • pessimystica

      Agreed, & I love New Order! They’re in my top 4 favorite bands. I like Brotherhood, but I prefer Movement & Power Corruption & Lies the most, & haven’t listened to this album nearly as much as even their 2 2000’s albums (revisiting this one now)

  14. I echo what Richard says, though that has been said many times already, some real tools voting here, or as I suspect voting many times. With such great selections out there, although they all seem to appear on the list, the order of finish is truly abysmal. People clearly aren’t voting on albums as a whole but rather a few songs. How some of the albums in the top 20 are there whilst others languish toward the bottom leaves me stupefied. I’m blaming it on what I suspect are a bunch of Brits voting. No offense–just different cultural tastes and it would clearly skew the results in a manner contra what I KNOW was and wasn’t popular here in the States. I mean really now— fahking BILLY BRAGG?!? Take the poll seriously or don’t vote.

    • So people (particularly the Brits according to you) are destroying the integrity of the poll results just because albums you think were popular in the good ol’ US of A didn’t make the top 10? You are clearly a bit of a nincompoop…no offence.

      Maybe you should suggest to Matt that the poll is only open to you yanks. God forbid.

    • Great, here we go again. First we had proposed age restrictions at SUE. Now the Revolutionary Music War?! Let’s forget ’86 for a sec, rewind to ’84, and spin “People Are People,” people!

  15. Charlie Conner

    I wonder if the 2 Elvis Costello albums drained votes from each other. Sad “King of America” went as low as it did.

    So to those of you young people (who may not have even been alive in 1986) who voted…did you vote simply on singles? on reputation? Not stirring up anything…I’m just curious.

    • I wondered the same thing. Both of these records are fantastic. I always tip my hat toward B&C a little bit more though (there something about the Attractions falling apart that just drives that record home for me). I reckon that most of the voters here lean more toward the synthpop end of the spectrum and Costello is sort of lost on them.

  16. I looked ahead at 1987 and the drop off is astounding. 86 clearly the final great year for tons of music across all tastes. I’m serious it may be hard to find ten real good albums next month. By the time you get to your 6th selection it’ll be something that wouldn’t have made any list so far.

    • People have been predicting this for a while now, and I’m curious to see what records I’ve forgotten from 1987. I’m confident (or at least pretty sure) I’ll find 10 titles that I still listen to regularly, but I can’t really recall with specificity what all was floating around in the margins at the time. Bring it on, SUE!

    • I’ll be voting Pleased to Meet Me #1 for 1987

    • Okay, I’m sorting my iTunes library by year right now and you might be right! It looks like my early favorites will be Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, Within the Realm of a Dying Sun, Lolita Nation, Mother Juno, The White Arcades, Document, Floodland, House Tornado… but then I’m running out of choices, so I’ll have to see what else was out there that I’m forgetting. Will ‘Come On Pilgrim’ count as an album?

      Oh, and ‘Pleased to Meet Me’ of course!

  17. For the first time, an album I voted for didn’t make the top 100. What happened to the Blow Monkey’s Animal Magic?? Apparently I’m alone in this, but I think it is a brilliant album all the way through!

  18. marc fentress

    Typical results, The Smiths and Depeche Mode. There were numerous releases for 1986 that were far better than the albums in the Top 10. This voting should be called vote for your favorite Alternative/ New Wave main stream favorite albums, because that is all that makes the top 10.

  19. How is it possible the Pet Shop Boys beat 11-100.
    I demand a recount!!!

    • Richard Rider

      Perhaps because a lot of people dig the Pet Shop Boys, and it’s a very decent album. Far from being their best, to be sure. But still a noteworthy album, nonetheless. I was surprised to see it so high on the list, personally. But I say good on ’em!

      • I like them too and was pleased to see them rank so high. I didn’t even know they were gay until a few years ago. I was playing their best of CD and the wife mentioned it. Talk about being blind. Then again, I had no idea Erasure where gay as well.

        • pessimystica

          lol! Personally, I think that’s actually a good thing :) To me, you weren’t immediately dismissive of them for being ‘gay’ like a lot of guys do, & you liked them just because you liked them!

  20. The funny thing about the R.E.M. album is that they didn’t even have enough new material for an album due to touring so much behind “Fables…”. The songs “Just a Touch” & “What If We Give It Away” were from before Murmur. Still one of my favorites!

  21. PiL’s ALBUM at no. 13!! I love that album/cd/cassette/poster, and the “artwork” they came up with was the best they ever did.

  22. Agreed Nick; That’s my favorite PiL album for sure.

  23. No comments about Duran Duran at number 16? Personal taste aside (my pre-teen self wet her panties over the first couples albums) are we really agreeing that Notorious is a) a top 100 worthy record and b) it’s worthy of being in the Top 20? Notorious?!

