Best of the '80s, Poll — November 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Top 100 Albums of 1989: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s — Part 10


Well, here we are: the end of the ’80s. Today we present the results of Part 10 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. Next week we’ll wrap it all up when we launch a huge best-of-the-decade poll to crown the overall rulers of the ’80s.

For this final ’80s albums poll — don’t worry, separate surveys for EPs and compilations are still on deck for next year — we saw a big surge in voting, with nearly 60,000 total votes cast (up from less than 50,000 for ’88) for more than 300 different albums via both the pre-selected ballot and write-ins.

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 big Best of 1980s poll, which will launch next week.

PAST RESULTS: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988




The Cure, 'Disintegration'

1. The Cure, Disintegration

BACKSTORY: On their eighth album, Robert Smith and Co. sank back into darkness, delivering a moody, textured and largely pop-free record that remains the band’s commercial and artistic peak.
SINGLES: “Fascination Street,” “Lullaby,” “Lovesong,” “Pictures of You”
BAND: Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson, Boris Williams, Roger O’Donnell, Lol Tolhurst
PRODUCER: David M. Allen, Robert Smith
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Pixies, 'Doolittle'

2. Pixies, Doolittle

BACKSTORY: With their second full-length, the Pixies perfected their loud-quiet-loud pop blast, offering up a key blueprint for Nirvana’s looming commercial breakthrough Nevermind.
SINGLES: “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” “Here Comes Your Man”
BAND: Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago, David Lovering
PRODUCER: Gil Norton
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Nine Inch Nails, 'Pretty Hate Machine'

3. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine

BACKSTORY: Trent Reznor burst onto the scene with this debut, a synthpop/industrial marriage that would help catapult Nine Inch Nails into the ’90s as one of that decade’s biggest acts.
SINGLES: “Down In It,” “Head Like a Hole,” “Sin”
BAND: Trent Reznor
PRODUCER: Trent Reznor with Flood, John Fryer, Keith LeBlanc, Adrian Sherwood
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The Stone Roses, 'The Stone Roses'

4. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

BACKSTORY: The Roses’ debut is hailed as a genre-defining classic, an album so strong the band built an entire career, and in recent years, a rapturously received reunion, off its back
SINGLES: “Made of Stone,” “She Bangs the Drums,” “I Wanna Be Adored,” “Waterfall,” “I Am the Resurrection”
BAND: Ian Brown, John Squire, Gary “Mani” Mounfield, John “Reni” Wren
PRODUCER: John Leckie
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



New Order, 'Technique'

5. New Order, Technique

BACKSTORY: For their fifth album, New Order worked acid house and Balearic beat influences into the mix, delivering one of their strongest blends of dance and rock music.
SINGLES: “Fine Time,” “Round & Round,” “Run 2”
BAND: Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Beastie Boys, 'Paul's Boutique'

6. Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique

BACKSTORY: The Beasties’ now-beloved second album was considered a flop at the time, but, in the ensuing years, has been embraced as a landmark of sample-based hip-hop.
SINGLES: “Hey Ladies,” “Shadrach”
BAND: Mike D, MCA, Ad-Rock
PRODUCER: Beastie Boys and The Dust Brothers
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The Jesus and Mary Chain, 'Automatic'

7. The Jesus and Mary Chain, Automatic

BACKSTORY: Armed with a drum machine and synth bass, the Reids went it nearly alone on their streamlined third album, which spurred one of the band’s biggest singles in “Head On.”
SINGLES: “Blues From a Gun,” “Head On”
BAND: Jim Reid, William Reid
PRODUCER: Jim Reid, William Reid
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Peter Murphy, 'Deep'

8. Peter Murphy, Deep

BACKSTORY: The former Bauhaus frontman’s third solo album served as his commercial breakthrough in America, with single “Cuts You Up” dominating modern-rock radio in the States.
SINGLES: “The Line Between the Devil’s Teeth,” “Cuts You Up,” “Strange Kind of Love”
BAND: Peter Murphy, Peter Bonas, Paul Statham, Teri Bryant, Simon Rogers, Gill Tingay
PRODUCER: Simon Rogers
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Nirvana, 'Bleach'

9. Nirvana, Bleach

BACKSTORY: Nirvana’s debut on Sub Pop Records found the band burning through sludgy fuzz-rockers, a sound that would be refined and buffed-up to much greater effect on 1991’s Nevermind.
SINGLES: “Love Buzz”
BAND: Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, Chad Channing, Dale Crover
PRODUCER: Jack Endino
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The B-52s, 'Cosmic Thing'

10. The B-52s, Cosmic Thing

BACKSTORY: The B-52s came back from the death of Ricky Wilson in a big way, with a monstrous hit of an album featuring the year’s most inescapable single: “Love Shack.”
SINGLES: “Channel Z,” “Love Shack,” “Roam,” “Deadbeat Club”
BAND: Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland
PRODUCER: Nile Rodgers, Don Was
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



