Poll — September 11, 2013 at 7:43 am

Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s, Part 8: Vote for your top albums of 1987

Best of 1987

We’re a bit late this month, but our year-long Best of the ’80s poll continues as we hit 1987, and once again ask Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers to vote for their favorite albums of that year in our mission to rank the releases of each year of the decade throughout 2013, concluding, come December, with a poll to determine the absolute best records of the entire 1980s.

VOTING: It’s a simple process. Below, we’ve assembled a list of more than 230 albums released in 1987, 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 limited to those that fall under the very loose and ill-defined “alternative” banner, generally titles from the punk, post-punk, goth, college rock, indie, synthpop, industrial, New Wave and related genres. This time around, due to popular demand, we’ve broadened the selection a bit to include some key albums from outside the genre (including one by a certain purple gentleman). And, of course, you’re still free to write in any album released in 1987 that you want. Including Hysteria, if that’s your thing.
  • 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 (sadly, that means no Come On Pilgrim), live albums (including Jane’s Addiction) or compilations (that means you, Substance and Louder Than Bombs). 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.
  • And, finally, it’s worth noting that we’re not penalizing bands for getting popular. That’s why you’ll see The Joshua Tree and Kick on the ballot. Yes, those albums made U2 and INXS superstars, but we’re not dropping bands that have appeared throughout these polls just because they sold some records.

DEADLINE: Voting will be open through 5 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 27, and results will be posted at the beginning of October — 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 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 and 1986 — as voted by Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers.




NOTE: If this app isn’t letting you vote, you also may vote directly via Polldaddy: 4ec6c.






  1. Strangeways, Here We Come.

  2. The ten choices weren’t easy, I had to leave off “Nothing Like The Sun” and other two-three great albums. Note: “Pop Goes The World” wasn’t a Men At Work album, it was a Men Without Hats one. Thanks for your kind attention!

  3. This was a hard one. SO many great albums came out this year.

  4. Christian Gerard


  5. Could’ve voted for 20 easily…

  6. Without even looking at the list, my god, the nine in the leading image are a murderer’s row in ANY given year.


  8. Such a good year in music.

  9. Ugh and I thought the last one was hard. If I only go by albums I own and still listen to I’m over twenty… Yeah I know I’m old and stuck in the past.

  10. Lowlife’s Dimminuendo is what I hope goes to number one but probably won’t happen. i also put in the french band Marc Seberg’s album Lumières Et Trahisons which is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.

  11. Pablo Iván Serpico

    Tango in the Night – Fleetwood Mac

  12. as predicted, this year was insanely difficult to choose from. Leaving off things like the JAMC album or that excellent Eurythmics album was so difficult. I even almost didnt choose the depeche mode album simply because I love half of it and the other half sounds like filler to me, but then never let me down kept playing in my head and it’s such a monument they have to make the list. I’d love to see Close Lobsters get into the top 20 at least–and anyone that hasn’t tried them please go back and do yourself a favor. They were amazing in NYC this summer!!!!

  13. these the albums I do remember and the songs that’s listed on them that I like

  14. “Document” changed my life. Done.

  15. also, glad to see guns n roses made the list. I know so many people that were solely into alternative music that were struck by that album and had to give in and purchase it!

    • That’s absolutely true! GnR really did stand out as a substantive alternative to all the “poodle metal” acts at that time, and had an authenticity that crossed the usual lines. Nobody had any idea how big they would get, or that they would come to represent the same bloat and stupidity that they stood against in that moment.

      Recall that GnR were featured in Spin magazine’s “Future of New Music” article (Jan. 1988) alongside M/A/R/R/S, Public Enemy and Sinead O’Connor. That same issue had big reviews of the Game Theory, Chris Stamey and Negativland albums in this current poll!

      I don’t know if 1987 was the “best” year for music, but it was certainly a fluid and dynamic time.

      • Good point. And, unless I am mistaken, KROQ in Los Angeles was the first station to play GnR. They also toured in support of the Cult (and snagged a drummer).

        In other news, this was my favorite year ever!

      • If this link works right, it will take you to that issue of Spin. It’s cool to look back and see what all was going on in those days. The ‘Lolita Nation’ review was spot on:


  16. Too many to choose from, and several of those aren’t even listed.

  17. Looking at those records you realize how miserable is the actual music scenario.

  18. Tough list to choose

  19. My toughest year yet. The Cult #1, Dumptruck, fIREHOSE, Rollins, Echo, Meat Puppets – Huevos, Midnight Oil, Long Ryders, Guadalcanal Diary, Julian Cope

  20. Negativland! The band that U2 tried to kill. That’s the numeral U and the letter 2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqse3vYcnaU

  21. Angela Larson

    Worst year of the 80’s.

  22. Oh my gosh, that’s hard! So much good music that year. Had to limit it to ones I stuck with the longest.

  23. A slim year.

  24. Shawn C Kelley

    I think this was the best year of the 80s for music. So many great albums came out in 1987. And by “Substance” being ineligible, it let 1 more album make my Top 10 that wouldn’t have otherwise.

  25. well, it all starts to go to shit then doesn’t it?
    least favorite albums by some key bands.
    but, ten is no problem.
    nice to see the New Zealand entries!

  26. A bit of a thin year for good music. Strange – that’s not how I remember it.

  27. What a great year… So many great albums. I’m leaning to Kiss me Kiss me…

  28. Wow, Sinead, R.E.M., U2, Midnight Oil, INXS, Icehouse, Pet Shop Boys, The Cure, this is the year when a lot of bands released some of their biggest hits. I’m not sure how Guns n’ Roses and Prince fit on this list, though.

  29. Frankly, 1997 was not a vintage year but there were still quite some memorable albums. Amongst all, I love Marc Almond’s “Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters” the most.

  30. MY favorite years for music have to be 1985 and 1986. I love more of the gothy darker stuff, and all he early synthpop and industrial. 1987 was still a fun year for me because I was a huge Depeche Mode fan but realses that year from Front 242, Nitzer Ebb and FLA really changed things as far as electronic music by getting their sound out to the masses.

  31. Odd year, far fewer “faves” than in the previous few years but the 15 or so that are here were HARD to choose 10 from.

  32. A lot easier than some of the years, that’s for sure, the late 80s was not my favourite time.

  33. This one was really hard for me. I was 13 that year and really started branching out with what music I liked. I’ve listen to several of these (or songs from them) still today. It was so hard in fact, that I decided to pick those that were my favorites in 1987.

    • Same with me, Debi. I was also 13 and it was the first year that I really started to notice to listen to “College Rock”.

      So many of these albums are still in my collection and are still relevant to me. It’s hard to pick what was the best when I’m nostalgic about many of these.

    • Interesting – I was 13 too. I started listening to “modern rock” in in earnest in January 1987, so I was super excited to hear these as they were released.

      It’s funny hearing them referred to as “popular” or “mainstream” because they certainly weren’t anywhere near popular among the people I knew. But looking back, it really is fascinating to see how many of them became watershed albums for these bands – and of course I include “Louder Than Bombs” and “Substance” in that list.

  34. I had more trouble choosing on this one than any other. I know some people are going to throw a fit about Appetite For Destruction being on there but I’m glad it was. Also I know it won’t place high but REALLY happy to see Join The Army on there. Amazing diverse year! Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me is my pick for the winner.

  35. Sorted!

  36. Charlie Conner

    before the debate about u2 starts…remember what the band was in 1987…NOT the mega-band they are now!

    My guess is this year is a Depeche Mode v Cure year, with the Smiths possibly playing spoiler…

    • I think DM, the Cure, or U2 will end up with the top slot; “Strangeways…” is a good, solid album, but I personally don’t find it to be the best they’ve released, OR better than those other three albums.

      I’m sure “Strangeways…” will end up in the top 10, though. :)

  37. That was a great year.

  38. Faves this year are Eurythmics’ Savage, The Cure, Sinead O’Conner and Suzanne Vega. Awesome albums!


    this should be a two way tie between the ‘mats ‘pleased to meet me’ and husker du’s ‘warehouse’.

  40. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is my #1

  41. Darklands!!!!!! The best !!!!!!!

  42. How can you ONLY PICK 10!!??!!??

  43. THAT TOTAL AGE. Music For The Massses. Kiss Me x 3. Echo & TB. Strangeways. Made 1987 a great year!

  44. Mark Poppleton

    Marc Almond’s Mother Fist is an incredible album. I think his best!!!

