Best of the '80s, Poll — January 6, 2014 at 9:49 am

Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the 1980s: The Top 100 albums from 1980-1989

Best of the 1980s

And it all comes down to this: After 1o months of voting in our year-by-year Best of the ’80s polls to determine the best albums of each year of the 1980s, we wrap it all up with the grandaddy of them all, the big all-decade poll designed to crown, once and for all, Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers overall favorite records of the entire 1980s.

For this last albums poll, we got an expected spike in voting, with more than 120,000 votes cast, in large part because participants could pick 25 albums, up from the usual 10.

As you can see below, The Cure’s Disintegration — winner of the 1989 poll — came out on top. But it just barely edged out The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead, winning by a mere 9 votes (out of a combined 4,375 cast for the two records). Robert Smith and Co., perhaps not surprisingly, dominated, with four entries landing in the Top 10, and three more elsewhere in the poll.

If you’re interested, for comparison’s sake, we’ve also ranked the Top 100 albums based on the total number of votes each received in the individual year-by-year polls, but there are some important caveats.

Also, a reminder: This ballot was comprised of the Top 50 results from each of the year-by-year polls.

So, once again, 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 yes, as promised, the polls will continue, first with EPs and compilations, although probably not before February. And we’re open to suggestions, too, on what kinds of polls you’d like to vote in this year.

PAST RESULTS: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989




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)



The Smiths

2. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead

BACKSTORY: The band’s third album is seen as its masterwork by many fans, managing to balance the silly (“Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”) with the sublime (“There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”).
SINGLES: “The Boy With the Thorn In His Side,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again”
BAND: Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce
PRODUCER: Morrissey and Johnny Marr
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Pixies, 'Doolittle'

3. 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)



Joy Division, 'Closer'

4. Joy Division, Closer

BACKSTORY: The second and final Joy Division studio album, released two months to the day after the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. The band recruited Gillian Gilbert and continued on as New Order.
BAND: Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris
PRODUCER: Martin Hannett
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Depeche Mode 'Music for the Masses'

5. Depeche Mode, Music For the Masses

BACKSTORY: Depeche Mode’s sixth album helped cement the band’s breakthrough popularity in the U.S., with three charting singles and a huge tour that peaked with the famous ‘101’ concert at the Rose Bowl.
SINGLES: “Strangelove,” “Never Let Me Down Again,” “Behind the Wheel,” “Little 15”
BAND: Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, Alan Wilder
PRODUCER: Depeche Mode and David Bascombe
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The Cure

6. The Cure, The Head on the Door

BACKSTORY: On the band’s sixth album, Robert Smith delivered one of his more diverse sets of songs, ranging from pop hits (“Close To Me”) to darker, more brooding cuts like “A Night Like This” and “Sinking.”
SINGLES: “Inbetween Days,” “Close To Me”
BAND: Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Porl Thompson, Simon Gallup, Boris Williams
PRODUCER: Robert Smith and David M. Allen
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The Cure, 'Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me'

7. The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

BACKSTORY: With their seventh studio album, Robert Smith and Co. cracked the American Top 40 with a sprawling double album that dabbled in both pure pop and dark, goth-flavored soundscapes.
SINGLES: “Why Can’t I Be You?,” “Catch,” “Just Like Heaven,” “Hot Hot Hot!!!”
BAND: Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson, Lol Tolhurst, Boris Williams
PRODUCER: David M. Allen and Robert Smith
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



U2 The Joshua Tree

8. U2, The Joshua Tree

BACKSTORY: Fueled by three huge singles and a massive stadium tour, U2’s fifth album cemented the Irish rockers’ ascent to the status of being the biggest band in the world.
SINGLES: “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “In God’s Country”
BAND: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.
PRODUCER: Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



Depeche Mode

9. Depeche Mode, Black Celebration

BACKSTORY: With their fifth album, Depeche Mode continued to darken their sound (most noticeably on the title track) while still churning out classic singles and offering Martin Gore an unusual four lead vocals.
SINGLES: “Stripped,” “A Question of Lust,” “A Question of Time”
BAND: Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, Alan Wilder
PRODUCER: Depeche Mode, Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



The Cure, 'Pornogrpahy'

10. The Cure, Pornography

BACKSTORY: The fourth album from Robert Smith and Co. ends the band’s early dark phase, and later would be declared part of a trilogy with 1989’s Disintegration and 2000’s Bloodflowers.
SINGLES: “The Hanging Garden”
BAND: Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Lol Tolhurst
PRODUCER: Phil Thornalley and The Cure
BUY IT: (CD, digital, vinyl), iTunes (Digital)



11. New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies
12. R.E.M., Murmur
13. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
14. The Smiths, Meat is Murder
15. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
16. The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy
17. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
18. Duran Duran, Rio
19. The Smiths, Strangeways, Here We Come
20. Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes



21. Echo & The Bunnymen, Ocean Rain
22. Peter Gabriel, So
23. The Smiths, The Smiths
24. Morrissey, Viva Hate
25. Jane’s Addiction, Nothing’s Shocking
26. R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant
27. New Order, Low-Life
28. INXS, Kick
29. The Replacements, Let It Be
30. Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation



31. U2, The Unforgettable Fire
32. R.E.M., Document
33. The Police, Synchronicity
34. The Cure, Seventeen Seconds
35. The Cure, Faith
36. Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique
37. The Cult, Love
38. The Clash, Combat Rock (TIE)
38. Talking Heads, Remain in Light (TIE)
40. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love



41. New Order, Technique
42. Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction
43. The Church, Starfish
44. U2, War
45. R.E.M., Green
46. The Replacements, Tim
47. Tears For Fears, Songs From the Big Chair
48. The Replacements, Pleased To Meet Me
49. R.E.M., Reckoning
50. Roxy Music, Avalon



51. Tears For Fears, The Hurting
52. The Sisters of Mercy, Floodland
53. David Bowie, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
54. Pretenders, Pretenders
55. Depeche Mode, Some Great Reward
56. The Clash, Sandinista!
57. Yazoo, Upstairs at Eric’s
58. The Jesus and Mary Chain, Darklands
59. David Bowie, Let’s Dance
60. The Human League, Dare


sinead o'connor

61. Sinead O’Connor, The Lion and the Cobra
62. Peter Murphy, Deep
63. Duran Duran, Duran Duran (TIE)
63. R.E.M., Fables of the Reconstruction (TIE)
65. Cocteau Twins, Treasure
66. Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
67. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
68. New Order, Brotherhood
69. The Sisters of Mercy, First and Last and Always
70. The Cure, The Top



71. Bauhaus, In the Flat Field (TIE)
71. New Order, Movement (TIE)
71. XTC, Skylarking (TIE)
74. My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything (TIE)
74. Prince, Sign O the Times (TIE)
76. Simple Minds, New Gold Dream (81-€“82-€“83-€“84)
77. Love and Rockets, Express
78. Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade
79. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Juju
80. Echo & The Bunnymen, Echo & The Bunnymen



81. Midnight Oil, Diesel and Dust
82. Cocteau Twins, Blue Bell Knoll (TIE)
82. The Cult, Electric (TIE)
84. Kraftwerk, Computer World (TIE)
84. Nirvana, Bleach (TIE)
84. U2, Boy (TIE)
87. Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
88. Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime
89. The The, Soul Mining
90. The Pogues, Rum Sodomy & The Lash



91. Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues
92. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Rattlesnakes (TIE)
92. X, Los Angeles (TIE)
94. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
95. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Peepshow
96. ABC, The Lexicon of Love
97. INXS, Listen Like Thieves (TIE)
97. The Jesus and Mary Chain, Automatic (TIE)
99. Echo & The Bunnymen, Crocodiles
100. The B-52s, Cosmic Thing







  1. Paul Metzger

    The Cure and The Smiths-very appropriate for the #1 and 2 spots.

  2. Awesome list. Brings back memories of high school in the 80’s when music defined a decade and the kids in it. Unlike today where the music is made to order for the kids.

  3. Chris O'Brien

    I can’t believe FOUR Cure albums are in the top ten. They do not deserve to be there.

    • Amen, brother! For crying out loud, no REM in the top 10? Replacements Let It Be & Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation in place 29 & 30? Violent Femmes in place 20? NO Hüsker Dü OR Dinosaur J? Just so no one thinks I’m being snobbish, leave Head in The Door Where it is, but how the fudge did Pornography and MftM make it in the top 10? What the hell is wrong with you people???

      Take these out of 11-20:
      15. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
      17. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
      18. Duran Duran, Rio
      19. The Smiths, Strangeways, Here We Come

      …and add the aforementioned; there’s your top 10!

      • i could see REM squeezing in to the top 10 (the singles for every album after Green really tarnished their alternative imagem unfortunately) and MAYBE the Violent Femmes… but when most record stores never even carried a HUSKER DU album, and maybe not even a Dinosaur Jr album, why would you even think they’d make it into the Top 10? that’s just silly- i love the old Delerium albums that were put out in the late 80s, but they never even came out in the States. To this day, fans of the band don’t even know they exist, since they got really big in the mid ’90s with a different sound. so nobody knows their stuff… therefore they sure as heck don’t make the top 100, let alone the top 10!

    • I must agree. I love the Cure but this list is a little too Cure heavy. No band should have more than 1 album in the top 10, except on RARE occasions, and it’s unbelievable that not 1 REM album made the cut. WTF??? This is why I’m not a fan of lists.

    • mollie staffa

      absolutely agreed.

  4. I’ve been down with these polls for a while, but this one–with FOUR Cure albums in the Top 10–is just plain crazy. No REM in the top 10? And The Joshua Tree sandwiched between Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me and Black Celebration? And The Pixies at #3? It’s all too much.

    • guys–it’s MATH. if people vote for their albums more than other albums, then they get ranked higher. and (re: the comment above this) how do the cure–the greatest band in the history of alternative-rock music–“not deserve to be there”?

  5. I wonder how this list would have looked like without the Cure trolls on here. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Cure fan, but to dominate like this is quite slanted. All the while leaving well deserved gems out of the top 20-30. I guess this is why it’s an opinion poll…Overall, the top 100 itself was pretty good.

    • I was just noting on the Facebook page, but I’m not at all surprised by the four Cure albums in the Top 10. And it’s not about “trolls.” Believe me, traffic patterns on this site show, over and over again, that the majority of readers are big Cure fans. Nothing consistently get as much traffic as posts about The Cure. If I was just trying to generate as much web traffic as possible, I’d only write about The Cure. And some Smiths, too. (I’m actually surprised there wasn’t another Smiths album or two in the Top 10).

    • hmmmm that’s easy enough to do, just take the 7 albums off the list and shift everything else up! i think they only had 4 in the top 30, so it wouldn’t make a huge difference in the top 20-30 really…

      • Or let’s go further:

        Why not post the poll results showing only the top-finishing record by every band (i.e. no band appears more than once), moving others up and adding in those that didn’t crack the Top 100 because they were crowded out by the acts that currently hold multiple slots. That would give a much more representative look at the decade (and shouldn’t be too much work for the pollster).

        I’m not quibbling with THESE poll results, because they show what they show: a handful of prolific bands were really, really popular amongst those polled. But I would love to see the results where slots 1-100 are all held by different bands, the best-finishing album of each. That would really show how many great and varied bands and records we enjoyed during this most excellent decade of music.

        How about it, SUE?

  6. I appreciate your efforts but this is a pretty poor list overall. Just like you know what, everyone has an opinion but this list is far too skewed to British “synth-rock” bands.

    Probably an impossible task to get a list everyone will agree upon but this is more a popularity poll than a rock critic’s assessment of the best albums of the 1980s.

    • Oh wow, this is “slicingupcureballs”. I love the polls issued on this website usually, but this… this Top 10 is nothing but a big joke. And again, I don’t put the blame on the owner on the website, but on the voters. Should have limited the poll to one disc per artist, though.

    • Jim…this IS a poll…it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. And what is so “poor” about the list? This is 100 AMAZING records as voted by visitors to this site. Given the choices we were provided with to select from, I don’t see how this is skewed to British synth-rock bands at all…you need to remember the genres being covered in the definition…for the most part, British bands were the dominant proponents of music in these genres.

      Way too many people complaining about the results here…

  7. The Cure’s Disintegration the best album of the 80’s? Not even close. Not at all.

  8. Sorry, but four cure records and two depeche mode records in the top 10? If that were actually the case, it would have been a weak decade, which it was not. Cure fans should pick what think is the best cure record and then move on to other bands. The cure was a fine band, but they weren’t (and are not) the Beatles for God’s sake! They aren’t even the Smiths for that matter — sorry, that was petty, but I could not resist.

    • Agree with Brian

    • That’s exactly how I voted, my favorite album from each band (if they had multiple entries) in hopes of seeing a more diverse list.

    • they’re basically the equivalent of the beatles in the alternative rock pantheon.

      • I would think many people would disagree.

      • You are exactly right! There were the equivalent of the Beatles in Alternate Rock!

      • This is complete bullshit. In same sentence The Beatles & The Cure. Good joke.

      • In same sentence The Beatles & The Cure. Good joke.

      • There is no equivalent to The Beatles…in any pantheon. Well, maybe XTC (the most critically acclaimed band since).

        • xtc it more heavily INFLUENCED by the beatles, but that wasn’t what i was getting at at all. and plenty of bands have been as acclaimed or more than xtc was–radiohead, r.e.m., sonic youth (who i hate), etc..

      • If the Beatles made music today, it would be a lot like OASIS! NO band not even ones listed here could ever come close to the greatness of the Beatles. The music they made changed the world.

        • tamagothchi

          Dude, the Beatles are good but they’re not that great that you can’t compare them to other bands. They’re not even my favorite 60s band. Get off the hype wagon and see that plenty of other bands are as good or better than the Beatles and don’t need the massive commercialism that they had.

    • Exactly. Anyone who thinks that was simply not exposed to many other bands during the 80’s or was reluctant to accept other material by a myriad of bands simply cause they weren’t The Cure or Depeche Mode. One album per band with a couple of close runner-up albums listed by the same band would’ve been more than enough. This list gives a very lopsided, favored, narrow and misleading representation of an ENTIRE decade’s worth of music.

      • i like TONS of bands, TONS of albums. i compiled a top 200 of all time list a few years ago, and it barely scratched the surface of everything i like..and yet, the cure have 4 albums in my top 80 or so, and i’m not going to prune out a few albums just to make my list look cooler and more eclectic than it already is. and how is the list “favored”? people voted for the cure this many times, so they got ranked high. that’s it. it’s math.

        and “myriad” is an adjective. you say “myriad bands”, not “a myriad OF bands.”

        • “Myriad” is also a noun. “Myriad of bands” is correct usage.

          • ok. i wasn’t taught it that way–everyone i knew assumed it was a noun and then we were instructed that it was an adjective–but now i read that it can be both, and that the noun predates the adjectival form. i’m ok with being wrong when i’m wrong.

        • Wow, resorting to childish nitpicking of my comment. I’d love to exchange points-of-view and all but, to do so with someone who thinks The Cure is “the greatest band in the history of alternative-rock music” is well… pointless. Get off your high-horse.

