(On My Recommended Albums through the Decades)
Part Three: 1980s
In previous issues, I have cited my favorite albums released respectively in the 1960s (the likes of The Cascades’ ‘Rhythm of the Rain,’ The Byrds’ ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’, and The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’) and the 1970s (which include Bread’s ‘Guitar Man,’ America’s ‘Holiday,’ and John Denver’s ‘Back Home Again’).
Now, I am listing my top 13 albums of the 1980s. My having discovered as early as the late ’70s to the early ’80s bands like Blondie (“Heart of Glass”), The Cars (“My Best Friend’s Girl”), The B-52s (“Planet Claire”), The Knack (“My Sharona”), and The Pretenders (“Brass in Pocket”) has drawn me to the sound that came to be known as New Wave. This is the primary reason my top favorite albums released in the 1980s all fall under the genre New Wave. But this does not mean that I listened only to this kind of music. I was actually listening already to a wide array of music even in the 1970s and the 1980s, but New Wave just happened to become my favorite genre of music. Many non–New Wave releases in that decade that I also love just got shortlisted—like John Lennon’s ‘Double Fantasy’ (1980), Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ (1982), Air Supply’s ‘Now and Forever’ (1982), Madonna’s self-titled debut album (1983), and Menudo’s ‘Reaching Out’ (1984).
To my perspective and personal experience, the 1980s may be regarded as the decade when the union of music and fashion became fully realized not only visually but also sonically. Many New Wave albums produced in this decade are seeming patchworks of Picasso pieces—colorful, angular, a bit progressive, but not too abstract or complicated when compared to the Art Rock and Baroque Pop of the 1960s and the ensuing Progressive Rock of the 1970s. Here are my Top 13 favorite albums released in the 1980s.
Siouxsie & the Banshees – Kaleidoscope (1980)
Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward (1984)
Fiction Factory – Throw the Warped Wheel Out (1984)
The Lotus Eaters – No Sense of Sin (1984)
Modern English – Ricochet Days (1984)
Spandau Ballet – Parade (1984)
a-ha – Hunting High and Low (1985)
The Cure – The Head on the Door (1985)
Everything but the Girl – Love Not Money (1985)
Tears for Fears – Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
Echo & the Bunnymen – Echo & the Bunnymen (1987)
U2 – The Joshua Tree (1987)
The Wild Swans – Bringing Home the Ashes (1988)
Considering the decades’ worth of albums from various genres that I enjoy listening to, many of the New Wave albums released in the 1980s remain to be regulars on my playlist. Yes, there may be new albums released by both classic New Wave bands and younger New Wave bands, but still I find more pleasure in listening to albums that I discovered in my teenage years primarily because they carry for me not only music but also memories of my very young years. For instance, just the introductory drum roll of “In Between Days” by The Cure or the bombastic intro of Big Country’s “In the Big Country” or “Worlds Apart” by Cactus World News is enough to remind me of a dozen memories carved from my mid-highschool days.