Poll — December 2, 2013 at 9:34 am

Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the 1980s: Vote for your 25 favorite albums from 1980-1989

Best of the 1980s

Well, here we are: the end of Best of the ’80s album polls. Time for the big one. The grandaddy of them all. Yes, today we ask Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers — after having ranked the best records of each year of the 1980s month-by-month over the course of 2013 — to wrap up this year by crowning the absolute best albums of the entire 1980s.

VOTING: Below you’ll find a ballot featuring 500 albums, a list comprised of the Top 50 finishers in each of our annual polls, from 1980 to 1989. You’re welcome to vote for up to 25 records this time — or write in any title(s) you wish that we didn’t include. In addition to the ballot itself, feel free to re-consult the Top 100 lists from each year (links below), and, if you really want to do some serious research, you can pore over the full list of albums included on the original 1980-1989 ballots.

A few notes and reminders on how this works:

  • Given the theme of this website, the albums that made the original ballots — and, hence, this ballot — are generally those that fall under “alternative” banner, titles from the punk, post-punk, goth, college rock, indie, synthpop, industrial, New Wave and related genres. Toward the latter end of the polls, though, we broadened the selection a bit to include some key albums from outside the genre. And, of course, you’re still free to write in any albums released in the 1980s that you want.
  • Speaking of write-ins, you may list multiple albums in the box at the end of the poll, but, please, limit your total votes to 10. If you run out of room, e-mail info@slicingupeyeballs.com.
  • As has been the case with all of the polls in this series, this is a ranking of studio albums. So no EPs, live albums or compilations. We’ll run additional polls to determine the best EPs, comps and/or live albums of the ’80s in early 2014. And perhaps, due to popular demand, we’ll roll out some bonus best-album polls for the late ’70s and early ’90s.

DEADLINE: Voting ends 5 p.m. EDT Friday, Dec. 27, and results will be posted after New Year’s.

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, 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989 — as voted by Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers.

Plus: Check out the full list of albums included on the original 1980-1989 albums.




NOTE: If this app isn’t letting you vote, you also may vote directly via Polldaddy: poll.fm/4j41f.






  1. Oh my god that was tough

  2. Nice.

  3. So may choices

  4. well this is going to be so utterly dominated by the Smiths, the Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, REM and U2 (all worthy enough btw) that i doubt any other acts will even get a look in :(

  5. OMG, i had to delete 25-30 of my favorite albums…

  6. I used up all 25 before I got to The Smiths. Revision time.

  7. Roger Jönsson

    Voted for “Youth of America” & “Gas, Food, Lodging”, which in my humble opinion should have made the list of options. Anyways: Love from Sweden!

  8. The Cure, Echo and The Bunnymen, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus and The Sound.

    Pornography, Faith, Disintegration, Heaven Up Here, Closer and Black Celebration are my “Top of The Tops” of the 80´s.


  9. If only 1977-9 was part of the 80s.

  10. Bob Dalrymple

    No Icehouse to vote for.

  11. After a quick, gut-reaction, unscientific run-through playing emotional favorites, this is what I came up with:

    The Church/Starfish
    Tears for Fears/Seeds of Love
    U2/The Joshua Tree
    a-ha/Hunting High and Low
    Eno and Byrne/My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
    Peter Gabriel/Security
    Peter Gabriel/So
    INXS/The Swing
    INXS/Listen Like Thieves
    Kraftwerk/Computer World
    Midnight Oil/Diesel and Dust
    New Order/Brotherhood
    New Order/Technique
    Pet Shop Boys/Actually
    Pet Shop Boys/Please
    Pogues/If I Should Fall From Grace with God
    Simple Minds/New Gold Dream
    Smiths/Queen is Dead
    U2/Unforgettable Fire
    Talking Heads/Remain in Light
    The Cure/Disintegration
    Depeche Mode/Music for the Masses

  12. Can you add ‘Licensed To Ill’ to the ballot, please?

  13. Anthony Duignan-Cabrera

    Nice list.

  14. 25 is not nearly enough to cover my favorites!!

  15. frode johannessen

    nice selection. here is my faves.

  16. Anne på landet

    Niiiice! :-)

  17. Love The Smiths , The Cure , The The , Morrissey , The Pixies , The Fall , and R.E.M

  18. Ray Fernandes

    great poll!

  19. That was tough. I could have used at least 5 more picks!

  20. So hard to chooe just 25

  21. New Gold Dream from Simple Minds. Best album of the 80’s.

  22. Ugh, my first pull has 68 albums…this is going to be difficult.

  23. Oingo Boingo deserve more than one vote… maybe the best band of the 80s ever.

  24. Too many to chose from and too few votes!

  25. Notable absences…

    Felt – Forever Breathes The Lonely Word (Creation)
    Section 25 – From The Hip (Factory)
    The Durutti Column – LC (Factory)
    Dexys Midnight Runners – Don’t Stand Me Down (Mercury)
    Happy Mondays – Bummed (Factory)
    Bill Drummond – The Man (Creation)
    Renegade Soundwave – Soundclash (Mute)
    Colourbox – Colourbox (4AD)

  26. unbelievable no Beastie Boys or Public Enemy!!

    • you can write them in if you want, but surely you realize that rap did not dominate the alternative music scene in the 80s, which is why they didn’t make the cut for the list.

  27. could not get past “P” and no more votes!

  28. Way too many choices. Many great albums off the list. Some great artists completely off the list.

  29. Impossible to choose only 25, had to cut my list in half!!

  30. Greatest album ever

  31. Uuuuugggggghhhhh – soooo hard to choose!!

  32. Only 25…it is a hard life! :-)

  33. Only 25…it*s a heavy choice urgh…more 25 please ;-)

  34. A few certain picks, but I would come up with different results if I did it again. Too many good ones.

  35. Smiths indeed.

  36. Allen miller

    Top 25 or so ( not in order )
    abc- lexicon of love
    both Big audio albums
    beautiful south
    kate bush- hounds of love
    clash- combat rock
    cure- pornography
    cure- disintegration
    cure- head on the door
    terence trent darby
    depeche mode- music for masses
    depeche mode- black celebration
    bryan ferry- boys and girls
    heaven 17- penthouse
    joy division- closer
    love and rockets- express
    ministry- with sympathy
    mission- children
    peter murphy- deep
    pet shop – please
    NIN- Ppretty hate
    sisters- floodland
    smiths- queen is dead

  37. Some of the albums I left off are still in constant play for me, and it was painful to give certain bands 3 or more albums, but I had to in a few cases. If I could have five more, they’d be Galaxie 500 On Fire, Throwing Muses 1st album, Sinead’s 1st album, Sugarcubes’ 1st album, and Ministry Land of Rape & honey.

    Bowie – Scary Monsters
    The Cure – Disintegration
    The Cure – Faith
    The Cure – KMKMKM
    The Cure – The Head on the Door
    Echo & The Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
    Joy Division – Closer
    Morrissey – Viva Hate
    New Order – Brotherhood
    New Order – Low-Life
    New Order – PC&L
    New Order – Technique
    NIN – Pretty Hate Machine
    Pixies – Surfer Rosa
    Pixies – Doolittle
    REM – Reckoning
    Siouxsie – Juju
    Siouxsie – Kaleidoscope
    Skinny Puppy – Mind
    Smiths – Meat Is Murder
    Smiths – Strangeways
    Smiths – self
    Smiths – Queen is dead
    Sonic Youth – Daydream nation
    Sonic Youth – Evol

  38. Nick Burrows

    Some great albums

  39. That was fun. I’ll do it tomorrow with very different results.

  40. Deborah Harry’s “Def Dumb & Blonde” should be on this list as well as “Rockbird” and “Koo Koo”.

  41. Kevin Wright

    I didn’t write it in but Lou Reed’s “Blue Mask” is better than “New York”. Great list. It was hard narrowing it down to 25.

  42. Wow, this is great! The best music was made in the 80s!

  43. Nice! I would have included “the Good Earth” and “Only Life” by the Feelies as options, though.

  44. Chris Hughes

    Some great albums

  45. Mark van Pagee

    Smiths, Talk Talk, Smiths, Talk Talk, Smiths….. Aaarghhhh!!!!!!

  46. The Queen is Dead.

  47. Martyn Morgan

    Some great memories in there. Thanks.

  48. In addition to the results themselves, I’d love to find out what sorts of “internal rules” voters had to come up with in order to narrow their lists down to 25… And how many times they had to break said rules because, “oh but I can’t leave [that one] off…”

    My rules: I had to have loved it in 80s as a teen. Lots of fantastic stuff I discovered later, but I tried to apply a “contemporaneousness” rule. I also have to STILL love it. I was nuts for Blue Turtle in the 9th grade, but no longer. I am nostalgic for the era, but no need to revisit the album. I also tried not to pick multiple albums from one artist (but broke rule for the Cure; wanted to break it for U2 and Crowdies but couldn’t fit it all).