          P.S. Feel free to nitpick on anything within this reply. Whatever makes you feel superior… Have at it.

  9. Boosie Sauce

    The Cure fans definitely made themselves known. All the albums listed are very good, but I would’ve had them in a different order.

  10. No R.E.M. in the top ten and 3 Cure albums?! I mean I love the Cure (Disintegration deserves to be there) but Kiss Me and Pornography don’t hold a torch to Murmur or Document. How did Daydream Nation fall so low on the list? Makes me wonder if people found a way to vote multiple times and just voted for everything the Cure EVER put out.

    • R.E.M. is an overrated band and always has been. I would have been pissed if any album of their would have been in the top 10.

      • Amen to that, Ed! They have always been a folk-leaning band in my opinion. I had a cousin back in 85 who tried and tried to get me to listen to REM, and I just couldn’t do it (U2, as well.) Then in 86, another cousin turned me on to Ministry and the Jesus And Mary Chain, and *that’s* where my heart has been since! #plugin

      • Yeah, can’t believe anything by R.E.M made it to the Top 20 on the list but there is absolutely no mention of The Chameleons or The Psychedelic Furs anywhere on this entire list. Something TOTALLY WRONG with that…

    • the 4 cure albums in the top 10 are all immortal records. those 2 r.e.m albums can’t hold robert smith’s balls (and i like r.e.m. a lot).

      sonic youth sucks.

    • the cure are my 2nd favorite band of all time. i’ve seen them 8 times, from 1989 to 2011. i own virtually every piece of vinyl they’ve released.

      i voted for disintegration, kiss me kiss me kiss me, and the head on the door. didn’t put any of their other (mostly very good but not amazing) four 80s albums, nor did i vote more than once.

    • well its a democracy. if you wanted r.e.m. to place you should have voted for them, maybe got the fan club in on it. anyway, this isn’t the olympics its just a blog. everyone relax. anyways, disintegration is a masterpiece. i love r.e.m. truly. grew up w them. but disintegration is better than murmur in my opinion. just for the sheer epic & emotional ambition of it.

  11. No Psychedelic Furs ranking at all! I’d have at least thought that maybe ‘Talk Talk Talk’, ‘Forever Now’ or ‘Mirror Moves’ would have made the cut.

    • mirror moves was a great disc.

    • I have always been surprised at their lack of recognition, even among those who listened to this genre of music. It was less true in the 80s, but they have been strangely forgotten. They still tour quite a bit and I see them when I can. They are great live and still give 100%.

      • Couldn’t agree more. Even more surprising is the lack of recognition and overlooking of another great and excellent band (despite the fact they call Manchester home just like Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, The Fall, The Stone Roses etc. etc…) that is – THE CHAMELEONS, who in my opinion EASILY rival and even surpass MANY well known acts on this list.

      • saw them twice in 2012 and they were fucking terrific both times.

        • why did you see them the second time if they were so terrific?

          • it’s time for you to shut the fuck up.

          • Mick, I’m assuming you do know what the word “terrific” means or did I miss some kind of obtuse joke?

          • qotita, you’re completely out of control. This is only just music, we all have different opinions, we all listen different bands and we all love 80’s music all genres. This is just a poll and this words to Mick is not appropriate. I love you qotita and I love a few songs from ‘The Cure’, but you must choose your words.

  12. The vast majority of those deserve their places IMO – I’m genuinely surprised Telekon didn’t make it though (No 1 every time for me)!

  13. Both of the Hüsker Dü records should have been rated WAY higher IMO.

  14. I’d be really curious to see/know how many people who actually lived through the 1980s actually voted in these polls? It just seems that a lot of that albums that got a lot of love here are still played on retro or “modern rock” stations today.

    It’s a tough job (and very sublective) selecting what was “alternative/college/modern” rock and no one will ever agree but bands like Duran Duran or artists like David Bowie were not considered as such by a lot of people who actually listened/worked/played etc in that genre in the 1980s.

    • Agreed – it’s very subjective. And I’m certain a lot of it is regional as well. Certain bands were almost never played on my alternative station, whereas I could tell from reading alt music magazines that they were in heavy rotation in other parts of the country. On the other hand – David Bowie and Duran Duran DID get airplay on my alternative station (but yeah, doubt they were in heavy rotation on the college stations).

      And yes, I lived through the 80’s and listened to this music for most of the decade. :) For the record, I’m not surprised by the outcome; but I do wish it was a bit more diverse.

      • I too lived through the 80s and believe it was an incredibly strong decade for music (strongest IMO). I write only to agree that no one where I lived (Los Angeles) considered Duran Duran a true alternative band — they were, maybe unfairly, considered a poster-band for teenage girls, although they did produce some good songs and Rio is a solid disc (and I love New Moon on Monday from the 7&Ragged).

        As for Bowie, that is more complicated. He was THE alternative guy up until Let’s Dance (Ashes to Ashes, This Is Not AMerica, I am the DJ, Fashion, Putting out the Fire with GAsoline? – not to mention everything from the 70s), and he got a pass for some time after the more commercial sounding Let’s Dance (again, a fine record, but not one of my favs). Anyway, I could not let the idea of Bowie and Simon LeBon&Co. being grouped into the same category. I’m anticipating some heated replies from DD fans. But come on — this is BOWIE we are talking about!!!

        • Yet you have no complaints about Guns N Roses? If Duran Duran was the posterband for the teenage girl market then GNR were for posterband for the Led Zeppelin 70s leftover market. What makes them anymore worthy of this list than Van Halen or Motley Crue? I understand Duran Duran being on the list: they were musically classified as ‘New Wave’ and they make the rounds on current “retro alternative” formats all the time. I still don’t understand what the factor is for GNR.

          • Well,I didn’t mention Guns and Roses because the post to which I was responding did not mention them, and I was only responding to that post. I would, however, say that Guns and Roses played a unique role in the evolution of music. They were, in my opinion, the first hit to glam metal (warrant, def lep, quiet riot . . .). True, they were not necessarily an alternative band, although alternative radio — namely, KROQ in Los Angles — broke them and played them early on in pretty heavy rotation. But putting that aside, they paved the way for the breakthrough of Jane’s Addiction’s second studio album (and partially their first – at least the harder edge studff), which in turn paved the way for Nirvana (a band of which I am not particularly fond). That said, I would not care if they were left off the this list.

        • And besides:
          “Anyway, I could not let the idea of Bowie and Simon LeBon&Co. being grouped into the same category.”

          Yet this is a list that groups Tears for Fears with Minutemen and Beastie Boys with Cocteau Twins, plus some Tom Waits. The complaint of “Alternative” being a musical umbrella title applied with seemingly little rhyme or reason is very old, going back to the 80s themselves. Don’t tell me YOU’RE just noticing. Duran Duran alongside Bowie should be one of the less weird looking things (not only because DD were obviously huge Bowie nuts).

          • I’m not sure that you are understanding the point of the initial post. That point (according to the guy who posted it) was this: “bands like Duran Duran or artists like David Bowie were not considered as [alternative] by a lot of people who actually listened/worked/played etc in that genre in the 1980.”

            My response is simply this – yes, people where I lived did not consider DD to be an alternative band. Fairly or not, they were considered a pop, heart-throb band. I also mentioned that I liked some of their stuff. My other point was that Bowie is arguably the most creative, cutting edge artist in the rock and roll era. If anyone fit the definition of alternative (up until Let’s Dance), it was him. That being the case, I don’t think that DD and Bowie should be grouped in the same category.

            As for the other bands you mention, they were all pretty much considered alternative artists. The only exception would possibly be the Beastie Boys, but they were huge on alternative radio (paul revere, cookie puss, no sleep till brooklyn). And while I would agree that you could make the argument that their first album was the equivalent of jock rock (fight for you right), their second disc — Paul’s Boutique — is considered by many as a masterpiece, and it certainly did things as far as sampling that had never been done before.

          • Two last points – I meant to say that I don’t think DD and Bowie should not be placed in the category in terms of not being considered alternative as the time (the time being the 80s). I have no strong opinion of whether DD should now be considered alternative, although I have no problem with it. I would say that Tears for Fears was a much more interesting band in terms of producing music outside of the mainstream than was DD (I’m thinking Pale Shelter, Mad World, Mother’s Talk . . .), so i don’t agree with your point that they are basically equivalents.

            Final point — DD’s main influence was not Bowie. It was Roxy Music, which served as a blueprint for DD. Just thought I would point that out for what it’s worth.

        • Yeah I listened to Live 105 (SF) at the time and they did play Duran Duran on fair occasion. I do remember being somewhat surprised by that (but I guess that proves your point, eh?).

          And agreed both re: the Rio album as well as “New Moon on Monday.” That was the song that introduced me to Duran Duran, and I still love it. As I do Roxy Music (who were also played pretty regularly on Live 105).

          PS My memories of visiting LA and checking out KROQ were that they played one Cure song per hour, and that they’d have certain songs they’d play just about every time I turned on the station. I remember (on separate trips) hearing “American Music” and “Always on the Run” oh, say, 100 times. :)

          Rambling response, but there you have it. Thanks for the discussion. :)

  15. This is very subjective and more a popularity contest like most polls. j&mc have stood up to time IMHO and a listen to them a lot more than the Cure . The Church as well. it all depends how the music touches you on a emotional level.

    • yes–the cure are “popular” among alternative music fans. that’s how a poll works. what’s “subjective” about it? the albums that got the most votes were ranked the highest. again–poll.

  16. What?! No Modern English “After the Snow” or Clan of Xymox “Medusa”???!!! And I’m very surprised that Tears for Fears and Simple Minds placed so low. Cool list, though! :)

  17. I agree with Jim regarding the subjectivity of defining “alternative/college/modern” rock. I have only been visiting this site to follow these polls and now probably will only check in sporadically. Sorry, but I am a guitar rock man. This artsy-fartsy music that most people on this site idolize just makes me laugh. To each their own. Adios My Friends.

    • Don’t spend too much on t-shirts at the TRIUMPH reunion tour.

    • “Artsy-fartsy”???? Are you for real?

    • Haha, what were you even doing here? Wasn’t it made clear that this site is about? Your self-description makes you sound like one of those long-haired types who prefers your music with complicated solos, the type who tends to be ANTI-80s pretty much. It’s simple man, if you prefer “guitar rock” then you visit a “guitar rock” website, not an 80s Alternative/Indie website. Lol.

      • No, I went to college in the 80’s. Believe it or not there were a lot of bands that were guitar oriented in the 80’s, I won’t list them but they are out there.
        What was I doing here? I told you in my post. I was interested in seeing what the result of these polls were. Just because I don’t agree with them doesn’t mean you have to be a dick about it.

        • The Cult and Love and Rockets are two, just to name a few. Love them both! They were considered “alternative”, at least in San Diego back then… Not sure how the rest of the country saw them.

        • i would have like to have seen orchestral maneuvers on this list: genetic engineering is still beautiful. also, not a lot of love for skinny puppy or industrial in general but i guess everyone grows out of that phase. kind of funny, really.

        • i think his point was that 80s alternative music was really born out of a reaction to 70s arena rock–a more girl-friendly/gay-friendly, more sensitive “alternative” to muscular, somewhat shallow guitar bands like foreigner, boston, kansas, styx etc. (though i liked some stuff from all of these bands, too)..the music that really dominated the ascent of modern rock in the 80s was this more dreamy, atmospheric, jangly, fairly keyboard-heavy fare–the cure, the bunnymen, the furs, tears for fears, howard jones, depeche mode, u2 etc. yes, there are oodles of great college rock bands who were more straightforwardly guitar bands (r.e.m.. u2, midnight oil, the smiths, the church, the replacements, soul asylum), but they were more of the underground, indie side of it all, not the part that constituted the crux of what alternative radio came to be in the late 80s. both sectors were hugely important and influential, but the moodier, dreamier stuff appealed to a wider audience.

  18. What’s up with all the complaints? These are the poll results; they are what they are. It was an online poll and therefore, prone to ‘unfair’ voting measures which will skew the results one way or another. If you are looking for a statistically reliable ranking of something as subjective as music amongst a massive fanbase, you’re not going to find it because it can’t be done. Frankie says relax!

  19. I tried not to look at this as a competition as much as a celebration of all great records that shaped my youth. Thanks for running these polls every month, and reminding me to dig out my old Camper Van Beethoven and Ocean Blue records.

  20. Dr. Midnight

    I think the top ten are a testament to The Cure’s influence over music. All of the top ten albums were groundbreaking in some regard and the sounds live on in bands that followed them. The Smiths, Depeche Mode and The Cure are definitely in my personal top ten.

    • I agree. I think the cure haters on here refuse to acknowledge how influential and how great the songwriting from the band was in the 80s. my personal shock is how the heck did siouxsie & the banshees first appear all the way back at #79? Personally I think Black Celebration is a cheesy atrocity, but I have to acknowledge how it solidified depeche mode’s popularity and set them up for music for the masses, 101 and violator. Sure, I’d love to see New Order in the top 10, or Echo & the Bunnymen. It’s all about perspective however. The cure has/had a diverse appeal for goth, rock, etheriel, pop, experimental, etc. when you have that kind of diversity, it’s going to rank with more votes than say, Psychocandy.

  21. Not sure why Siouxsie & the Banshees’ Tinderbox didn’t make it. It’s in my top ten along side The Queen is Dead, NIN, Kiss Me… etc. if you don’t know it check it out

    • Totally agree…a vastly under-rated album in my opinion…it is even under-rated by Banshees fans! I love it.

    • My favorite album by The Banshees. Siouxsie pushes the full gamut of vocal ranges, Severin’s bass lines are just as memorable as Carruther’s elegantly dancing guitar riffs. As for Budgie, I think he even surpasses anything William’s did on The Cure’s “Disintegration”. In my opinion, their masterpiece.

  22. Psychocandy not in the top 10? Shameful.

  23. I’m sure anyone looking at the final list can find something to disagree with, but really?…two INXS albums and Kick is highest ranked (their most commercial and IMHO, least inspiring album)? So many other good choices. Surprising also to see Yazoo’s Upstairs and Eric’s ranking so low. Such an important album in 80s history.

  24. Richard Evans

    Surprised that I did not see any Pet Shop Boys or Erasure higher in there, but I will say that the records that did chart are great CD. I can say I own half of them and will try to get the other half. This poll has been a blast and also lead me to some band I did hear in the 80ths, so thanks slicing up eyeballs.

    Any chance we will do a 90’s poll?

  25. Obviously this site is fan page of The Cure. Three albums from The Cure in top 10. I don’t think so. Some essential release like Simple Minds – New Gold Dream at 76, Human League – Dare at only 60, New Order – Technique at 41, Tears For Fears at 51. This list is completely ridiculous and not relevant.

    • Dry your eyes man, it’s a POLL for crying out loud. The Cure are HUGELY popular (or at least their 80’s output is) and HUGELY influential. The albums from their first ten years is near-untouchable in terms of quality, impact and influence. I am not surprised to see them rate so highly. This is an opinion poll from the thousands of visitors to this site. There is no bias, no hidden agendas, no fidgy-widgy, no skullduggery, no jiggery-pokery, so stop whining about the list being “ridiculous”…it is what it is.