11. Love and Rockets, Love and Rockets
12. Ministry, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
13. The Replacements, Don’t Tell a Soul
14. Lou Reed, New York
15. XTC, Oranges & Lemons
16. The Cult, Sonic Temple
17. De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising
18. The The, Mind Bomb
19. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mother’s Milk
20. Kate Bush, The Sensual World


bob mould

21. Bob Mould, Workbook
22. Faith No More, The Real Thing
23. Tears For Fears, The Seeds of Love
24. Galaxie 500, On Fire
25. 10,000 Maniacs, Blind Man’s Zoo
26. Camper Van Beethoven, Key Lime Pie
27. Erasure, Wild!
28. Elvis Costello, Spike
29. The Ocean Blue, The Ocean Blue
30. Ian McCulloch, Candleland


lenny kravitz

31. Lenny Kravitz, Let Love Rule
32. The Creatures, Boomerang
33. Skinny Puppy, Rabies
34. Chris Isaak, Heart Shaped World
35. Nitzer Ebb, Belief
36. Xymox, Twist of Shadows
37. Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls
38. The Beautiful South, Welcome to the Beautiful South
39. The Wedding Present, Bizarro
40. Pop Will Eat Itself, This Is the Day…This Is the Hour…This Is This!



41. The Sugarcubes, Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!
42. Mudhoney, Mudhoney
43. Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians, Queen Elvis
44. The Smithereens, 11
45. The Blue Nile, Hats
46. The Psychedelic Furs, Book of Days
47. Throwing Muses, Hunkpapa
48. Soundgarden, Louder Than Love
49. The Wonder Stuff, Hup
50. New Model Army, Thunder and Consolation


public image ltd

51. Public Image Ltd., 9
52. Spacemen 3, Playing with Fire
53. The Pogues, Peace and Love
54. Einstürzende Neubauten, Haus der Lüge
55. Michael Penn, March
56. Julee Cruise, Floating into the Night
57. Concrete Blonde, Free
58. Simple Minds, Street Fighting Years
59. Hoodoo Gurus, Magnum Cum Louder
60. Bad Religion, No Control



61. The Primitives, Pure
63. Buffalo Tom, Buffalo Tom
64. Primal Scream, Primal Scream (TIE)
64. Jesus Jones, Liquidizer (TIE)
66. Big Audio Dynamite, Megatop Phoenix
67. The Offspring, The Offspring
68. The Connells, Fun & Games
69. Camouflage, Methods of Silence
70. Nenah Cherry, Raw Like Sushi



71. Ramones, Brain Drain
72. Tracy Chapman, Crossroads
73. Operation Ivy, Energy (TIE)
73. The Alarm, Change (TIE)
75. Tin Machine, Tin Machine
76. Kirsty MacColl, Kite
77. 808 State, 90
78. Kitchens of Distinction, Love is Hell
79. Guided By Voices, Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia
80. Eurythmics, We Too Are One


mighty lemon drops

81. The Mighty Lemon Drops, Laughter
82. Too Much Joy, Son Of Sam I Am (TIE)
82. The Godfathers, More Songs About Love and Hate (TIE)
84. Lemonheads, Lick
85. Swans, The Burning World
86. Laurie Anderson, Strange Angels (TIE)
86. Prince, Batman (TIE)
88. Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Mystery Road
89. Loop, Fade Out
90. Wire, It’s Beginning To And Back Again


front line assembly

91. Front Line Assembly, Gashed Senses & Crossfire
92. The Grapes of Wrath, Now and Again
93. The Mekons, The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll
94. Meat Beat Manifesto, Storm the Studio (TIE)
94. David Byrne, Rei Momo (TIE)
96. Daniel Lanois, Acadie
97. Joe Jackson, Blaze of Glory
98. All About Eve, Scarlet and Other Stories
99. Joe Strummer, Earthquake Weather
100. Steve Kilbey, The Slow Crack







  1. Pixies? #2? Methinks the bias of the site is suspect. Most overrated act of the 80s. Just my humble opinion of course, I totally own that.

    • Bias of the site? Unless the poll was rigged there is no “bias”. Having worked in record store (in a college town) in 1989 I can tell you the top 10 is very accurate in popularity except for Bleach. Bleach is purely historical revisionism as others have pointed out.

      • yes! No one even knew nor cared for Nirvana in the 80’s and as far as I am concerned Nirvana didn’t matter in 90’s either…they were, along with that stupid ‘movement’ (grunge) the reason the brits TANKED in the 90’s…AND AMERICA LOST INTEREST LARGELY

    • totally agreed on how overrated they are, but i don’t think the site is biased, i just think some alternative rock fans think they have to prove how artsy and edgy they are by saying they like a fairly unlikable band.

      • That is definitely YOUR opinion. The Pixies are one of my favorite bands since I first heard Surfer Rosa back then. I just think some “alternative” rock fans only think it’s cool if it made it big on the pop charts. The Cure album may have been big, but except for Fascination Street it’s godawful boring.

        • the cure is deeply melodic and emotional, and the songwriting is brilliant. the pixies are none of those things.

          • The Cure were absolute HACKS by the later 80s…. At least to anyone who grew up 1978-88. You know when a band is DONE, they were done long before this garbo release.
            That isn’t to defend the ridiculous Pixies as #2, but to point out your chest thumping for The Cure is equally as suspect.

