This is the best album of the 80s.
So, I’ve started to write a response to this about 3 times now, and each time ended up in a long screed on the history of punk music, and this doesn’t really seem like the thread for that. So let me try to summarize: The Clash were the right band at the right time. They rose to the top of the punk scene because of a combination of skill and luck and good press (mostly from Lester Bangs and Creem).
They truly are a great band. Are they the best band in the land? Probably not. For those of you who actually listened all the way thru Sandinista you’ll know that there are several not great songs on there (a couple I would even characterize as unlistenable, and I’m a huge fan) but there are also flashes of brilliance. Washington Bullets, Police on my Back, and Charlie Don’t Surf just to name three.
The Clash managed just the right combination of political awareness and don’t give a fuckedness and absolute joy in making some of the most memorable music of a generation. There’s something there for everyone, no matter your taste in music.
Where you old enough during the Reagan/Thatcher years to understand what the songs were about? I was a kid during most of that era and I still don’t ‘get’ most of the anger
I was in high school in the 70’s
Take Viet Nam, Watergate, civil rights and add yuppie consumerism on top and you have a perfect recipe of distrust and sometimes outright loathing of the “man”!
You could not go wrong with The Hurting next.
Skip the punk, by the 80s it was already tired, and dive straight into post-punk and synthpop:
Joy Division - Closer, leading nicely into
New Order - I prefer Low-Life to critic’s favourite Power Corruption and Lies
Depeche Mode - All the albums are good as albums, I think the album cuts on Some Great Reward don’t get enough love because the singles are such classics.
Bauhaus - All albums are great, Mask is the best.
Siouxsie and the Banshees- Hyæna is a good one.
The Cure - lots there, but Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is the best. Album tracks like How Beautiful You Are…, The Perfect Girl or If Only Tonight We Could Sleep are as great as any of the singles.
The Cocteau Twins - all great, but Treasure is deservedly the classic.
If you want to go by Billboard charting, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 has the record for most too 5 hits with 7. ( Out of 13 tracks not counting the interludes)
Jesus Lizard - Liar
Napalm Death - Scum / From Enslavement to Obliteration
any of the three John Leckie-produced Fall albums
Pere Ubu - Art of Walking
Nomeansno - Sex Mad
Terrorizer - World Downfall
XTC - Black Sea
Rapeman - Two Nuns and a Pack Mule
Gang of Four - Songs of the Free [not as great as Entertainment! ('79)]
Dayglo Abortions - Feed Us a Fetus
Slint - Tweez (not as great as Spiderland)
Neos - End All Discrimination / Hassibah Gets the Martian Brainsqueeze
ETA: Ack! “Liar” came out in '92 - fuhggedaboudit.
Those all would make my list. I wanted to throw some Wire in there, but 154 just misses the 1980s, though I think A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck is comfortably in the 80s, both timewise (80s) and sound/production-wise. It’s Wire arguably at their most accessible. “Kidney Bingoes” is the most radio-friendly song they’ve written musically (lyrics are another story), while the rest of the album shows some more of the grittiness they’re known for.
Gang of Four’s Solid Gold, while not quite the classic that Entertainment! is, only suffers from that fact because Entertainment! came first and set the bar from them. It has all the harsh guitars, jagged rhythms, and political content that defined their debut, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many hardcore Go4 fans would consider it their best album. Definitely worth checking out, as those first two albums were highly influential on the sound of many musicians, continuing to this day.
I only remember about 3 songs by The Clash but they were quite edgy out in the 'burbs during the MTV years. You haven’t lived till you’ve heard a car full of 12 year olds singing along to ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ at the top of their lungs.
Like many of you, I could, given some time and thought, produce my own list of what I think are the best 80s albums of the ones I’m familiar with, or of my personal favorites.
Or, if the OP gave us some idea of the kind of music he likes, I could try to come up with a list of 80s albums that he would enjoy (at least if his tastes had substantial overlap with mine).
But I don’t know which, if any, of these are the kind of thing @digs was looking for when he started the thread.
You might want to double check who started the thread.
Dammit, I thought I did. Sorry, @dalej42.
I’m the OP and I was trying to find suggestions for good pop/rock albums of the 80s where the entire album is good. Not just some one or two hit wonders who cranked out an album with a good song and a bunch of filler.
Songs from the Big Chair-Tears for Fears
Every album by The Clash, save one, is a mix of great, good, and mediocre songs. The exception, London Calling, is rightfully ranked by Rolling Stone as the best album of the ‘80s. It’s a double album with all good or great songs. Even the Beatles didn’t do that; the white album has a clunker or two.
Hmm… Maybe try Midnight Oil’s Diesel and Dust? Dire Straights Brother In Arms Echo and the Bunnymen’s Ocean Rain. I think most of the ones other than that that I like will be outside your musical taste, but I would also recommentdUnderwater Moonlight by The Soft Boys, in addition to the the ones I mentioned in an earlier post (but those will probably be outside your tastes. – that first Pretenders album, which I didn’t mention, but has been mentioned, is in my top 5 80s albums easily.)
How could I forget Brothers in Arms? Amazing album!!! I spent a lot of lockdown watching The Cavern Club livestreams and there was a guitarist who did great covers of Dire Straits and was an excellent guitarist to handle the solos
Yeah, apologies to OP for not reading closely enough.
can’t think of a particular Pretenders album, but…
Roxy Music - Avalon
U2 - October
not considered “pop” at the time, but Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom (or Trust) is definitely worth a spin, with a good share of pop sensibilities going on.
Beastie Boys - Paul’s Boutique - even if you happen to be a staunch anti-hip-hopper, give it a listen anyway - it’s not all just that yucky rapping stuff.
Lots of awesome stuff here.
A couple of others that are also still in my regular rotation that have yet to be mentioned:
Duran Duran - Rio. Classic early 80s pop.
Cutting Crew - Broadcast. There is not a low point or misstep in this album.
Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime
Interesting that this list is quite different from Rolling Stones’s, linked above. I guess my tastes run more toward Pitchfork.
In Canada, of course, the Tragically Hip’s “Up To Here” was released in 1989 and is on any top albums list. It’s worth a listen, just fantastic blues-inspired rock. Their followup “Road Apples” was even better, but was a 1991 release.
“It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” was a 1988 album, which surprised me when I looked up lists; it was way ahead of its time. I’d have figured it for five years later. No list of great albums should be without landmark hip hop albums like that.
I’ll give Rolling Stone credit; they made an honest effort to create a list that is inclusive of many musical styles. There was an awareness there that there’s no chance at all that all the best albums were the same kind of music, which means they’re getting better at this than the first time they did their “All Time Best Albums” list and most of the top ten were the Beatles and Bob Dylan. If anything I think their list isn’t broad enough; there’s way too much from the same artists, but they didn’t just go with one or two genres.
When Janet was first nominated for the RRHOF, the SDMB had a poll thread on the nominees. There was much sneering over her candidacy, some of it with the “she’s not rock and roll” argument. Meanwhile, in the same poll, Kraftwerk, those rockin’ guitar dudes, did really well.