    • You just beat me to it. :) I had to go look at the track list again just to see what made Notorious so popular (aside from the obvious reason), and I’m still mystified.

    • It’s a listenable record as they go. But it’s badly out of place in this context.

    • Michael Larson

      I love Notorious. I was just listening to the album like 3 days ago. The period from Arcadia to Big Thing is still the peak period of DD for me.

  24. Alright, who are the pranksters that voted that mess of a Duran Duran album up to #16? :P Bummer that Twitch just made the Top 25, but an impressive showing for Infected! :)

    • I didn’t think “Notorious” was all THAT awful. But man, if “Big Thing” makes the top 25 of 1988, I’ll… I’ll shake my fist at the screen in anger and futility! ;)

    • Notorious is probably one of the best Duran album. For me, their best phase is period 1985-1988 (So Red The Rose, Notorious, Big Thing). All outstanding pop albums.

      • Nick Rhodes has a job waiting for you, Marko! Duran was down not one but two Taylors and those are the albums for you… More power to you, man. I will say that “Serious” (but NOT “Liberty”!) should have been a huge hit for them years later, so was happy success arrived with the “Wedding Album.” Bring on the 25th Anniversary Edition of that, huh!

  25. A Public Radio College station in NJ helped a kid scanning the “low end” of the dial find Echo and the Bunnymen and it changed my musical tastes forever!

  26. Have been listening to L&R’s “Express” lately and I’m glad it finished so high. Such a great album. Also, while I was filling out the survey for ’86, I saw Killing Joke’s “Brighter Than a Thousand Suns” and decided it’s been long enough since I gave that one a listen. And wow – It’s still great after all these years ! And I have to agree with Richard (a fellow HUGE New Order fan) who said Brotherhood wasn’t one of their better moments. About the only song I can still listen to from that album is “All Day Long” – which is a masterpiece. One more thing : Was hoping And Also the Trees “Virus Meadow” would’ve made the list and kind of sad that Red Lorry Yellow Lorry finished so low.

  27. Cheer-up even if you don’t agree with this list. This is just a poll among those who follow this blog (w/c includes me of course). It just happens that majority of those who participated in this opinion poll thinks these are the top 100 alternative albums of the year chosen, 1986. Meaning this is not a fact.
    For me what is more important is that, I learned a lot from this poll. Many albums or bands that made it, are not even known here is Southeast Asia. And some very popular New Wave albums here , did not even landed in the top 100 of the previous polls.

  28. Man, I only made 3 top 100!!!!
    Balaam And The Angel, ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’
    Cactus World News, ‘Urban Beaches’
    A Certain Ratio, ‘Force’
    Easterhouse, ‘Contenders’
    Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, ‘Element of Light’ 63
    The Jazz Butcher, ‘Distressed Gentlefolk
    Killing Joke, ‘Brighter Than a Thousand Suns’ 44
    Love and Rockets, Express’ 5
    Screaming Blue Messiahs, ‘Gun-Shy’
    The Three Johns, ‘The World By Storm’

    • Shame about SBM, they have completely dropped off the radar – you can’t even find ‘Gun-Shy’ except as a long out-of-print CD. But I saw them twice in 1986 (once opening for the Cramps) and they were just a huge blast of adrenaline, and ‘Gun-Shy’ was played to death at my house.

      • All the Screaming Blue messiahs material is available again. Picked up Gun Shy and Bikini Red last year. Fantastic band!

    • Patrick C. Beno

      Glad to know someone else digs “Distressed Gentlefolk.” Also on my list- “Element Of Light” and “Gun Shy.”

  29. Overall, a good list, but I think A-ha’s Scoundrel Days should be in a higher position.

    I’m already thinking about 1987 and I think it wasn’t as great as 1986. My list:

    1- Pet Shop Boys – Actually
    2- The Smiths – Strangeways Here We Come
    3- U2 – The Joshua Tree
    4- Rush – Hold Your Fire (it won’t be an option, I know)
    5- The Housemartins – The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death
    6- Erasure – The Circus
    7- Aztec Camera – Love
    8- REM – Document
    9- Depeche Mode – Music For The Masses
    10- The Style Council – The Cost of Loving

    If possible, Michael Jackson’s Bad would be my number 1…

    • That’s not possible, because Thriller is not even included in this poll. Reason??? I don’t know reason, but i know that Thriller is one of the best pop albums of all time. If Duran Duran & A-ha is on the list, I don’t see any reason why MJ is not included. And where is Bruce Springsteen with his albums?

      • And where’s David Lee Roth’s “Eat ‘Em and Smile,” dammit?!!!

        “Reason???”?! C’mon, man–you know your way around here, right? Start with “College Rock” at the top of the page, then turn left… That might still be a little blurry, but it should weed out Jacko from these polls. Am sure “Nebraska” got some write-in votes, though.