      • I don’t mean to offend Cure fans here. But I have to ask: how are they all that influential? I agree that they were popular and I like a lot of their music. But can you really compare them to, say, REM’s murmur in terms of influence on subsequent music? REM redefined college music and brought about indi rock. The Stone Roses influenced everything out of England that came in their wake for the next 15 years. The Smiths birthed a resurgence of guitar driven melodies. The Jesus and Mary Chain pushed the outer limits of music (and Loveless by MBV is enough of a legacy in and of itself). I don’t mean to bad-mouth the Cure, but what is their impact? Or to be more to the point: what good music resulted from them?

        • I was getting ready to attempt to write the same thing but you said it far better than I ever could. Spot on.

        • i don’t think the Cure were influential for a lot of bands that made it big, as far as musical direction. part of that is their wide variety of songs, pop and dirge, gloom and sunshine. i think both new order/joy division were an infulence on THEM, and vice versa, and maybe some bands like Xymox, but really the style of music those bands play is gone. people don’t like music with long melodic instrumental bits so much anymore. it’s sad.

        • you may not like all of these bands, and they took influences in a variety of ways, some more obvious than others, but:

          the smashing pumpkins, the sugarcubes (at least the first record), jane’s addiction, dinosaur jr., a perfect circle, radiohead, jimmy eat world, jeff buckley, deftones, nine inch nails, death cab for cutie, my chemical romance, most dreampop/shoegaze bands (i.e. lush, early cocteaus, chapterhouse, cranes) the killers, mogwai, beach house, the shins, low, the rapture, placebo, interpol..

          • I agree with some of the bands you have listed here, but disagree with a quite few. I don’t see the Cure’s influence of Jane’s. Heavy guitar driven solos, wild frontman, and tribal drumming – that’s not really anything I associate with the sure. As for shoegaze/dreampop, I think the main influence there would be the Jesus and Mary Chain (and echo and the cocteaus, who, IMO, were too contempory with the cure to be influenced by the cure). Interpol and the like may have a touch of the cure, but I think we can all agree that the main influence there was Joy Division – for god’s sake interpol and she wants revenge are just flat out trying to by Ian from Joy DIvision. I guess my overall point with the cure is that they did not really change much, whereas bands like REM, Jane’s, JAMC, New order/joy division, and the Roses did. With those bands (like Nirvana but to a lesser extent), you can see a direct before and after effect of the band. With the cure, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I would suppose their legacy would be emo, but that’s not something to be too proud of. But, hey, at least it’s something.

          • to below..

            jane’s addiction had a major cure influence, along with some jd and bauhaus. you can hear it on summertime rolls, i would for you, then she did, etc. it’s not a direct “spot the riff/style” thing, but it’s definitely there in the sensibility. perry would say as much if you asked him.


          • Well, Perry clearly liked the Cure. But I don’t hear it in his music. Nor do I hear Joy Division, although he is/was clearly a fan. Summertime Rolls is maybe my favorite Jane’s song, and I have never really made a connection to the cure. I guess we will just have to leave it as a matter of interpretation.

        • As we all have opinions.. Yeh , I lived the brit pop stuff..
          The Cure, Duran Duran, Thomas Dolby, Howard jones etc…
          As a muso, Ive liked all styles of music.. except that one, American country, not all country, (love Denver ect) but that Red neck country Drawl…..
          Im not going to go into specifics… But literally everything from ZTT was , well EVERYTHING…
          As for growing up in OZ, I swear, I promise, I guarantee, you missed some of the BEST RAW ROCK ever…
          Midnight oil, rose tattoo, ACDC, the Radiators…. The lost goes on…

      • ^this.

    • …as an aside, I do agree that Dare, Technique and The Hurting are all brilliant and I was surprised not to see them rate higher. Also surprised that the Banshees didn’t make a better showing. But I’m not going to cry about it.

  26. Totally agree on the No 1 – but seriously, Dare only at No 60 is a bit of a joke, considering it was one of the groundbreaking albums of the decade.
    Shame about those fans of certain bands that are not able to judge other bands as well. being a massive Cure fan myself, I quite often had the ‘fun’ moment talking with some other fans, who really believe that everything The Cure have released (and yes, that includes the overdull Screw on Head On The Door amongst others) is better than any other band’s stuff. Enough said.

    • Agree with Dennis. Also, I have respect for The Cure (3 album in top 10), The Smiths (1 album in top 10) and Depeche Mode (2 album in top 10) and love all of them, but on this list there is plenty of albums that are groundbreaking and much better than top 10 in this list.
      Forgot in previous post to mention: ABC at 96, Kate Bush at 40, Yazoo at 57, Roxy Music 50, Duran Rio at 18…This is definitely not relevant list.

  27. All of the Cure backlash is pretty funny. The reason they got so much love is because we could pick 25 albums and a lot of people like them. I grew up in the ’80s and The Cure were my favorite band. So I picked three Cure records: Disintegration, Head on the Door, and Seventeen Seconds. If we could have only picked 10 records, I probably would have only included the first two. (I have to say though that Pornography is totes overrated.)

    • agreed on pornography–some brilliant moments, but in general a bit cartoonishly dark. 17 seconds is the best of the “dark trilogy”, i’d say..and disintegration, kmkmkm, wish and hotd are their best.

  28. Where is the PSB ‘Please’ or ‘Actually’?????? Is it really David Bowie deserves with Let’s Dance to be in top 100. I don’t think so.

  29. Laughable result, the CURE!!!
    Obviously a hijacked poll with no credabilty.
    And don’t even get me started on the Joshua Tree.
    What a joke…a waste of time and effort from the organiser and the participants.
    THe CURE number 1…Laugh out loud. A mediacre LP which had negligible impact.
    Cure fans are obviously the 1 Directioners of the middle aged alternative rock fan.

    • Go cry upstairs. it’s a poll. if everyone thought like you the result would be different. they don’t and you’re not special. get over it.

      • Only tears of laughter at you sad middle aged 1 directioneers ! Why not get on Fakebook and start a campaign to make Robert Smith the next President, I mean its not like you people have got anything else better to do.

    • Well, if you had any credibility, you’d know how to spell that word.

    • Agree with salford. Pretty boring results. Always Cure, U2, The Smiths,Depeche Mode. Maybe we can cover top 100 with complete discographies of these four bands. Also, I hate ‘Joshua Tree’. For me, this is one of the weakest record of the 80’s.

    • How can a public poll be “hijacked”? And how can you say “Disintegration” had no impact? Have you ever read any reviews, articles, critical appraisals or anything about the album at all? It is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most influential albums of all time…and that isn’t my opinion…it is out there in the public’s consciousness. And what pray tell was your favourite album from the 80’s? Given that you seem to struggle to spell or articulate yourself, I’m guessing you favour some kind of yob rock. Am I right?

      • “It is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most influential albums of all time” !!!!

        Beyond hilarious ( I think you’ll find that superlative has now been passed on to the latest 1 Direction LP), the only conclusion I can come to is that The Cure are the group that people who THINK they like alternative music cite as their favourite band. A bit like those people who claim to love reggae because they own a copy of Bob Marley’s greatest hits.

    • you’re a moron.

      • I think that salford is genius. There is bit true what salford said about Bob Marley. Reggae music is not just about Bob Marley, rock music is not just about Stones, Hendrix, Floyd, Bowie and at the end 80’s music is not just about The Cure, The Smiths & Depeche Mode.

      • You love the cure, same difference.

        • No, I don’t like The Cure. I respect them. Some songs are decent, but I don’t like them a lot. On my list of 500 albums of the 80’s there is no place for any of The Cure album.

          • Sorry, Marko. I was replying to the “you’re a moron” quote from above your message. I commend You on your reason/sanity. I agree, wholeheartedly, the Cure had some decent songs only. Cheers.

          • wow, that list must suck balls.

      • When will you ever learn? When you call someone a moron on a website, you only show how moronic you are. Have I taught you nothing?

    • disintegration is not mediocre. neither is the joshua tree. you can dislike those bands all you want but those are amazing records that show that a lot of work and time and thought and get this: soul went into the music.

  30. Where is Heaven Up Here and Porcupine? The Bunnymens finest. Also Appetite for Destruction should have been higher. Regardless of what GNR later became, that album is a rock masterpiece.

    • Preach. Less Cure, more Bunnymen!

    • Why should Appetite for Destruction rank anywhere on an Alternative music list, let alone higher than it already is?

      • Oh no, we have a guitar oriented band on the poll. Go back to the post above Jan 6 10:56 AM that I originally responded to and then was chastised because apparently YOUR definition of alternative is the correct one. What a total DB you are.

  31. Predictable and disappointing. XTC at #71? Husker Du at #78??? I love The Cure but obviously not as much as the rest of you.

  32. thanks for all the effort in putting on these polls. has been fun remembering, learning new things, and seeing the reactions from the readers. take this top 100, jumble it up and put it on random play and you have a great collection of music. dont get so broken up on what place what was. look at the full list. i do like the idea of another final pole where you can only vote for one album per artist in your top 10. any chance of seeing how that shakes out?? how many other great albums were just outside the 100 spot that would surface. (like the chameleons)

  33. Ridiculously Cure biased. And it’s kind of strange that the Banshees did so well on these polls by year but then didn’t even make the top 50 here.

    • (sigh) AGAIN..when you have a POLL, and people VOTE for a certain entry more than they vote for any OTHER entry, that isn’t “bias”–it’s simply the mathematical, empirical RESULT of the poll–’cause that’s how polls work–people vote, and then whatever gets the most votes WINS. holy shit.

      • Especially when qotita votes several times in a row.

        • Marko, you are being a berk. Do you really think people have nothing better to do than multi-vote The Cure into a list on the internet? Seriously, you need to just realise that the Cure are/were hugely popular and made some epic, spine-chilling and utterly inspirational albums. You are being very childish indeed.

  34. Another interesting poll. I would agree that the Top 10/20 could use some diversity. Top entries seem to skew towards the second half of the 80s.

    As for suggested polls, I would like to see a ‘Favorite Remix’ poll. Remixes made an impact in the 80s both in clubs and on alternative radio and many classic alternative artists put them out. The 80s mixes also retained much of the original tracks unlike what the 90s brought. Would be interesting to see people nominate contenders for the poll.

  35. more of your spotify playlists from this poll results too. :P

  36. Four The Cure albums in Top 10???
    This is’nt at all an 80’s greatest album chart…
    Why is’nt Duran Duran “Rio”, U2 “The Unforgettable Fire”, Guns n’ Roses “Appetite for Destruction, Roxy Music “Avalon” or The Human League “Dare” in Top 10…?
    I can’t believe it. It just not a greatest album chart at all…

    • except it factually IS a greatest album (in alternative rock music, of the 80s) chart HERE–because that’s how people HERE voted. HERE.

  37. Not surprised by the top album, and I love that “The Head on the Door” (my favorite album by one of my favorite bands) also made the Top 10. However… man, The Chameleons don’t get the love they deserve! They didn’t appear on the Top 100 AT ALL!

    (But I was very glad to see Sisters of Mercy’s “First and Last and Always”!)

  38. I was a teenager in the 80’s… And this “so called” Top 10 list just is’nt relevant at all. The Cure fans have done a good job for The Cure, but four albums i a Top 10 list…

  39. NO

  40. I’m choosing to ignore the actual rankings and appreciating the list as a whole, nearly all of which are still in heavy rotation on my iPod. There are a few I think have no place even being included in the pool, like MTv fixtures (at the time) like U2, Beastie Boys, Prince. You could turn on Mtv after school any day of the week and hear these bands…This is the music that ‘alternative’ was supposed to be the ‘alternative’ to! At least that’s how I always saw it. Anyway, look forward to other polls

  41. I would be curious to see ##101-200. This list was what I expected, but I bet the next 100 would provide some more interesting choices

  42. No New Order in the top 10 and no industrial albums (except for NIN). WOW. Power, Corruption, & Lies & should be in the top 10. Killing Joke should be on this list!!!

  43. 4 of the top 10 are the Cure?
    No Mats or Huskers in the top 25?
    The Church’s ‘Starfish’ is the only one on the list? Not ‘Heyday’ or ‘The Blurred Crusade’??
    XTC ‘Skylarking’ but Not ‘Black Sea’?
    No Hoodoo Gurus, Dead Milkmen, Let’s Active or Game Theory?

    • Agreed, The Big Shot Chronicles & Lolita Nation – alone to acknowledge Scott Miller’s passing – definitely deserve a place at the table. Will have to revise my list to 12 with English Settlement, as well.

  44. Yes! The Cure! The best of the 80’s!

  45. It’s a poll list. Many of my favorites (close lobsters, Ocean Blue) didn’t make the list but so what? Doesn’t mean I love them any less. It’s music people…get some perspective.

  46. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is a terrible record. I’m a big Cure fan, but that (double?!) record has five decent songs and the rest is unlistenable. Just makes me wonder…

    • we’ve had this conversation. out of 18 songs, at least 7 are amazing. it’s a little long for a double–there are probably 5 things i would have cut–but then again, there are 5 b-sides that could be swapped in that are all terrific.

    • Wouldn’t be that harsh, but have to agree,the album would have made a good 10-12 track collection, but as a double album it is way too much and has quite a few weak songs (Fight, Shiver & Shake, …). Some b-sides are way better than the album material of that era. Kind of the same as with Wish later.
      4 Cure albums in the Top 10 I would have said Disintegration, Faith, Pornography + 17 Seconds.

      • Yes, you are right about omitting Head on the Door. And substitute pornography with The Top!!!!

      • great: the kiss, catch, if only tonight we could sleep, just like heaven, one more time, like cockatoos, the perfect girl, a thousand hours

        good: why can’t i be you?, how beautiful you are, hey you!!!, hot hot hot!!!, icing sugar

        ok: torture, fight

        not so hot: the snakepit, all i want, shiver and shake

        b-sides that are better than most of the last 3 categories: a chain of flowers, to the sky, breathe, sugar girl, snow in summer, a japanese dream (i.e. all of them)

  47. 4 cure records in the top ten,but husker du and the replacements don’t make the top 10.what an absolute disgrace……

  48. Charlie Conner

    Count me as disappointed by the decade wrap up poll. I get that The Cure got a lot of votes, but I really believe there was a lot of revisionist voting and frankly, a lot of younger voters that just was not exposed to as much 80’s music as they claim. As for the poll itself, I feel that it suffered from too much choice. The top 50 from each year really should have been the top 25 from each year. You would still have a number of Cure albums, as well as The Smiths, Depeche Mode, etc., but with a more narrow set of choices, you would get a better result. I mean if the top 50 were eligible, why not open it up to *every* album that finish in the top 100 of their year? It was overwhelming the amount of albums one had to choose from, so the poll (as most do) fall back to a popularity contest between factions of each band’s fans.
    I’ve been really excited by this series of polls overallup , but this one just soured it for me.