          • qotita couldn’t have worded it better. Say wht you will about the cure, but i think Disintegration (w/ exception of Fascination St) is perfect example that they were at the peak of their career before they began to dwindle – an ethereal sounding masterpiece in my opinion.

      • TOTALLY overrated.

      • Michael Larson

        I first heard “Doolittle” on a late-night radio program 5 years after its release, without any pre-given notion of who the Pixies even were. I may have heard the name once or twice previously. Anyhow, when I heard the album I was blown away. It totally stood out to me as something different and compelling and I went and bought it on cassette right the next day. I’ve loved that record ever since. Quit being assholes assuming that people who like things different than what you limit yourselves to must only be pretense / anxiety ridden snobs. I honestly could give a damn whether anyone thinks its cool or not. Nobody I knew at the time did, but hey!

    • you’re right ….well one of the most over rated

  2. I own 6 of the top 7. I guess I wasn’t that much of a loser after all.

  3. Great list! A bit surprised that “Cosmic Thing” made the top ten, happy to see that GBV made a showing, and a bit sad that “Freedom” didn’t wrangle enough to be a write-in, but overall… right on!

    • Michael Larson

      How many people actually listen to that GBV album I wonder, considering its only available on that boxset.
      I expected to see Freedom listed, too.

      • Haha, there’s some truth to that. BUT – I’d guess that there’s a good chunk of SUE readers who have “Box,” and that enough of them consider “Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia” in their top 10 of the year.

        There MUST be others. Because I promise, it’s not all me stuffing the ballot box on its behalf! :)

  4. Well, yeah. I would have been surprised if “the greatest album of all time” were not number one.

    Again, a very tough year to rank.

  5. A fairly decent top ten, although I don’t really think Bleach should be in there. If it was a 1991 poll and Nevermind was on the list no contest. I worked in a record store with a lot of guys who were musically “in the know”, and Nirvana was never mentioned until a few months before they broke big. I would have liked to have seen Candleland and Blue Nile’s Hats get much closer to the top…

    • I agree. Bleach skews the results. Practically no one was listening to it or even noticed it in 1989. It just comes down to how you vote. I went back and thought about what albums really mattered to me that year, which meant voting for that Wire album even though it placed at #90, and leaving off the Kate Bush album I still love but didn’t upon it’s release. I really thought Doolittle would top the list, and The Cure is my favorite band.

      • I agree. From what I’ve Bleach did have a bit of a following in England back then due to a British tour Nirvana did . I doubt anyone outside of England or the Pacific Northwest knew about Nirvana or Bleach back in ’89.

    • Patrick Boland

      Agreed — no one even HEARD of Nirvana in 1989. This particular poll lacks any credibility.

      • Michael Larson

        More importantly, though, is that not many people even like Bleach today even if they might like “About a Girl.”

  6. I guess I probably cast the only vote for Warren Zevon’s ‘Transverse City’, eh? Didn’t even make the list. D’oh.

  7. Please continue the polls up until 1994! :)

    •’s tough to figure out where the cutoff should be, isn’t it? i personally liked a LOT of music through 1997; that’s where i felt it fell off fairly precipitously. but those first 7 years, what with the smashing pumpkins, radiohead, pearl jam, bjork, the cure, foo figters, juliana hatfield, jeff buckley, shudder to think, grant lee buffalo, tori amos, mbv, live, deftones, ben folds, the verve, etc etc etc..were pretty densely packed with amazing.

      • The Real Spike Hyzer

        I absolutely detest all of those bands (and luckily worked the entire decade of the 90s in a record store that would never have wanted us to play that crap).
        Except for the Cure and MBV, but those were not 90s bands now, were they?

  8. Still don’t get The inclusion of Bleach. No one I ever heard of back in the day listened to it so some of this seems like hindsight.

  9. How did Bleach beat out Lou Reed’s New York or Bob Mould’s Workbook? I think it was just in there for the sake of Nirvana’s legacy not for the album itself. Oh well – to each their own. Nirvana was a 90’s band not an 80’s band – love them but Bleach just isn’t that good an album.

  10. The wrong artist is listed for #36 – it should be Xymox.
    Clan of Xymox is different.

    Glad that album made the cut though!

    • same band, just with a shortened name. technically it’s wrong, as the 1989 record was released as xymox, but it’s not a different artist.

  11. El Arreglardo

    Glad to see the B52’s crack the top 10. Somewhat bittersweet though. I so enjoyed being part of their cult following in the early days. I’m talking about Quiche… Quiche Loraine.

    • I was glad to see them make it too. I don’t want to hear Love Shack ever again, but the rest of the album contains some of their strongest material, thanks Mr. Rodgers (producer).

  12. To those questioning the inclusion of Bleach, yes, of course it’s hindsight! Most people who grew to love it did not know it existed much before 1991. I thought that these polls were based on hindsight, or at least that’s how I vote. My tastes and opinions have changed based on discoveries made years after some of these releases.