  45. daniel mendoza

    awesome site… im learning a lot.

  46. In a perfect world: For Against’s Echelons is #1.

    In our corrupted, fallen world: The Cure, Smiths, and Depeche Mode fight for the #1 spot, and Guns’n’Roses (c’mon, really?) make the top 10

  47. Tough year to narrow down to ten albums. Lot’s of great memories!

  48. so many great albums in ’87…hard to choose just 10!

  49. Definitely the best album of 1987 and maybe one of the best rock albums ever

  50. johan jakobsson

    Always number 1.

  51. ANOTHER great year.

  52. Victoria Hibbert

    Very tough decisions, Many influencing bands i love now!

  53. comment

  54. Worst year? Awesome year. Tough to pick just 10. I had to leave off a few like Love and Rockets and Suicidal Tendencies and even Document by REM.

  55. A great year for music.

  56. Very impressed you have the debut album by Shiva Burlesque on here. I saw them with a friend in a club with about 20 people in it and then ran into the lead singer at a Love & Rockets concert at the Fillmore a couple of years after that. Their second album Mercury Blues is excellent and Jeffrey Clark, the lead singer, put out two solo albums including one a few years ago called If Is and another in the mid 90s called Sheer Golden Hooks.

  57. Came up with 10 for the year, but none of them would make it even close to the top on my decade list.

  58. Well, I managed to scrape a few off of the list, but only half of my picks seemed to actually be exciting.

    Cabaret Voltaire, ‘Code’
    Danielle Dax, ‘Inky Bloaters’
    The Dukes of Stratosphear, ‘Psonic Psunspot’
    Eurythmics, ‘Savage’
    Bryan Ferry, ‘Bête Noire’
    Front 242, ‘Official Version’
    Guadalcanal Diary, ‘2×4’
    Mick Karn, ‘Dreams of Reason Produce Monsters’
    Nitzer Ebb, ‘That Total Age’
    Wire, ‘The Ideal Copy’

  59. Some of my faves that are missing:

    Swing Out Sister – It’s Better To Travel
    Curiosity Killed The Cat – Keep Your Distance
    Black – Wonderful Life

    Few pop/rock/mainstream ones too since GnR is on the list ;) like Expose, Whitesnake, Tiffany, George Michael, Prince, Belinda Carlisle, and Def Leppard. But that’s not for this list.

    • Yeah, good point… if we’re going to include G’n’R, Swing Out Sister, Curiosity… and Black should be there. Major rotation on my modern rock station back in the day.

  60. Oh the anguish! To all the albums I had to leave off : Please don’t be mad at me, I love you dearly. Forgive Me.

  61. Didn’t realize so many good albums came out in ’87 until I saw them all listed here. Hard to pare it down to only 10!

  62. Having gone through this list a few times now, it occurs to me that 1987 was a year with a lot of really good records, but few if any ‘landmark’ ones. I own (or have owned) about 30 albums here, but the only two I still feel particularly passionate about are REM’s ‘Document’ and Game Theory’s ‘Lolita Nation.’ I still spin the Replacements and Cure discs with regularity, and a few others. Still, I have very good memories of this time, and there’s a lot of music in this poll that I’d be happy to hear again.

    One record that I hope doesn’t fall through the cracks here is The Gun Club’s ‘Mother Juno,’ which paired the inimitable Jeffrey Lee Pierce with the production talents of Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie. A psychobilly prince meets the high priest of dream pop – a unique pairing, to say the least, and a very good record.

    • Two fine records from 1987 do seem to have been overlooked in this poll, both from the Nettwerk Records stable.

      One is the excellent debut ‘Exorcise This Wasteland’ by Single Gun Theory, a proto-industrial/dance outfit from Australia. Think Skinny Puppy/MOEV beats and samples, leavened by sultry female vocals.

      In this same vein, the Norwegian electronic dream pop/goth band Bel Canto released their debut ‘White Out Conditions.’ As the title suggests, it’s an icy affair with Fraser/Enya-esqe vox over stark keyboard stabs and washes. Sequencers aplenty, and lots of reverb to keep things atmospheric.

      Anyone interested in the electronic dance music of this period should check these out! Both albums got good play at my college station, and their place amongst 1987 releases should be part of the record here.

    • One more excellent 1987 album for your consideration is ‘Radio Caroline’ by Area.

      It was the second release by this Champaign-Urbana outfit fronted by Lynn Canfield. They released four albums (the final two on C’est La Mort records, if anyone remembers that 4AD-ish imprint) before morphing into The Moon Seven Times (whose first two records were also great). Area cited 4AD/Cocteau Twins as an influence, and while not as ornate, there are indeed plenty of treated guitars and rainy-day female vox.

      Area/M7X eventually spun off the band Lanterna (fronted by guitarist Henry Frayne), whose instrumentals have been featured on NPR.

      Got all that? Trouser Press has a really good writeup on the whole scene:

      • I forgot to mention that Area’s keyboardist Steve Jones also spun off into his own outfit, the splendidly named The Arms of Someone New. (The Trouser Press write-up doesn’t mention this, so I’ll include it here.)

        Their single “Every Seventh Wave (Reminds Me of You)” got a lot of airplay in 1989, to the point that some wags I knew started calling it “Every Seventh Song (Reminds Me of This).” Ha! Anyway, the album “Promise” was another C’est La Mort release, and there were an album or two on either side of that. Pretty minimalist stuff, with a drum machine, some treated guitars and keyboards, and narcotic male vox. Overall their sound recalled ‘Seventeen Seconds’-era Cure, or more precisely, Area but with a guy singing in place of Lynn Canfield.

        Several of their albums were re-released on Projekt at one point, so they’re not too hard to find. I think ‘Promise’ is the best, and it has the big single plus a 12-inch remix of same.

      • “Radio Caroline” is on its way here. Thank you, lotus and Amazon! :)

  63. The Fleshtones “Fleshtones vs Reality” & the Mats “Pleased To Meet Me”–both still get MUCH play on my stereo.

  64. Insanely strong year for releases! I had 10 preliminary picks before I got out of the R’s

  65. Wish I could vote for more albums.

  66. My first favorite year for music. Though ’89 could come close. Left a lot of favorites off, but I had to go with Cult, Cure, Depeche Mode, Dinosaur Jr, Echo & Bunnymen, INXS, Love & Rockets, R.E.M., Replacements, and Smiths.

  67. good on SUE! they actually DID include the prince record, which is a watershed moment, as well as three seminal hip-hop albums (all of which i voted for), and terence trent d’arby’s brilliant-though-not-as-brilliant-as-he-thought-it-was debut (the genius would really come in ’89 with neither fish nor flesh). these 5, plus the cure, 10’000 maniacs, the oils, sinead and u2 made my top 10. had to leave off squeeze, sting, rem, the bunnymen, the smiths, depeche mode, the ‘mats, and countless other fine releases–as well as a certain gabillion-selling, gamechanging punkpopgaragemetal record by a certain LA quintet with a certain “appetite”…again, kudos to SUE for being progressive in its thinking. didn’t expect the PE, BDP and eric b albums at all, though, and it does my heart good. as a high-schooler in long island, ny neighborhoods where public enemy hailed from (and not far from eric b, de la soul, tribe called quest, epmd, busta rhymes etc) i remember how important and transformative that music was on a street level; i distinctly recall alternating at one point in summer ’87 between squeeze’ babylon and on and boogie down productions criminal minded. ’87 was one of the most densely-packed-with-amazing years in popular music history.

    • Wow. I could not agree more. If you replace BDP with Eric B., then I could literally have written that last sentence. On the Prince and GnR point, you are absolutely right. I remember at the time that Sign of Times was hailed in England as the best record ever made. Maybe not quite that good, but so groundbreaking precisely because it was alternative. And, although everyone likes to lump GnR in the metal/hair metal category, Appetite was so much more than that. I have always viewed that disc as the first of the three-steps that pushed alternative to mainstream. Without Appetite, you never get to step Two (Jane’s Nothing’s Shocking – which gained popularity in part because it fit within the weird piece of puzzle opened by Appetite). From there (and with the help of Lollpalooza) you get to Nevermind (a record I’m not that big a fan of). Each one paved the way for the next. Not a fan of the aftermath of Nevermind, but each of those three discs is undeniably hugely influential to alternative music.

