About a month ago, Paste (which still exists online) posted its “80 Best Albums of the 1980s.” I enjoyed the list but forget about it soon thereafter.
This past week, Slant published its “Best Albums of the 1980s.” It was odd that these two sites both decided to do the same amusing but otherwise random list. Naturally, I played along and also ranked my top 100 albums of popular music’s most underrated decade.
I recently ranked my top 10 albums for each year from 1965 to 2007 (linked below). I have been updating these lists from time to time, so I used these as guidelines. This top 100 should be consistent with the top 10s lists from the 80s.
Also, I decided to quantify the differences between my list and those of the two online magazines. Being a compulsive geek, I controlled for albums I have not heard (and took into consideration Paste’s two-album limit). This resulted in 51 albums I had heard on Paste’s lists and 61 on Slant’s. A “+” indicates the album was higher on their list, and a “-“ indicates the album was higher on mine. I only used my top 51 and my top 61 to compare with the respective lists, but I posted all of my picks anyway.
And lastly, I did not consider the Clash’s London Calling, which landed on both of the other lists. It might be the greatest rock album ever made, but in my mind, it is a 1970s release because of its U.K. drop date.
100. The Smiths- The Smiths
Paste: #39 on adjusted list
Slant: #37 on adjusted list
99. U2- Unforgettable Fire
Paste: #34 on adjusted list
98. Elvis Costello- Spike
97. The Police- Zenyatta Mondatta
96. U2- Boy
95. The Replacements- Hootenanny
94. Metallica- Kill ‘em All
93. R.E.M.- Fables of the Reconstruction
92. Elvis Costello- Almost Blue
91. The Cure- Disintegration
Paste: #15 on adjusted list
Slant: #13 on adjusted list
90. Guns ‘N Roses- Appetite for Destruction
Paste: #21 on adjusted list
Slant: #30 on adjusted list
89. The Clash- Combat Rock
Slant: #52 on adjusted list
88. Prince- 1999
Slant: #7 on adjusted list
87. Elvis Costello- Imperial Bedroom
Slant: #42 on adjusted list
86. Iron Maiden- The Number of the Beast
85. Captain Beefheart- Doc at Radar Station
84. David Bowie- Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
Paste: #40 on adjusted list
Slant: #22 on adjusted list
83. Boogie Down Productions- Criminal Minded
82. Meat Puppets- Meat Puppets II
Slant: #57 on adjusted list
81. Motorhead- Ace of Spades
See Also: Favorite Movies of the 1980s, Top 10 Albums of 1989, Top 10 Albums of 1988, Top 10 Albums of 1987, Top 10 Albums of 1986, Top 10 Albums of 1985, Top 10 Albums of 1984, Top 10 Albums of 1983, Top 10 Albums of 1982, Top 10 Albums of 1981, Top 10 Albums of 1980