  13. Wow…just wow. I am so glad I had stopped listening to radio friendly bands by this point. I guess what I find most interesting is how wide the gap between god awful, aimed at teenagers junk like the B-52’s can sit astride stuff like Kitchens of Distinction’s debut LP. I was the first person I knew (and I lived in Orange County) to own Pretty Hate Machine (which I bought on cassette in October) and I am amazed that a record with so little substance is enjoyed by so many. I always wondered why Trent was so angry? It isn’t awful but it is very juvenile and simplistic. I would have had it around #20-25 for this year. Just all over the place with the selections, couldn’t believe Scarlet and other Stories barely made the top 100. This is by far the best year of music for my life and Disintegration, Technique, Twist of Shadows, Methods of Silence, Dolittle, Stone Roses, Hup and maybe even Megatop Phoenix would make my all time top 100.

    • Completely agree, only I consider Pretty Hate Machine as garden-variety, God-awful prepackaged teenage angst and the B-52’s as a solid (commercial) comeback.

  14. I have every album in the top 10. The weakest one in my opinion is Stone Roses. I bought it when it came out because of the critical praise it was getting at the time and I don’t really love it. Knock it down 50 spots and put something more deserving at #4 like 3 Feet High and Rising.

    • Can you read lips or do you rely on sign language?

      • he’s right. the stone roses are VERY overrated.

        • Patrick Boland

          You two are tools. 1989 was all about the Stone Roses and Paul’s Boutique and a few other selections perhaps and a ton of crap. Just look at the list herein, Exhibit A. Compare it to say 1983, 1987, or … well ANY year of the 80s. Puke. Granted, Qotita, you said the Cure was ‘brilliant songwriting’ and ’emotional’. LMAO yes if making me want to wretch is an emotion, we agree. The were washed up after Head on the Door. Put your tin ear back in and give Disintegration another listen.

  15. It appears “Bleach” is the “A Broken Frame” of 1989. Come on people, it is OK that you hadn’t heard of Nirvana until 1991, and even if you did, Bleach is still not a top 10 album.

    • I actually love BOTH of those albums — for all their quirks, idiosyncrasies, and (yes) weaknesses — and both made my top picks for their respective years. Did I hear either in the year they were released? I admit it: no. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re personal favorites, and it’d be hard for me to ignore them just because I didn’t have them upon release.

      It all comes down to how you’re voting here. Are you picking your favorites? Are you picking what you think were the best releases? Are you picking what you considered best *then* or *now*? And so on. My choices are always a mix. YMMV.

  16. I have 8 of the top ten albums.
    But there are so many I would have ranked higher.
    But Disintegration was always the clear winner, one of my all time favourite albums.

    I know this is an 80s site, but are the polls going to continue into 1990, 1991 (was an amazing year from what I remember) ?

  17. Madonna “Like A Prayer” ICONIC! She always gets dissed in the Alternative community because she is Pop Mainstream but I know you all shaking your booties to Express Yourself, Like A Prayer, ETC! loveugodbless tj kabbalah matthewshepard madonnalicious

  18. The least surprising thing is the order of the top two.

  19. Bleach in the top-10 is a travesty…revisionist voting.

    Scan the list and you’ll see another band no one was listening to then – The Offspring – and I’m from SoCal as well as Mudhoney…Soundgarden was the only one of the “grunge” bands that had a small profile in 89.

    These placings really skew the polls and are a blight on what is otherwise a fine summation of the decade’s listening.

    • even soundgarden placing in ’91 i think is a bit revisionist. i was aware of them, but they weren’t yet very relevant. LTL was discovered when badmotorfinger broke, much like bleach/nevermind.

  20. And where is Vini Reilly ?

  21. “Bleach” is a great album(and would have been huge if the production had been better) and hardly anyone was listening to it back then, but this poll is “looking back” what albums do you think were the best of 1989. If it was actually 1989, it probably wouldn’t be in the top 100. A lot of the bands listed did not have any real commercial success back then(Stone Roses, Jesus & Mary Chain) in the States either. As time went on, their albums became more influential.

  22. B-52’s!?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

  23. I’m not looking for an argument, but I think “Disintegration” is a bit overrated. I prefer “The Head On The Door” or “Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me.” Maybe even “Wish.” XTC of course deserved better. “Bleach,” seriously? C’mon people.

    • those are my 4 favorite cure records, but disintegration is number one among them (followed by kmkmkm, wish and hotd)..i don’t get the “disintegration is overrated” deal at all.

      • I’m with Pop Gun. Disntegration IS overrated IMO. As I said, Fascination Street is a great song, but the ballads are very dull.

        • i could see being a bit bored by, say, plainsong, prayers for rain and the same deep water as you, which are very droney and long..but those tracks are not intended to be evaluated as super-strong individual compositions, as the point of the record is that it’s a mood piece to be taken as a whole. it’s kid of like dicing up dark side of the moon song by song. that said, there are many very good individual songs there–fascination street, pictures of you, closedown, untitled, last dance, and the title track, which is incredibly powerful–and that’s ignoring lovesong and lullaby, neither of which i am a huge fan of but both of which are fairly enduring cure classics at this point.

  24. What an amazing year for music! There are so many amazing albums in this list. I found it almost impossible to pick just 10.

  25. Richard Rider

    I’m OK with all the Top-ten, except for Nirvana. I have to agree with the ‘revisionist history’ bandwagon on this one. I don’t remember it. None of the alt/college stations I listened to were spinning Nirvana in ’89. I wouldn’t even place it in the top-50 for this year’s releases.