    • Throughout these polls I have always voted for artists which I liked during the 80s (began collecting music in ’84 and graduated high school in ’89) yet weren’t going to make the top 10 regardless. So would not vote for ‘Mainstream Alternative’ acts such as The Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode, The Smiths etc. This time I changed my strategy to vote for albums that I loved at the time. Truly my favorites.

    • I wish I could say my rule has been “loved it at the time, still love it now.” Unfortunately I wasn’t really dialed in to anything beyond MTV and commercial radio through the first few years of the ’80s, and had some catching up to do once I got to college. So my rule has been more “loved it when I finally heard it, still love it now” — but I’ve even had to break that rule. It took me an embarrassingly long time to comprehend REM, for instance, but once I “got” them, they became my favorite band of all time. Still are. I’ll vote for ‘Murmur’ even though it made no sense to me for a while.

      I totally agree about the pointlessness of voting for “loved it then, don’t love it anymore.” We grow up, so do our tastes.

      Bonus points to you for “contemporaneousness”!

      • Ok, here are my rules:
        Had to have owned it then. I’m giving myself some leeway here in that my timeframe is the entire decade.
        I just purchased Blood and Chocolate this year, so I’m not voting for it, although I would in and instant just for the track, “Poor Napoleon.”
        I think it’s important to consider the album’s initial impact as well as where you were and what you were into and all that. The listening context, if you will. The way it hit you then is important and if it was good enough, it stuck with you, and that leads me to my second rule:
        You still love it now. I know tastes change, but I still get chills listening to Gershwin, so to me that is a good indication that I’m dealing with something that goes beyond a set time period or music trend. I’ve never understood music fans who look askance at people who love and listen to albums 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years old. If it’s good, it has no expiration date. Relevancy? We don’t need no stinking relevancy, or Fascist Groove Things, for that matter.

    • Tried to just pick one from a given group, even if they had more than one that I loved (Pixies, Cure, Smiths, etc.), but it was hard to decide which was the representative album in those cases. Seventeen Seconds vs. The Head on the Door? Difficult. Also, the final 25 had to be something I loved then and still listen to now. Still shaved off quite a few that I would have liked to vote for.

  49. Doug Shingler

    Too many great ones to just pick 25!! Great list

  50. Milo Goes To College- Descendents!!

  51. Some good stuff on here, esp the Replacements!!

  52. Rick Mordecon

    What a difficult choice. never realized how amazing the 80’s were in terms of music. thanks ever so much for providing this amazing opportunity. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU GUYS

  53. Really hard choice, by definition most od these are all time classics. Personally I think you should have left it at 10 votes from the top 10s of each year.

  54. Difficult. ten years is a long time, even when it was thirty years ago!

  55. Well I feel like I’ve betrayed so many great bands and their albums but i’ve done. Went with quick and dirty selection and haven’t gone back. Going ot be fascinating what comes out top.

  56. No Fishbone? FAIL. Otherwise, impossible to choose. So many great albums.

  57. Patrick O'Neill

    this list made me realize just how many of these I owned at one time.

  58. Ricky Tackett

    In Order:
    1. The Queen Is Dead – The Smiths
    2. Let It Be – The Replacements
    3. King Of America – Elvis Costello
    4. Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart – Camper
    5. Avalon – Roxy Music
    6. The Joshua Tree – U2
    7. Skylarking – XTC
    8. If I Should Fall From Grace With God – Pogues
    9. Learning To Crawl – Pretenders
    10. In My Tribe – 10,000 Maniacs
    11. So – Peter Gabriel
    12. Tim – The Replacements
    13. Meat Is Murder – The Smiths
    14. Remain In Light – Talking Heads
    15. The Unforgettable Fire – U2
    16. Oranges and Lemons – XTC
    17. The Smiths – The Smiths
    18. Doolittle – Pixies
    19. Queen Elvis – Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians
    20. Let’s Dance – David Bowie
    21. Imperial Bedroom – Elvis Costello
    22. Synchronicity – The Police
    23. New York – Lou Reed
    24. Document – REM
    25. Cosmic Thing – B52s

  59. So hard to choose

  60. No Dream Syndicate – “The Days of Wine and Roses?” C’mon, it may be the most influential album of the whole decade.

    • And it finished No. 61 in the 1982 poll, so that’s why it’s not on the ballot here… although you’re free to write it in, obviously.

      This ballot consists of the Top 50 albums in each of the annual polls we conducted for 1980-1989.

      • My bad.

      • It would actually be interesting to have a poll of the “bottom 50” from each of the previous polls. That would clear out all the commercial favorites like U2, Depeche and so forth, and speak to the acts that had smaller followings but nevertheless are remembered for one reason or another.

        It’s actually crazy how many different ways to parse this decade. REARless is correct, if this was a critics’ poll, for instance, ‘Days of Wine and Roses’ would flatten most of the records before us here.

    • Ridiculous! Not even remotely close to being an influential album…influential to who?

  61. I was there.

  62. Nice poll, so long as the greatest LP in the history of the world finishes on top – go the Stone Roses !!!

  63. I’m gonna guess that The Cure is at the top of the list and rightfully so.

  64. Long live the 80´s!!!

  65. Damn… I think a Top 20 would have been easier! ;)

  66. would have liked to pick slightly cooler, more obscure albums but I had to be honest.

  67. I’ll admit I didn’t vote for some of the blockbusters because I knew everyone else would. So, no Depeche, New Order, INXS or U2. I did break the rule to vote for Disintegration and a couple Smiths though. Basically, we just gotta get the Smithereens at or near the top.

  68. El Arreglardo

    Absolutely brutal. Thought I was being extrem;y selective and only made it to Rain Dogs with the 25th pick.

  69. So many great albums to choose from. It’s tough to narrow it down to only 25.

  70. No Chills – Submarine Bells *sniff*

    • Ian Stephenson

      I agree. Brave Words would have been in mine. And a couple of Go-Betweens albums, Before Hollywood and Spring Hill Fair.

  71. The Smiths

  72. Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me

    The REAL Modern Muse has spoken.
    “Estee Lauder perfumes needs a wake up call:
    a real modern muse doesn’t need a synthetic fragrance to smell good.”
    -Veronica Grey

  73. Tough to wittle down to 25. My hard rule was to limit myself to one album per band, no matter how hard.

  74. Mark Rodríguez


  75. Aww yeah

  76. Robert Tansey

    You’ll never see music like this again


  78. Marcelo Araujo

    I wish I could vote for more albums.

  79. Geez – not as easy as voting within each decade! Here’s my list – had to do it quickly without too much thought or I’d be at it for weeks…

    10,000 Maniacs, Blind Man’s Zoo
    ABC, The Lexicon of Love
    Alphaville, Forever Young
    Big Country, The Crossing
    Cocteau Twins, Victorialand
    The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
    Depeche Mode, Music For the Masses
    Duran Duran, Rio
    Enya, Watermark
    Bryan Ferry, Bête Noire
    Peter Gabriel, So
    The Housemartins, The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death
    INXS, Kick
    Men at Work, Business as Usual
    Prefab Sprout, Steve McQueen (aka Two Wheels Good)
    Propaganda, A Secret Wish
    Roxy Music, Avalon
    Simple Minds, New Gold Dream (81–82–83–84)
    The Smiths, Strangeways, Here We Come
    Spandau Ballet, True
    Talk Talk, It’s My Life
    Tears For Fears, The Hurting
    The The, Soul Mining
    U2, War
    Ultravox, Quartet

    • You have excellent taste in music. My list was very similar, however, I’m a huge Cure fan and I picked Seventeen Seconds, Pornography and Faith in addition to what you had.

  80. This was tough. But really satisfying. I could have voted for 40-50 at least. Excited to see the results.

  81. Why no Lloyd Cole and the Commotions Easy Pieces? I like that one a little more than Rattlesnakes and a TON more than Mainstream… I guess that’s the randomness of these things. I also like Subterranean Jungle best of the 80s Ramones.

  82. Beth Stanton


  83. Pretty light on Prince…one album? ONE?

  84. Yeehaw!

  85. Lira Siccilia


  86. Anastasios TSIMAS

    hard to choose 25 albums.I omitted a lot of them!!

  87. Some good music in that list!

  88. kate bush “the dreaming”
    cocteau twins “treasure”
    siouxsie “juju”
    smiths “smiths”
    simple minds “sons and fascination”
    my top 5 amongst fantastic music.