        • “Nebraska” in ’82, of course.

          • Andy, Duran & A-ha is not college rock. A-ha is not even new wave & new romantics from their first album. Let’s be fair Duran & A-ha are mainstream pop band. Thriller is a pop album, just like Notorious from Duran & Hunting High & Low from A-ha. I don’t see reason why is REM albums for example included on this poll & Springsteen albums from the 80’s not. They’re both rock artists. Springsteen is probably artist of the 70’s, just like MJ. But Roxy Music are also artist of 70’s, and Avalon is included on this poll in 1982. It’s pretty unfair list. There are many great artist that came from 70’s and do great albums in 80’s. Another example, Tina Turner, Private Dancer album. This is not fair, Springsteen albums are not on the list, Tina Turner is not on this poll, MJ is not included, Prince is not included, Madonna also…Also this is all artist from USA.

          • Hey, Marko. If you don’t think they’re college rock, then don’t vote for them HERE! As I wrote above–and as others have written–that label can sometimes be kind of blurry. Matt included Duran Duran, a-ha, and the likes as picks here, and that’s good enough for me. I didn’t vote for them–for whatever reasons of my own–but I expected them to be choices, and popular ones at that. How “college rock” some of these selections are for people, if at all (i.e. “Notorious”), well, I think that has already been discussed plenty elsewhere at SUE… We’re moving on to ’87, and so much of this discussion has already been covered since the ’80 Poll–and aren’t Matt’s explanations of the voting process clear enough?!

            If this were, say, Casey Kasem’s poll honoring the best of American Top 40, then Tina, MJ, and friends would be getting some of my votes, too, but never here. And in the case of Duran Duran, the early stuff got my votes here (the debut seems pretty far from pop, right?), and something like “Notorious” would be more appropriate (to me) for the Top 40 poll, though I wouldn’t vote for it there, either, simply because I don’t think it is very good, regardless of Nile Rodgers’ contributions, you loving it, etc.

            Love your passion, man. But don’t even get me started on your R.E.M. comments (again!!!)…

  30. Once again, I’m happy to see New Model Army make the cut. I think Ghost of Cain deserves more recognition (Master Race, The Hunt, Love Songs!), but that’s how it goes!

    I had Black Celebration also. Most excellent album.

    And REM, The The, Skinny Puppy. Don’t honestly remember what else, but lots of good stuff there.

  31. Geez folks, let’s be a little kinder to one another! So was a surprise to me as I always thought of it as a pretty main stream release. The biggest surprise was how low Throwing Muses debut ranked. This was a truly ground breaking and jaw dropping recording. Brighter Than 1000 Suns is a much maligned Killing Joke release but still a great record in my opinion. Brotherhood is still my favourite NO release. Once again a fun list with timeless great music.

  32. Watch for Joshua Tree duking it out with Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me for #1 in 1987.

    • That Cure album was the one that got me in to them and 26 years later it is one I never listen to. Looking back, it really isn’t very good.

      • That’s an interesting comment, and I’m sure it will be debated once the next poll rolls around! Some people would argue that ‘Kiss Me’ is one of two — and yes, there are ONLY two — truly essential Cure albums, ‘Disintegration’ being the other. Between them, they most perfectly capture the two sides of the Robert Smith coin: manic pop one side, and lipstick-and-eyeliner gloom on the other.

        I might even be one of those people…

  33. Has always this is fun and has always people are upset with the out come. It came out how I believed it would. I was hoping DM would get the top stop but Queen is dead is hard to beat. I was happy to see the Pet Shop Boys in the top ten, but anyone that says that it is just four singles and the rest fuller song has not listened to the CD from start to end. Two divided by, Tonight is forever, and later tonight are great Pet Shop Boys songs that still stand the test of time.

    • Completely agree with your comment. Two Divided by Zero, Tonight is Forever, Later Tonight, Violence, Why Don’t We Live Together?…For me, best Pet Shop Boys album ever. On 2nd place Behaviour, on 3rd Actually.

  34. I’m surprised that only 6 out of 10 voted for The Smiths. Thought it would have been higher than that.

  35. How does the greatest album of all time finish 7th?

  36. Wow. Has to be the voter make up of this particular group. So many great albums placing so low; Elvis Costello, Cramps, Mighty Lemon Drops, Crowded House, and screaming Blue messiahs. It’s like a synthpop nightmare or something..

  37. Mr Agreeable

    Peter Gabriel? A-Ha? Pet Shop Boys? Duran Duran? I wish I’d have nominated The Accused – The Return of Martha Splatterhead or Crass – Ten Notes on a Summer’s Day now.