    May be blasphemy to some, but I think ‘Disintegration’ is the Cure’s finest moment. So I’m pleased to see it at the #1 spot. Nice to see the Pixies, NIN, Stone Roses and New Order rounding out the Top-5.

    Good results :)

  26. Very good list. Great to see Steve Kilbey and All About Eve in there. Have many of these albums. Surprised Neil Young: Freedom missing.
    I love Bleach so no probs there. Tho, I would have The Wedding Present in the top Ten. :)

  27. Once again, I am deeply offended that the results of an web-based poll did not hew specifically to my exact tastes and therefore everybody else is wrong and should bow to my superior intellect on these things.


  28. Great list. I could have easily selected 30 albums as my favorites for this year.

  29. ¡Sí! “Disintegration” es el mejor, no sólo de 1989, sino de toda la década.

  30. Steve Kilbey at 100?
    I demand a recount!

  31. Ugh! Pretty Hate Machine??? What a joke when considering Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb, Severed Heads, all released superior “industrial” albums that year.

    …and I do like NIN (btw), but only until Reznor was “Broken” a few years later.

  32. Finally a proper #1!!!

  33. pessimystica

    A lot of good stuff in here, order aside. Y’all know how that is… a list like this is never going to be in an order we want. But I do agree that Bleach shouldn’t be in the top 10 because no one really knew of Nirvana until 1991. I’ve never even heard it, except for a few songs. I’ve never even heard Doolittle for that matter, just the singles. With that said, I do like/love all the bands in the top 10. Here’s my personal top 10 from this list:

    1) The Cure – Disintegration
    2) Nine Inch Nails – Ringfinger
    3) Xymox (Moorings dropped the ‘Clan of’ for this album) – Twist of Shadows
    4) Peter Murphy – Deep
    5) Ministry – The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
    6) Stone Roses – I Am the Resurrection
    7) Love & Rockets – Love & Rockets
    8) New Order – Technique
    9) Jesus & Mary Chain – Automatic
    10) Ian McCulloch – Candleland

    Honorable Mentions – Soundgarden & Red Hot Chili Peppers… but in ’92, both of these bands’ albums are at the top of my top 10 album list ;-)

    • soundgarden and rhcp didn’t release albums in 1992. badmotorfinger and bloodsugarsexmagik both came out in the fall of ’91, within the same 6-week stretch that saw the release of nevermind and ten.

  34. The only reason TRIUMPH didn’t top this whole poll is because “Classics” was disqualified for being a compilation. Fuckin’ poll.

    • Now don’t go swinging any double-neck guitars at anyone, lotus.
      This’ll pass, this’ll pass… :)

    • Sweet! A TRIUMPH reference. Hey, anyone out there interested in some killer live TRIUMPH should check out the DVD release of US Festival ’83. It definitely has that Magic Power!

  35. #77 is 808 State, 90. Not exactly the same thing as the album “Utd. State 90” which out later in the U.S., but close. It still sounds fresh today. One of my favorite albums of all time.

  36. Bleach is easily the best Nirvana album. We listened the hell out of it and were about done when SLTS hit the airwaves…we were all surprised how pop it was….Nevermind was good, but very commercial. I have all but 2 of the top 20 and largely agree with this list….I feel Ministry should be higher, after all Reznor owes his entire career to Al and Co.

    The Cure at number 1…..I can live with that. Disintegration was amazing and the artistic pinnacle for Smith no doubt. Pixies number 2, ok tied for first more like but ok.

    Aittedly surprised Swans were so far down, but happy Einsterzende (sp?) was as high as it was….restores my faith in the human race!

  37. Supriised by the lack of people on this site that listened to Bleach contemporaneously. Sub Pop and its bands were definitely a thing with college radio in 1989. We wore Bleach out.

  38. I’m surprised with all the noise around Bleach.
    Are we here to vote for what was the top 10 in 89′ or for our favorite 89′ album ?
    If the first option, we should just take the top 100 of this year, publish it hear, and have a beer instead of voting !

    • Patrick Boland

      WRONG. You should be putting YOUR 1989 hat on and voting what YOU listened to in 1989. You are NOT here to post revisionist history.

      As for Bleach, you didn’t listen to it then, and thus can’t vote for it now. Well…you can, given your totally incorrect view of how you are to vote.

  39. Do yourselves a favor…. listen to #15 Oranges & Lemons, XTC… top band, all year, all the time. Sadly, they were never publicized properly.

    • Good man, Edward. For all of XTC’s accolades, they’re still sadly undervalued and overlooked. They were an 80’s Beatles.

    • Not their best effort. There are 15 tracks on Oranges & Lemons and some of them are not quite there. Now, English Settlement? That would definitely make my overall best of the”80’s list. I think even top five.

      • I agree. Not their best effort (but it contains possibly their best song in “Scarecrow People”). However, I would take an XTC “lesser effort” over any other album on this list. But what do I know?

  40. THE SUNDAYS, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic!

    You have the Wonderstuff (no one really remembers them), XTC’s laziest album, Love and Rockets (a band about the band they came from)…

    And mind you, ‘THE STONE ROSES’ literally raped anything that came 10 years before or after it’s release.