  89. Holy crap. Tough. Ended up with this:

    Bad Brains, Bad Brains
    Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique
    Birthday Party, Junkyard
    The Cramps, Songs the Lord Taught Us
    The Cure, Disintegration
    Echo & The Bunnymen, Heaven Up Here
    Husker Du, Zen Arcade
    The Jam, Sound Affects
    Japan, Gentlemen Take Polaroids
    Joy Division, Closer
    Love & Rockets, Seventh Dream
    Minutemen, Double Nickels
    The Police, Zenyatta Mondatta
    Prince & Revolution, Purple Rain (write-in)
    Public Enemy, It Takes A Nation of Millions
    R.E.M., Murmur
    Roxy Music, Avalon
    Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
    The Smiths, Queen Is Dead
    The Stone Roses, s/t
    Talking Heads, Remain In Light
    Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair
    U2, The Joshua Tree
    Tom Waits, Swordfishtrombones
    XTC, Black Sea

  90. Operation Ivy’s 1989 Energy should be on the list too, to this day dare ya to listen to it and stay still

  91. Blackhalo2007

    All albums of Depeche Mode

  92. Grande Pablo

    Fatima Mansions – Against Nature needs to be added

  93. Man that was hard. I had to vote carefully, there were a few bands and albums that I never got around to until the 90’s. I wanted to vote pure so I only went with ones I got into when they came out. In retrospect, however, some albums I got into later would actually rank higher at this point in time.

  94. Tough tough choices here. I could have used more write in space.

  95. Awesome list to choose from, but impossible to pick just 25!

  96. My votes from the decade when high school and college radio really shined. CMJ (college music journal) was my bible

  97. I’ve had to re-examine as we have moved further from the decade.

  98. Didn’t Wings of Joy by Cranes come out in ’89?

  99. Let’s NOT see an entire list of Cure albums (or Siouxsie ones for that matter)

  100. Diogo Camacho

    it’s hard to choose in this awesome list!

  101. No John Mellencamp, No Tom Petty, No Bruce Springsteen on this list. Don’t like the mainstream rockers that were popular in the 80’s I guess.

    • this list isn’t about whether or not they liked mainstream rock from the 80s… this is about college rock/alternative music. a lot of early 80s artists were trying to really do something different than what came around in the 70s, like Boston and such and such guitar rock, which is why many of them are on the list. there’s nothing wrong with Tom Petty- but i don’t think anyone ever had to get their local record store to special order his albums to get that hard to find import single. :-) this is about celebrating all the music that was ignored at the time by the mainstream! :-)

  102. Too hard to pick just 25!

  103. terry waiting

    not enough votes

  104. Difficult choice. I wondered why The Gun Club’s The Las Vegas Story was left out.

  105. Jerry Rubino

    I’m sure I forgot a few that I could have typed in, like Fegmania! by Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians. But I kept it to your list.

  106. Very difficult to get down to 25… I started by going with “cassette tapes I literally wore out” and worked my way out from there.

  107. Hoo ha

  108. So many amazing albums…

    For me its

    1. The The – Soul Mining
    2. David Sylvian – Brilliant Trees
    3. The Smiths – Meat Is Murder
    4. Talk Talk – Spirit Of Eden
    5. Blue Nile – A Walk Across The Rooftops
    6. The Cure – Disintegration
    7. The The – Infected
    8. Echo & The Bunnymen – Porcupine
    9. Morrissey – Viva Hate
    10. Soft Cell – Non Stop Erotic Cabaret

    Its all subjective but we all secretly know I’m right – hehe

  109. College Rock/Indie/Alternative…the best music, the greatest times. Trying to survive the Reagan years, we all had a stake in the Movement.

  110. Tough choices… Mats got most o my votes.

  111. Criteria is pretty simple. What do I still listen to after 30+ years?

  112. I had 25 picked about half way through the list. I had to go back and reverse some of those picks as I worked my way through the remainder of the list. I could have easily picked another 25. It just shows what a great decade the 80’s were for music.

  113. I couldn’t believe the Cure fans voted KMKMKM to the top. That album should have been a five song EP. All I Want, Catch, Just Like Heaven, One More Time, and The Perfect Girl. The rest of that album is just really boring guitar dirges with none of the magic, sparkle, and soul that The Cure represent. Which is problematic, because it says that a large number of Cure people will vote for anything Cure, regardless of quality.

    • The rest of that album is just really boring… apart from: The Kiss; Torture; If Only Tonight We Could Sleep; Why Can’t I Be You?; How Beautiful You Are…; The Snake Pit; Hey You !!!; Hot Hot Hot !!!; Like Cockatoos; Icing Sugar; A Thousand Hours; Shiver And Shake, and Fight.

    • and i didn’t vote for KMKMKM, i voted for the better Cure album THE TOP.
      THE TOP to the top!!!!

    • you’re out of your mind. i adore the cure, yet would never claim that all of their records are perfect. that said, again, you’re out of your mind. all i want is one of the weakest songs on the album (along with the snakepit, torture, shiver and shake and fight as far as non-amazing goes). but if like cockatoos, hey you, a thousand hours, how beautiful you are, if only tonight we could sleep, icing sugar, the kiss and hot hot hot are “dirges” to you, you might not know how to listen to music.

      • no srsly qotita, why would anyone respect your opinions, thats right opinions not facts, if you dont respect other people. music is subjective, different albums have different effects on different people……how u dont see this and think your opinions are right all the time….as if there is a right and wrong……you dont come off as a musicologist you come off as an ass, just sayin

  114. 1. XTC – Skylarking 2. Chameleons UK – Strange Times 3. Smiths – The Queen Is Dead 4. Talk Talk – Spirit Of Eden 5. Husker Du – Warehouse Songs And Stories 5. XTC – English Settlement 6. Husker Du – Flip Your Wig 7. XTC – Black Sea 8. Midnight Oil – 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 9. Peter Gabriel (melt) 10.The Lucy Show – Undone 11.Prefab Sprout – Two Wheels Good 12.The Dukes Of Stratosphear – Psonic Psunspot 13.Camper Van Beethoven – Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart 14.Chameleons UK – Script Of The Bridge 15.The db’S – The Sound Of Music 16.Talk Talk – The Color Of Spring 17.Peter Gabriel – So 18.The Jam – Sound Affects 19.The Connells – Boylan Heights 20.XTC – Oranges And Lemons 21.Pixies – Doolittle 22.Robyn Hitchcock – Queen Elvis 23.Mission Of Burma – Vs 24.The Replacements – Pleased To Meet Me 25.R.E.M. – Lifes Rich Pageant This was way too difficult.

  115. My brain hurts all of a sudden

  116. Thanjs

  117. really almost impossible. I put some that other people will find unbearably cheesy, like The Indigo Girls and Suzanne Vega, but man if there’d been more spots, I’d have included Front 242 and some other cool stuff.

    • i get how some people find the indigo girls and suzanne vega cheesy..but i actually find things like front 242 more cheesy. trying to be dark and aggro and edgy for the sake of it with nothing really emotional to convey.

  118. a-ha, Scoundrel Days
    Arcadia, So Red the Rose
    Camouflage, Voices & Images
    The Cult, Love
    The Cult, Electric
    The Cure, Disintegration
    The Cure, Pornography
    The Dead Milkmen, Big Lizard in My Backyard
    Depeche Mode, Some Great Reward
    Duran Duran, Duran Duran
    Duran Duran, Rio
    Erasure, The Innocents
    Front 242, Front By Front
    Information Society, Information Society
    Howard Jones, Dream into Action
    Love and Rockets, Express
    Ministry, The Land of Rape and Honey
    Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
    Nitzer Ebb, Belief
    R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant
    The Sisters of Mercy, First and Last and Always
    Skinny Puppy, Cleanse Fold and Manipulate
    Tears For Fears, Songs From the Big Chair
    Thompson Twins, Quick Step and Side Kick
    U2, The Joshua Tree

  119. So I just counted, I own or have owned 157 of these records at one time or another – and none of them are the Stone Roses! Never even heard that record at the time for whatever reason. I checked it out on Youtube recently just to see what all the fuss was about. Verdict: Eh.

    Anyway, does anyone remember “Desert Island Discs” in that old shopper Tower Records used to put out? I think that was supposed to be your all-time top 10, but 25 from the ’80s would definitely make a shipwreck tolerable. Now, time to vote …

    • I remember those “Desert Island Discs”! Always fun to read.

    • Listening to an album on YouTube is FAR from the best investment that, or any, album deserves. I’m sure much of your favorites wouldn’t sound nearly as good through YouTube. Putting on a record (or CD) and listening to it as it was intended, in order, while undistracted is part of the listening experience. Much of your love for your Top 25 derives from listening in this context I’d wager.
      Give that album another try…borrow or from somebody…as listen to it in the context you listened to albums in the 80’s.
      Not hating…just an innocent suggestion.

  120. Greg Hadley

    This was the decade that opened the divide between commercial radio play and what kids listened to on their own BUT thanks to college radio some of us were better educated

  121. Michael Larson

    Ranking the ’80s for me, top 5:

    1. Camper Van Beethoven, II & III
    2. Meat Puppets, II
    3. David Bowie, Scary Monsters
    4. Pixies, Doolittle
    5. Duran Duran, Big Thing

    • ‘Big Thing’ over Rio, Duran Duran, and 7? Wow, interesting… it had some good songs, but certainly nowhere at the level of those 3 masterpieces…

    • What stands out for you on “Big Thing”? I mean this non-acrimoniously; genuinely curious. Never got into that album, but may need to revisit.

      I love “Rio” and would def put that one in my top 25 of the decade.

  122. paul 23minutes

    Grand lps!