  38. I hear the complaints. I feel like there needs to be some sort of weight added to this poll so people aren’t just voting for their favorite bands over and over. Having a larger audience doesn’t make a better record. The Smiths, DM, etc. *always* rank at the top because those are the bands with the largest cult following still. Doesn’t mean that they had the best albums (and I’m part of that cult for both bands!). If the Cure had had a new record in 1986, it would rank top 3 on this poll even if it was terrible.

    Albums like XTC’s Skylarking and Robyn Hitchcock’s Element of Light really dominated that year; they broke the artists into a much larger audience and are still synonymous with “college rock” in a way that Black Celebration isn’t. For my money they, along with Express which I’m quite surprised to see ranking so high, really defined this scene in 1986-87, and rightfully so, because they are all excellent albums.

    • I don’t know if there’s an “answer” per se, but your excellent observations (inc. re: the Cure) make me think ahead to the “Best of the Decade” poll we’ll be doing at the end. Do the results so far presage a Top 10 with five places held by the Smiths, and the other five places held by Depeche Mode?

      That would be funny -– in a sad sort of way, given the wealth of amazing records by so many bands in this period.

    • The Smiths, DM and The Cure are always gonna wind up at the top of these lists because they have a fan base that has grown way past what I would consider a cult following. DM and The Cure play to stadium sized audiences in some parts of the world. I am sure that if The Smiths decided reunite they would easily cash in with huge audiences as well.

      These three bands also speak the universal language of the teenage outsider which is a big help. XTC and RH are peddled quirky pop grounded in psych rock and were never going to reach the broad audience necessary to top a poll of this nature 23 years after the fact.

      Not sure I totally agree with you on the Robyn Hitchcock front. Eol was released on Reletivity in the US which had a very small distribution network and on Midnight Music, an even smaller label, elsewhere. I think Hitchcock’s audience really began to grow when he released Globe of Frogs on A&M in 1988. Still, have to agree that EoL is way better than its ranking here.

      As for XTC, Skylarking through Nonsuch were without a doubt their most commercially successful period. The problem is they did not play to live audiences and that was nearly essential to growing beyond what they did. Again, I agree, Skylarking is a fantastic record and was easily in my top 10.

  39. Pablo Iván Serpico

    I agree with the first and second place, The Queen Is Dead & Black Celebration respectively. In magazines like Rolling Stone never acknowledge Depeche Mode albums in its proper perspective

  40. The Feelies and the Go-Betweens should have been higher here imo…just chiming in.

  41. The comments are the best part of these lists. People are cracking me up. “Why isn’t Michael Jackson on these lists? ” (Good Lord) , “The Brits are swaying the vote” (haha). It’s silly that we have to keep defending and/or crucifying the outcome, but it is entertaining. I still don’t get why some of us resent that it’s a popularity poll by default. if 53,000 people vote, probably 45,000 of us had all 3 of the top albums here, and maybe 5,000 had This Mortal Coil. If you haven’t heard it, you’re not gonna vote for it. So be ready, because 52,500 of us had The Joshua Tree.

  42. Glad to see Love and Rockets in the top 10.

  43. “Born Sandy Devotional” at 93 is a travesty. I had it at number 8! This poll was fairly disappointing. Once again it seems most people are voting for their favorite bands, not the best albums. I’m completely surprised that “So” was not number 1, that album is flawless. “Black Celebration” at number 2?! I’m a huge Depece Mode fan and that wasn’t even in my top 10. Sad to see such great albums by OMD, The Chameleons and Robyn Hitchcock so low. “Heyday” wasn’t even in the top 20! Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I’m baffled that “Express” was in the top 50, let alone the top 10.

    • Agree with much of your sentiment though maybe not the specific details. As for SO, I didn’t vote for it cuz it had no damned business being listed. This is a list of ALTERNATIVE music and that means by definition alternative to ‘radio played garbage’…and Peter Gabriel’s SO album was….well…radio played garbage. I applied this reasoning to other past great albums like Let’s Dance, Police albums or any post-Swing INXS. I was unaware Bowie couldn’t find a home on FM radio (as opposed to Smiths/Depeche etc — heavy sarcasm). It were those albums that college radio etc was IN RESPONSE to. Now they are contemporaries?
      I’m as big a Chameleons fan as there is, but I only voted their first album top 10 (#2 that year), the others I felt either incomplete as a whole or just had stiffer competition (1986 for sure). Script of the Bridge is a masterpiece, could be a decade top 10 selection. We shall see, I haven’t thought about that list yet LOL.