    • and still it was the worst year of the 80’s

  68. Wow – what an awesome year for music!

  69. I could’ve easily picked more!!!

  70. I know that we are not allowing compilations, but if ever there was a disc that warranted the exception, it is Louder Than Bombs. So many singles on that disc were new to the States. Ask, London, Can’t Help the Way I Feel, Sheila Takes a Bow, Shoplifters of the World, Panic, and Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now were ALL huge alternative radio hits that year (unlike New Order Substance or the Cure Standing on a Beach, where all the songs were generally (if not widely ) known to people in the States). And putting aside the radio hits, there were so many songs that people in the states had no access to until LTB — Hand in Glove, Half a Person, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want. The list just goes on.

    I love the Smiths, but I am no Smiths freak. I can acknowledge that, in most years, they did not have to the number one album. But this disc was so mind-blowing at the time, I just had to make the case as to why it should be considered as an 87 release. If it is so considered, it is hands down the best album of that year.

    • William Nothing

      Theres not a single misstep on LTB, not even a bad note. It would be unfair to let it compete with these other albums, as nothing from this year, nor the entire decade come remotely close to its perfection.

  71. “And, finally, it’s worth noting that we’re not penalizing bands for getting popular. That’s why you’ll see The Joshua Tree and Kick on the ballot. Yes, those albums made U2 and INXS superstars, but we’re not dropping bands that have appeared throughout these polls just because they sold some records.”

    Bravo, I completely agree! And, thanks for including the underrated and somewhat obscure Shelleyan Orphan debut album on the ballot! ;)

  72. good lord, I graduated HS in 1987. Another great record that year was Robbie Robertson.

  73. Just when I think it’s gonna get easier…! I did pick my selections a lot faster this time around. It’s a shame that Trisomie 21’s ‘Million Lights’ probably won’t make the top 100, it’s such a brilliant electronic album. My picks, ABC order:

    Cabaret Voltaire, ‘Code’
    Depeche Mode, ‘Music For the Masses’
    Front 242, ‘Official Version’
    Laibach, ‘Opus Dei’
    Midnight Oil, ‘Diesel and Dust’
    R.E.M., ‘Document’
    The Sisters of Mercy, ‘Floodland’
    Skinny Puppy, ‘Cleanse Fold and Manipulate’
    Trisomie 21, ‘Million Lights’
    U2, ‘The Joshua Tree’

  74. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me-#1
    Music For The Masses-#2

  75. The best music for the best decade

  76. It is important to remember not to vote just for your favorite bands, but to being putting thought into the best albums. Not just an album with one hit song. Actually looked up track listings to make choices.

    • great point. i thought has been happening over the past few lists. good albums but not great albums landing in the top of the lists just because they had popular singles on them (ie bowie let’s dance). just my 0.02

    • The Cure is my favorite band and I didn’t even choose them for this poll because I don’t like Kiss Me x3. Not everyone is voting with emotion.

    • If you can’t remember the track listing then the album probably doesn’t belong in top 10. I could name every song off the 10 I chose and still song along to most of them too.

  77. Morten Foldager

    My greatest of 1987

  78. Every one that I voted for I have on cassette tape.

  79. The Lime Spiders!!!

  80. Oh man. Does anyone else remember how awful (and ubiquitous) Pseudo Echo was in 87? You could not go an hour of listening to the radio without hearing either Living in a Dream or Funkytown. So awful, yet now even those songs make me smile.

  81. Wow! Some of my all time favorite albums came out in 1987.

  82. …THE FALL ‘the domesday payoff…’ is a compilation!!!!

  83. Wow, by far the toughest year yet to vote. I was in the Army stationed in Germany and was the resident new wave fan of our unit. Being from So Cal and a KROQ fan, I introduced alot of my barrack mates to groups they hadn’t heard. My top 10-
    U2- Joshua Tree, Prince- Sign O’ The Times, GNR- Appetite for Destruction, INXS- Kick, Squeeze- Babylon and On, The Cure- Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Terence Trent D’Arby- Introducing the Hardline, Depeche Mode- Music For the Masses, Smiths- Strangeways Here We Come, REM- Document. Yes it’s a little more commercial sounding, but remember in 87′ this was the year alternative became more mainstream.

  84. For the record, that Fall album ‘Domesday Payoff’ wasn’t really a new release. It was most of ‘Bend Sinister’ (released the previous year on Beggars in the UK), repackaged with two new singles and a stray B-side for the American market. It might have been their first-ever domestic release in the US, and was cobbled together by their American distributor for that purpose only, I believe.

  85. Since when was The Joshua Tree alternative? It was the #1 album on almost every chart in the US!

    • so…artists with albums and/or singles in the upper reaches of the charts are automatically not alternative? that would disqualify all of the following, for a start, based on having had top 10 albums or singles:

      the cure/depeche mode/u2/inxs/r.e.m./nirvana/pearl jam/soundgarden/tori amos/radiohead/squeeze/rhcp/faith no more/jane’s addiction/tears for fears/howard jones/midnight oil/peter gabriel/crowded house/b-52s/love & rockets/duran duran/dexy’s midnight runners/sinead o’connor/tracy chapman/erasure/the smashing pumpkins/foo fighters/bjork/moby/soundgarden/alice in chains/beastie boys/green day/jimmy eat world/live/living colour/the pretenders/eurythmics/sting/police/elvis costello/joe jackson…

    • Charlie Conner

      you must be among the younger voters on the site. u2 was not a popular band until this album hit…

  86. Not a vintage year, but Sister , Document , and St Julian are my favourites

  87. Say what you will about them today, but in 1987, U2 was on top of the world, and The Joshua Tree might be one of the best “alternative” albums ever produced. IMHO. Flawless.

  88. U2 “Joshua Tree”
    10,000 Maniacs “In My Tribe”
    The Cure “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me”
    Erasure “The Circus”
    Sinead O’Conner “The Lion and the Cobra”
    Pet Shop Boys “Actually”
    r.e.m. “Document”
    The Smiths “Strangeways, Here We Come”
    Sting “Nothing Like the Sun”

  89. that was hard/////////

  90. ….. glad Lions + Ghosts made the list

  91. A lot of good albums from bands that put out great albums earlier, very few classic records. Weakest year of the 80’s?….

  92. “Strangways Here We Come”-The Smiths for no.1 and “Electric”-The Cult no.2…..OH YES!!!!!

  93. How did Flesh For Lulu – ‘Long Live The New Flesh’ not make the list? Should add it.

  94. I second the write-in vote for Flesh For Lulu’s “Long Live The New Flesh.” I mean it’s got “I Go Crazy,” “Postcards From Paradise,” and “Siamese Twist”! A forgotten near-classic.

  95. scruffy, the mary chain, and then everything else for me

  96. Immaculate Fools: ‘Dumb Poet’

  97. INXS was THE Greatest Band of the 80’s and 90’s!!!

  98. Kiss me kiss me kiss me. The first album I ever owned. Got it in 88. Still love this album now. X

  99. Filipe Barros

    Kiss Me x3 !!

  100. Fantastic year for music!! Tough choices here, I own about 90% of these albums. In my book, I almost every one of these albums are a part of my top 10 artist releases…*almost*…

  101. In hindsight 87 was a pretty good year for music even if at times it didn’t feel like it. Personal favourite was DM’s Music For The Masses but where is 1) The German Album (aka Rough Trade) – The House Of Love
    2) I Am A Wallet – McCarthy
    and 3) Come On Pilgrim – Pixies?

  102. Am I the only one missing The Wedding Present’s George Best?

  103. After “Cut the Crap” placed #73 in the ’85 Poll, look out for Bowie’s “Never Let Me Down” in this one! It’s a stinker, of course (though I think “Tonight” is his worst, regardless of the excellent “Loving the Alien” and great “Blue Jean”), but also a guilty of pleasure of sorts to me. “New York’s in Love” and “Beat of Your Drum” could have been hits for someone like Charlie Sexton (so no surprise when he joined Bowie for that, ahem, Glass Spider show!), but the title track is a keeper as is “Time Will Crawl,” which has been played before on one very cool Tuesday night radio show. :) Still, it won’t be getting my vote here, of course. And thank God that Bowie recovered and then some after this album, the whole Tin Machine mess, and his hit-and-miss early-to-mid ’90s output. (’93’s “The Buddha of Suburbia” is an overlooked gem for those of you who have never heard it!)