    • So going by a summary of recommendations for Matt to deploy (based on all the dissenting voices airing their views) the next version of this poll should:

      a. Be limited to those over 35 years of age
      b. Be limited to one album per artist (but only artists that I like)
      c. Include Guns & Roses
      d. Prove that the Cure aren’t as popular as this poll suggests
      e. Remove the propensity for “revisionist” voting (despite the fact that this is a list of 80s albums).

      Seriously, these polls have been such fun and so incredibly interesting…I just can’t understand all the negativity.

      • Charlie Conner


        OF COURSE I am not advocating an age limit for voters. That’s ridiculous. However…it does bring up a point that hasn’t been made yet (I don’t know…I haven’t read ALL the comments yet).
        With terrestrial or satellite radio of *any* genre, there is going to be a limited playlist. When all you hear is The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode and the like, you begin to get a skewed view that they must have been the dominant artists of the day. But with Alternative music, it’s all about exploring and discovering new and different artists. Those *ahem* older readers were exposed to more of these artists…because they were experiencing their music in real time, as these albums were being released. Add to the fact that some artist’s albums are no longer in print. Take The Thompson Twins. Now I am not saying their albums are great, but honestly…what music of theirs have most younger people heard besides “Hold Me Now”, “If You Were Here” or “Lies”? If you don’t have access to the music, then you don’t get exposed to it. Even with all the online music services, you just don’t explore, because your listening habits now include everything since then.
        It’s like asking someone of my age (I’m 48) to rank the best albums of the ’60s. Naturally, I’d include the artists that get played the most, when everybody knows there are some incredible albums that don’t get the exposure they deserve, save for that band’s diehard fans.
        I know I’m being long-winded, but I had to get that out there for everybody

        • i’m 41, and i wouldn’t list primarily mainstream artists for a 60s poll–i’d have the zombies, arthur lee’s love, the animals, joni mitchell, nick drake, fairport convention, chicago transit authority, syd barrett etc. and the idea that the cure, the smiths and depeche mode were the dominant artists of the day back them in terms of alt-rock is not a “skewed” view–it’s a totally accurate one.

    • wouldn’t limiting it to 25 a year and not 50 make it MORE homogeneous?

      • Charlie Conner


        my point is for those people who see such a large list, some want to spread out their choices. If they have fewer choices, it will concentrate their thought process. There is a chance it becomes homogeneous, true, but I believe that opening it up to the top 50 of each year opened up the list to include more of the favorites of voters, making them want to vote for them, and not the more “worthy” higher-ranked albums. Once again, I would have limited it to the top 25 (or even 20) from each year.
        and hey…this makes sense in *my* head! :)

  49. Charlie Conner

    Count me as disappointed by the decade wrap up poll. I get that The Cure got a lot of votes, but I really believe there was a lot of revisionist voting and frankly, a lot of younger voters that just was not exposed to as much 80’s music as they claim.
    As for the poll itself, I feel that it suffered from too much choice. The top 50 from each year really should have been the top 25 from each year. You would still have a number of Cure albums, as well as The Smiths, Depeche Mode, etc., but with a more narrow set of choices, you would get a better result. I mean if the top 50 were eligible, why not open it up to *every* album that finish in the top 100 of their year?
    It was overwhelming the amount of albums one had to choose from, so the poll (as most sadly do) fell back to a popularity contest between factions of each band’s fans.
    I’ve been really excited by this series of polls overall up to now, but this one just leaves a bad taste for me…

  50. Charlie Conner

    sorry for the double post.

  51. So choose 1 Cure album for the top 10 (they deserve to be there- for me it would be HOTD) 1 DM Album (BC for me) – remove U2 (too commercial), and replace those 5 entries with Ocean Rain, Murmur, New Order (any album – Brotherhood for me), The Hurting, and the Femmes – to me thats a better representation of 80’s alternative

    • I like your thinking, although DM would not make my list and, of course, the stone roses and replacements would. But spot on for ocean rain, murmur, New Order (i go power lies corrup)), and the Femmes.

  52. “Disintegration” is a perfect number one. “Pornography” deserved to be in the top five.

  53. What a shit list. I love the Cure, but 4 of top 10 and 7 of top 70?

  54. F the pixies

  55. Appreciate you, Matt, for this massive undertaking. Of course there are several albums I thought would place higher (power, corruption & lies, the hurting, love, soul mining) but I think overall it’s a great snapshot of a decade. It is a poll conducted in hindsight, so it’s all about the legacy of these bands and albums. The Cure & Depeche Mode still sell out venues today.. naturally they’re going to dominate a popularity contest. Just be thankful that the music we love continues to be recognized and celebrated for its influence and imagination.

  56. The Pixies are the one good thing about that top 10. (Well, also Joy Division, and the Smiths best album.) F the Cure. WAAAAYY too much by such an overrated band.

  57. Dr. Midnight

    I’m a huge Cure fan and I was a little disappointed to see Kiss Me in the top 10. It was good and it’s commercial success is what keeps it in the forefront in people’s minds. Pornography, Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Disintegration are more to my liking. This may sound like sacrilege but Joy Division’s Closer is awesome, but not top ten. Unknown Pleasures was their masterpiece but it dropped in 1979.

  58. How do Guns N’Roses make a college rock top 100 but The Chameleons, The Psychedelic Furs, The Jam, Camper Van Beethoven, Talk Talk (and many others) not? I must have been out of the room every time my college stations played GNR.

    • But wasn’t the best of the Jam from the 70s? They are in the same situation as the Clash. Among the best ever, but guilty of bad timing in terms of this poll. That said, where is Sandinista?!?!?! Surely, that was better than combat rock — and nearly everything else.

    • My bad – I guess — Sandinista is #56. There is no justice!!!

  59. Wow I see the smart people voted on this one. Finally R.E.M. never made it to the top 10!!! Nice work people, although #12 is still too high!

  60. As someone who must be older than many of you reading these results I have to tell you Disintegration isn’t the best album of the ’80s. In fact, it isn’t even close to the best Cure album. Disintegration is the Cure’s Let’s Dance. Just because the masses took to it doesn’t mean it’s good. Bowie peaked before his biggest hit too. The Cure peaked sometime around The Head on the Door… maybe even earlier. I knew the Cure was done when the jock/bully in my neighborhood was singing along to new Cure while working on his muscle car in ’89. Let’s Dance is No. 59 on this poll. That’s about where Disintegration should be.

    • The poll results suggest otherwise.

    • Absolutely correct,

    • I really agree with brian2. And, in my view, the poll results confirm this. It was a commercial move and, as such, is the most popular cure album. People are entitled to their opinion, but I have often found that what is the most popular generally is not the best. Instead, the most popular often reveals a lowest common denominator effect. The cure’s earlier work was far more cutting edge and riskier than Disintegration. In my mind, that’s what made the earlier work so much more appealing. As I remember it, Disintegration was to the cure what Out of Time was to REM (or what Joshua Tree was to U2). It was with those records that the fans of Madonna, Whitney Houston, George Michael . . . starting liking the cure, REM, and U2. I guess I could be wrong, but that’s how I remember it, although the commercial path for the cure was laid with Just Like Heaven — probably the most popular cure song, but one which, I imagine, few dedicated cure fans would choose to play. And for U2 fans, how many of you want to hear with or without again — ever? Same question for REM fans with Losing My Religion.

      Like I said, most popular is usually not the best.

      • “Disintegration” commercial? Definitely not.

        • Pictures of you? Lovesong? I always thought that they were pretty commercial.

          • nope. just because a song happens to strike a chord–no pun intended–and achieves popularity, doesn’t mean it’s inherently “commercial.”

          • On the other hand, those singles sold very well and when music is sold pretty good i think we can call it commercial.

          • I understand that you seem to have a mission to defend all things related to the cure, but are you really saying that Pictures of You is not a commercial song? And Lovesong? They are not exactly “a forest,” is it? It seems pretty obvious that they were calculated attempts to breakthrough to commercial radio (Fascination Street as well). I pass no judgment on that, but it’s pretty clear. As for me, I love the Smiths. But I have no problem admitting Girlfriend in a Coma was a blatantly commercial song – it’s also, in my opinion, one of the Smiths’ weakest songs. A bit of objectivity can go a long way.

      • no, there weren’t any madonna and whitney fans listening to “the same deep water as you.” nope.

        and to brian, below–no, i do not defend “all things” ANYONE. i know good music from bad. i think bloodflowers, the top and most of wild mood swings sucked.

        but of you–a 7 and a half minute song about loss that has no chorus, about 7 verse, and over 2 minutes with no vocals–wasn’t a “calculated attempt to break through to commercial radio”–and it peaked at about number 75 on the charts. maybe it seems more straightforward NOW, but then it was not in any way mainstream. and lovesong was a wedding present for his wife. it’s a somewhat catchy song, albeit darkly so. EVERY alternative band of note has catchy songs–the lips like sugars, the killing jars, the pretty in pinks, the enjoy the silences, the end of the world as we know its, the senses working overtimes, the veronicas. most of these artists were great songwriters with a keen melodic sense beneath their quirks. just because a song isn’t a forest doesn’t mean it’s a sellout–and more than half of the disintegration record is MORE dark and gloomy and droning than a forest–just executed with a bit more polish. what band doesn’t refine their sound with time and maturity?

        • Here’s the thing. The album version may have been 7 minutes, but the single (which was played to death on KROQ [that’s not a compliment]) is 4 and a half minutes (see link below)). It was clearly an attempt to reach a larger radio audience. In LA, it was played on KIIS FM (which was the home of Whitney, Madonna . . and is the home of Katy Perry). Same with Lovesong. Nothing wrong with that. The Cure had every right to make some money. I don’t think it is a sellout, but I’m sure that the cure wanted to break through beyond alternative radio (the proof for that would be the next move — Friday, I’m in Love?). I’m sorry to disagree with you, but, where I lived (Los Angeles), those songs (talking about pictures of you and lovesong) were most definitely picked up by people into VERY mainstream music. And, as I was around at the time, I feel confident in saying that no one I knew who was into alternative music (and the cure more specifically) felt that either song was anything other than mainstream.

          I have to note that while I disagree that a lot of the songs you cite are comparable in terms of being mainstream, I just have to say that Senses Working Overtime was anything but mainstream when it was released.

          • i’ll say it again–just because a song becomes a hit doesn’t mean that the artist was calculated in trying to craft it as such. catchy music with hummable hooks and clever lyrics is a style. it’s not a crass commercial pursuit. one can make catchy, poppy rock music that’s very shallow and meaningless, or they can make catchy, poppy music that’s got a soul to it. pictures of you is a simple composition with a simple, bright, poppy melody, but it has a deeply romantic, forlorn heart. it was written as a part of a very epic song cycle dealing with the destruction and falling apart of human relationships. i highly doubt robert smith wrote it with the intent of tailoring it to radio airplay; it just so happened that it got some (and, again, not a lot–on alternative radio, yes, but not on pop radio..and alternative radio was still a fringe thing in 1989)..yes, they released a single edit (which was still a fairly unwieldy 4:45 or so), but lots of longer songs get cut short for radio play, and just about any supposedly “alternative”, artsy, edgy, challenging artist you can name released songs here and there which had pop appeal despite their originality. the chili peppers’ under the bridge, depeche mode’s personal jesus, pearl jam’s jeremy, ben folds’ brick, nirvana’s heart shaped box, suzanne vega’s luka–these are all songs which involved suject matter that was decidedly NOT contrived for mass appeal and soccer-mom playlists..yet they all garnered massive airplay because, for whatever unpredictable reason, they struck a chord and got to a lot of people in a special way. peter gabriel’s in your eyes is one of the most sublime love songs ever put to tape; i am pretty confident saying that he didn’t consciously compose it in such a way that it would still be played frequently almost 30 years later–he just wrote what stirred inside him. and yes, friday i’m in love is a very silly, poppy song–but why does that have to inherently make it dismissible? isn’t there something to be said for indulging your lighthearted, blissful, childlike side sometimes, especially when it’s done in the context of/contrast to lots of other songs that are quite dark and brooding?

            and one last point–bands don’t decide what songs get played on the radio.

    • you’re a blithering idiot. you’re rewriting history. disintegration sold a couple million in spite of what it was not because of it. there were no “jock/bullies” with muscle cars singing along with anything on it except MAYBE “lovesong”–that kind of guy would have–nay, WAS (as i was there) been appalled by things like “closedown”, “the same deep water as you” and “prayers for rain.” it’s not remotely a pop album, it wasn’t commercial in any logical sense, and it had nothing in common with the ACTUAL music of choice for tools back then, e.g. winger, warrant and poison. a band like the cult–who ultimately had a lot more in common with poison than with the cure–couldn’t even sell records to that musclehead. the cure certainly weren’t. i saw them at giants stadium with about 70,000 other fans, and none of them looked like that cliche you describe.

      and it’s their best album, and it’s not close.

  61. Rick Snaougherly

    I lived thru the 80’s….barely…the Cure? They were not as nearly as good as people seem to be remembering them.

  62. How is Script of the Bridge by The Chameleons not on this list somewhere? Talk about a brilliant record! And Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret by Soft Cell? That’s just wrong.

  63. jj_bloodhound

    There are a lot of complaints about this list. And while it doesn’t reflect how I voted either, it is a readers poll. There’s very little objectivity. People voted for their favorite bands, not the best albums. You shouldn’t be upset because the poll results didn’t turn out the way you voted.

    We all know that in a readers poll it’s a popularity contest. The votes are going to favor bands with the widest market appeal and penalize lesser known albums that were critically acclaimed (See “From the Lions Mouth,” “Heaven Up Here” or “Los Angeles”). The lone surprise in the top ten was “Closer.” At the end of the day it’s an opinion poll. No need to take it so personally.

    • why couldn’t it be that people DID vote for the albums they liked best? i did. i did not vote for every cure album; i voted for the three i think are brilliant.

  64. Did i see any Big Country, the Crossing ?

  65. I think that this says a lot more about the age of the voters than anything. Four Cure albums? possibly, but these ones? Never and Crocodiles at 99 and Heaven Up Here, arguably the best album ever, not to be seen? Hhmmm…?!?

  66. No best of the 80’s could be complete without The The’s Soul Mining in my opinion. Still…a fun (if Cure heavy list). I love The Cure but Kiss Me in the Top 10? Nope. It always was a curate’s egg.

  67. it’s obvious that this site’s followers are of the cure/depeche mode/smiths-type 80s music fans – which is cool (and rather cliche). But of course there are other cliques such as the madchesters, the alt/college rockers, the synth and pop lovers etc etc. i just wanted to out point that i still adore how this site covers the whole umbrella of anything related to 80s alternative music – I’ve come across so much concerning shows and re-releases plus been exposed and checked out shit i would not have heard of elsewhere! i constantly get asked at gigs how someone under 30 knows about the music playing and i owe much of it to slicingupeyeballs :)

  68. Yes, the list is Cure biased. Who cares? People were polled, and their stuff happened to show up a lot on people’s lists… The running order is quite strange but use the list as a primer of stuff to pick up and/or show to other people to check out. Polls are a popularity contest…. not a scientific study. The same thing would happen if you polled peeps on 70’s rock music. Led Zeppelin would be 6 or 7 strong in the top 20. The Who would be in there with some of their more mediocre efforts right along side ” Who’s Next”, just like Siouxsie and Echo on this list. Peepshow wouldn’t make my top 200 let alone be in in the top 100.