  44. The lack of Screaming Blue Messiahs – Gun Shy on this list is practically criminal.

  45. Trying again, apparently my comment didn’t post. Once again, Depeche is not given their due. When compating The Queen is Dead with Black Celebration there’s really no contest. I wonder how many hipsters voted in this poll considering the high ratings of The Smiths and Joy Division/New Order. The Queen is Dead is the same old sad Smith’s material. Lyically, There are great songs on there, but without those Morrissey lyrics the album could never stand on its own. Black Celebration, on the other hand is overall brilliance. Nothing like that album was ever heard before nor since. While Morrissey will always have wit down to the T, Martin Gore’s honest introspection and sensitivity is more sincere. Musically, Alan Wilder is far better at composition. With this album Depeche brings the entire genre to the masses. Finally, if we’re just talking albums, I could name far more bands whose sound has emerged because of this specific masterpiece. Had this album never happened, music today would not be the same. I’m not so sure the same could be said of The Queen is Dead.

  46. #’s 1 and 2 are clearly reversed.

  47. pessimystica

    There are so many good albums on this list! I never like how so many people take lists like these so literally. I just enjoy seeing the ones I like on lists, & even more if many albums I like are on them. Not redoing the order, but here are my personal top 10 that I’ve listened to the most:

    1) Love & Rockets – Express – The 80s L&R albums are awesome, but this one is my favorite of theirs. There’s hardly any filler on this one except for “Angels & Devils”)

    2) Depeche Mode – Black Celebration – There seem to be 2 kinds of DM fans… fans of their more synthpoppy stuff before this album, & any album from this album to the present. I’m a fan of the latter. I like DM darker, & even though they’ve gotten criticized for mixing guitars & going in different directions unlike their early days, I like that they didn’t stay the same! There’s NO filler on this album.

    3) The Mission – Gods Own Medicine – In my experience, there are 2 kinds of Mission fans in the US… those who know about them, & those who don’t ;-) I’m glad to see my favorite album of theirs really high up on the list.

    4) The Chameleons – Strange Times – I got into this band almost by accident & became obsessed with them when Napster was in its heyday. At that point in 2000, they were the 80s best kept secret to me! Other 80s music fans I’ve introduced them to have often said the same thing.

    5) Clan of Xymox – Medusa – Such a great, moody album by 1 of my favorite bands!

    6) Ministry – Twitch – This is definitely the turning point for synthpop vs. metal Ministry. Personally, I like all 80s Ministry the best, & this one is my favorite.

    7) Killing Joke – Brighter Than a 1000 Suns – Very underrated album! Not as dark as some of their other albums, & often criticized for being too ‘new-wavey’… but I still listen to this KJ album & Night Time the most out of the others, & I like a lot of their albums.

    8) The Church – Heyday – My 2nd favorite Church album to Starfish, it has a nice mood about it.

    9) The Bolshoi – Friends – Underrated band & album!

    10) The Damned – Anything – Not my favorite Damned album, & wasn’t 1 of their best selling… but there are still many good songs on it, plus The Damned are up there with several of my favorite bands of all time.

    Honorable Mentions – New Order, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Revolting Cocks

  48. From the chatter during voting, I really thought This Mortal Coil would have scored much higher. However, it wasn’t really radio ready (slow tempo, no big singles). A worthy album.

    • Seems us chatterers are terribly outnumbered by non-chatterers, and 1986 truly bore that out. I’d have preferred a list in an order by the comments section rather than what was hoisted above. You’d have also thought Ministry and RevCo would be top 10/30 respectively, and they damn well should have been (10/10 imho), but not even close.

  49. i agree with the number one

  50. As someone who followed the 80’s “New Wave”/”alternative” scene when it was happening, I’ve been enjoying reading the poll results so far. I was going to vote in this one for the first time, but spent too much time deliberating over my choices, and then got busy on the last day and missed the deadline.

    So instead, I’d like to offer my choices here. I’m not saying these are the universally “best” albums of 1986. But they are subjectively my faves of the ones listed. My taste skew more towards UK/European groups, “synthpop”, and the “4AD sound”, particularly the Cocteau Twins. These are not necessarily in any definitive order.

    Cocteau Twins – Victorialand – To me, CT have a timeless sound due to the ethereal beauty of Liz Fraser’s voice and the atmospheric musical soundscapes created by Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde. As an added bonus, I LOVE that the words are undecipherable, making the vocals more abstract and used as an instrument to conjure feeling rather than meaning. I love every CT album – they each have their own flavor and mood, and this one is very light, relaxing, and ambient. The lead-off track, “Lazy Calm”, is a real gem, but they are all class.