  123. I would have voted for some Del Fuegos, Long Ryders, Dream Syndicate, Scruffy The Cat. Oh well. Tough list. I had to limit myself to only one album per band to spread the love. I laugh at the kids who tell me the 80’s sucked for music. Nothing was better than scouring the bins, grabbing a beer and reading liner notes on a cold winter day!

  124. Way too hard to figure out. Just went with my gut.

  125. Hard to pick even just 25

  126. Its too hard to choose!

  127. Charlie Conner

    all that choice, and I’d STILL write in the Marshall Crenshaw debut album!!!

  128. Lexicon Of Love
    Ocean Rain
    Remain In Light
    Steve McQueen
    The Correct Use Of Soap
    …Pop, Post Punk and Art…

  129. Too many to choose from as always… What a great decade for music!!

  130. these would not be my top 25 of the 80s if i was considering albums outside of the realm of what’s considered alternative rock, nor would they be the top 25 if some of the albums that didn’t place in the top 50 of their years were on the ballot. but given these parameters, here you go:

    the cure — disintegration

    the sugarcubes — life’s too good

    peter gabriel — peter gabriel (3)

    the cure — kiss me, kiss me, kiss me

    sinead o’connor — the lion & the cobra

    kate bush — the sensual world

    prince — sign o’ the times

    r.e.m. — green

    joy division — closer

    10,000 maniacs — in my tribe

    peter gabriel — so

    tracy chapman — tracy chapman

    the cure — the head on the door

    indigo girls — indigo girls

    squeeze — east side story

    u2 — the joshua tree

    the the — mind bomb

    terence trent d’arby — introducing the hardline according to terence trent d’arby

    split enz — true colours

    squeeze — argybargy

    de la soul — 3 feet high and rising

    public enemy — it takes a nation of millions to hold us back

    midnight oil — diesel & dust

    peter murphy — deep

    depeche mode — black celebration

  131. Comment

  132. I know an album by The Smiths or U2 will be number #1

  133. Far not enough DEATH IN JUNE in this list, though BROWN BOOK is one of the greatest albums of ALL time!

  134. It'saswindo

    Only choosing 25 was tough! My choices in no particular were:

    Bad Brains – Bad Brains
    Bauhaus – Burning From The Inside
    Black Flag – Damaged
    The Clash – Combat Rock
    The Cramps – Songs The Lord Taught Us
    The Cure – Pornography
    Dead Kennedys – Plastic Surgery Disasters
    Devo – Freedom Of Choice
    Husker Du – Zen Arcade
    Jane’s Addiction – Nothing Shocking
    The Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands
    Joy Division – Closer
    Killing Joke – Killing Joke
    Killing Joke – What’s THIS For…!
    Misfits – Walk Among Us
    Minstry – The Mind’s A Terrible Thing To Taste
    Psychedelic Furs – Forever Now
    Pixies – Surfer Rosa
    Public Image Ltd – Album
    Ramones – Too Tough To Die
    The Replacements – Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash
    Skinny Puppy – Bites
    Social Distortion – Mommy’s Little Monster
    Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
    X – Los Angeles

    Can’t believe Descendents “Milo Goes To College” wasn’t on this list.

    • I thought about choosing ‘Bites’ but ultimately went with ‘Cleanse, Fold, and Manipulate’… Bites has some great songs, but I think CFM is just a better record…

  135. Greg Churchill

    Tough going that

  136. Awesome list. Plenty of Flying Nun ones I’d add if I could. And maybe some Firehose.

  137. The Smiths and Morrissey is the 80’s…..nuff said!

  138. All The Smiths albums and Morrissey’s Viva Hate then others

  139. An amazing decade of music we’ll never see or hear again.

  140. Too many good albums in that list… ! In a way, this list has made it clear to me again: voting for ‘the best’ (music) just doesn’t make sense. As much as I liked the previous ballots (they were much easier too!), this one is crazy!! It just makes no sense for me to vote the best albums of the eighties, because there were so many songs (and albums) that served as the soundtrack accompanying me though my ‘Sturm und Drang’… . It just doesn’t feel right to leave some out.

    “But don’t forget the songs
    That made you cry
    And the songs that saved your life
    Yes, you’re older now
    And you’re a clever swine
    But they were the only ones who ever stood by you”

    (Sic Morrissey/The Smiths).

  141. Great decade for music.

  142. Shannen Spence

    I don’t understand why there are bands on this list after Echo And The Bunnymen and the Cure. No other bands matter. If neither of them win,then people are more retaerded than I originally believed.

  143. john saetre

    dd rules

  144. This was fun but ultimately pointless and ridiculous as are all such popularity contests.

  145. siouxsie all the way

  146. This was so difficult with only 25! :)

  147. Great

  148. As much as I love The Cure (and to a lesser extent the Smiths), I hope the top 10 isn’t simply stacked with their records.

    My voting philosophy…
    * Chose all albums from my absolute favorite band on this list. They’re my favorite records; why shouldn’t they all end up as part of my top 25?
    * Limited my choices from two or three other “favorite” bands to my top couple favorite records from them.
    * Filled out the rest of the list with other albums I played incessantly, AND albums I recognize as watershed/important to the genre.

    • The only law, for me, here is that you are bound to include an album by your favorite artist simple because they are your favorite artist. For me, New Order, taking their discography as a whole, are definitely in my Top 10 fave 80’s bands…yet other than ‘Substance’ (not eligible), they don’t have a knockout solid album. I’d argue they were more a great singles band. I like their first 5 albums a lot…but none in my top 25.
      Just my 2 cents. Where is your list? =)

  149. We should only be able to vote for one album per band. This would result in a more varied selection and prevent the inevitable Smiths/Cure fest.

  150. MasTeR Dj VícToR

    Amazing compilation, very hard to choose !!!

  151. adam/ants – kings of the wild frontier, prince charming
    bauhaus – in the flat field, mask
    cure – pornography, the top, head on the door, disintergration,
    depeche mode – some great reward, black celebration,
    jane’s addiction – nothings shocking,
    joy division – closer,
    love/rockets – seventh dream of teenage heaven,
    metallica – and justice for all,
    ministry – the mind is a terrible thing to taste,
    peter murphy – love hysteria,
    nine inch nails – pretty hate machine,
    pixies – dolittle,
    prince – sign o the times,
    siouxsie/banshees – a kiss in the dream house, kaleidoscope, juju,
    soft cell – non stop erotic caberet,
    tears for fears – the hurting,
    tones on tail – pop.
    at first i thought that this would be a piece of cake. then my eye started to twitch, then my stomach ached, then my head spinned. i kinda feel like i’m cheating on some of my other favorites but these 25 albums have been there through thick and thin, good times and bad. cherished favoites. M

  152. no English Beat or Sparks?
    Ultravox omission: Lament

    • Charlie Conner

      they chose to omit “English” from the band name…they are known as “The Beat” everywhere outside the U.S.
      …but I’m sure you knew that, right?

      • They didn’t “omit” the ‘English’ prefix. They ADDED it in the US later to avoid comparisons/misunderstandings to a US band with the same name.

  153. Unfortunately, the best Smiths album (Louder Than Bombs) and the best New Order album (Substance) are not eligible.

  154. Incredibly tough!! I did write two in though, so that made narrowing it down even harder.

    My choices were based on a combination of all the things we love about music – time & place, emotional value, number of times played…and all are treated like extended members of my family and have a familiarity that makes each timeless.

    That didn’t make it easier, but here goes (in no order):

    Sad Lovers And Giants – The Mirror Test
    Icehouse – Primitive Man
    Chameleons – Script Of The Bridge
    Chameleons – What Does Anything Mean, Basically?
    The Church – Heyday
    The Cure – The Head On The Door
    Duran Duran – Rio
    The Human League – Dare
    Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
    Killing Joke – Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
    Killing Joke – Nighttime
    Kraftwerk – Computer World
    Love And Rockets – Express
    New Order – Movement
    New Order – Technique
    The Police – Ghost In The Machine
    R.E.M. – Murmur
    Roxy Music – Avalon
    Simple Minds – New Gold Dream (81, 82, 83, 84)
    Sisters Of Mercy – First And Last And Always
    The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
    The Sound – From The Lion’s Mouth
    Tears For Fears – The Hurting
    The The – Soul Mining
    XTC – Skylarking

    And here’s two non-alternative (but to me, ever so vital faves that would otherwise make the 25):

    Level 42 – World Machine
    Level 42 – The Pursuit Of Accidents

  155. Drum roll please – (alphabetical order)

    Wild Planet – The B-52’s
    I Just Can’t Stop It – English Beat
    Scary Monsters – David Bowie
    Sandinista! – The Clash
    Imperial Bedroom – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
    Freedom of Choice – DEVO
    Ocean Rain – Echo & The Bunnymen
    Fire of Love – Gun Club
    Sound Affects – The JAM
    Ghost in the Machine – The Police
    Pretenders – The Pretenders
    Talk, Talk, Talk – Psychedelic Furs
    Murmur – R.E.M.
    Reckoning – R.E.M.
    More Specials – The Specials
    True Colours – Split Enz
    Stone Roses – Stone Roses
    Remain In Light – Talking Heads
    Speaking In Tongues – Talking Heads
    Soul Mining – The The
    Boy – U2
    Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
    More Fun In The New World – X
    English Settlement – XTC
    Skylarking – XTC

    • How sad that the bunnymen, psychedelic furs and Love and Rockets are so under represented… even tho I love XTC, i think they are OVER REPRESENTED!!!