    It is a testament to how much people liked the Cure back in the day and still do. They made great albums and they stand the test of time. IMHO The list shows how much appreciation the Cure has… I can go to a record store and find a vinyl copy of Murmur or The Hurting or The Jam tomorrow, but it could take me weeks to find a copy of Kiss Me, or Head on the Door, or an original Disentegation in LP form. It doesnt mean the REM, TFF, or Jam record suck… it just means the Cure is more popular and people aren’t getting rid of their Cure vinyl and the records that do show up can’t be kept in stock. The kids know where it’s at. But like it or not the Cure is one of the most influential bands of our time… Even Adele covers them for God’s sake,

    It is fascinating who’s getting left out of history… A lot of great indie rock left off the list and off the top of my head In a perfect world the list needed to have such classics as Microphonies, Script on the Bridge, Heaven Up Here, Zenyatta Mondatta, English Settlement, Mirror Moves, Nation’s Saving Grace, Ideal Copy, Victorialand, Seventh Dream…, Spleen and Ideal, or simply anything from the Minutemen, the Cramps, Birthday Party, or Black Flag. (wow). Yeah, The Replacements deserved to be higher… and it would have been cool to see Lonely is An Eyesore on the list but alas, it is a POLL. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

    But a great job done by all… Thanks for the massive undertaking and collating the votes… All of these lists are good examples to show to naysayers who complain about 80’s music and write the decade out of history… To any complainers – next time Slicing Up Eyeballs does another poll, make sure to vote. Perhaps we will see some Triumph, Poison, or Testament on the next list since this one is obviously too “artsy fartsy.” Thanks for the hard work though, it’s greatly appreciated!

  69. I’m bothered that no female performer or band shows up till #54. Really?!

  70. Oooops…just spotted Soul Mining. Still…should have been much higher. Its my favourite and my opinion is obviously much more important than anyone else’s. That’s a joke by the way. I like the way that these polls cause heated debate. Its because we are passionate about music.

  71. Neil Martin

    Now a Cure cassette was always near by (so I am not hating on the Robert!) but Mr. Smith must have been busy making up fake names and email address just so he could vote for himself. If I remember correctly Disintegration was a “Newbie Fan” or “Wanna Be Poser Fan” LP. You know the kind of fan I am talking about…the “Fan” that wore Bennetton and Treetorn’s before Christmas break but when they got back to school two weeks later…they had black hair (left over from Halloween “Temporary Black-In-A-Box” dye kit), Black Cons Chuck Taylors (with “The Cure” poorly writing in Liquid Paper on them), their dad’s old beaten jean jacket and a Cure t-shirt (purchased at the “Mall Record Store” (same day they got the Cons at the mall)). This was the end of the 80’s and things were changing for those that expressed their rebellion and individualism. Being the “Freak” was not just some costume you put on in the morning before you walked out the door. You lived and breathed the fact that you were different and wanted to be that way. So many years of dance clubs and crashing school dances. Issue after issue of NME and Smash Hits torn and cut apart just so you could fill every empty space on you bedroom wall. And battle after battle…with your parents, with teachers and with Johnny Jock and Preppy Paula. This is what made us stand out…this is what made our neighbours scared of us…this is what gave us the courage to be different, to be a true “Freak”. NO, we didn’t do it because our best friend did. No, we didn’t do it because we were trying to catch the attention of a member of the opposite sex. And a BIG NO, we didn’t buy look from the mall. Disintegration…not a #1 LP (Head On The Door was a much better listen!)

    PS. To those that voted for #100…I feel sorry for you!

    • Although I am not as invested in this as much as you are, I agree that Disintegration was the album where the tag-alongs jumped on the cure band wagon. I made this point in an earlier post (take a look). That said, I was one of the people plastering pages from NME and Smash Hits (and to a lesser extent Spin back in the day) on my bedroom walls.

    • Cutting out pix from Smash Hits magazine – YUP! In a small town, that was the best I could find. Thanks for the memory!

    • uhhhh-huh. you bought YOUR cons and eyeliner from some guy on the street in a trenchcoat, right? fuck outta here. me and my friends were well entrenched alt-rock-whatever fans by 1989 and we were as hardcore as you and your elitist bullshit. i got fucked with big-time for wearing chucks (which are now worn by the types who fucked with us over it); a guy in eyeliner in high school in 1988-89 was a BIG fucking deal, even here in ny, but that was me..i grinded/slamdanced with some chick with a nosering at a chili peppers show at a little place in brooklyn in october ’89, and a girl with a nosering then was also a BIG fucking deal–now popstars have them. you’re talking out of your ass. we were there on the “frontline” of having the balls to be a “freak” (exactly what we were called), and disintegration was, and is, an amazing fucking album. i knew it the minute i listened to it the first time.

  72. So basically this is where everyone complains that there are people who have different opinions from their own. I could do through here and point out albums that I personally think are crap but ranked high on this list, but why bother? People like what people like, and obviously more people who came here to vote liked those albums more than others. Why the whining?

    And to those who claim that this is a show of poor taste, who do you think you are? Wow. Who has the right to dismiss anyone else’s personal preferences? No one. There are so many bands on this list that I could never be bothered with but that doesn’t mean anything other than that *I* don’t like them. The rest of the world can like whatever they want.

    • Wise words

    • Sure, people should respect other people’s opinion. But it is also fun to have a lively debate about what is the best and why. As long as people aren’t attacking each other and, instead, arguing the merits, I say have it. That’s what it’s all about. And, I think there is a lot of merit to the argument that the cure did not produce four of the top ten albums of the 80s. Let’s debate the point. If not, why are we on this site?

      • I say discuss, debate, have a good time. But when it turns to flat out insults and questioning whether the voters have any taste at all? That is unnecessary. As is belittling the bands listed above. It’s the people who are having childish little tantrums over it that bother me.

    • (Sorry about the typos, I hadn’t had enough coffee when I typed this!)

  73. Whooaaa, I’ve got 82 of these…..
    I will never understand the fascination with The Cure, The Smiths and Depeche Mode. Take them all off the list and it becomes much better.

    • Take them off the list and it becomes a poor excuse for an 80s Alternative list. It’s like having a 70s hard rock/metal list without Sabbath, Zeppelin and Queen. You can’t leave out the icons. Feel free to make your own list if you hate it.

    • Tempted to agree but, in the end, I can’t. Those bands do have their place in this list. It wouldn’t be complete without them. What they should’ve done is limit 1 album per band. That way, a much better and accurately diverse list could’ve been compiled.

  74. Dr. Midnight

    I just read some comments about The The’s album Soul Mining. It was a wonderful album by a great group of artists. I heard the song Uncertain Smile last week for the first time after not hearing it for years and I can tell you it gave me goose bumps, especially the piano work towards the end. Picking albums off of the list that Slicing Up provided was like picking a date from the Miss America line-up! All good and pleasantly different in their own unique way.

  75. someursault

    You didn’t have to be Jeane Dixon to see that the Cure/Smith branch of the ’80s alt-rock tree was going to win, place and show. While I’m disappointed that some of my underdogs like XTC and The Feelies didn’t fare better, that only endears those bands to me more.

    As for my more popular favorites, it does make me nostalgic for those arguments I had with friends and classmates during that blurry decade which would usually conclude with me screaming that Murmur and Let It Be are the best albums ever, then stomping out of the room. Guess things haven’t changed much.

    Fun exercise, even if the lack of ANY Costello counterfeits the whole thing!!!

  76. I know it’s a poll, vox populi, whatever. I’m just sad that there is no Elvis Costello, and no Eurythmics. And the Pretenders’ first album didn’t even crack the Top 50? Sigh.

    I was prepared for no Ocean Blue or Blue Nile on the list. Same with Cyndi Lauper and Culture Club, both of whom I had to write in. And it’s heartening to see Lloyd Cole’s Rattlesnakes actually make the list. Oh well.

    • I’m sorry for flooding out this comment section (with a bunch of posts I do hope get approved). I just have a lot of enthusiasm for the topic, and I guess it shows. At any rate though, I just had to ask if The Cars and Billy Idol were eligible for this list?

  77. For the most part, I’m unsurprised at the top 100, and believe that most of them would poll where they do, but it’s interesting to see. I think people need to remember this was an opinion poll and takes nothing away from their own opinions. Thanks for doing this poll and website! Love it! It would be interesting to see the top 100 artists of the 80s, though, and judging from these comments would make your readers happier :)

  78. No Prefab Sprout in a ’80s poll ? I don’t understand. “Steve McQueen” is my favourite ’80s record and one of my ten favourite records of all time.

  79. yes, the cure “disintegration” the best of the best

  80. I’d love to see a poll of favorite 80’salbum covers. Without a doubt it’s “OCEAN RAIN” from Echo & The Bunnymen!

    • Don’t know what my favorite album cover would be. Probably New Order’s “Power, Corruption, and Lies” or something on 4AD.

  81. Humble Bumble

    The 80’s are so hard to talk about because there really were 2 different periods. When most people think of 80’s music, fashion, hairstyles etc., they’re thinking of the early 80’s. Something like Surfer Rosa had no musical connection to what was happening in say 1981′ so it’s hard to compare the 2 halves of the decade. In my humble opinion, the early half was much more interesting. Maybe because of that I never got the awe for Disintegration. I feel that every Cure album before it with the exception of the Top (which is brutal), and Kiss Me x3, are better. Disintegration is just way too Cocteau Twins influenced for me. It’s seems like by that point in his career Robert forgot how to write a 3 minute song.

  82. I listened to “Disintegration” a few weeks ago for the first time in many years. It’s even more uneventful than I remember. Dirge after dirge after dirge and at 72 minutes it’s also super indulgent. It perks up here and there and occasionally a melody emerges from the abyss. Even it’s best song (“Fascination Street”) gets tiresome with that repeating bass line over and over.

    “Untitled” is indeed beautiful but by that point, the cd has collapsed under its’ own weight. There is simply nothing there that compares with their best work (“A Forest,” “Jumping Someone Else’s Train,” “Let’s Go To Bed,” “Sinking,” “The Kiss,” “End” and many more).

    • it’s all quite melodic. it may not be HOOKY, but it’s melodic. yes, prayers for rain and same deep water as you and the title track are long and repetitive and droning. they’re SUPPOSED to be. it wasn’t an accident or anything owing to songwriting limitations..he was trying to make that kind of record. it’s kind of like complaining that dark side of the moon doesn’t have enough catchy hit singles.

      you are right, though, that sinking and end are amazing.

      • The difference being “Dark Side Of The Moon” works on every level and “Disintegration” rarely gets there. I am not looking for catchy hit singles and I understand what Smith was trying to do, I just don’t think he pulled it off. Certainly not to the extent that he did on the songs we agree on. Would any songs from “Disintegration” make your Cure top 5?

        • disintegration itself might, pictures of you would. fascination street is pretty high on my list, as are closedown and untitled. but again, it’s not a singles album, it’s a record to be listened to as a whole.

        • Yep, sure would…loads of ’em, particularly “The Same Deep Water as You”.

  83. Can’t believe the most unique and beautiful recording of the 80’s, Talk Talk SPIRIT OF EDEN, did not even rank…

    …though I know it wasn’t a big-seller, I just had hope that SUE readers would have investigated music more under-the-radar since the 80’s.

  84. PretTy decent list overall. I was shocked to see Guns N Roses on it (the opposite of what I think of as “alternative”), and there are some albums I believed deserved a much better showing…and of course some artists who didn’t get any showing but I think should have (Psych Furs, Chameleons UK, Jam, Squeeze, Modern English, Killing Joke). But by and large, it’s a list of great music and muh of which I do own.

  85. Maybe we should have the Best of [The Most Obscure] Alternative Top Ten, for those who are more alternative than alternative. The real organic ethereal alt. music. I kid.

    Wait no Puppy? C’mon now. At least Ministry’s With Sympathy could’ve broken in there between 98-100. Al hates it. I dig it.

    Big Pig’s Bonk…..if seven or eight drummers isn’t alternative I don’t know what is.

    The poll results don’t bother me. It’s a decent and fairly predictable group….and it’s not the end of the world if your band didn’t make it…just feel that you are even hipper and more authentically obscure to your Top 40 alt. brethren. Besides has anyone ever got satisfaction outta voting anyhow or their desired result?

  86. For everyone asking where’s this album or where’s that album, let me remind you that the ballot for this particular poll was comprised of the Top 50 finishers from each of the previous year-by-year polls. So the album you’re asking about most likely aren’t here because they didn’t get enough votes the first time around. Or, to put it more bluntly, people don’t like those records as much as you do.

    And, believe me, there are plenty of records that I think should have been on that final ballot, let alone this list. But that’s how it shook out.

    • Hope you are not regretting holding this poll; some of the comments are pretty disrespectful. I don’t love the Cure but many do and they voted how they felt, and that is that. I’m not bothered that other people don’t precisely share my musical tastes – I learned not to worry about it BACK IN THE EIGHTIES!

      Looking forward to the live/complilation/rarities poll.

  87. I find it amusing how even today we’re arguing about who among us is “really” alternative and what bands are sell outs. High school never dies.

  88. lol….so true oldwaver. In my case it was actually college which I attended in ’83-’87. Our college radio station (WCHC-Holy Cross) was “very alternative” when it came to rock. Much of this list here would not have even been considered “college rock” including entries by the Cure (post 1985), U2 (post 1984), even REM (post Fables) etc…basically any band that “gone commercial/sold out.”

    This poll was obviously voted upon by fans of “British synth rock” by and large and there’s nothing wrong with that. I was (and continue to be a fan of many of those groups.)

    The genre that was largely overlooked (in the final poll anyway) was more American guitar-driven rock “college rock” like The Feelies, Mission of Burma, Yo Lo Tengo, 11th Dream Day etc.

    Another slice of 80s college rockt hat was largely overlooked in these polls (again, in my opinion) were a lot of the bands that came out of Aussie (Go-Betweens specifically) and a lot of NZ “Flying Nun label” bands.

    Basically my point is, “If you think 7 Cure albums were in the top 100 of the 80’s….chances are you weren’t listening to college rock in the 80s.”

  89. Wanna say thanks

    I wanted to take a moment to thank the organizer(s) of SUE for putting in the work all year for the polls, finishing w/ the greatest of the 80’s. While I find it disappointing that some feel the need to discredit rather than just disagree, it has been a real joy to revisit some fantastic albums and the life-memories that coincide with them. It reminded me of my first purchase of alternative music @ Murmur record store in Orlando, FL: The Queen is Dead, Head on the Door, Document and Music for the Masses. I remember being plugged in to my Walkman 24/7, walking to and from school (dreading both school and home) and escaping for awhile. I grew to love many of the albums on the top 100 listed here, and many more that didn’t make the list. Regardless, it has been a fantastic trip down memory-lane, and keep up the great work in 2014! Thanks!