    Budd/Fraser/Guthrie/Raymonde – The Moon and the Melodies – What do you get when you combine the aforementioned brilliance of Cocteau Twins with that of ambient pianist Harold Budd? A record that is sublime, beautiful, majestic, and haunting, and perfect for night driving (as is much of the CT’s work)

    This Mortal Coil – Filigree and Shadow – There are simply no words that can adequately describe This Mortal Coil. TMC’s 3 albums consists of ethereal covers of relatively obscure pop songs that display strong emotion, beauty, and at times, sadness. These songs are segued with various instrumental songs and song fragments to create a seamless listening experience with the tracks all flowing into one another and meant to be taken as a complete work, like a Pink Floyd album. Each song features a different vocalist, though some appear more than once per album. Completely unique and at times dreamy, ethereal, dark, moody, somber, sublime, and utterly beautiful. Filigree And Shadow is an ambitious double album which is IMO only equaled or surpassed by the follow-up, Blood (from 1991).

    Book of Love – Book of Love – It was pretty hard to go anywhere in clubland in the late 80’s – regardless of what type of dance club you were in – without hearing some of the tracks from this self-titled debut album, which was massive on the club scene. “Boy” and “I Touch Roses” got the most airplay, but the other singles “You Make Me Feel So Good” and “Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes)” were just as equally solid. The whole album is pretty strong, with “Lost Souls”, closer track “Book Of Love” and a cover of Liliput’s “Die Matrosen” among the other standouts. This album brings back fond memories of fun and happy times out on the town, dancing until 3 AM and such. And I even got to briefly hang out with the band backstage after one of their local shows (they were very nice and personable)

    Pet Shop Boys – Please – A very strong debut album that the Boys would top again and again in the coming years, even as their profile (unfortunately) began to wane in the United States. I agree with the above posters who said there is no filler on this album. Every track is really strong, not just the 4 massive singles.

    Erasure – Wonderland – Like the Pet Shop Boys, Erasure came onto the scene in 86 with a strong debut featuring multiple killer hit dance singles, yet the album was just the start of an even more incredible string of singles and albums to follow! I love everything Vince Clarke has ever done – Erasure, Yaz, and my favorite Depeche Mode album (their debut, Speak and Spell). By teaming up with Andy Bell beginning with this record, Vince found the perfect singer who could bring soulfulness, passion, and drama to his trademark catchy electro/synth sounds.

    OMD – The Pacific Age – While I agree with the general consensus that OMD peaked artistically with their earlier works like Architecture and Morality and Dazzle Ships, I think the 3 more “commercial” 80’s albums that came after Dazzle and before their first “best of” compilation are very underrated. Pacific Age features very creative and quirky arrangements, sounds, and textures, making the lesser known tracks just as interesting and memorable as the album’s singles (We Love You and Forever Live and Die). This seems to be one of the trademarks of OMD albums (interesting, colorful and experimental non-single tracks).

    The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead – Glad to see it place so highly, as I enjoy all the tracks, particularly “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side” and “There Is A Light…”. I do find myself in the minority of people who DON’T consider this the band’s masterpiece, however. For me, that honor goes to the self-titled debut which won the 1984 poll here. To me, as strong as the Smiths (and early Morrissey) catalog is, they would never top or equal the refreshing simplicity, or be as raw, poetic, and achingly beautiful as the first effort from 1984 – lyrically or musically. And “Mozzer” would never top “Suffer Little Children” and “The Hand the Rocks the Cradle” in the category of sending chills down my spine or moving me to tears.

    REM – Life’s Rich Pagent – Probably my favorite REM album from the IRS years, and could be as high as my second fave overall (Green is my fave). This is just a strong, excellent album from beginning to end. And it has “Fall On Me”!

    Peter Gabriel – So – An excellent album, and not just the singles. And it gets bonus points for featuring a guest appearance by Kate Bush!

    Honorable Mention – Enya (self titled) – I don’t know if the self-titled debut by Enya (later renamed The Celts) is considered “alternative”. I know I got exposed to it from people who were also into “alternative”, and I really enjoy the ambient soundscapes and beautiful vocals.

  51. The Weddoes “George Best” placing high in 1987? Should, but probably won’t…

  52. Thrilled to see Pet Shop Boys within the Top Ten alongside the more predictable choices. 1986 was and remains my favourite year ever for pop/rock music, and even a cursory glance at this top 100— though I vehemently disagree with the exact rankings in many cases— reveals why.

    • I thought PSB was as predictable a top 10 as it got. It’s a nearly flawless work — from beginning to end, which is how entire albums are to be judged…, I thought. The ‘predictable’ albums by predictable bands that keep re-appearing are the annoying ones IMHO, as they are predictably voted by fans of the band(s) that predictably vote like slappies the second they see the band’s name regardless of album content.