    • You justed panned more than a decades worth of his career. What exactly of his, post the mid ’90s did you like!?

      • “Panned”? How about “hit-and-miss” and “overlooked gem”? And you’re asking me what I liked “post mid ’90s,” or what I liked during said decade (mid ’80s to mid ’90s)? Please clarify, and we can go from there.

    • Andy,

      Right around this time, didn’t MTV have a big contest where the winner would get a bit-part alongside Bowie in that ‘Absolute Beginners’ film? I found myself thinking about it lately for some reason, and wondering who won. I never saw the film and I understand it was panned at the time, but has become something of a cult item since then.

      • Hey, lotus. Funny you wrote about “Absolute Beginners,” because just the other night I was flipping through Paul Trynka’s “Starman,” and he wrote that song was “Bowie’s last great composition of the 1980s.” Think I’d have to agree with that. Also loved how his comments about “Never Let Me Down”: “…neither as good nor as bad as ‘Tonight.'” In a nutshell, that’s right!

        Not sure about that contest, but what a prize! We didn’t have MTV where we lived :(, but made do with Nite Tracks. And have never seen the movie, either, but I should, especially with another one of my major musical loves, Sade, appearing in it.

        Still need to give 28th Day more listens here, but what I’ve heard is great. The music is not unlike early R.E.M.–lazy comparison, I know, but the guitars especially remind me of those first two records. And “Pages Turn” and “Burnsite” (like a lo-fi version of the B-52’s “Give Me Back My Man” with a scream that Yoko Ono would approve of!) are already highlights for me.

        And will definitely be checking out Area next, because “treated guitars” with “rainy-day female vox” is like catnip to me! Cheers for those great posts and the SUE Laugh of the Day–loved the Morrissey “Penne…” title! :)

  104. Win – Uh! Tears Baby (A Trash Icon). Still sounds great, bit of a lost classic that one…

    Good to know Davy Henderson is still out there with his new band The Sexual Objects though.

  105. Did you see Bowie on the Glass Spider tour? Duran Duran opened, and I think I liked their set better than his. It just wasn’t a good period for the man.

    • Nooooo!!! I can’t remember exactly why I passed, but I think the whole million-dollar Spinal Tap Spider thing was enough to turn me off. I watched the one concert with Charlie’s cameo on TV and do remember that it was pretty much painful viewing from start to finish. (And that was probably summer of ’88, so Bowie’s amazing mullet hadn’t become officially hideous, yet! No way could I watch the DVD now.) Your “not a good period for the man” summary had me laughing here–kind and diplomatic, but oh so true.

      And not exactly the best of times (creatively, at least) for the remaining Duran boys then, either. Won’t say anymore about them (now), other than the last time I saw them was in ’93, with Terence Trent D’Arby opening. I was there mainly to see TTD, and he did not disappoint, despite having just the 45 minutes or so. So am happy to see his debut here in the ’87 Poll. GREAT album, and ’93’s “Symphony or Damn” is even better. No surprise that people like Prince and the Boss were some of his biggest supporters.

      • Ha! Great stuff, Andy.

        Your ‘ahem’ in your original post made me think of a great recent article on Bowie on the AV Club site. It’s a re-reassessment of ‘Let’s Dance’ (paradoxically: both a great album and a sellout), but continues on to plumb the miasma into which the man had evaporated by the time of ‘Never Let Me Down’ and the Glass Spider tour. Sad times, they were:


        • GREAT read, lotus. Thanks, man. Am sure glad that the Rich Tan Asshole nickname never caught on! :0 Can see why some felt that way, but can also understand why he decided to cash in. And after all those amazing albums and the countless reinventions that preceded “Let’s Dance,” the guy deserved to “check out” for a bit, too. Still, it’s pretty amazing how he literally phoned in a couple of dud albums after that, and we can’t forget all the “blahs” he provided Iggy’s “Blah Blah Blah.” “Winners and Losers” and “Cry for Love” still hold up, but most of the rest of that album sounds just like Bowie’s mid-’80s stinkers, with “Baby It Can’t Fall” being the worst offender–like Huey Lewis and the News’s “Heart and Soul” with different lyrics. But at least Bowie’s intentions seemed good, i.e. sharing some of the wealth with Iggy. And, thankfully, like Bowie, Iggy bounced back nicely.

          And here’s something funny related to THE mullet: http://www.1065thelake.com/pages/features/celebritymulletmadness/

          I’ve always thought of Iva Davies as the undisputed Mullet King, though. He could take on all of Def Leppard in a championship fight and be the last one standing! :0

          And my 1987 Mullet Dream Band would have to be Berry, Bowie, Kilbey, and Westerberg–with Billy Duffy coming out for the encores! To quote the Beasties, “Cut the sides, don’t touch the back”! MCA, RIP.

  106. I’m firmly in the “great year” camp. So many good records, and many of my favorites are sure to be in the Top 10 — though I left “Strangeways” off my personal list because FOR ME it was good, but not the best. I’m also sure it has its fans and will have a strong showing with or without me. (I also left “The Queen is Dead” off my vote for the last year… though that’s a MUCH stronger album.) Besides, it allowed me room to vote for something that need a little boost on the charts.

    And I am also firmly in the “Why is GnR listed here?” camp. (*I know the answer but I still disagree with it. YMMV.) But back then I also wondered why The Cult (and to a lesser extent, Gene Loves Jezebel) ended up on modern rock radio, so there ya go.

    It’s also interesting to see the bands that are emerging now. Happy Mondays, Guided by Voices, The Lemonheads, Primal Scream… love ’em or hate ’em, in retrospect, we can see some future direction of “modern rock” or “college rock” or whatever you call it.

  107. I was hoping to see Curiosity Killed the Cat’s Keep Your Distance.

  108. SUE is my favorite website, but if I start to see news items on turds like Prince and Axle Rose, I’m done with it.

  109. Momus – The Poison Boyfriend
    Felt – Poem of the river
    spacemen 3 – perfect prescription
    replacements – pleased to meet me
    Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands
    Loop – heavens end
    Pastels – up for a bit with the pastels
    Opal – happy nightmare baby
    sonic youth – sister
    redd kross – neurotica

  110. Gary Eckerson

    This may actually be the best year of music I have ever lived through and I’m not an overt 80’s lover by any means. “Music for the Masses,” “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me,” “Strangeways…” And that’s merely my top 3. Great releases by almost every band that mattered in the 80’s! Gene Loves Jezebel, Erasure, Front 242, Echo & The Bunnymen, U2, INXS… It’s just a perfect year of releases with some of them being the band’s greatest achievements.

  111. American Music Club – Engine, simply stunning!

  112. El Arreglardo

    So glad to see Tom Wait’s “Franks Wild Years” included. The title rack cracks me up every time I listen !

  113. That Total Age – The Original NEP

  114. Why is Appetite for Destruction on this list?

  115. Thanks for including the Connells’ Boylan Heights, Miracle Legion’s Surprise x3 and Close Lobsters’ Foxheads on this list. All of those records border pop perfection to me in their own unique ways and have stood up well. Another favorite of mine that I don’t think made this list is the self-titled debut by the Downsiders. great great stuff to my ears even a quarter century later (gulp).

  116. Once again, a lot of difficult decisions here. For Against,Railway Children,The Sound,SL&G,lowlife…I have to say though I’m really rooting for a respectable number for Close Lobsters “foxheads stalk this land”. One of my favorite albums ever and I still listen to it all the time. Vote Lobsters!

  117. It’s weird I found it easier to pick my favorites this time.

  118. Forgot the Bird Nest Roys album!! Gave the Able Tasmans their vote, it was nearly as good!

  119. Probably the lone voter for The Long Ryders LOL! but also had to go for Negativland, Front 242, Depeche Mode, Cabaret Voltaire, sisters of Mercy and of course REM Document.