    • the sundays (AMAZING) debut record came out in spring of 1990. only the can’t be sure single was out in ’89 (and, i believe, was john peel’s single of the year).

      • Patrick Boland

        meh, Sundays one hit wonders. rest bored me, though workable tunes and relatively accomplished lyrics. But I have a couple friends who would disagree with me and agree with you that it was a solid album throughout. Given what I see from this list it should easily be top 30 regardless.

  41. Kate Bush’s “Sensual World” should have been in the top 10!!

  42. Nice list! Here is Paste Magazine’s 80 best albums of the 80s, if you are interested.

    And a Spotify playlist of those albums

  43. Bobby Dazzler

    If 1979 is the greatest year in music in terms of both quality and quantity, 1989 has to be the worst. There’s a lot of weak albums hereOf the 100 albums here, only XTC, CVB Replacements, Spaceman3 De La Soul and Pixies are in my iTunes. Bob MOuld’s Workbook is also good but I own the vinyl of it. Missing albums from that list: All – Allroy’s Revenge, Yo La Tengo – President Yo La Tengo,Blue Rodeo’s Diamond Mine.

    • the humble crab

      Allroy’s Revenge is a great call. A true underground masterpiece. I think This One’s For The Ladies by the Young Fresh Fellows came out in 89 as well. Prolly their best album and not on the list. I dunno what the stink over Bleach is about. I knew plenty of people who dug Nirvana pre-Nevermind. This is an underground list I assume, not just a recap of what MTV fed people on 120 Mins.

  44. No one voted for NoMeansNo – Wrong? One of the best albums released in 1989, hell, one of the best albums ever released, period.

  45. Bucky Wunderlick

    The Mekons “Rock ‘N’ Roll” at #93?

    It’s easy to pass on ’em because they are self-admitted professional losers, but — what a joke…

  46. …whatever. So the greatest LP ever made finishes 4th overall in voting for 1989…also good to see Steve Kilbey squeak into 100th place with an LP that was very brave to release…and though I love JAMC, Head On is atrocious and the worst released by them…

    • can someone, anyone, please explain this longstanding idea that the (fine) stone roses debut is anything CLOSE to “the best album ever made”?

    • Patrick Boland

      While I will temper your comment about best album ever LOL it may well have been the best of 1989, and I would have voted it so. I really posted to say I love all the rest of your comment as well and echo it.

    • The Real Spike Hyzer

      Automatic is a good record.
      Darklands is the bore of their catalog.

  47. Well – Blind Man’s Zoo cracked the top 25 – so I was kinda happy.

  48. Matt Thurston

    Can’t believe The The “Mind Bomb” didn’t make the Top Ten. Easily better than any of the albums ranked from 6 to 10, with the exception of maybe “Deep.”

    Also sad to see The Lilac Time “Paradise Circus” not make the Top 100. It’s not a surprise, since nobody has heard of them in the USA. But you have heard of Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy, the singer-songwriter of The Lilac Time. TLT sounds nothing like his mid-80s Tin Tin “Kiss Me” stuff. Sounds more like Nick Drake or Elliot Smith, and presaged the pastoral singer-songwriter sound which figured prominently in the charts in the 90s. Check out “Paradise Circus,” or any of the first four The Lilac Time albums.

    • Patrick Boland

      Sorry Matt, but no one liked Tin Tin on this side of the pond either, besides my 10 yr old sister, which should tell you all you need to know.

  49. Bleach was a minor indie hit here in the UK thanks to the coverage Sub Pop was getting at the time in NME/Melody Maker. Mudhoney were the press darlings at the time and ‘band most likely to’. Even when Sliver was issued a year later they were still off most people’s radar.

  50. the cure= mediocre.( Almost no one in the UK was listening to this in 89) Nine Inch Nails are/ were laughable.
    This was where it all went sour for alternative/ college rock. Lots of US fans with bad taste buying up crap.

    • >>the cure= mediocre.( Almost no one in the UK
      >>was listening to this in 89)

      Except for all those people who filled Wembley Stadium for a 35-song set on July 24 of that year.

      • Not really my friend.
        They played Wembley arena NOT wembley stadium. Big difference between 80,000 people and and 8,000.
        I didn’t mean that they didnt have fans, still do which is obvious by their ridiculous position in this poll. But they were well past their best at this point -Not relevent at all.

        • Seriously! All these years I’ve assumed it was the stadium. Thanks for setting me straight!

          It is weird to think of them waning in the UK at the same time they were definitely on the ascension in the US. We were quite excited here because all of a sudden people were taking them seriously, and you could see them on television and so forth. That had definitely not been the case previously. That tour they did fill Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, which probably explains my misimpression.

          Again: Thanks!

          • No problem, I like The Cure but I genuinely don’t think this LP is the record that most people think of first when 1989 comes up for discussion.

    • Jonathan Andrews

      Yes, 1989 was a great year in the United States college rock scene. Disintegration was totally relevant and still one of my favorite CDs of all time. This list is a who’s who of what was playing at the time. I am completely on the same page.