  53. Regardless of whether one thinks Notorious has musical value (it doesn’t, by the way), in what world is it remotely alternative? Alternative to good music, I suppose…

  54. Some great stuff on here. 1986 was musically a bit before my time, but 87 was a turning point, although some of them I only listened to much later and some of these might not count as albums…

    1. J&MC – Darklands
    2. Pixies – Come on Pilgrim
    3. Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill
    4. New Order – Substance
    5. REM – Document
    6. Sonic Youth – Sister
    7. Dinosaur Jr – You’re Living All Over Me
    8. Replacements – Pleased to Meet Me
    9. fIREHOSE – If’n
    10. The Cure – Kiss Me…
    11. The Smiths – Strangeways
    12. The Wedding Present – George Best
    13. Suzanne Vega – Solitude Standing
    14. Descendents – All
    15. RHCP – Uplift Mofo Party Plan
    16. U2 – The Joshua Tree
    17. INXS – Kick
    18. Echo & The Bunnymen – Echo & The Bunnymen
    19. Primal Scream – Sonic Flower Groove
    20. Husker Du – Warehouse: Songs & Stories

    • I said that any SERIOUS top 10 list of all music 1986 would have to include both Licensed to Ill and Raising Hell (Beasties/Run DMC), but it’s obvious they don’t belong in the discussion on the SUE poll.

  55. Matt Thurston

    My ranking:

    1.) Smiths – Queen is Dead
    2.) New Order – Brotherhood
    3.) R.E.M. – Life’s Rich Pageant
    4.) The The – Infected
    5.) Billy Bragg – Talking with the Taxman About Poetry
    6.) The Go-Betweens – Liberty Belle…
    7.) World Party – Private Revolution
    8.) Talk Talk – The Colour of Spring
    9.) Peter Gabriel – So
    10.) Housemartins – London 0 Hull 4

    Depeche Mode and Love & Rockets would have made my Top 5 if I had done this list in 1986. Still like those albums. But I think the Pet Shop Boys and Crowded House albums from ’86, for example, hold up better.

    Was really hoping The The would crack the Top 10. Such a great album. I’ll be mad if The The’s “Mind Bomb” doesn’t make the top 5 in 1989.

  56. David Enright

    the church ‘heyday’ was released in 1985.

  57. Lots of great albums, but man, Woodentops were DISSED! Crazy. And of course Screaming Blue Messiahs, which I’m glad to see are mentioned numerous times in comments.

    I only discovered this album fairly recently, but now And Also The Trees – Virus Meadow (Reflex, 1986) is in my top 10. Also belatedly getting into the New Model Army album after only having their first two.

    • Patrick C. Beno

      Thanks for someone else mentioning that special Woodentops album which I found ended up surprisingly low. I thought it was more well-known but now am confirmed that it’s a lost classic.

  58. Also overlooked were Died Pretty – Free Dirt and Lowlife – Permanent Sleep, Hunters & Collectors – Human Frailty and Wipers – Land of the Lost. Chameleons were the top of my list.

  59. I’m surprised that Red Box’s ‘The Circle and the Square’ didn’t even make the final 100. It is an absolute gem of a record, full of eclectic world influences and amazing hooks. Don’t take my word for it though, go and check it out for yourself.

    • Will do! That is what I enjoy most about these lists are the comments section, cuz something I may have missed back in the day I can locate on youtube or whatever and give a worthy listen. I’ve found a couple real winners via these comments, sadly it wasn’t on my plate in the 80s. Anyway, Red Box here I come….

  60. Pet Shop Boys in an “alternative” poll?! Top 10 shoulda been: The Smiths, REM, Sonic Youth, Elvis Costello (both), Nick Cave (both), Big Black, Spacemen 3 and Butthole Surfers…but what do I know?

    • (This isn’t meant as an argument, but I’ll explain why I think artists like PSB deserve to be on these lists)

      Pet Shop Boys had their roots in the synth movement that is very much a part of the “New Wave” and “alternative” genres. Granted, their first album had some big hits on US radio – but it was also huge in “progressive” and alternative dance clubs.

      And here’s something to consider, that will be true more and more throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s with regards to a lot of these artists -particularly the British synth groups – in this case PSB.

      Pet Shop Boys continued to produce high quality recordings that still had some success in Europe throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, yet US “commercial”, “mainstream” radio turned their back on some of their best works (such as Introspective, Behaviour, Very, etc).

      Meanwhile, as grunge, rap, industrial, and the more aggro, machismo, vibe associated with these genres began to rise to the forefront of what was considered “alternative”, the British synth bands (as well as more subtle, melodic, guitar bands), found themselves getting less attention on things like 120 Minutes and college radio.

      So, (other than in certain dance clubs), artists like PSB and Erasure, at least in the US, found themselves in sort of a no-mans land of not really getting much love on EITHER commercial or college radio after grunge, industrial, etc. began to take over.

      At least this was true at the college station I worked at, where I proudly included synthpop/dance artists like PSB in my sets (as well as melodic guitar bands that weren’t getting mainstream airplay like Ocean Blue, Innocence Mission, Cocteau Twins, Lush, Kitchens of Distinction, etc.)