  120. My top 10:
    Secrets Of The Beehive
    Lion & The Cobra
    Music For The Masses
    Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
    Strangeways Here We Come
    The Circus
    Mother Fist & Her Five Daughters

  121. So glad to see The Grapes of Wrath on this list now that we’re enjoying their new comeback album. What a great list :)

  122. It’s is totally Sophie’s Choice for music nerds. I’m in for the Cure, The Cult, U2,The Smiths, Dinosaur Jr., The Replacements, R.E.M., and 3 others that constantly shift.

  123. I could have put 10 more titles in my top ten:)

    David Sylvian – Secrets
    L&R – Earth, Sun, Moon
    JAMC – Darklands
    Replacements – Pleased
    Wire – The Ideal Copy
    Shiva Burlesque – S/T
    Sisters Of Mercy – Floodland
    Housemartins – The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death
    DCD – Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun
    Midnight Oil – Diesel & Dust

  124. oh, i know they were ep’s and thats prolly why they werent included but come on pilgrim (pixies), and chains changed (throwing muses) were both better than any full length on this list.

  125. Awful year for music, but 1987 was when I started buying my own vinyl stuff, that included all 10 of my choice. A very “affective” election this one, at least for me. Here they are:
    1. The Bodines, ‘Played’
    2. Close Lobsters, ‘Foxheads Stalk the Land’
    3. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, ‘Mainstream’
    4. Hurrah!, ‘Tell God I’m Here’
    5. Microdisney, ‘Crooked Mile’
    6. The Railway Children, ‘Reunion Wilderness’
    7. Screaming Blue Messiahs, ‘Bikini Red’
    8. That Petrol Emotion, ‘Babble’
    9. Wire, ‘The Ideal Copy’
    10. Xmal Deutschland, ‘Viva’

  126. Wanted to include a couple write-ins but Jerry Jerry & the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra – Battle Hymn of the Apartment had to be there, which didn’t leave me enough characters for The Rheostatics – Greatest Hits.:(

  127. Very little love so far for The Wedding Present’s George Best. Tops for me!

  128. Was tough to get down to 10 from about 13 or so. “My” top albums were far and away so much better than the rest of the choices for me this year. All these years later, I still find new reasons to love Kick (INXS)

    • One of my favorite INXS songs circa “Kick” is the B-Side “Move On,” the original 4:49 version. Sounds like you must know it, but if not, be sure to check it out. That keyboard early on is kind of annoying and so dated now, but if you can get around that, the song is such a rewarding listen. Around the 3:30 mark the song just takes off, leaving that nagging keyboard in the dust and showing, yet again, what a truly gifted and oh-so-in-control vocalist Michael was. He’s still dearly missed, but the songs live on.

  129. I think that an argument could be made that Substance should be on the list. Although those songs were all released before, the collection of them on one album was many people’s entry point for New Order, which led to many other discoveries. I think it’s more than just a compilation (which is why I wouldn’t lobby for the inclusion of Staring at the Sea).

  130. If New Order’s Substance was allowed it would be my #1. It’s my favorite album of all time!

    From what can be voted on Dead Can Dance’s Dying Sun is the best on the list

    • Michael Louie

      Wow, I listened to that nonstop for 2 years and then couldn’t listen to it for the next 20 years. Hope you catch Peter Hook in concert. He’ll be playing lots of early stuff from Substance, A and B sides. Stuff you definitely won’t hear Bernard’s band play. And amazingly, his band does a better job than…..

  131. Well I tried. Really hard too. Went through the list carefully three times and couldn’t come up with 10 albums that were worthy of selection. Funny I had a real problem selecting less than 20 from each of the previous years of the decade, but ’87 found bands like REM, The Smiths, Love & Rockets, PIL and the Bunnymen releasing LPs that were, well, terrible compared to their prior effort. I know The Joshua Tree made U2 the biggest band on the planet, but IMO it pales in comparison to The Unforgettable Fire and War. Kudos to Sinead for her stunning debut and Midnight Oil for the record that made them, but the most of the rest of these albums have not held up well at all. I hope ’88 fares better.

  132. Are The Hooters (One Way Home) out of genre, here? Not that I’d vote for this one.

  133. Eric B. and Rakim? Price? What’s going on here?

  134. Not as hard as the last few:

    10,000 Maniacs – In My Tribe
    The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
    Steve Kilbey – The Slow Crack
    Midnight Oil – Diesel and Dust
    R.E.M. – Document
    The Sisters of Mercy – Floodland
    Skinny Puppy – Cleanse Fold and Manipulate
    The Smiths – Strangeways, Here We Come
    David Sylvian – Secrets of the Beehive
    The Triffids – Calenture

  135. Not the best year of the 80’s by far but a change is gonna come with Chili Peppers and rap. Synth is dying and bands need to play real to stay on top.

    I was already out of college and had witnesses the disco to punk transformation then the best wave on synth pop. What’s next is hip hop and funk punk. Best example is The Royal Cresent Mob and The Peppers

  136. Wow some monster albums that I simply cannot not vote for: Kiss Me, Strangeways, Joshua Tree, MFTM, Document… doesn’t leave much for the many, many other albums I love from this year. I suppose Joshua Tree should win, amongst the great it is truly an exceptional piece of work. My write in was Indochine’s 7000 Danses, they are french, if you don’t know them you should try them, the 85 album “3” in particular is a masterpiece of 80’s pop.

  137. Man, the music just kept getting worse as 80s moved on (early 80s music was the best !). I couldn’t even come up with 10 right away. I quickly came up with 6 and barely managed to come up with the last 4. Anyway, here’s what I came up with :

    1. Front 242 – Official Version
    2. Yello – One Second
    3. Level 42 – Running in the Family (write in)
    4. Love & Rockets – Earth Sun & Moon
    5. Cabaret Voltaire – CODE
    6. Alien Sex Fiend – Here Cum Germs
    7. Front Line Assembly – Initial Command
    8. Sisters of Mercy – Floodland
    9. Midnight Oil – Diesel & Dust
    10. Proclaimers – This is the Story

    Really grasping at straws there near the end. Also, was Level 42 – ‘World Machine’ nominated in 1985’s poll ? If not, should have been.

  138. After much deliberation I seem to have narrowed my picks down to about 16 or so. Before voting I will cut 6 of these. I’m not sure which, other than Shelleyan Orphan’s Helleborine stays, as that’s a “desert island disc” for me.

    In no particular order:

    Shelleyan Orphan – Helleborine
    U2 – The Joshua Tree
    Erasure – The Circus
    Pet Shop Boys – Actually
    REM – Document
    10,000 Maniacs – In My Tribe
    Sting – Nothing Like the Sun
    Smiths – Strangeways Here We Come
    Depeche Mode – Music For the Masses
    Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
    Communards – Red
    Replacements – Pleased To Meet Me
    Midnight Oil – Diesel and Dust
    INXS – Kick
    Echo and the Bunnymen – Echo and the Bunnymen
    Alison Moyet – Raindancing

  139. The Triffids – Calenture – still one of my all time favourite albums. A solid year with lots of great albums. U2, The Cure, The Cult, REM, JAMC….

  140. Definite top 5 of the year (in any order):
    XMAL ‘Viva’
    JAMS ‘Darklands’
    NE ‘That Total Age’
    CURE ‘Kiss Me x3’
    L&R ‘Earth·Sun·Moon’
    ….also voted for: Momus, Sinead O’C, Sonics, Young Gods and Neubauten

  141. I’m not usually one to complain about what’s on the list, but I cannot fathom why Guns n Roses is on here.

  142. As usual, freaking impossible to pick just 10

  143. If “Sign o’ the Times” doesn’t ace this we have a big problem. And Springsteen’s “Tunnel of Love” should be on that list. Seriously.