  51. Patrick Boland

    I came here to VOTE and you’ve posted RESULTS? It was the 26th! SMH

  52. Patrick Boland

    Disintigration…as if….. what a poll of fraudulent proportions. BTW the band I was in circa 1988-1990 was doing Reznor a year before Reznor, we just didn’t have his grandparents funding us–in case you didn’t know the only reason he ever got a recording off the ground to begin with. He too is a fraud, but I will give him some props on his first album, though all others sucked thereafter, despite a decent song here or there. There were a few bands around the Great Lakes way better than NIN doing industrial, and quite frankly that isn’t even industrial.
    The Ministry album here (Mind) is SO much better than it’s predecessor (Land of rape), which finished 10th overall… crime it’s not top 6 or so, esp given the TREACLE you people voted in. Lenny Kravitz first album should have also fared MUCH better. May I ask WTFCK Chris Isaak is doing on this poll? Seriously… it destroys the poll’s credibility. How in God’s name is it ‘college/alternative’? CHRIS ISAAK? What hillbilly ass college played that?
    Indigo Girls debut as good a debut as it gets…shoulda been top 10. Swans coulda been way higher, and Mekons deserved better. Clearly they weren’t as good as NENAH CHERRY (#70)LMAO

    • Michael Larson

      Who cares if someone had money from a grandparent? What is the relevance? Should we only like bands who began as homeless buskers? It’s not like he was an X Factor creation.

      • The Real Spike Hyzer

        You might want to read Jacobin’s piece about how 99% of all art in human history has come from the 1-10%, people who have the money to give their kids instruments and stuff.
        Most art is pretty boring and mainstream.
        This list is an example, as most of it is crap (and I was a huge indie, punk, goth, rap, industrial, dance fan then).
        Bad year to end the 80s on.

    • The Real Spike Hyzer

      Agree about Isaak, but I also think Kravitz sucks and the Indigo Girls are perhaps the worst band ever.

      • The Real Spike Hyzer

        And that’s the very worst Swans album. It was the first one I bought and it took me 10 years to recover and discover later that they are great.

  53. NOW That I see what people voted for and liked that year I wish I wouldn’t have voted

    • Since we are at 1989……So what year did avante garde indie/alt/hipper than your top 40 listening ass die? My guess is around 1993-94. After that ghetto or douche-baggery set the pop music pace…Do I suffer from Old Hipsterism Disease? Regardless of the infighting here and some misses here and there during this time their isn’t anything to really defend as a whole the las 15 years. Would be like a 100 Big Suck albums now.

  54. Paul Metzger

    I definitely think Disintegration is the best album of 1989, but I dont believe it’s their finest work. As a Cure fan of 32 years, my opinion is that Pornography is their masterpiece.

  55. I didn’t read through all the comments but forgive me if someone has already mentioned it. To the Pixies hater, really Pixies were so influential to so many bands to the 90s and even now – loud, quiet, loud hello. I assure you that there were many of us listening to Soundgarden in the 80s, and that is a great album, give it a listen again as I have rediscovered it again all these years later again.

    Back to Pixies, full disclosure I am a huge Pixies fan. However, Doolittle IMO is their weakest album, except that piece of crap they just put out without Kim Deal. As much as I like Frank, Blackie, Frank Black, there can be no Pixies without Kim. Sorry buddy, you may have written those songs but Kim breathed so much life into them with that angelic voice of hers. Do yourself a favor and take a listen, if you haven’t already, to Breeders Title TK, not a weak track on the whole thing. Come on Pilgrim Surfer Rosa that is where it’s at.

  56. Deep? Yes. Automatic? Yes. Disintegration? Not MY favorite by The Cure, but a very good one, to be sure. “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste”? It signified the end of the era where Ministry was one of my favorite bands, but obviously a LOT of people liked the change. Pretty Hate Machine was terrific! This list is pretty good, but NO Depeche Mode? Anywhere? Construction Time Again, anyone? Black Celebration? What, just because they sold more than fifty-two tickets at any venue and we *might* have heard them on the radio once a month, they weren’t “cool” enough? w/e

    • No new studio-album releases from DM in ’89 — “101” didn’t qualify because it was live, and live albums are excluded from the yearly best-of polls.

      All their studio albums from Speak & Spell to Music for the Masses have placed top 10 in their respective years.

  57. I remember going to see The Cure (one of many times) in New Orleans, LA on The Prayer Tour. Walked into Tower Records (no longer there) on Decatur Street hours before the concert. It was one of the best stores I have ever been in, maybe in part because it had a second floor loft. On one wall was a true work of art: a two story perfect homage to The Cure depicting the cover art from “Disintegration”. Yes, I said two stories tall. Imagine the album cover except 25 to 30 feet in height!!! We were more than ready for that concert after seeing that and will never forget it.

  58. Wow, people still think bashing other peoples’ tastes gets their point across. Asshats.

  59. Bleach definitely wasn’t a hugely popular album when it was released but my roommate in college had it and we listened to it often. There was definitely a small group of music fans who knew about Nirvana but I don’t think any of us had a clue they would become so huge when they finally released their Nevermind album two years later.