      • The Psychedelic Furs have the same amount of albums represented here as XTC. Echo and the Bunnymen have only one less.

    • I have my top ten list below (far below). Just wanted to comment that the Pretenders first album narrowly missed my top ten. Such a great disc. Great job putting it on your list. FIve of your discs are in my list (six, if you count the Beat — but I picked Special Beat Service).

  156. Major Sophie’s Choice syndrome. Damn that was hard.

  157. Matt Thurston

    Depeche Mode was my favorite band during the 80s. And yet, when I rank my Top 25 of the 80s as of 2013, not a single Depeche Mode album cracks my Top 25. Funny.

    • Like New Order…they are more a “singles’ band. That’s why Substance is the greatest ever compilation. There isn’t a NO album that is pure perfection, though a couple of DM albums come close.

  158. Matt Thurston

    Absolute No-Brainers:

    The Cure – Disintegration
    The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
    Echo & the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
    U2 – The Joshua Tree
    The The – Mind Bomb
    X – Los Angeles
    Talk Talk – Colour of Spring
    New Order – Low Life
    The Pixies – Doolittle
    Kate Bush – The Hounds of Love
    REM – Document
    The Replacements – Pleased to Meet Me

    Everything else is debatable…

    • I have to say that I agree with the vast majority of your choices (although I’d substitute the stone roses for all of them, but particularly for Kate Bush and U2). I comment only for two (ok three reasons). First, good call on X. It’s incredible how people forget just how mind-blowing that album was. Ditto on Ocean Rain, which I argued and continue to argue is the best album of its year. But the main thing driving this comment is the choice of Document over Murmur (and everything else REM produced in between, really). I understand everyone has an opinion, but I am baffled on this pick. Please make me understand!!!! No disrespect intended.

      • Matt Thurston

        Brian, good catch. I meant Murmur. Document isn’t even my 2nd or 3rd favorite REM record, let alone top ten of the 80s. I’d rank Reckoning, Life’s Rich Pageant, and Automatic for the People ahead of Document. Brain fart, I guess.

  159. My 25 (* the 10 I voted for):

    Marc Almond – The Stars We Are
    Aztec Camera – Love
    Big Country – The Seer *
    Jackson Browne – Lives in the Balance
    Camper Van Beethoven – Key Lime Pie (or II & III) *
    The Church – Heyday *
    Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – Rattlesnakes (or Mainstream)
    Dexys Midnight Runners – Too-Rye-Ay
    The Durutti Column – Domo Arigato *
    Felt – Forever Breathes the Lonely Word
    The Go-Betweens – 16 Lovers Lane *
    Robyn Hitchcock – I Often Dream of Trains (or Black Snake Diamond Role) *
    Hoodoo Gurus – Blow Your Cool!
    Joe Jackson – Big World *
    The Jesus and Mary Chain – Barbed Wire Kisses
    Level 42 – Running in the Family
    Love and Money – Strange Kind of Love *
    Men Without Hats – Pop Goes the World *
    New Order – Substance
    Pet Shop Boys – Please
    Prefab Sprout – Steve McQueen
    R.E.M. – Fables of the Reconstruction *
    Simply Red – Picture Book
    Siouxsie and the Banshees – Through the Looking Glass
    Tears for Fears – Songs From the Big Chair

    Still have to leave out some favorites from All About Eve, The Cars, Deacon Blue, The Housemartins, Momus, Orange Juice, The Style Council…

  160. Cure best ever band from ’80 year

  161. Honestly alternative 80’s music should never be a ‘pop’ularuty contest because it was against all that, but I voted any way.

  162. Christian Wierer

    Greatest from 80’s

  163. This is frickin’ impossible. I picked 69 in total.

  164. 195 comments, only 10 mentions of the greatest band ever, XTC. To the majority of unknowing music lovers out there, do yourselves a favor and listen to XTC. Your heart, mind and ears will thank you for it! Word ;)

    • :)…….specially black sea and english settlement……and….and…

    • Inexplicably, XTC’s critical acclaim heavily outweighs their popularity. Sadly, their meticulously crafted, richly textured, highly melodic “quirky” pop goes over a lot of heads (must be all the chord changes).

  165. Tender Branson

    Shriekback’s Care should be on the list. I would have written it in but I forgot about it until I reflected back or my ’80s listening habits.

  166. Eugene Kluichnikov

    Only Erasure. Always Erasure. Everywhere Erasure.

  167. This was a hard decision!

  168. bas cordewener

    80-ies are cool!

  169. What the f*** are Spandau Ballet doing on this list? 3 albums? Otherwise spot on.

  170. This was so difficult. Depeche Mode and New Order were definitely in my vote.

  171. The Cure!!! The best of the 80’s.

  172. Only one Lou Reed album on here and it’s not The Blue Mask?

    The Jacobites’ Robespierre’s Velvet Basement was my write-in.

  173. David Speirs

    That was so difficult but chose the bands and albums that I liked and influenced me thru the 80’s.
    So not to complicate things I stuck to the published list.
    Good memories though.

  174. What a decade…

  175. So many great records to choose from, very difficult like Sophie’s choice

  176. this has been fun. i look forward to more.

  177. I wonder if the singles will be up next…

  178. Tough!

  179. #1 siouxsie and the banshees
    #2 the cure
    #3 depeche mode
    #4 echo and the bunnymen
    #5 the smiths!!!!!fave bands in THAT order….oh but this isnt for fave bands …FAIL!!!!

    • the 90’s fail by comparison…. even the greatest bands didn’t typically produce their finest material in the 90’s ……the 80’s were the best!!!!!

  180. Only 25? No fair! Top 50 would have been nicer :) Ahhh..so many lovely memories (which I still listen to on a daily basis)

  181. impossible to choose only 25….

  182. Tough choice, but I had to settle with this:

    Aztec Camera, High Land, Hard Rain
    The Blue Nile, Hats
    The Chameleons, What Does Anything Mean? Basically
    Cocteau Twins, Blue Bell Knoll
    Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Rattlesnakes
    The Cure, Seventeen Seconds
    Depeche Mode, A Broken Frame
    Echo & The Bunnymen, Ocean Rain
    Galaxie 500, On Fire
    The Go-Betweens, Tallulah
    Japan, Tin Drum
    The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy
    Joy Division, Closer
    Modern English, After the Snow
    My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything
    New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies
    The Ocean Blue, The Ocean Blue
    Prefab Sprout, Steve McQueen (aka Two Wheels Good)
    Propaganda, A Secret Wish
    Roxy Music, Avalon
    The Smiths, Meat is Murder
    The Style Council, Cafe Bleu (aka ‘My Ever Changing Moods’)
    Talk Talk, It’s My Life
    Tears For Fears, The Hurting
    Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth

  183. Hope the ‘Mats get some love. Great band.

  184. Robert Logie

    I’m sure many of us feel the same – way too difficult to pick just 25!!!

  185. That was hard! My 4 favorite bands got 2 albums each. Here’s my list, in alphabetical order by artist.

    Big Black – Songs About Fucking
    David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
    Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
    Devo – Freedom Of Choice
    Joy Division – Closer
    Ministry – The Land Of Rape And Honey
    Minutemen – Double Nickels On The Dime
    My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything
    Sinead O’Connor – The Lion And The Cobra
    Pixies – Surfer Rosa
    Pixies – Doolittle
    Pretenders – Pretenders
    Public Image Ltd. – The Flowers Of Romance
    Lou Reed – New York
    Siouxsie & The Banshees – Kaleidoscope
    Siouxsie & The Banshees – Juju
    Sisters Of Mercy – Floodland
    Sonic Youth – Sister
    Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
    The Sugarcubes – Life’s Too Good
    Talking Heads – Remain In Light
    Talking Heads – Little Creatures
    They Might Be Giants – Lincoln
    Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
    X – Los Angeles

    I could’ve voted for so many more…..

  186. paul 23minutes

    Too many great lps to select

  187. Very tough to get to 25

  188. Here are my picks (By the way, the entire list is awesome):

    Duran Duran-Duran Duran
    ABC-Lexicon of Love
    The Cure-Pornography
    The Cure-Seventeen Seconds
    The Cure-Faith
    Gang of Four-Solid Gold
    Sisters of Mercy-First, Last and Always
    Split Enz-True Colours
    Tears for Fears-The Hurting
    Roxy Music-Avalon
    Brian Ferry-Bete Noire
    Smiths-Meat is Murder
    Frankie Goes to Hollywood-Welcome to the Pleasuredome
    Simple Minds-Sparkle in the Rain
    Love and Rockets-Express
    Love and Rockets-Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven
    Joy Division-Closer

    Tough task, I had to omit a lot (and think about how much I really liked the album.)