  144. The most difficult year to choose from yet… Big Black, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, The Cult, FNM, Loop, Screaming Trees, Redd Kross, JAMC, Danielle Dax, Husker Du, REM. Descendents, Spacemen 3…

  145. Amen! It sucked balls in ’87 and it still sucks balls today!

  146. Michael Louie

    For sure, more difficult than the last few years. Depeche Mode album had a major impact on me. The Cure’s double album was brilliant and well-balanced. Erasure’s first 2 album are my favourite for its simplicity, a la Speak and Spell. The Housemartins’, one of the most underrated bands, best album. The songs were catchy, well composed, politically caustic in delivery, and often achingly beautiful. Paul Heaton remains one of England’s greatest living lyricist with a beautiful voice to match. INXS’ best outing. The Banshees great covers album (From the hard driving “This Town Ain’t…” by Sparks to the chilling “Hall of Mirrors” by Kraftwerk to the brilliant arrangement of The Doors’ “You’re Lost Little Girl” to the well deserved success of the singles, Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” and Dylan’s “This Wheel’s on Fire.” Sinead O’Connor’s passionate debut that reeks of rebellion, anger, and discontent. She would never be this vocally strong on an album again. Touching and moving yes, but never more powerful than here. Nitzer Ebb’s That Total Age is a sonic pleasure for me. So driving, forceful and aggressive that it made me want to dance, stomp and fight all at once. They would refine their style starting with their next album and with each subsequent release make me care a little less. Of course, it wouldn’t be difficult if I didn’t leave out some favorites like The Bunnymen and The Smiths. Although good albums, this was my least favourite Bunnymen and Smiths album. Maybe the bar was set too high with all the albums that came before. Either way, I won’t just vote for any album because it’s attached to a favourite artist of mine. Wish I could have included Dead Can Dance, Midnight Oil, Wire, and The Wedding Present but they don’t receive the regular rotation and aren’t filled with the same sweet memories that I associate with the other albums.

  147. Suddenly we have ‘Prince’ on the list..What happened with other releases from ‘Prince’ in the 80’s. Bananarama is definitely not deserved to be on this poll.
    Anyway, my choice for 1987, in no particular order:

    ABC, The Communards, Terence Trent D’Arby, Deacon Blue, Bryan Ferry, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Sting, Curiosity Killed The Cat, Icehouse, Sisters Of Mercy, Lloyd Cole & Commotions…

    Probably U2 will win for 1987, but I must say that is very overrated album, just like ‘Kick’ from INXS.

  148. ’87 had some great compilations as well: The Mission – First Chapter, New Order – Substance and the Smiths – World Won’t Listen/Louder than Bombs

    Nitzer Ebb, ‘That Total Age’
    The Cure, ‘Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me’
    The Sisters of Mercy, ‘Floodland’
    The Cult, ‘Electric’
    INXS, ‘Kick’
    The Smiths, ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’
    Echo & The Bunnymen, ‘Echo & The Bunnymen’
    Terence Trent D’Arby, ‘Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby’
    Depeche Mode, ‘Music For the Masses’

  150. add Swing out sister the list

  151. Swing Out Sister??!! You’re on the wrong site, pal!
    Anyway, this stellar year for underground music was hard to whittle down, but I’d go for: Big Black, Butthole Surfers (“Daddy, what does regret mean?” intro is one of the all-time classic album openers), Dinosaur Jr, Loop, Prince, REM, Replacements, Sonic Youth, Spacemen 3 and Thin White Rope. Not that you’re that interested…

  152. Interesting year with a lot of good music. I went with: 10,000 Maniacs, The Alarm, BoDeans, Flesh For Lulu, Housemartins, INXS, R.E.M., The Replacements, The Smiths and U2. I easliy could have included ABC, Julian Cope, The Cure, Hoodoo Gurus, Husker Du, Icicle Works or Sting on my ballot.

    But what struck me was how many bands I love put out, shall we say, substandard albums in 1987. Aztec Camera, The Call, Echo & The Bunnymen, Oingo Boingo, Psychadelic Furs and The Style Council all put out music that paled in comparison to what they’d previously done. Most would recover and put out better albums later, butr this was an off-year for them.

  153. kiss me kiss me kiss me, The Cure the best

  154. 1st – Kiss Me / The Cure
    2nd – Music for the Masses / DM
    3rd – Thunder Up / The Sound

  155. To Tim- Prince, but not Swing out Sister, Just my opinion, but i think Swing was more alternative than Prince, and heard in more 80s/ new wave / alternative clubs, Same goes for terrance trent darby…Trust me , nothing against prince

  156. My top 3 – still listen to these all the time:

    Butthole Surfers, ‘Locust Abortion Technician’
    Descendents, ‘All’
    Nitzer Ebb, ‘That Total Age’

    Glad to see Pop Will Eat Itself, ‘Box Frenzy’ on there – might have to fire up the turntable for that one……

  157. my vote for The Cure kiss me, kiss me, kiss me album

  158. 1987 was the best year for music.

  159. personal faves from that year and sad to say, for me, the music of the new wave era, was about to end in 1988

    Siouxsie : Through the Looking Glass
    Echo and the Bunnymen: Echo and the Bunnymen
    Love and Rockets: Earth Sun Moon
    Oingo Boingo: Boingo
    The Bolshoi Linda’s Party
    Flesh for Lulu Long Live the New Flesh
    Bryan Ferry Bete Noire

    INXS Kick
    The Cult Electric
    REM Document

  160. how about the soundtrack to “Some Kind of Wonderful”?
    had some great tunes!

  161. I love the Smiths, but Strangeways kinda sucks for the most part.

  162. Wow, another tough month! I went for The Cure’s Kiss Me as my first choice. My desert island disc and for my money The Cure’s absolute peak. Still revealing its secrets after all these years. Big shouts also for Strangeways, Sign O’ The Times and Darklands too. All fantastic records that have really stood the test of time. And….Felt’s Poem of the River. A wonderful album with Riding on the Equator one of the best songs of the decade. Check it out!

  163. What a great year. my top ten in no particular order:
    the cult – electric
    sisters of mercy – floodland
    the cure – kiss me kiss me kiss me
    skinny puppy – cleanse fold and manipulate
    depeche mode – music for the masses
    the tear garden – tired eyes slowly burning
    guns n roses – appetite for destruction
    prince – sign o the times
    love and rockets – earth moon sun
    siouxsie/banshees – through the looking glass
    not a year goes by without listening to each of these at least once. M

  164. Seriously I need a top 30 for this one! By far the most difficult to vote for. The best year for music in the 80’s IMHO.

    Oh man, this makes my brain hurt. So hard to choose!

    From mainstays like Electric, Follodland, and Darklands to the quirkier stuff from Nephilim and The Lime Spiders..from The Cure to INXS, Prince and even G’N’R who I don’t really consider alternative but who made one of the best albums of the 80’s for sure. Wow, 1987, what a year you were…

  165. add:
    Personal Effects – Mana Fiesta
    Algebra Suicide – The Secret Like Crazy

  166. Straitjacket Fits ‘Hail’ anyone? A great overlooked band!

  167. Okay, apparently 1987 was an awesome year for music. So hard to choose.

  168. Matt Thurston

    Graduated from High School in ’87. Great year. Some of my favorites:

    Wire – Ideal Copy
    Sinead – Lion & Cobra
    10,000 Maniacs – In My Tribe
    Aztec Camera – Love
    X – See How We Are
    Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning
    Go-Betweens – Talullah
    JAMC – Darklands

    Lots of 80s stalwarts from this ’87 — U2, Depeche, Cure, Smiths, Bunnymen, REM, Replacements. Only band missing is New Order.

  169. Never Let Me Down!

  170. William Nothing

    Can anything beat the first six songs of Midnight Oil’s Diesel and Dust? I could live happily if I we’re only allowed to listen to those.

    However, The Smiths Strangeways wins hands down , with all ten songs being unrivaled and flawless .

  171. Very few albums I like from this year

  172. So many records to choose from that it’s almost impossible. This is probably my favorite year for music. “Strangeways here we come” by THE SMITHS, obviously, “Foxheads stalk this land” by CLOSE LOBSTERS (what an incredible record), The Cure, The Wolfhounds, Lloyd Cole, Rem, etc etc. God, I miss those days.

  173. Shocked that GnR made the poll. Hard rock and mainstream and embraced by classic rock fans. Bizarro world. Got my vote.

    And other albums that were embraced by classic rock mainstream by Cult, INXS and U2. This might have been the year the line started to blur.

  174. Cure, Depeche, JAMC, Smiths, L&R, REM, u2 will be in top ten it’s just a matter of what order they will be in.

  175. A decent year overall but I’m more attached to singles versus albums from this year. These polls have been fun, although sometimes my choices are based on the fact that many are categorized by their UK release dates, not US. So, while I really like “Raintown” by Deacon Blue, my memory of it is from its US release in 1988, not ’87.

