Somehow I Found Some '80s Albums That Still Sound Good

These guys are bigger '80s fans than Steve Wiley.
These guys are bigger '80s fans than Steve Wiley.
Benjamin Leatherman

A few months ago, I took 80's music to task in a little ditty called High School Music: A Reunion from Hell.

Of course, I took some shit from some of my friends and classmates, so I promised them I'd try to look at the positive side to the eighties down the road. That moment has arrived.

Like the moment a chemistry test arrives.

Hey, I promised, so stay tuned as I try to find some musical needles in a decade long haystack.

See also: - Record Store Geek: Five Reasons CDs are Better Than Vinyl - Record Store Geek: Seven Reasons Vinyl is Better Than CD.

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The Best of the Worst

Here's my original premise: In my opinion, overall, the '80s were the worst decade of music since rock and roll was born. Most of it didn't sound good then, and it doesn't sound good now.

This little "research project" hasn't done a lot to change that opinion.

All jocular harassment aside, I figured I'd easily find a bunch of '80s albums that still hold up (meaning that I still listen to them today).

I gotta tell you, even being a smart-ass '80s basher, it was harder than I thought it would be. Of the more than 1,500 albums I've ripped, it was amazing how few were '80s albums. I'd scroll through, looking for possible candidates. When I'd see one, I'd check the dates, and time after time I'd end up muttering one of two things:

"Damn, 1979 again," or...

"Oops, early '90s again."

After scrolling and listing for an hour, I was able to find 21 albums that fit the bill. I've divided them into four random categories (with a brief set-up for each) for your scrutinizing pleasure.

(Yes, I realize half of you little shits weren't born until the eighties, but stay with me and you just might pick up a good recommendation.)

Start with Four Popular Records

I started by scanning the decade's Billboard charts. I immediately found that two great albums had topped the album charts in 1980, and I was thinking, "Maybe I'm was too tough on the '80s."

Turns out one of the two (Pink Floyd's The Wall) was released in 1979, and I wasn't being too tough at all. The best-selling titles got really bad, really quick. Next thing you know, I'm at 1990, and I've only got four total that I've listened to in the past few years.

That's right, only FOUR. For the entire fucking decade. I guess we are talking about agreeing with the '80s mainstream, so that sounds about right.

1. U2 - Joshua Tree (1987) In the eighties you couldn't avoid the hits like you can now, and excessive radio/MTV play would inevitably cause me to hate them early in the album's lifespan. I hated Joshua Tree's hits from the beginning. Sap City. Luckily, Boner and the boys put all three of them up front, so I can start on track four and have a great time with rest of the album. (Note: Achtung Baby is better, so is War, but neither went to number one.)

2. Queen - The Game (1980) I listen to The Game more than my other four Queen albums (all from the 70's) combined. I always skip "Another One Bites the Dust" (although it is the only song I know that features my name), but I really enjoy the rest. Both sides. Brian and Freddie's interplay on "Dragon Attack" still blows my hair back.

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