  189. Wasn’t PIL Second Edition/Metal Box from the 80s?

  190. That was hard. And incomplete.

  191. Pixies! Cramps! Sonic Youth!

  192. So many left off. In the end tho, had to go with:

    The Cult: Love
    The Cure: Seventeen Seconds, Head on the Door, Disintegration
    Depeche Mode: Music for the Masses
    Duran: Rio
    INXS: Kick
    Jane’s Addiction: Nothing’s Shocking
    Love & Rockets: Earth Sun Moon
    Ministry: Mind
    Modern English: After the Snow
    Morrissey: Viva Hate
    New Order: Technique
    Pixies: Surfer Rosa, Doolittle
    Psychedelic Furs: Talk Talk Talk
    R.E.M.: Life’s Rich Pageant, Document
    Smiths: Meat, Strangeways
    Stone Roses: st
    Sugarcubes: Life’s Too Good
    Tears for Fears: The Hurting
    TMBG: Lincoln
    U2: War
    Violent Femmes: st

  193. This was so nearly an impossible task that I almost gave up. I’m sure compiling this list to start with was an exercise in futility. I had to write in a couple of votes though, Game Theory – Lolita Nation is a rather glaring omission, and The Brains – The Brains just because it’s personal favorite and means so much to me personally. Great job though!

  194. I thought 25 picks would be easy but I had to re-do my list several times. Some of my picks: Bauhaus, Depeche Mode X2, Duran Duran, The Cure, Erasure, INXS, Jane’s Addiction, Love and Rockets, Ministry, Peter Murphy, Nine Inch Nails, Oingo Boingo X2, Pet Shop Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, REM, The Smiths, Soft Cell, U2, Violent Femmes, and X

  195. Here are mine. All culled from the list except for Slayer’s “Reign in Blood.” Have no idea why that one wasn’t on there, while “. . . And Justice for All Was.” Both amazing albums, but Reign is clearly the better.

    *Black Flag*, Damaged
    Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
    The Cure, Pornography
    Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
    Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction
    The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy
    Joy Division, Closer
    Love and Rockets, Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven
    Metallica, …And Justice For
    Ministry, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
    Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime
    N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton
    New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies
    Sinead O’Connor, The Lion and the Cobra
    Pet Shop Boys, Please
    Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions . . .
    Lou Reed, New York
    Slayer, Reign in Blood (write in)
    The Smiths, The Queen is Dead
    Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
    The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
    Talk Talk, Spirit of Eden
    Talking Heads, Remain in Light
    U2, War
    Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes

  196. I was so inspired by Matt Thurston’s list, that I had to come up with one of my own. I’m only doing ten as well, and it is VERY HARD to do. Not in any order (except the first and second).

    The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses. My number one of all time. I know that lots of people disagree. But I have never heard a better album than this. The guitar work is beautiful, on a level with Johnny Marr’s best (“Elephant Stone” is a great example) – even surpassing Marr on tracks like “I Am the Resurrection” and “Fool’s Gold” (yes, I know the latter was only on the revised US version of the album (same with Elephant Stone). So, if Marr and John Squire are pretty much on par, why is the Stone Roses better than the best Smiths record? Reni. The greatest drummer of his age. Sorry, Mike Joyce, you are not in the discussion. Then throw on a singer with no voice to speak of, but somehow makes every word he sings drip with utter and profound coolness. (Not to take anything away from Morrisey, but, imho, not nearly as cool). The songs are upbeat, but not too poppy. Uplifting, but not preachy like u2. Just perfection.

    The Smiths – Queen is Dead. No reason to really explain the greatness of this album. And while some songs don’t quite pass the masterpiece test (“some girls are bigger than others” “I know it’s over”), they are all still pretty damn good. And the stand out tracks (everything else) are just amazing. Some of the lyrics are ridiculously pretentious – “Keats and Yeats are on your side
    while Wilde is on mine”), but it all somehow works. And for every pretentious lyric, they give you a profoundly beautiful one (Take me out tonight, Where there’s music and there’s people
    Who are young and alive”). Such a unique band. I hope they never reform because I love the memories I have of them and the vast amounts of time I spent in my youth listening to them

    Replacements – Let it Be. Incredible band. Just about everything they did could be in this list. Had to only pick one. Let it Be, in my opinion, beats out Pleased to Meet Me for “answering machine” and “unsatisfied,” the latter being my favorite Mats song.

    Echo – Ocean Rain. Everyone knows the hits. But the album tracks are even better. My Kingdom is the perfect Echo song. And Ocean Rain, the song that is, is maybe the most moving song from the decade. I’d bet 80% of people who vote here have never heard either one. That’s sad, so hopefully I’m wrong about that. I would have had no problem if they had cut “Yo-Yo Man,” but I can forgive that for all the other songs.

    Jane’s Addiction – Nothing Shocking. Right from up the beach, I was sold. It’s sad how pathetic the members of this band have become. I can overlook all of that when I put on this disc though. Maybe it’s ironic (or maybe I think I’m just too cool for school – chances are), but I never cared for Jane’s Says. It’s the other songs on the album that are mind-blowing – from the heroin vibe of Summertime Rolls to the all out fury of Idiots Rule, this album blew the doors off of what was heavy, alternative, goth or whatever other stale categories existed before it obliterated all of them.

    The Clash – Sandinista. No explanation needed, except to say that London Calling is not eligible because it was released in 79. Otherwise, that would be here as well and 2 on my all-time list – good argument that it should be number one, but I stick with the stone roses).

    Love and Rockets – Express. In my view, Express beats all albums by the Cure, siouxsie and everything else in that highly competitive genre. I know Cure fans go nuts when they hear this. And, I like the cure (although, unlike most people here, I don’t particularly like Disintegration). But as far as a start to finish album, I’ll go Express over any Cure album [might not be saying that if Kiss MEx3 was a single disc].) The funny part is that I never thought all that much of anything Love and Rockets did after it.

    REM – Murmur. The album that gave birth to indie music, redefined college radio, and has “shaking through.” — That adds up to one of the best albums ever. I loved this band until Out of Time (didn’t like that or anything else after). I’d say their string of albums from 83-89 is on par with the best ever [seriously, I’m talking Beatles 65-69, Zeppelin’s first five discs, the Smiths output – REM in the 80s is right there].

    X – Los Angeles. X just doesn’t get the credit they deserve. I remember for years, Rolling Stone (when it was still relevant) named them the best band in America. They were (or at least seriously in the discussion), and this was their best album (closely followed by Wild Gift). I still remember hearing Los Angeles on the radio and thinking, that is the coolest song I’ve ever heard. Granted, I was only 10 at the time, but I still feel the same way.

    English Beat – Special Beat Service. In terms of the Ska movement, the Beat always have lived (and rightfully should live) in the shadows of the Specials. That’s fair since the Specials had it all. But even so, this album is a track for track classic. And, in the end, wasn’t ska good enough to place two discs in the top ten? Yes, the answer you are looking for is yes.

    Specials – the Specials. See above. If, however, there can be only one Ska disc, I’ll replace one with the Violent Femmes first album.

    So there is it is. The definitive list. Everyone else just simply agree and stop typing because, if I have learned nothing from a certain frequent poster here – looking at you Qotita – once you have an opinion, you are totally right. And if anyone disagrees, there are, like, “idiots” and “wrong” and “not real Cure fans” – that last one makes me laugh the most.

    • BTW — I did not include any hip hop on the list. But if I was including hip hop, I would include the following:

      Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique;
      PE – Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back; and Eric B. Rakim – Paid in Full.

    • You have fabulous taste!!

  197. I had to revise several times..Almost every album on this list is a great record (depending on your tastes and mood. Even after my revisions I had to keep 3 New Order releases on-Power,Corruption,Lies Low Life and Brotherhood. What a fun poll for this year! Thank you for your research, passion and time for putting this together SUE! Maybe a 90’s poll is upcoming?

  198. Long live the 1980’s!

  199. Great poll! Hard to choose.

  200. very hard to choose only 25.

  201. Tammy Kessel

    So many great artists, so many good times…

  202. Bob van Rees


  203. Charlie Conner

    I feel compelled to share my list, after reading so many others. As an added Bonus, I’ll share my voting criteria! So…without further ado…

    • ABC “Lexicon of Love”
    • The B-52’s “Wild Thing”
    • The (English) Beat “Special Beat Service”
    • The Clash “Combat Rock”
    • Marshall Crenshaw “Marshall Crenshaw” my write-in vote…
    • Elvis Costello “Get Happy!!!”
    • Elvis Costello “Trust”
    • Elvis Costello “Imperial Bedroom”
    • Elvis Costello (a.k.a. The Costello Show) “King of America”
    • Crowded House “Crowded House”
    • Depeche Mode “Black Celebration”
    • Duran Duran “Rio”
    • Peter Gabriel “So”
    • Joe Jackson “Night and Day”
    • R.E.M. “Murmur”
    • R.E.M. “Fables of the Reconstruction”
    • R.E.M. “Life’s Rich Pageant”
    • Roxy Music “Avalon”
    • Simple Minds “Sparkle in the Rain”
    • The Smithereens “11”
    • The Smiths “The Smiths”
    • The Smiths “The Queen is Dead”
    • Squeeze “East Side Story”
    • Squeeze “Sweets From a Stranger”
    • Talking Heads “Speaking in Tongues”

    My voting was based on personal experience, not based on an album’s reputation. No revisionist history here! For me, was the album mind-blowing at the time? Does it hold up to repeated listens even today? Was it a breakthrough album for the artist or represented the artist at a high point in their career? If I were to introduce this album to a friend in their 20s who never heard of this album, would it rock their world?