  176. Tony Plutonium

    A handfull of discs for the ages and then a whole bunch of really good stuff that doesn’t quite reach that level. First 4-5 picks were no-brainers but really hard to narrow down that next tier.

  177. The only items on that list I still play today are the Dukes of Stratosphere, Housemartins, Momus and Smiths (plus my write-in of The Cleaners from Venus). While there’s a broad variety on the list, precious little of it has aged well for me. And I’ve never wavered from my opinion that Kiss Me x 3 consists of a single LP’s worth of material and the rest is thin rewrites of that material; throw out the filler and it might be a decent album.

  178. immaculate fools “dumb poet”! I forgot about that…I still love that album

  179. ‘Songs About Fucking’ every time. I used to make love to that album…

  180. Before I read another entry…..what in ALL OF LIVING HELL is Guns n Roses doing on this list?

  181. Before I read another entry…..what in ALL OF LIVING HELL is Guns n Roses doing on this list?

  182. I’m pretty sure Tom Waits entry ‘Franks Wild Years’ is a compilation, unless he named an album after a song he had released on an earlier album, which is virtually unheard of beyond Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack (actually that is a backwards bad example).

    • No, it’s not a comp.

      From Allmusic:

      “Tom Waits wrote a song called “Frank’s Wild Years” for his 1983 Swordfishtrombones album, then used the title (minus its apostrophe) for a musical play he wrote with his wife, Kathleen Brennan, and toured with in 1986. The Franks Wild Years album, drawn from the show, is subtitled, “un operachi romantico in two acts,” though the songs themselves do not carry the plot. Rather, this is just the third installment in Waits’ eccentric series of Island Records albums in which he seems most inspired by German art song and carnival music, presenting songs in spare, stripped-down arrangements consisting of instruments like marimba, baritone horn, and pump organ and singing in a strained voice that has been artificially compressed and distorted.”

    • Lush’s “Lovelife” is a great example.

  183. Ok SUE I know we had an email chat on this, and I was ok with it, but that was before I saw the final list! Eric B & Rakim and Prince, but you are telling me Ziggy Marley doesn’t qualify (and my cassette says 1987, not 88, I’ll be happy to send a photo). Now I’m literally angered.

    As for Prince weren’t we told some poppycock about why 1999 and Purple Rain weren’t allowed on the list—yet here we are w Sign O the Times? What gives. I know your busy but please provide an explanation so I will know what can/can’t be included for the last two polls.
    Please reconsider Ziggy Marley, which was more alternative than Guns and gdamn Roses. And if you say it’s 1988 I guess I’ll put Ziggy out there in advance. Anyone having a problem w Ziggy Marley in these polls? Speak now.

    • Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest I wasn’t going to include Ziggy, I do plan to.

      But Wikipedia, Allmusic and Discogs all say it came out in 1988. The album won a Grammy in ’89, so that makes sense, too.

      Plus, my vinyl copy says 1988.

  184. Charlie Conner

    SUE, you have a thankless job putting together these polls…the grief you go through month after month…
    So, THANK YOU for making these monthly polls. It’s been fun finding out how much better my musical tastes are than most!  Seriously though, thanks a lot. You’ve put a lot of work into these.
    I hope that in addition to the overall best of (which should be limited to each year’s top ten), that there are separate polls for compilations, soundtracks, and live albums. I’d even like to see a “overlooked”poll, with some of the more glaring omissions. Just a thought…
    And…since others are sharing their ten selections, here’s mine, in alphabetical order:
    10,000 Maniacs “In My Tribe”
    American Music Club “Engine”
    Depeche Mode “Music For The Masses”
    Dream Academy “Remembrance Days”
    Bryan Ferry “Bete Noire”
    INXS “Kick”
    Prince “Sign O The Times”
    R.E.M. “Document”
    Squeeze “Babylon & On”
    U2 “The Joshua Tree”

  185. I know it’s a lot to ask of the group that frequents here, but, for the love of God, can we finally get some noise up to the top of this list? Big Black, Dinosaur Jr, and Sonic Youth all blow away the eyeliner crowd that everyone fawns over, at least in ’87.

    • Hear, hear. And Swans. And Laibach. These Immortal Souls. And for actual noise, Negativeland. All classic albums.

      not that I was exactly tortured or anything, Close Lobsters and Strangeways are making my list.

    • write-in candidate: The Neighborhoods, “Reptile Men”

      God bless the ‘Hoods. You’re currently seeing leader Dave Minehan anchoring down guitar duties with the reconstituted Replacements.
      [I’d like to go back to 1986 to write in their “High Hard One” album. Can we have a do-over, ed?]

      the rest in alpha order:

      Big Dipper “Heavens” – I’d be okay doing without the rest and keeping this. Seriously.
      Close Lobsters ‘foxheads stalk this land’
      Depeche Mode ‘music..’
      Laibach ‘opus dei’
      REM ‘document’
      The Smiths ‘strangeways..’
      Swans ‘children of God’
      Volcano Suns ‘bumper crop’
      Thin White Rope ‘moonhead’

  186. OK sad sacks with internet access…enough. Enough of the same old cure/mode/l&r/j&mc/s of m alt slanted overrated bullshit. Your devotion is commendable – just painful come poll results time.

    Even in this twisted reality, testosterone ruled in ’87. The Replacements, R.E.M., INXS (hell, Australia even gave us The Lime Spiders in ’87…c’mon people!), The Cult, Johnny Marr & Bob Mould sadly bringing their bands to a conclusion, even Prince & Sting brought a different texture. And as difficult as this may be to swallow, back then G&R were the “alternative” of the L.A. strip before they broke huge. C’mon folks, time to put you big boy/girl pants on & grow a pair!

    But above all else, if “The Joshua Tree” does not hit #1 in a landslide, you’ll have proven the point I’ve sadly read in 7 previous polls (I mean really…New Order over “Murmur” in ’83? Really!?? What the fuck were you people thinking?!!!…oh that’s right, you weren’t).

  187. Bob Dalrymple

    I’ve been listening to a lot of the albums lately as I’ve been transfering my vinyl to MP.3s to listen to on my i-pod. Hard to choose but good to see Scruffy the Cat and The Connells on the list.

  188. 1987 was tghe year i started high school and my world was opened up to all this new music, and i never ooked back – DM, The Cure, New Order, The Smiths. Sure they were the mainstream of alternative radio at the time, but to me it started this trip into indie music, absoultely brilliant year for me.

  189. A surprisingly good year on reflection, but there can only be one winner from 1987 and that is The Cure’s masterpiece of a double album for its sheer diversity! Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me ROCKS!

  190. Yet again so hard to pin it down to 10, It’s going to get even worse in 88 and 89.

    In the end I went for the albums I listened to most at the time AND still listen to today. Using that method helped instantly cut the list down because I didn’t have access to a huge amount of the albums on the list in 87, took a few years and a lot of washing up in restaurants to get the rest.

    If I had to choose just one as my 1987 self…… Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me.

  191. I had to add The Lilac Time’s first album, which came out on Swordfish Records in 1987. It was partially remixed and rereleased a year later on Fontana so maybe it’s being held over till the 1988 poll. But IMHO the ’87 version is the better of the two.
    I’m really enjoying these polls. It’s so interesting to see what is being voted for. It would be really interesting to see the difference between US and UK/Europe voters but I’m sure that’s one statical leap too far!

  192. *Statistical!