  90. Wanna say thanks

    Oh- and I, too, agree w/ oldwaver.

  91. I think the sentiment felt here is a bit of confusion as to whether or not this is a “100 Best Albums of the 80’s” in non-mainstream music or a “100 Best etc..)” in “non-mainstream” music as compiled by a trendy (and tired) magazine like “Rolling Stone”.

    It seems like the majority of people who voted on this poll were mostly teenagers who inherited their older siblings record/tape/cd collections, which were compiled mostly by following the “What’s Hot in Alternative!” lists on flyers found at the local Sam Goody or “Up and coming” lists seen in “SPIN” and “Rolling Stone” magazines back in the late 80’s.

    The fact that there are bands on here that have no business being on this list is just as baffling. In that case, they should’ve included every other typical spotlight hoarding “rock” band found in these types of lists on the 80’s Billboard “rock” charts.

    It should’ve been limited the best album (only 1) from each band. Giving more room to include bands that SHOULD’VE been a given on this list. People were probably expecting a “real” list where not only the popular bands were represented but also the truly great-yet-underrated-and-overlooked bands were finally given their moment in the spotlight.

    To have no mention of The Chameleons, The Psychedelic Furs, A Flock Of Seagulls, Gary Numan, Clan Of Xymox, Killing Joke, Icehouse, Kitchens Of Distinction and MANY, MANY more makes this list a painful misrepresentation of the tons of awesome non-mainstream music to come out of that inimitable and original decade.

    • even though i didn’t vote for any Cure od DM albums (i knew they’d get enough votes) i didn’t expect to vote in Medusa, by Xymox, or Sleeps with the Fishes by Pieter Nooten and Michael Brook- Xymox made it to the preliminaries, but this WAS a popularity contest, after all. maybe i did vote for Xymox, not sure if they made the voting list or not. :-P saying that 2 Cure or 2 Depeche Mode albums shouldn’t be able to be voted as part of your Top 25 is a bit silly though, they were/are many people’s favorite alternative bands. a lot of people voted for every album each band had, then added in whatever else they could.

      • It’s not silly at all. Having one album per band was more than enough since they could’ve listed a couple “runner-up” albums for each band with multiple entries. Having multiple albums seems pointless. They could’ve reached the same result with one main album per band on the list. All it did was narrow the list space and give a very restricted and limited view on an ENTIRE decade’s worth of music. Makes it seem like the only music worth to cents from the 80’s came only from a handful of bands, which is completely lopsided and misleading.

  92. I love charts, so I thought I would share some of tidbits for other dorks like me:
    1980 – 11 albums
    1981 – 6
    1982 -7
    1983 – 9
    1984 – 11
    1985 – 14
    1986 – 7
    1987 – 15
    1988 – 10
    1989 – 10

    The only years that the full top 10 made this list were 1985, 1987, and 1989

    The highest charting album of any given year not to make this list: Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame at #3 in 1982

    The lowest charting album of any given year to make this list: Prince – Sign of the Times (which was #24 in 1987)

    Thanks SUE for this awesome poll! (even though I’m sad no Eurythmics or Skinny Puppy made the decade list)

  93. PaulFromHouston

    Egads. My younger, music-snob self would have been appalled by this list back in the 1980s. SUE is interesting, because it usually reflects the very diverse music real people were listening to then. By this best-of-the-decade list just squeezed out most stuff outside of top-10 pop.

  94. I don’t really disagree with the list, there’s a few I would have substituted. I’m not a Pixie fan – by any stretch (can’t stand them in fact) and would have the Jesus and Mary Chain in the top 10 and I’m not a huge fan of he Cure’s “Pornography” and would have substituted “Faith” instead but that’s just me.

    I will say this though, The Cure has impacted me. They were the soundtrack of my youth and I love them – always have – always will! I will never apologize for loving them. Even if some pretentious hipster thinks they’re not appropriately obscure enough *eye roll*

    • ^This last sentence – can’t agree more.

    • But is anyone arguing that the Cure were not appropriately obscure enough? It seems that the main argument is that they did not produce four of the top ten albums of the decade. I like the cure, and I don’t think anyone doubts their bona fides as an alternative band. But four albums? To me, that illustrates a somewhat myopic view of 80s music (or music from any decade). For example, I loved the Smiths – every album — and I love the first five REM albums. But when push came to shove, I picked the Queen is Dead and Murmur only in the top 25 because there are so many other good bands that deserve recognition. Can you really argue with the proposition that the results of the poll would have been more interesting if the Cure fans had not simply voted in nearly every cure record into their top 25?

      • “But is anyone arguing that the Cure were not appropriately obscure enough”

        Actually a few people had that complaint about ‘Disintegration’. They called it a “newbie album” or complained that “normal” people listened to it. What a joke. Still playing the old game of , “Oh, they’re popular now? Well, they used to be cool.” If that band were friends of yours, would you wish them a life of obscurity and poverty, or would you celebrate them making the charts?

      • Brian, The Cure fans listen only The Cure albums. They don’t listen other artists.

    • hear, hear!

  95. John Kearns

    A little boy heavy for my tastes. Although I do own most of the albums listed. :-) Off the top of my head, where is Flowers “Icehouse,” Devo’s “New Traditionalists,” Throwing Muses, “Throwing Muses,” Lydia Lunch’s, “Queen of Siam,” Til Tuesday’s, “Welcome Home,” Squeeze’s “East Side Story.” anything by Elvis Costello or Crowded House? But the omission that made me weep was Kate Bush’s, “The Dreaming.” Thanks for the list though.

  96. This is the dumbest list with the worst results that I’ve ever seen.

  97. joe mcgavin

    Very debateable list……. 5 Cure records in the top 10??!! Maybe a couple of those could make way for the Dead Kennedy’s FFFRV which is stranded adrift at #66, or the Stone Roses debut, in my opinion the best album of the 80’s both musically, influentially, and revolutionarily. Also, much as I love him, there is an alarming number of Bowie LPs on that list, when the 80’s provided a whole host of e could really do without.

  98. Paul Simon’s Graceland should be in here and it isn’t. I know it wasn’t alternative, really, and that it had the poppiest Paul Simon song ever in Call Me Al, it’s still one of the better albums recorded from that decade, and one that I find I still enjoy more than 25 years later. There’s no way that four Cure albums belong in the top ten and Graceland isn’t even in the top 100.

    • Sorry Al…you’ve come to the wrong place!

    • And that’ not all. ‘Graceland’ is a great album, but other great artist are also missing (Simply Red, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince…). For example, some of ‘Prince’ albums are here on this poll, and for example ‘Purple Rain’ is missing. How is that possible?

      • Marko, does that question even need to be answered? Do you understand the definition of the genres covered by this site? I know definition are loose and very subjective, but some parameters exist for a reason…such as keeping dross like Michael Jackson and Simply Red out of polls such as this one. I mean, come on, Simply Red?? Christ on a bike.

  99. I won’t wax philosophical about where to draw the lines of alternative music, but I cannot think of any place in this plane of existence that would classify Public Enemy or Guns N Roses as alternative bands.

  100. The top ten. Seriously? Give me a bucket to puke in… 4 albums by any one artist would still be wrong..

  101. I’m a huge fan of 80s music and I love most of the albums on this list. But I still have a hard time understanding why The Hoodoo Gurus are so overlooked by alternative music fans from the era. Maybe because, being from the Boston area, they got a lot of airplay here and there was a time when I put them in the same sentence as the other heavyweights – R.E.M., U2, The Replacements, INXS, etc. So sad that they’re not represented here.

  102. All this arguing…post your own personal lists of favorite 80s albums!

  103. James Naugler

    It’s quite ironic watching these comments. People bitching that the top 10 is not skewed towards what they like, therefore the list is garbage.

    Sorry if you don’t like the Cure, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are arguably the most important alternative rock band of all time, with the credentials to back that up. Disintegration is widely considered a masterpiece of pop music.

    “I can’t believe the Cure has 4 albums in the top ten!! What about Husker Du or the Violent Femmes??”

    REALLY? Those two bands are just blips on the college radio radar, nothing more, nothing less. This is a popular opinion poll, so there is nothing to argue.

    • Husker Du, R.E.M., and the Pixies were THE most influential bands on the upcoming early 90’s alternative explosion. Absolutely. Ask Nirvana. Husker Du alone paved the way for punk/pop. Dave Grohl- “no Husker Du, no Foo Fighters,” and countless others.

      • the whole “the pixies begat nirvana” deal is ridiculous. kurt may have dug them, but nirvana sounded NOTHING like them. nirvana, you know, SOUNDED good, whereas the pixies are noise. husker du was a damn good band and very important, but again, the foos sound a lot better and i’d much rather listen to them.

        • Where do you think Nirvana got their LOUD/quiet/LOUD formula? “Teen Spirit” is straight Pixies. They’ve admitted it. Cobain-“I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I connected with that band so heavily I should have been in that band-or at least in a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics.” Straight from the horses mouth. No arguments needed.

          Now think about all the bands influenced by Nirvana. It all comes back to the Pixies.

        • Pretty sure Smells Like Teen Spirit is nicked from the Pixies. Not much proof other than this:

          “I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it (smiles). When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily I should have been in that band – or at least in a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.”

          Kurt Cobain about how he wrote “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, from a Rolling Stone interview by David Fricke, 01-27-94

          • Kurt more than dug them. He wanted to BE them.

          • Guys, I think that qotita knows better then Kurt Cobain. Qotita is a musicologist.

          • i’m well aware of all of this. read it years ago. i just don’t hear it. yeah, loud/soft. everything else about the two bands–vocal tonality, approach in terms of how hard they rocked, lyrics/themes, melodic/harmonic approach, atmosphere–is completely dissimilar.

      • James Naugler

        Yeeeeah.. Can’t say I really care who the biggest influence on Nirvana was.

    • “Sorry if you don’t like the Cure, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are arguably the most important alternative rock band of all time, with the credentials to back that up.”

      No offense but, THE MOST important alternative rock band of all time? Are you serious? Yes, they were a great band. With many great songs and albums BUT, they are just ONE of a myriad of bands that shaped, paved and created the face of alternative music. To say that implies that either:

      A. One is blinding oneself to the contributions made by a whole gamut of bands from the same time period OR…

      B. One has NO CLUE of the contributions made by a whole gamut of bands from the same time period.

      Just because some bands never achieved the levels of stardom that ONE band did, makes them no less relevant and important.

      • James Naugler

        And no one ever said that, but thanks for putting words in my post.

      • so, um..because one band is, of course, only ONE band among many, that means they’re not the greatest/most influential/most important? SOMEONE has to be, right? your logic is strange here.

        • What I’m saying is that we’re talking about an ENTIRE decade here. Not a few months or a few years. Don’t know why that’s so hard to comprehend for you. If you re-read my comment, at no time do I imply that anyone HAS to be the “greatest”. But, I’ll play along. The 80’s did not revolve around The Cure or a couple other bands. For someone who claims to love TONS of bands and albums (BUT who also thinks The Cure is “the greatest band in the history of alternative rock music, go figure), I would’ve thought you’d have a much more open view on the subject. Stating that MY logic is strange is perfect example of the pot calling the kettle “Black”. Again, get over yourself. If you could scale over the monumental wall that is your arrogance, you’d probably understand my logic. Then again, you’d then be faced with the highest and toughest climb of all, which dwarfs everything else… your ego.

  104. We now know the ultimate troll bait of the interwebs: trick a bunch Cure fans to debate what is the best album…

    The best thing about these comments is the nostalgia I feel remembering the debates I had with jocks back in the 80s when they said “god, how can you listen to that crap?!”

    If anything, this shows how important and how PERSONAL the music was for us back then. It defined us. We used it building blocks of our identity. It was our “baseball and apple pie”.

    Personally, I still demand that Starfish be recognized as the best album of the 80s.

    So there

  105. The Cure is my favorite band, they have been for a long time and always will be. I voted for all 7 of their albums for my top 25 of the 80s and if their Boys Don’t Cry and Japanese Whispers compilations were eligible for this poll I would have voted for those as well. I also voted for all 5 of Skinny Puppy’s albums, and all of Dead Can Dance’s albums. Those bands changed my life and that is how I voted, this music isn’t the best of the 80s to me, it is the best music of all time. The Cure’s Pornography is highly influential, especially to the Gothic music scene. It deserves it’s place in the top 10 for sure.

    • You have limited taste on three bands. 80’s music is much more than three bands and 7 albums of ‘The Cure’.

    • Totally agree with Marko. It’s your choice to think of 3 bands and their music (which I like as well, don’t get me wrong) as the best of “all-time” but, you are certainly missing out on a veritable goldmine of cool bands and albums from the same or similar genres. Like a person eating hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza almost exclusively when there are SO MANY other excellent choices out there to add to one’s palette.

  106. If you love 80’s new wave (of course you do, you read this awesome blog), you’ll know that 2013 was an incredible year for music.

    All these electropop bands grew up in the 80’s and loved The Cure, Smiths, Depeche Mode…and are now building upon those sounds. Bands like Young Galaxy, St. Lucia, Charli XCX, Lorde, AlunaGeorge, CHVRCHES etc.

    Check out my Top 40 Electropop Albums from 2013 and hopefully find awesome new tunes.

  107. 4 Albuns of The Cure and 2 of Depeche Mode in the top 10? It’s a decade. 10 years. Pop/Rock music has more diversity than that.

  108. Why do people keep on blaming voters’ age for their dislike on this list? Is it wrong to be young?

    I looove the Cure… I really do, but thre’s too much Cure for the top ten. AnD U2’s Boy deserved a much higher place, but, again, it’s a list based on polls [Though I’ve always thought The Cure is very underrated by critics anyway.]

    AnD also Bowie’s and SATB’s should’ve been higher… I think…

  109. This here’s a poll; it’s not the result of any single critic overloading his choices for ‘best 80’s albums’ with his personal favorite bands. The Cure and The Smiths are arguably (?) the most beloved ‘alternative’ bands of the era, with several great records between them. Is it any surprise really that their contributions take up so much space in the top 10? My favorite Cure album happens to be ‘Pornography’, but I also love ‘Disintegration’, ‘Head on the Door’, etc., and am not at all surprised the majority of folks voted for these over their dour little masterpiece. I personally would’ve made room in the top 10 for other deserving artists. I personally would’ve tossed all the U2, Duran Duran, and Police records for Skinny Puppy’s nightmarish sonic classic (and still ahead of it’s time) ‘VIVIsectVI’, The Birthday Party’s ‘Mutiny’, Big Black’s ‘The Hammer Party’, The Cramps ‘Bad Music For Bad People’…but this clearly isn’t my list, or yours. Overall I think it’s a pretty great list, with very few albums I’d break in half, or burn, in a decade that had an awful lot of truly horrible music.