    Being limited to 25 albums, it was painstaking to go through this list, leaving off some all time favorite bands, and even some VERY highly regarded albums. This was BRUTAL! But…that’s how this poll is set up, so I got to vote by the rules. I’m curious to see the results!

    By the way…looks like my voting confirms how strong 1982 was for music! :)

    • I cannot be critical of another’s choices, but keeping it to one album per artist would have made for a more diverse list and thus resolved, somewhat, leaving off other albums that you found hard to. Four Costello albums??? How could they all have been breakthrough and high points when they were all released within a 6 year span, three within 2 years? Not busting your chops unnecessarily…just peeking into your thought process. Great choices!

      • Charlie Conner

        to answer…Elvis Costello maintained such a high threshold of quality that Get Happy!!!, Trust, and Imperial Bedroom (one of my all time favorite albums ever) certainly qualifies. As for King of America, there were some questions if he could rebound from the missteps of his album Goodbye Cruel World, especially without The Atractions.
        Then there’s R.E.M., who I would stack their first 5 albums against anybody. It was difficult to narrow those down to the 3 I did list.
        Squeeze were at their apex during ’80-’82, but I had to exclude Argybargy for Sweets because Sweets is my first Squeeze album.
        The Smiths? no explanation necessary. I just felt their debut and the all-timer The Queen is Dead were their best.
        Limiting voting to one album per artist would be criminal. Believe me, limiting the overall total to 25 was hard enough!

  204. André Milagres

    Three best albums for me: Psychocandy, Low Life and Victorialand.

  205. A few of us have voted for Titles by Mick Karn, hope it gets some more votes. Also I hope some vote for Dalis Car, The Waking Hour.
    Many thanks for setting this up and all the great work you do here, the support for our event for Mick’s Birthday last year was appreciated by us all. Hopefully soo you for the next one 24/07/2014
    All good wishes,
    Penelope TMK

  206. A few of us have voted for Titles by Mick Karn, hope it gets some more votes. Also I hope some vote for Dalis Car, The Waking Hour.
    Many thanks for setting this up and all the great work you do here, the support for our event for Mick’s Birthday last year was appreciated by us all. Hopefully see you for the next one 24/07/2014
    All good wishes,
    Penelope TMK

  207. I voted Arcadia and Duran Duran

  208. I voted Duran Duran, Arcadia, and the power station

  209. Paul Michael Shields

    Only 50 to choose from…
    There are too many great acts in this voting poll to limit it to 50..
    That said thanks for the opportunity to do so…

  210. Love it!

  211. Sure miss this music!

  212. I’m not sure if or how I’d fit any of these into my list of 25, but I think they all deserved to be candidates:
    Clock DVA, Thirst
    Einstürzende Neubauten, Zeichnungen des Patienten O. T.
    Einstürzende Neubauten, Halber Mensch
    Brian Eno, Ambient 4: On Land
    Edward Ka-Spel, AaΔzhyd, China Doll
    Legendary Pink Dots, Brighter Now
    Legendary Pink Dots, Any Day Now
    Material, One Down
    Lou Reed, The Blue Mask
    Savage Republic, Tragic Figures
    Swans, Filth
    Swans, Greed
    Swans, Holy Money
    Swans, Children of God
    Translator, Heartbeats and Triggers (I can’t overemphasize this one)
    Vangelis, Blade Runner soundtrack (though this might have come out later: I recall it had legal entanglements.)
    Yello, You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess

    Also, I would’ve figured at least one ’80s King Crimson LP would be on there.

    • I remember hearing “Neal and Jack and Me” and “Three of a Perfect Pair” on college radio during the 80’s but not often. Prog bands were frowned upon by the indie scene.

  213. Although it felt like a cultural void at the time, there was some great music that came out of the 80s.

  214. I was doing so well rationing my votes until I decided I needed to vote for all six R.E.M. albums :-(

  215. 10,000 Maniacs, In My Tribe
    The B-52s, Wild Planet
    The Church, Starfish
    The Cult, Love
    The Cure, Disintegration
    Echo & The Bunnymen, Echo & The Bunnymen
    Hüsker Dü, Warehouse: Songs and Stories
    Billy Idol, Billy Idol
    INXS, Listen Like Thieves
    Jane’s Addiction, Nothing’s Shocking
    The Jesus and Mary Chain, Automatic
    Joy Division, Closer
    Missing Persons, Spring Session M
    New Order, Low-Life
    Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
    Sinead O’Connor, The Lion and the Cobra
    Pixies, Doolittle
    Pretenders, Learning to Crawl
    Public Image Ltd., Album
    Lou Reed, New York
    R.E.M., Green
    R.E.M., Murmur
    The Replacements, Tim
    The Sisters of Mercy, Floodland
    U2, The Joshua Tree

  216. So glad I found this website. I was actually searching for comments om Music Choice’s decision to drop Classic Alternative from their lineup (the album list above is essentially the playlist) this week. Then I saw the poll and could not resist.

    Choosing from these really made me thing what was a good _full_ album (cassette!) or what was significant. I loved Adam and the Ants, but in the end (given the other options) could only vote for “Kings of the Wild Frontier.” The only other slam dunks for me were “Combat Rock,” “The Unforgettable Fire,” “Reach the Beach,” and “Special Beat Service.” Other than that, I changed so much I do not remember the whole final list.

    I have a fond spot personally for Falco’s “Einzelhaft,” but get why it is not on the list as a) “Der Kommissar” is the only song anyone would recognize and b) it is all in German (and I myself had trouble with some of the Vienna idioms).

    All in all, this is a fantastic site, and I am happy to have found it. The 80’s were High School and college for me, and I will always be biased towards this decade in music. I once had a student of mine slam the music of the 80’s, and I asked her, “well, who are you talking about?” “Madonna and MC Hammer.” “Well we in the 80’s didn’t think they were any good either!” Ah, the Millennials…they do know good music once they hear it! (no offense intended to any here)

  217. This was not easy.

    B-52’s, Wild Planet
    The Beat, Special Beat Service
    The Church, Starfish
    The Clash, Combat Rock
    Elvis Costello, Spike
    The Cure, Disintegration
    Depeche Mode, Music for the Masses
    Men at Work, Business as Usual
    Morrissey, Viva Hate
    Sinead O’Connor, Lion and the Cobra
    Pixies, Doolittle
    Pixies, Surfer Rosa
    Pretenders, Pretenders
    REM, Green
    The Smiths, The Smiths
    The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead
    The Smiths, Meat Is Murder
    The Smiths, Strangeways Here We Come
    The Sugarcubes, Life’s Too Good
    Tears for Fears, Songs From the Big Chair
    The The, Soul Mining
    The The, Infected
    The The, Mind Bomb (my all-time favorite album)
    Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
    X, More Fun in the Real World

  218. I picked I what love the most! It wasn’t a creative 25 but I love The Smiths, TheThe, Depeche Mode (Black Celebration & Music for the Masses are my favs), Pixies Doolittle, Ocean Blue, The Clash, Echo & The Bunnymen, Ministry, Joy Division, Love & Rockets Earth Sun Moon, and aha Scoundrel Days! I am sure I left off something & I could pick even another 25 or more :-)

  219. I opted for my favorites than stating objectively what the best were. Oh well. And where’s Richard Marx? Geez!!!

  220. One of the best lists I have seen.

    I would also add a lot more Fall albums, especially Grotesque.

  221. Bad Brains, Bad Brains
    The Birthday Party, Prayers On Fire
    Black Flag, Damaged
    Billy Bragg, Brewing Up with Billy Bragg
    The Chameleons, Script of the Bridge
    The Cure, Seventeen Seconds
    Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
    Dinosaur Jr, Dinosaur
    Echo & The Bunnymen, Crocodiles
    Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade
    The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy
    Joy Division, Closer
    Killing Joke, Killing Joke
    Minor Threat, Out of Step
    Minutemen, What Makes a Man Start Fires?
    Mission of Burma, Vs
    My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything
    R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant
    The Replacements, Let It Be
    Siouxsie and the Banshees, Juju
    The Smiths, The Queen is Dead
    Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
    The Sound, From the Lions Mouth
    The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
    Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth

  222. Ian Stephenson

    I understand specifically 80’s bands were included, but King Crimson also made a very important album, Discipline.