  60. The Hoodoo Gurus at 59? C’mon man. Long live the Gurus!

  61. Where is Deborah Harry’s “Def Dumb and Blonde’ album?!?

  62. Since we are at 1989……So what year did avante garde indie/alt/hipper than your top 40 listening ass die? My guess is around 1993-94. After that ghetto or douche-baggery set the pop music pace…Do I suffer from Old Hipsterism Disease? Regardless of the infighting here and some misses here and there during this time their isn’t anything to really defend as a whole the las 15 years. Would be like a 100 Big Suck albums now.

  63. We were very lucky to have this fertile period of music. While modern rock was morphing into classic rock (and we were well sick of those bands), and MTV was inundating us with those silly hair bands, all we had to do was go left on the dial. It seemed like every week I was buying a new album by a band my friends never heard of. It was excellent. The 90’s brought us some outstanding “alternative” bands but, sadly, the music died with the rising popularity of the likes of Limp Bizkit and Creed and so on… I don’t think it fully recovered. I know good music still exists but the pickings are getting slimmer by the day. Rock is dead (or at least on its’ last legs), long live the 80’s. Sorry for the rambling. I’m drunk. And sentimental. And listening to The Chameleons UK!

  64. I was in college radio in 1989 and the “alternative” DJ’s at the station were aware of Bleach – it was in mild or moderate rotation. The Pixies were in heavy rotation.

  65. The Georgia Satellites “In The Land of Salvation and Sin” was an amazing album. It didn’t do that well commercially but it is better than any album on this list.

    • The Real Spike Hyzer

      They were a mainstream band and this is an Indie/college rock site.
      GS was good, but it wasn’t that good (and not as good as the top 4 here).

  66. How the hell did that awful Cure record beat the Stone Roses? Or NIN.. the NIN should be switched with the Ministry. .
    Every year in this po the Cure is at the top? Either as stated before Bias or people taking this poll have some bad taste or only listened to the cure, duran duran, rem and u2.. after their 3rd record the cure were not that good. They got higher votes than new order, black flag. . No way possible they are better than big black..
    The Nirvana thing, I first heard them thought it was more metalish than so called punk rock. To many bands on this list are were no heard of until years later.. exzample the flaming lips, if they had been more popular in the 80’s.. they would have not opened for Lush in the early 90’s.. thou I am certain that 90201 appearance helped. .

    • The Real Spike Hyzer

      The Cure’s first record was horrible, the next two were mediocre and they didn’t start to hit their stride until Pornography (which was the 1st of 4 masterpieces in a row).

      Ministry were overrated hacks and Stone Roses were a flash in the pan (which was good, but it’s probably an even more monochromatic record than Disintegration, but in a worse way because it’s just a groove record).

      Big Black was an awful band and this is one of the weaker New Order discs.

  67. I love this site and these polls….but it has really brought the bitchy twats out of the woodwork. No wonder “normal” people lump us “college” music fans in with Trekkies.

  68. I was on an Alice Donut website in 2015 and it said ‘vote for Bucketfulls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life for top 100 Albums of 1989’. So here I am, but the voting is closed.
    Even though I would have added the Alice Donut entry and Nomeansno’s Wrong to the list, I think I was the only one listening to those albums. The reason I’m commenting is to point out what many commentators have already noted. The top 20 really reminds me of what people were listening to in 1989…except for Bleach. I knew one kid in the neighborhood, who sniffed paint fumes and was certifiably crazy who listened to Bleach in ’89. When I heard it, it wasn’t magic, just noise. When Nevermind came out, everyone loved it, except for the paint-smelling kid, who said it was awful and Nirvana had sold out to the jocks. That kid then liked Faith No More, until they sold out, then he went to a mental institution.

  69. Paul Voorhies

    I know they’re not alternative at all, but–as someone said earlier–what is Madonna’s best album (maybe 2nd to Ray Of Light) came out this year, as did Janet Jackson’s Rhthym Nation 1814. No list of the 100 best albums of 1989 can be taken seriously without them listed somewhere.

  70. Not too much of a thing for the Cure….huh?

  71. Silly list. Where is The Miracle by Queen? Prince’s Batman album rated that low as well. Ridiculous.

    • The Real Spike Hyzer

      Well, this in not an 80s site so much as it is an Indie site.
      And, as huge fans of both acts that you mentioned, those are very easily the worst albums in either artists’ career.
      They were both very awful records.

  72. The Real Spike Hyzer

    Strong top 4, but only JAMC makes my top 5 with those. Bleach was mostly terrible. Lou, the Mats, Bob Mould, Camper and The The and XTC would probably round out my top 10 based on what I played most (tie for 10th).

    I worked in a record store starting in 1990 and have heard almost every record on the disc and the 80s went out on a sour note, as almost everything below 30 is totally forgettable.

    The worst Elvis record. Tin Machine was awful. Bad early GBV. A bottom 3 Ramones record. The worst Swans disc. One of the worst by Laurie Anderson. One of the worst from the bad middle period for Wire. The worst Prince record of the 80s by far.
    Wedding Present was good. Bad Religion. Nice Loop and Godfathers discs. One of my top two Mekons records barely makes the list???

    And where is the criminally underrated Bitch Magnet.
    Umber was close to my top 10 and I certainly played it as much as anything in my top 10.

  73. Luke RITSON

    Jeanne Lee & Ran Blake- You steeped out of a cloud.

    No mention of this album…

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