  110. How in the world are people upset about the results of the poll? People voted and these are the results. I’m a Cure fan for sure but no way do I think so many of their albums belong in the top 10. But they are. So what? I know what my top 10 would look like. It’s neither right or wrong. Just my opinion.

  111. I do love so many of the albums on this list. But as one who came of age during the Eighties, no list is complete without a high ranking of The Fall’s 1982’s “Hex Induction Hour”. Truly epic. “But what does it sound like, you may ask? Well, it sounds like the Fall. It sounds like a group of five talented musicians trying to play as brilliantly stupid as possible, while a sixth fellow from the docks hops on stage, grabs the mike, and fights his way through the morass scorched-earth style. It sounds like the primordial ooze that birthed touchstones like the Stooges and the Velvet Underground come to life, nursing a bitch of a hangover and a vendetta. It’s something you’re born with, not something you learn. And, as on most Fall records, but especially this one, it’s something to behold.”

    nuff said.

    • James Naugler

      Hex Enduction Hour isn’t even the best Fall record, more or less one of the best albums of the entire decade.

  112. i posted a general rational over-arching comment early but now i’m gonna give my two millions cents personal opinion: where the eff is ‘the damned’, where the eff is ‘pil’ and where the eff is ‘happy mondays’???! that’s just me but is there anyone else on my side?!

  113. How about top 10 bands slighted by this list.
    1.The Chameleons UK
    2.Talk Talk
    3.Prefab Sprout
    4.Psychedelic Furs
    5.Mission Of Burma
    6.The Jam
    7.Camper Van Beethoven
    8.Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians
    9.Elvis Costello
    10.The dB’s

  114. To mention another band that was completely overlooked. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Organisation,Architecture & Morality,Dazzle Ships, Junk Culture.
    Erasure’s The Innocents was overlooked as well, If youre going to give Depeche Mode and Yazoo so much credit then why not them as well?

    • I liked OMD at the time – but now I really appreciate how good they are and how innovative their early albums were. If you compare their early stuff with, say, Depeche Mode’s — it’s no contest who had the better stuff at the beginning. (I even count “A Broken Frame” in that comparison, even though I have a strong personal connection with that album.)

      • I agree with you about OMD. They were the first alternative band that I got into my freshman year in college. A friend of mine fron high school met some guy that had done some college radio and turned him on to it. It was totally unlike the stuff I was hearing on the radio. Us and another friend from hs finally got to see them in Chicago about three years ago. I also got into A Broken Frame talking to a girl I knew in the hallway of our dorm. Her boyfriend was into the music scene from Chicago and she was familiar with it we I heard it down the hall. She told me who it was I went out and bought it that day, after only hearing it for a few minutes. Both groups got me into finding music off the beaten path.

  115. I have to admit that my top albums were not just based on the quality of the music but the memories I had when I was listening to them. When you are a teenager music is interwoven into the the most exciting times of your life. I distinctly remember seeing ABC on good morning America and then riding my bike 10 miles to Wherehouse records to get lexicon of love. I listened to that tape over and over on my yellow Walkman going back and forth to junior high. Will never forget it or hearing all this great music thanks to 91x in San Diego. Wasn’t college rock, but was new wave and alternative. Great memories listening OMD’s Crush with my girlfriend. That was our album. Is it better than the Cure? Because of the memories that come back to me now when I hear a song from that album yes. When I hear the Cure I think of all the Goths at Stratus dance club smoking their cloves and hearing them overplayed on 91x. Like them, but because my friends and I were more into other bands they didn’t make my list. Curious if people voted based strictly on the musical genius or if because most of us were teenagers selected albums that provided the best memories? And to all the bashers of bands like Duran2 and U2 you all sound like teenagers and think it is uncool to like them because they are popular. They were popular because they had some good music. You didn’t like them then or now because you and your friends wanted to be different like many teenagers.

  116. look im a cure fan too, and pornography deserves to be there…the kids who discovered the cure with disintigration had thier say (its good, but not the best)…same with the smiths, queen is dead was a critic darling but frankly mr shankly (theres a crap song) it wasnt nearly as good as what came before..but thats when BOTH these bands peaked asy to those who voted for more than one album by one band in thier top ten…give the rest of the list a chance…there were some great records out there and they didnt all come from one band

    • Pretty much agree with everything you say, although I love Frankly Mr. Shankly (some girls are bigger than others was, imo, the throw away track on Queen is Dead). The main disagreement is with the statement that Queen is Dead was the Smiths’ commercial peak. I’d have to say that point came with Strangeways and with the made for easy-listening hit, Girlfriend in a Coma. Another great Smiths disc (they all were great), but never liked that song.

      • “Some Girls..” contains some of Marr’s most beautiful guitar arpeggios. A lovely tapestry of notes. Lyrically, yes a throwaway, but musically as pretty as anything he ever played (I think Morrisey sabotaged this track).

  117. What about Michael Jackson’s Thriller? Prince’s Purple Rain? Pet Shop Boy’s? Culture Club?? There are also other groups like Metallica’s Master of Puppets or even Kill em all… Mötley Crüe… This whole list was pretty dominated by British eyeliner.

    • Miggz, seriously, you need to acknowledge what this site is all about. There’s no room for sodding Motley Crue here at all (or any other blokey hair-rock bollocks for that mater).

      • * matter.

      • I wonder what Guns N Roses, Public Enemy and Beastie Boys are doing here then. And if Prince IS going to be on the list, it makes no sense whatsoever for his “Sign O’ The Times” album to be represented here but yet, there’s no mention of “Purple Rain” which was a MASSIVE album in the mid 80’s and for many like myself, his best work ever in that decade.

  118. Yeah I thought this mega-poll was gonna inspire some intense comment, good stuff. Have enjoyed catching up withn many of these classic records. Growing up in NZ in the 80’s, the Flying Nun label was enormously influencial. My faves: Skeptics – Skeptics III, Bailter Space – Tanker, The Gordons – S/T, Straitjacket Fits – Hail, with many other great FN releases E.P’s only.

  119. A list of the top 100 college rock LPs of the 1980s that does not include “Vs.” by Mission of Burma is thematically, artistically and culturally invalid.

    The top heavy representation of The Cure in this list implies a certain amount of ballot box stuffing.

    • ‘Vs.’ barely even made the ballot for this. It came in at No. 50 in the 1982 poll. The ballot was comprised of the Top 50 results of each individual year’s voting.

      On this ballot, it came in at No. 246.

      Very important record? Absolutely. But obviously not as well liked as many others. This was, after all, a readers poll, not a critical list.

  120. I think that after this comments we start this poll over again. From 1980-1989. Year by year. That’s fair. Some great artist are missing in this poll, some great albums are also missing, and at the end 4 ‘The Cure’ albums in top 10 of the decade. That’s too much for me.

    • We already did year-by-year voting. Results are linked at the top and bottom of the post itself.

      • Yes, I know that. But this is completely unfair list. Especially this one. There is lots of complaints about this list. As Albin said on his comment: limited the poll to one disc per artist.

        • That is a stupid idea…this is to rate the most popular ALBUMS based on a subset of the year-by-year choices. I don’t understand this perpetual complaining and whinging…it is a POLL…it’s like complaining about the fact that more people like white bread than brown. It is what it is. And yes, I am a huge Cure fan and I’m delighted to see them rate so well…but to be honest, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with how the rest of the top 10 fell out (would have liked to see the Banshees, Cocteaus, and Dead Can Dance rate better) but it doesn’t matter…it’s just a poll…get over it…it’s just FUN.

          And as for the people complaining about particular albums being “left out”; Matt has been very explicit about the methodology here and it’s perfectly legitimate. As noted, there is NO jiggery-pokery going on just to make you feel insecure about your tastes. The albums that received more votes ranked higher and that’s all there is to it.

          • No, it’s not just a fun to see some band with 4 albums in top 10. I think it’s not fair and because of that it’s not fun at all. Also, I don’t want to see my favourite artist with 4 albums in top 10, either. This is very selfish from The Cure fans. Disintegration in new poll will be again winner, but results from this poll said something about people who visit this website.
            1. 80’s music fans are very passionate about their favourite artist and that’s good (especially The Cure)
            2. those fans (not just ‘The Cure’) are pretty selfish and have problem with other peoples who listen different 80’s genres. That’s bad and selfish.

        • James Naugler

          “I disagree with this list, therefore it is wrong!” lol.

  121. Great list. I agree so much. Very sad to see how many masterpieces were released in those years. Where is the good music now? Just crap…

  122. Great list…but Purple Rain(Prince)is top ten.

  123. Cure discography’s in eighties is amazing,like Beatles in 60s.Prince and The smiths spectacular too.

  124. Jay Hedblade

    Nice to see “Alternative” kids suffer from the same need to conform to popularity as everyone else with their predictable choices. Did any of you own an album by Magazine, to name but one ridiculous omission? And “Hounds Of Love” not making the top 10 is criminal. Now resume your purchase of Joy Division t-shirts at Hot Topic and congratulate yourself on being cool.

    • I don’t believe this list has anything to do with popularity contests. It’s about music. People voted anonymously on what they liked. When I was a teenager, being a Cure fan wasn’t very popular.

    • i have no need to conform. i just like good music. magazine isn’t good music to me. the cure is.

      • qotita, don’t forget your favourite The Smashing Pumpkins. This band have very appropriate title for their greatest hits collection – rotten apples.

  125. guys, it was made with the help of a poll people voted on
    so, this is pretty much your fault that you didn’t vote or etc because the list depended on people’s votes so don’t be angry with it

  126. Considering how each of yearly polls played out, I’m not that surprised with these results. Although it’s odd that Siouxsie and the Banshees consistently made top 10, but couldn’t make it above 79 here.

  127. I found slicing up by listening to Stuck in the 80s podcast. I voted in every poll. I love seeing you guys fight and I don’t agree with all 100 top choices either. But I am so thankful that this list was done. I used each poll result to try out bands I didn’t listen to or to go further into bands I knew something about. I didn’t understand the high ranking for the church starfish. I knew the milky way song but thats really as far as I went. So I listened to it all the way through and I gotta say Im grateful for the heads up on it. Its a great album. Very much a time capsule. My favorite 80s album is Murmur by REM. Because it changed the entire direction of my musical interests. That doesn’t mean its the greatest album ever. Just my favorite. Thanks to qotita for all the hard work. I have many artists to revisit.

    • Murmur is a special album.

    • It’s not “fighting” per say. It’s more frustration at how this list tries to imply that the 80’s were dominated and revolved around a handful of bands and their albums. Sure those bands have their rightful place in the list but, as it stands, this list gives a ridiculously narrow impression of just how vast the music scene in the 80’s really was. The ENTIRE decade had tons and tons of really cool bands. Unfortunately (and apparently) even now, so-called listeners of Alternative, Post-Punk, Post-Modern (or whatever you want to call it) music have the same tendencies exhibited by the mainstream music community. In an effort to distance themselves from the mainstream, they happily gravitate towards something different. Then, instead of going further and discovering even more new treasures, they become stagnant, complacent. Sticking with the same old bands and thinking they’re so on the “cutting edge”, when there are tons and tons of cool bands they would most surely like given the chance but, it never happens. If those people would’ve taken a chance to just listen to new suggestions and musical proposals, this list would REALLY represent what the 80’s were all about and the myriad of bands that provided awesome music throughout those 10 years. This is like those who claim to be SO into Metal, then if asked to name 100 major albums by bands during an entire decade, can’t respond with anything but albums by “Metallica” and “Megadeth”…

  128. There were two people posting as J. I have the scooter pic. I didnt pick prince purple rain. I love reading slang from cultures different than my own. jiggery-pokery…awesome… and they brilliant point that if you divide the decade by two that the 80s had two halves… brilliant indeed. Robert Smith would feel very satisfied reading all the comments. we raise him up and rip him down again. Im listening to mission of Burma vs. very good stuff. thanks for that…

  129. Lot of Cure fans out there but 3 Echo and The Bunnymen albums listed as the greatest of the 80’s? LOL.

  130. In terms of a recommendation for future polls how about best song? I liked the best album cover idea as well.

  131. Where are THE SMITHS???

    …wait, nevermind, I see them.

  132. Wait…I’m sorry but no mention of the Alarm, Til Tuesday or the Stray Cats. This list is dopey

  133. Disappointed that I did not see ” Drive” the 1984 album by the Cars on the list. Wonderful album and definitely in my top 10 from the 80s.

  134. Iceblink Luck

    All this whining is ridiculous, and frankly, petulant and ungrateful. Somebody has spent A LOT of their time putting these polls together, and I am nothing but thankful for all the fun it has provided. Are the results what I would have liked them to be? Nope. Siouxsie and the Banshees “Peepshow” is the greatest album of all time, imho, but it ended up at #95. Outrage? No, it’s a poll. It’s not a list of MY favorite albums (trust me, that list looks pretty different), it’s a POLL. And the results are fascinating. If you are having trouble with the concept of a poll, do some research or take a basic statistics class or something. But please stop with all the bellyaching. It’s immature and it’s embarrassing. Why on earth are you arguing with people about what they like?

    And I absolutely disagree that votes should be limited to one album per artist. Each album stands on its own as an autonomous work of art. My favorite band in the world is Siouxsie and the Banshees and I chose two SatB albums among my 25 votes. Why? Because those two albums are truly among my top 25. Why not all of them? Because the others aren’t in my top 25. Limiting votes to one album per artist sacrifices honesty for variety, and I’d rather have the former.

    Finally, a million thanks to the person who put these polls together. Revisiting these albums all year, having to think about the music I really love the most, and getting to see the results every month (as much as they differ from my own choices!) has been an absolute blast. Thank you thank you thank you thank you for all that you’ve done. I wouldn’t change a thing about how you’ve run this whole thing. Kudos.

    PS – If you’re really that outraged by the results of a legitimate poll, why don’t you put your list up on a webpage elsewhere, post the link, and then we can all go marvel at how super incredibly awesomely exceptionally superior you and your list are.

    • You are the greatest! Beautifully put and agree 150%. There are some right nobheads posting here.

    • Totally missing the point. People are giving their opinions cause they can. It’s a public page. People do it everyday, all across the world on and off the internet. If everyone just went along with everything they were given “no questions asked”, how boring would that be? It’s funny how you criticise people for voicing their opinions, then go right on to voice your own. See how every coin has two sides? Make sure you look at both next time. What I and a few others are arguing is that this list is extremely narrow in it’s scope when representing an entire decade’s worth of music. Simple as that. Take what you wish from that. Before getting high and mighty, giving a chastising “lecture” on this and that, make sure you don’t wind up including yourself amongst the group you’re so desperate to scold.

      • Excellent.

      • Iceblink Luck

        I think that all the bile and negativity being hurled at the webmaster has gotten to the point of being disrespectful and unfair. You’re free to voice your opinion and I’m free to voice my opinion that it’s disrespectful. See how wonderfully that coin works? No human rights of expression have been infringed upon.

        With regard to the list’s scope, the poll never pretended to be a comprehensive encyclopedia that represented the full spectrum of alternative ’80s music. It’s not intended to be a comprehensive review of music; it’s a poll. The top 100, by definition, are supposed to be a very tiny, select subset of all eligible albums.