  193. SUE – thanks for the fun but its is getting way too angry and bitter here. Take care of yourselves.

  194. “1987 Bright sunny day here… From the lenghty intro of “Conviction”, onto the dreaminess of “I wish I was your Kid” to the pummeling of “Fire in the Wall”, and the twilight zone of “Clean Saint” and the wailing harmonica of “No Reflection”, I wish they had kept on.
    No hint of passé lyrics or “period-correct” sound, no this is a band at the summit of their power,moving boldly ahead when most others were statisfied by merely replaying the past.” http://www.gemm.com/store/STOOPIDREC/item/BAND-OF-OUTSIDERS-ACTS-OF-FAITH-LP/29189298

  195. Although I chose it Coil “Gold is….” Is a compilation to me.

  196. Its insane to say that 87 was a weak year for alt music.

  197. NZ and SST for the win in 1987.

  198. write-in candidate: The Neighborhoods, “Reptile Men”

    God bless the ‘Hoods. You’re currently seeing leader Dave Minehan anchoring down guitar duties with the reconstituted Replacements.
    [I’d like to go back to 1986 to write in their “High Hard One” album. Can we have a do-over, ed?]

    the rest in alpha order:

    Big Dipper “Heavens” – I’d be okay doing without the rest and keeping this. Seriously.
    Close Lobsters ‘foxheads stalk this land’
    Depeche Mode ‘music..’
    Laibach ‘opus dei’
    REM ‘document’
    The Smiths ‘strangeways..’
    Swans ‘children of God’
    Volcano Suns ‘bumper crop’
    Thin White Rope ‘moonhead’

  199. write in: Band of Outsiders, ACTS OF FAITH

    ” The American group shows here a sound dreamy and psychedelic-tinged, not far from the paisley underground and also akin to the Thin White Rope, but lighter and sunnier than these; between agile episodes that make up the disc there are a couple of slower songs that show acid folk influences… Among the most “hidden” precious treasures of’ American underground of the ’80s, the Band of Outsiders played a music that signaled strong influence of Television, but stripped of much of its metropolitan neuroses, and brought back to a dimension even more intimate and lyrical, with an even more explicit recall of psychedelia of the ’60s that somehow binds them to certain groups of the paisley underground or to Thin White Rope who were at the time taking their first steps; what results carries the strong mark of a distinct personality that certainly deserved far more extensive consideration than was received, confined to the rave praise of the most attentive critics and a too-small audience.” Florence, Italy’s Rock Bottom Records, describing the 1987 Band of Outsiders album, ACTS OF FAITH… http://www.rockbottom.it/modx/schedasingola.html?codice=219651&tipo=10

  200. Cure, DMode, Descendents, REM, Smiths, U2, Durutti Column, Dramarama, Midnight Oil, Dead Milkmen.

  201. 1987 forever !

  202. Cliff Hendroval

    Write-in: The Donner Party, s/t

    Trouser Press: “The first Donner Party (with the cartoon-montage cover art) is a rough gem, with scrappy rockers like “Oh Esmerelda” and “Godlike Porpoise Head of Blue-Eyed Mary” combining propulsive tunes with whimsical lyrics. The self-explanatory “When You Die Your Eyes Pop Out” reveals a bent for rustic fatalism not unlike the morbid reference of the band’s name.”

  203. Wow, this list has me in full blown nostalgia mode. There are so many good albums (or clear cassettes) on this list. And, as the editors state, two compilations that were at every gathering (Substance and Louder than Bombs) are not eligible.
    Thank you Robert Smith, Peter Buck, Prince, and all your friends for such great music.

  204. I don’t see New Order’s Substance. I know is a compilation but still it should be on the list. It had Truth Faith as a new single though.

    Music For The Masses
    Kiss Me , Kiss Me, Kiss Me.
    Strangeways here we come
    Joshua Tree
    Official Version
    Earth, Sun, Moon
    The Lion & The Cobra

  205. voted for a bunch of aussie music this go round: triffids, hoodoo gurus, midnight oil,hunters (somehow missed the go-betweens on my list). still enjoy these albums today.

  206. A masterpiece not on the list!?! Minimal Compact “The Figure One Cuts”

  207. The group,’Green River’ and their LP ‘Rehab doll’, is a great ground-breaking record from 1987

  208. Spacemen 3 – The Perfect Prescription. What a fantastic album. It’s on another planet.

    • Michael Bachman

      Agreed regarding Spacemen 3 – The Perfect Prescription. Also on my list was The Go-Betweens, Suzanne Vega, Opal, R.E.M., Tom Waits, The Replacements, Danielle Dax, Dinosaur Jr., and Wire

  209. It has to be Kick by INXS, one of the best albums ever to be released. It changed my taste in music for the better and forever, i now have the best music collection in the world, thanks to Inxs, especially to Michael. Kick best album in the 80s for me.

  210. Cosmic Psychos (2nd album) not to forget!

  211. Great year! Full of many fond music memories.

  212. Not that I would vote for it in my “top 10” of 1987, but Paul Kelly & The Messengers’ “Gossip” album should be on this list.

  213. I forgot just how influential 1987’s music was on my listening tastes.

  214. Great year!!

  215. Darklands, Mainstream, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me my top 3…….

  216. The best release was and is Love & Rockets
    1,Earth, Sun, Moon, PERFECTION!!!!!
    2,Strange Ways Here we Come (death of a disco dancer)
    3,The hardline According to.. Great!!
    4,Music for the Masses, Saw them at The Rose Bowl 101!
    5,Savage, Brilliant!
    6,Darklands, Sonic Beauty
    7,Bete Noire, Classy
    8,Criminal Minded, Groundbreaking
    9,Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, Fun!
    10,Within The realm of a Dying Sun, Beautiful

  217. Replacements, REM, Midnight Oil, Guadalcanal Diary, JAMC “Darklands”…all you need

  218. Who is the smart ass at Slicing up Eyeballs that included Gun’s and Roses? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great album, but there is no way it should be on this list.

  219. Damn, this list was difficult to narrow down to 10!

  220. I feel obliged to be one of those guys who moans and groans when one of his favorite albums doesn’t even make the cut. Squirrel Bait’s ‘Skag Heaven’ isn’t on here? Seriously?

  221. Great year.

  222. Those were the good old days, when Love and Rockets was doing something nearly every year, and the Cure was at their peak. I think after looking at 1986’s amazing list, I realize that 86-87 was the heyday of good alternative music, and it’s slowly declined since then. You just don’t get exciting bands like these anymore. Now it’s all flannel-and-earth tone indie hipster rock with bland, generic sounds.

  223. 1987 was one of the best years of my life. it is so hard to pick only ten of the awesome releases that came out that year.

  224. Charlie Conner

    2 albums that I just remembered that I should have suggested when SUE asked us to suggest albums…bad on me…I must be getting old!
    Anyways…the 2 albums in question are “By the Light of the Moon” by Los Lobos, and The Washington Squares self titled debut. Some *really* good stuff from both albums!
    Sure wish I would have remembered to suggest these 2 worthy albums!

  225. Some great music most definitely but my least favorite year from the 80’s by far,

  226. We are thoroughly ensconced in those year after Post Punk faded and the record companies regained the upper hand. THANK GOD for Sylvian, The Cure, The Bunnymen (just), Icehouse and the Icicle Works!

  227. It was between The Perfect Prescription and Sister for the top spot for me. My favourite Spacemen lp vs my favourite Youth outing. Impossible to choose. Some great stuff in The Joshua Tree, Sign O’ the Times and Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

  228. Hard one.

  229. Before voting for 1987, I thought 82/83 were my favourite 80s years, music-wise. Just didn’t remember how many gems came out in ’87. Finally I had to omit ‘Darklands’, which would’ve made my Top 10 in every previous year ..

    I’m quite amused about all the ranting on ‘Appetite for Destruction’. Just vote for other albums if you think GnR don’t belong here ..

  230. John Luerssen

    Just realized that I didn’t see The Saints’ All Fools Day, one of my favorites of 1987. Also, didn’t see Hurrah!’s Tell God I’m Here, which I liked.
    Very hard to pick just ten.

  231. 1987 was the best year of my life. Well, at least up until the year my son was born..!

  232. KICK by INXS still holds up today and screams 1987 cool college rock. Their sound was amazing and they always had a cool look. Love this alum, every sing!

  233. The Smiths “Strangeways, Here We Come”

  234. Ben Hernandez

    Between Sinead and U2. Everyone else a distant second.

  235. Shouldn’t The House of Love’s initial German release ‘mini-lp’ have been included? I appreciate that it’s a comp of stuff that’d previously been out as singles but there’s no overlap with other lp’s and it is essentially an original album release. It’d easily have made my top 3 this year. Now that I think of it Come on Pilgrim was billed a mini-lp not as an EP too and that’d certainly be in there too (well that’d make it a top 4 for all you pedants out there…). Are these just being excluded because of the ‘mini’ tag? It ain’t right I tells ya!

  236. 1987 Music For the Masses. This was both the album and year that I began my life-long love affair with DM. I remember being totally blown away by this album. I had never heard music like this up to this point in my life.

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