    • the list was compiled from the results of the top 50 from each of the previous yearly polls for 80-89. so anything omitted from this list that came out, say, in 1981, either didn’t make the voter’s top 100 from 81 at all, or placed below the top 50 of that year. it’s not about “80s” bands per se, even if the bands had significant works here, many of them started out in the mid to late 70s. Joy Division for instance, was already over by 1980, but their last album didn’t come out til the beginning of that year.

  223. The Jam is the most underrated band ever. Sound Effects is a masterpiece.

  224. I’m still whittling down — somehow I pared it down from 42 to 29, and I simply don’t know what to get rid of at this point. AAAAUGH!!!

  225. I put ‘Titles’ by Mick Karb*…
    I of course meant ‘Titles’ by Mick Karn, which took about two weeks to write and record in 1982 and is an enduring work of genius.

    (‘Titles’ by Mick Karb is rubbish.)

  226. holy fuck me, that was hard

  227. How can you forget: Wham Make it Big and Michael Jackson Thriller?

  228. Had to write in “See How We Are” by X.

  229. I was able to get it to 32 rather decisively, but the final cuts weren’t as easy. I am completely remorseful that I created a list without an XTC or Talk Talk album on it.

    1. Kate Bush, The Dreaming
    2. The Go-Betweens, 16 Lovers Lane
    3. The Smiths, The Queen is Dead
    4. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
    5. R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant
    6. Suzanne Vega, Solitude Standing
    7. Cocteau Twins, Blue Bell Knoll
    8. The Cure, Seventeen Seconds
    9. Prefab Sprout, Steve McQueen (aka Two Wheels Good)
    10. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Tinderbox
    11. Cocteau Twins, Treasure
    12. The Chameleons, Script of the Bridge
    13. R.E.M., Murmur
    14. The Smiths, The Smiths
    15. The Cure, The Head on the Door
    16. Kate Bush, The Sensual World
    17. Suzanne Vega, Suzanne Vega
    18. New Order, Low-Life
    19. New Order, Brotherhood
    20. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Dazzle Ships
    21. Pretenders, Pretenders
    22. Tears For Fears, Songs From the Big Chair
    23. The Housemartins, The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death
    24. Skinny Puppy, Cleanse Fold and Manipulate
    25. The Ocean Blue, The Ocean Blue

  230. Got to 25 too quickly. Wasn’t able to write in Decline and Fall of Western Civilization soundtrack…

  231. How about Priest, Maiden, Megadeth, Slayer, or Faith No More

  232. Had to write in Culture Club/Colour By Numbers and Cyndi Lauper/She’s So Unusual — both iconic LPs.

    The B-52s, Wild Planet
    The B-52s, Cosmic Thing
    The Blue Nile, A Walk Across the Rooftops
    The Blue Nile, Hats
    Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Get Happy!!
    Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Imperial Bedroom
    Crowded House, Crowded House
    The Cure, The Head on the Door
    Eurythmics, Be Yourself Tonight
    Eurythmics, Touch
    Peter Gabriel, So
    INXS, Listen Like Thieves
    Joe Jackson, Night and Day
    The Ocean Blue, The Ocean Blue
    Pretenders, Learning to Crawl
    Pretenders, Pretenders
    The Smiths, Meat is Murder
    The Smiths, The Queen is Dead
    Talking Heads, Little Creatures
    Tears For Fears, Songs From the Big Chair
    Thompson Twins, Into the Gap
    U2, The Joshua Tree
    Suzanne Vega, Solitude Standing
    The Waterboys, This Is the Sea

    and p.s. to Jack – Charlie isn’t the only one who can easily see including four Elvis Costello albums in a Top 25. Each one is a complete stylistic departure from the one before. It pained me to limit several artists to only 2 albums each, but that was as low as I could go. The heart wants what it wants, lol.

    Also, I would have loved to include Prince and De La Soul in my list, but I just can’t see them as part of this genre. I worked in college radio from 83-87, and Prince wasn’t in the same rotation as the other 99% of these artists at our station. But that’s just my own personal experience.

  233. Very interested to see if Prefab Sprout’s Steve McQueen makes the cut. Not terribly popular in the U.S. But I find myself going back to it more often that a lot of LP’s– timeless & beautiful.

  234. Big Country- The Crossing
    Hoodoo Gurus- Stoneage Romeos
    Aztec Camera- High Land, Hard Rain
    The Cure Head on the Door
    Woodentops- Giant
    Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come
    The Cars- Panorama
    Prefab Sprout- Steve McQueen (Two Wheels Good)
    Love Tractor- Themes From Venus
    The Call- Reconciled
    The Young Fresh Fellows- The Men Who Loved Music
    Rush- Signals
    Jazz Butcher- Distressed Gentlefolk
    Jazz Butcher- Bloody Nonsense
    R.E.M.- Fables of the Reconstruction
    The Go-Betweens- 16 Lovers Lane
    The Ramones- End of the Century
    David Bowie- Scary Monsters
    Tom Waits- Rain Dogs
    The Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come
    Dexy’s Midnight Runners- Too-Rye-Ay
    Screaming Blue Messiahs- Gun Shy
    Pixies- Doolittle
    Camper van Beethoven- Camper van Beethoven
    Love & Rockets- Express
    …and quite a few others

    • Nice pick with Distressed Gentlefolk! The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy was sadly overlooked. “Angels” would make my top ten songs of the decade.

  235. Depeche Mode’s Violator is missing.

  236. I needed AT LEAST two more votes. What a list!

  237. Write-in for Cramps – A Date w/Elvis — CLASSIC!

  238. The Plimsouls’ self-titled is listed but not the more popular of their two, “Everywhere At Once,” which featured “A Million Miles Away.”

    Also, why no Jim Carroll Band “Catholic Boy?” It was released in 1980.

  239. INXS, the best!!!!! I miss you Michael Hutchence! You was the best frontman ever!

  240. Echo and the bunnymen – self titled was a great album for me…

  241. That took way too long! I had to come up with a system to vote…1) how many cassettes of the one album did I wear out? 2) Did I buy it on cassette, vinyl and eventually CD? 3) Just how far nuts did I drive my parents by constantly asking them to play that album in the car? I think about what my kids listen to and I just shake my head…there was no better way to be then a Freak in the 80’s.

  242. My own personal “Sophie’s Choice.”
    I left off some that everyone else will vote for (I’m looking at you, Depeche, Cure, Siouxsie, Echo, Smiths) and tried to give extra love to the danceable side of the 80’s! Enjoy!

    1 Dead Or Alive, Youthquake
    2 Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
    3 Ministry, Twitch
    4 Ministry, The Land of Rape and Honey
    5 *Culture Club, Kissing To Be Clever*
    6 Terence Trent D’Arby, Introducing Hard
    7 The Psychedelic Furs, Mirror Moves
    8 Ministry, The Mind Is A Terrible Thing…
    9 Yazoo, Upstairs at Eric’s
    10 Pet Shop Boys, Actually
    11 Love and Rockets, Love and Rockets
    12 Front 242, Front By Front
    13 Thompson Twins, Into the Gap
    14 Nitzer Ebb, That Total Age
    15 Skinny Puppy, VIVIsectVI
    16 The Cramps, Songs the Lord Taught Us
    17 Peter Murphy, Deep
    18 Joy Division, Closer
    19 Yazoo, You and Me Both
    20 The Jesus and Mary Chain, Darklands
    21 The Sugarcubes, Life’s Too Good
    22 Big Black, Songs About Fucking
    23 Howard Jones, Human’s Lib
    24 ABC, How to Be a…Zillionaire!
    25 The Bronski Beat, The Age of Consent

    *Culture Club was a write-in. No idea how/why it wasn’t included in the original list of options.

    What do you think?!

  243. Just rediscovered Tears For Fears – the Hurting.
    So good & so ahead of its’s time.

    My list would be – missed the voting
    1. Tears for Fears – The Hurting
    2. Husker Du = Warehouse songs & stories
    3. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s shocking
    4. REM – life’s rich pageant
    5. Love & Rockets – Express
    6. The Cult – Love
    7. The Cult – Electric
    8. De la Soul – Three Feet high & rising
    9. The Golden Palominos – Visions of Excess
    10.. The Plimsouls – Everywhere at Once
    11. Peter Gabriel – So
    12. InXS – The Swing
    13. Crowded House – Crowded House
    14. Echo & The bunnymen – Ocean Rain
    15. 10,000 Maniacs – in my tribe
    16. Roxy Music – Avalon
    17. Depeche Mode – music for the masses
    18. The Smithereens – Especially for you
    19. Simple Minds – sparkle in the rain
    20. Yaz – Upstairs at Erics
    21. Yaz – you and me both
    22. REM – Reckoning
    23. Berlin – pleasure victim
    24. Duran Duran – Duran Duran
    25. Erasure – the two ring circus

  244. Did anyone happen to save the entire list that was here? I was using it to check out music from the 80s I never got around to, and now it’s gone.

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