        To those who complain that this was a popularity contest… yes, exactly! That’s what a poll is.

        • “But please stop with all the bellyaching. It’s immature and it’s embarrassing. Why on earth are you arguing with people about what they like?”…

          No need to backpedal now. People expressed their opinions. That’s it. When you allow people to freely post on your public page, eventually you will get responses, opinions and the like which you may or not agree with. Some will be tactful, others scathing.

          As for the list, whether or not it was meant to be comprehensive or not, everybody has the right to post their opinions or not, just like you did. To sit there and complain about all the complaints is rather hypocritical, no? Again, whether on the internet or not, people will eventually challenge your opinions once you make them heard. If one can’t handle the “heat”, then one needs to “stay out of the kitchen”. Simple as that.

        • P.S. Nobody ever said this list was supposed to be an encyclopedia of bands from the 80’s. It was a “Top 100” list, not a “Most popular” list. Keep in mind, representing an ENTIRE decade as well. Yes, some popular entries can be considered as some of the best from the 80’s but, so can others that weren’t as popular. Being the best and being popular are two very different things.

      • Actually M6, it is you that is completely missing the point. Healthy debate about the merits or flaws of particular albums and other lively discussion and intelligent opinion regarding the results is very welcome…what is not welcome is scathing nastiness about how “stupid”, how “irrelevant”, what “a waste of time” or how “shit” the list is (after a massive amount of effort by this site’s operator) or how “idiotic” or “laughable” some people are for liking certain bands or artists. What is also unwelcome is claims that the poll results have been “hijacked”, “fixed” or otherwise “biased” when that is clearly not the case.

        Not saying you are behaving like a dick, just saying there has been a lot of dick-like comments flung around here. Iceblink Luck is absolutely spot on with his/her observations.

        • I get what you both are saying and in a perfect world, your arguments WOULD be “spot on”. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. We don’t live in a world where people are going to be respectful (or even neutral) in return all the time. Yes, there have been some people here who find it necessary to insult others with a difference of opinion. It happens. Is it annoying? You bet. Is it immature? Of course. Is it welcome? Not at all. Should we expect it? Most definitely…

          I may not agree with what some have said to me or the manner in which they said it BUT, to censure or condemn someone for doing so? It’s pointless to wave one’s finger in the face of others, condemning them for expressing themselves, then turning around and doing so yourself. My point is, we all have to deal with those who don’t know the meaning of the word “tact” or with little or no respect for others, on or off the net. It’s up to us to deal with them in a mature manner and to not lower ourselves to their level. The answer is not to reprimand, forbid or censor. It’s learning how to deal with those people and situations under any circumstances, despite our own views.

  135. well said iceblink luck!!! very disappointing to see siouxsie’s stuff so far down on this list considering all of her albums make each top 10 list 5 times between ’80-’89. thanks again SUE for putting this altogether.

  136. How Simple Minds “New Gold Dream” could score so low is beyond me. Not only is it the band’s best work, it is truly a Great album. It is a definitive 80’s staple in the Alternative/ New Wave genre, and deserving of no less the a top 20 placement….in my opinion.

    • For me, the best album of the 80’s and all time. Masterpiece. New Gold Dream combines all the styles in one: new wave, alternative, new romantics, synth pop, pop rock… It’s very atmospheric, sophisticated & sublime piece of art. Completely agree with Pags that New Gold Dream deserves to be in top 20. Definitely my #1 forever.

  137. nothingshocking

    This list was not put together by a bunch of critics so, what’s there to disagree or agree about? Obviously Cure fans came to the polls in numbers. As a Cure fan I found out that I am not alone in my love for Head on the Door and Disintegration.

    If I were to compile a list of my favorite albums from the 80’s it would be a diverse mix of simple nostalgia and albums that I still consider fresh. (the Depeche Mode would be nostalgia) and I would include albums that I only recently have listened to.

    Reading the polls has been fun..maybe do it again in a couple of years and see how the results change.

  138. raff_stainsonthescenery

    “The Mission” is one the best bands tom ’80, “The First Chapter” (1986) must be contained in this list!!!

    • I agree that their 80’s output was amazing, but “The First Chapter” was a compilation, not a studio album (and it came out in 1987, their first studio album “God’s Own Medicine” came out in 1986).

  139. no Cramps? Gun Club? Dream Syndicate? Triffids?

  140. Earle Cammonbert

    Qotota –

    Anyone that feels the need to list his “freak” resume ain’t no freak. Wipe the cheese doodle dust off those sausage fingers of yours. You are the very definition of “poseur”. Just because you once danced with some chick with a nose ring while wearing eyeliner doesn’t make you the authority. It makes you a sad little man.

  141. So nice this list, delightful <3

  142. Matt Thurston

    Number albums by Band…

    The Cure: 7 albums (7 of 7 80’s albums made Top 100)
    REM: 6 albums (6 of 6 albums)
    New Order: 5 albums (5 of 5)
    The Smiths: 4 albums (4 of 4)
    U2: 4 albums (4 of 5)
    Depeche Mode: 3 albums (3 of 6)
    The Replacements: 3 albums (3 of 6)
    Jesus & Mary Chain: 3 albums (3 of 3)
    Echo & the Bunnymen: 3 albums (3 of 5)
    The Cult: 2 albums (2 of 4)
    Husker Du: 2 albums (2 of 6)
    David Bowie: 2 albums (2 of 4)
    The Pixies: 2 albums (2 of 3)
    Duran Duran: 2 albums (2 of 5)
    Talking Heads: 2 albums (2 of 5)
    Tears for Fears: 2 albums (2 of 3)
    Cocteau Twins 2 albums (2 of 6)
    Sisters of Mercy: 2 albums (2 of 2)
    INXS: 2 albums (2 of 6)
    Siouxsie: 2 albums (2 of 7)

    • Matt Thurston

      The Cure — Ridiculous that “The Top” made the Top 100. Other 6 were great records, although I would have limited it to the Disintegration, Head on the Door, Kiss Me, and Faith.

      Echo & the Bunnymen — Ocean Rain and Crocodiles were the best. The eponymous 5th album doesn’t hold up. Would have made room for Porcupine.

      Tears for Fears — Seeds of Love is their best album, sorry folks.

      The The — Mind Bomb and Infected should have made Top 100.

      Depeche Mode — Surprise only 3 of 6 albums made Top 100, given all the DM love. But only those 3 deserved to make the Top 100, so we got it right.

      The Replacements — Got it right. Best 3. Others didn’t deserve it.

      REM — Would have left off Green, kept the others.

      U2 — Got it right, 4 out of 5.

  143. Matt Thurston

    Mr. Slicing Eyeballs:

    Given that this is a decade list, with thousands of albums to choose from, can you publish the results for 101 to 200?

    Thank you,


  144. I enjoy the Cure, but WAY to top heavy. RIO was a top album in the 80s, go low at 18. Yes a lot of Brittish synth acts on this list but it was the 80’s… Other than Michael and Madonna not much else, leave G&R off this list, they would prefer it that way lol

  145. I think Technique and Dare! should be MUCH higher, and I would have liked to have seen something by Erasure crack the top 100.

    I’m not surprised that The Joshua Tree is in the top 10, but to me, it’s got 4 really, really, awesome songs, but the rest of the album is pretty weak. Nothing’s Shocking is way too high, also.
    I’m a little surprised that The Cure and R.E.M. were the top 2 bands, though I guess I shouldn’t be.

  146. what about

  147. Common Knowledge

    I did not notice this in any of the 413 earlier comments for the Best of the Decade list nor in any of the Best of 1980 list and I did not come across any comment from the moderators either. Because of the point I am about to make, I specifically note when critics, writers, etc. release their “best of” annual lists each year and they invariably appear in the middle of December of each calendar year. Hence my contention that the omission or supposed “ineligibility” of “London Calling” from the Clash, released in the U.K. on December 14, 1979 and in the U.S. on January 5, 1980 in your decade list or 1980 list is an epic fail.

  148. I’m a huge fan of many of the bands on this list but it is beyond my ability to grip how Adam and the Ants or even just Adam Ant is not on this list at all…wtf kids….Husker Du should have been much higher, Dead Kennedys rank higher in my book and where the fuck are the Sex Pistols? cmon now we are talking about the 80’s

  149. This is just plain sad. U2’s The Joshua Tree easily should be number one. What that album did for the band and the music industry is nothing short but speechless. They made the cover of Time Magazine! Only Springsteen at the time had done it before. The Smiths…good choice but R.E.M.’s Murmur is top 5. SAD.

  150. Wow really, three fucking The Cure albums in the top 10? No mention of Mission of Burma in the whole list? Only one Sonic Youth album (and not even EVOL or Sister)? And where are The Feelies?!

    2/10 terrible list would not read again.

  151. The lack of Mission of Burma and Throwing Muses makes this entire list invalid.

  152. Echo&B’s Ocean Rain and REM’s Murmur need to be in the top 10, imo.

  153. tom isenbarger

    Surprised to see MBV so low here. Oh, and I can’t stand Joshua Tree.

  154. This speaks volumes as to the readership. One man’s “alt” is another’s _______.

  155. The Cure is a band whose formula jaded many people’s minds and everybody now takes for granted but in fact they really deserve all the praise they have here. Up until the self-titled album everyone was really proud of being a fan shouting it out loud, now it’s all Smiths and Joy Division who get all the respect. I’m a fan of that trilogy of bands, but there’s nothing wrong in them being so recognized in this list. The only complain I might have is Siouxsie and The Police being so up in the list,being the behemots of the ’80s and rock overall they are, but then again, is safe to make grandiose statements about ’80s bands after we made The Cure the flag nobody dared to turn their backs to.

  156. Ew, Combat Rock but no Pogues on here at all. Gross.

  157. I agree that the Cure is the best band of the 80’s and Desintegration is also my first choice. I mainly like all the albuns on this list. I just find ridiculous, (considering de dimention of the metal movement in this decade) that albuns Like “The Number of the Beast” or “Master of Puppets” etc, are not in this list.

  158. How can You’re Living All Over Me not even be on the list?

  159. No Soft Cell? Seriously?!

  160. No Sugarcubes?!?!? Tsk, tsk.

  161. It’s really bizarre that ‘Music For The Masses’ outranked ‘Black Celebration’. And Erasure’s ‘The Innocents’ and Thompson Twins’ ‘Into The Gap’ deserved to at least be in the top 100. Somehow I missed this poll…I thought the site was doing one on the songs of the ’80s soon.

  162. No Psychedelic Furs? Or did I miss something?

  163. I cant’t believe this is a top 100 of the 1980’s without a single Orchestral Manoueveres in the Dark album? Their first 3 albums were incredible, and are more pivotal than a band like ABC. And how on earth can you put “Sign of the times” by Prince on here and not “Purple Rain”?

  164. tamagothchi

    Don’t agree with it, needs The Gun Club, Sonic Youth, Swans, and Husker Du in top 10 and I would put Galaxie 500 and Cocteau Twins above a lot of those as well. As much as I loved the Cure, can’t say it aged well at all(except Pornography) and had a great effect on me as much as the bands I listed. I would put Pornography over Disintegration too if I were to pick one since it’s at least truly goth :p But hey, this is a reader poll and The Cure is massively popular and nostalgic so I expected it.

  165. Jarbas branco

    Cade o UB-40.

  166. There are things here I agree with, and things I disagree with. The problem with a list like this is it’s size. Things can go in any direction when you need to fill the list with a hundred items out of thousands. I think a top 20, or better yet, a top 10 would tighten things up, and make the arguments a hell of a lot more fun.

  167. i won’t argue the Top 3 spots, but i disagree with the majority of this list. you can tell the poll was only filled out by noobs. the Cure SHOULD NOT occupy so much of the Top10. this is a list for radioheads who weren’t even that far left of the dial. make a poll for the people who were actually there or in the very least have a age checkbox option, then we’ll see just how deep this list will get!

  168. People may argue with the rankings but there’s no denying that this is a fantastic list of albums by a great group of artists!

  169. Only one Police album? And it’s Synchronicity?

    Green better than Reckoning?

    No Black Flag?

    We’re any of y’all even alive during the 80s?

  170. Double Nickels on the Dime should be about 80 places higher. Also, Closer should be #1.

  171. not even ONE entry from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds…weird.

  172. Went looking for ’80s music and came across this list. Saw there were 7 Cure albums in the top 10 and all the R.E.M crap. They weren’t my eighties. Bye.

  173. Is there a downloadable/printable version of this list?

  174. Multiplasited

    Glad to see “Let It Be” was kinda sorta up there, but must all of the top spots be taken by The Cure? By the way, does anyone hear a vocal similarity between Robert Smith and “Lost In Space” villain Dr Smith? “Will!!!! I’m scared! Will!!!”

    No They Might Be Giants? The Pretenders? Sonic Youth?

  175. Found this list by accident.

    I was going to criticize the fact genres like heavy metal, punk, pop, minimalism, fusion jazz, experimental and electronic music were absent from the list, until I realised this website covers alternative / college rock. Fair enough!

    With that in mind, I have to say I mostly agree with the Top 10, The Cure, Pixies, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, and The Smiths encapsulated most of what 1980’s popular music was about, let alone indie and alternative rock. #1 to #5 spots are well deserved and dead on.
    “Disintegration” is a masterpiece that always feels like a haunting closing chapter for the 1980s in more ways than one. I am sure we would also find this album on the top 10 of generalist top 100 list covering all genres.

  176. PS – having said that, I also think the list is missing some important artists like Sugarcubes and Psychedelic Furs, and there are way too many Cure albums in the first places.

  177. My personal Top 10 of the 80s:

    1. Gun Club – ‘Fire of Love’ (1981)

    2. Madness – The Rise & Fall (1982)

    3. Violent Femmes – same (1983)

    4. Giant Sand – Valley of Rain (1985)

    5. Green on Red – Gravity Talks (1983)

    6. The Dream Syndicate – Medicine Show (1984)

    7. Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade (1984)

    8. Minutemen – Double Nickels on a Dime (1984)

    9. Black Flag – Damaged (1981)

    10. Birthday Party – Prayers on Fire (1981)

  178. Hey how are you?

    Are you a group of people giving out opinions of your favourite albums or just one person giving out opinions of his/her fave albums? Peace!

  179. Please disregard that last comment. My excuse? I’m drunk. Sorry. Still… Peace!

  180. On a lighter note? My TOP 10 Albums of The 1980’s?
    MY TOP 10 ALBUMS OF THE 1980’s
    1: MICHAEL JACKSON Thriller
    2: U2 The Joshua Tree
    3: PUBLIC ENEMY It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
    4: GUNS N’ ROSES Appetite For Destruction
    6: AC/DC Back In Black
    8: PRINCE Sign ‘O’ The Times
    9: RUN-D.M.C. Raising Hell
    10: TALKING HEADS Remain In Light
    Well there you have it. Peace!

  181. Michael Mendes



    • Michael Mendes

      10. GREEN- REM

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