      And this made certain people at the station cringe because these artists weren’t “hard” and didn’t sound angry enough for their tastes, didn’t fit the “image” they wanted the station to have, and weren’t on the SubPop or Waxtrax labels!

      But all I knew was I thought the music I was playing (including the synth groups like PSB) was high quality and deserved to be heard. I’m glad PSB are being acknowleged by this site! :)

      • I was unaware the out-LANDISH notion that PSB was alternative music needed any explantion, but I applaud your verbose efforts. You shoulda been slightly more rude like ‘wtf you talking about Tim Barlow?’. There — that works too.

      • Well said my friend.

  61. Where is the 1987 poll? I thought was supposed to be up yesterday.

  62. pet shop boys & duran duran above talk talk?

    i know i shouldn’t care, and i honestly don’t. but man, i wish more people knew about the colour of spring. what a life-affirming album.

  63. It’s hard to beat the beauty of This Mortal Coil.

  64. I appreciate that it’s US focused in terms of perspective but things like PSB probably do need explanation to some, certainly here in the UK where they are viewed rather more as teenybop chart fare. I certainly don’t object to it as much as seeing stuff like Howard Jones and Duran Duran classed as ‘alternative’ though.

    As for the list, I voted a little hastily myself and left out some that on reflection I shouldn’t (how on earth did I end up voting in favour of PiL’s ‘Album’?). Still, only Skylarking and maybe The Queen is Dead would’ve made my top ten from the poll’s. QiD is vastly inferior to their first album IMHO and quite frankly they’re a singles band far better represented on comps like Louder Than Bombs and Hatful of Hollow anyway. Much of the top ten similarly features some of the less brilliant records by pretty decent bands (Brotherhood? Pshaw!).

    I must say it does still rankle to see such relatively MOR taste on a supposedly ‘alternative’ poll more than 25 years after the fact. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll feel better after I’ve ranted manically at the flower bed outside for an hour or so.

  65. It’s funny, C86 which is widely accepted to be the start of “Indie”is barel;y represented here despite many greats like The Shop Assistants, The Servants, et. al having debut releases. Yet, we are treated to utter dross like That Petrol Emotion, a-ha, Erasure, and (latter 80s era) The Fixx. Where the phuck is the indie cred out there? Indie cred is dead.

  66. Olivier Dodin

    “The Colour Of Spring” (Talk Talk) off course

    and That Petrol Emotion “Manic Pop Thrills”

  67. # 11 !!!!!

  68. Michael Larson

    I’m glad Camper Van Beethoven’s third LP is on the list, but the other 1986 record, Camper Van Beethoven II & III, is my favorite.

  69. number 1 = THE QUEEN IS DEAD = perfect!

  70. 1986 was the banner thrash metal year with Slayers “Reign in blood” and Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” and Megadeth’s “Peace sells” (which became MTV’s bumper riff for years). Yet none are in the top 100 here. It seems a notable omission, as if in rating a years best films, the entire horror genre were purposely omitted, but some of those albums are far more important in terms of influence than at least 50 of the albums listed here. In particular Slayers “Reign in Blood” has a stylistic influence that has been very pervasive. At the time, these bands were defining their own genre and the music was challenging and inventive even if the lyrics were…less so. I certainly think they would rate a good deal higher than for instance, Billy Idols “whiplash smile”. OT: That Petrol Emotion still being underrated after all these years!

  71. Where on earth is Christian Death’s incomparable “Atrocities” on this list, an album that melds dark atmospheres, death-rock guitars, classical orchestrations and avant-garde experimentation with tragically poetic lyrics about the genocides of World War II? It would, in any case, be number one on my list!

  72. Felipe Restrepo

    Today I learnt about the existence of the CMJ New Music Report, arguably the first alternative count down in history, it compiled playlists from college radios in the 1980’s, and it predated the Billboard’s modern rock chart. Radio and Records even published CMJ Top 20 during 1988.
    Is there anybody out there who knows where I can find the CMJ biweekly chart for all the years in the 1980’s?
    I will appreciate any information.

  73. What about Joe Jackson’s Big World?? That was a masterpiece and nobody even mentioned it.

  74. This is one of the few lists that include BoDeans’ Love and Hope and Sex and Dreams – which is one of the best albums of the ’80s.

  75. We didn’t call it College Rock in the UK but I always assumed College Rock meant Alternative Rock? If so there are some strange choices here, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, A-Ha, Eurythmics, Howard Jones!! Billy Idol for crying out loud :) These artists are just Pop in the UK.

    Surely there are some albums from the C86 NME cassette that could have made this list instead of these bands. Unless I’m missing the point and these artists were alternative in the US.

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