top 100 '80s rock albums
Meanwhile, classic rock and subsequently metal began a transformation into mass acceptance when the edges were smoothed out to form arena rock and hair metal, respectively. The arrival of roots, thrash, and world music influences kept things interesting, along the way. All of it made selecting the period's best releases both intriguing and deeply challenging.
best 1980s albums - rolling stone
This has been the first rock & roll decade without revolution, or true revolutionaries, to call its own. The Fifties witnessed nothing less than the birth of the music. The Sixties were rocked by Beatlemania, Motown, Phil Spector, psychedelia and Bob Dylan. The Seventies gave rise to David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, heavy metal, punk and New Wave.
In comparison, the Eighties have been the decade of, among other things, synth pop, Michael Jackson, the compact disc, Sixties reunion tours, the Beastie Boys and a lot more heavy metal. But if the past 10 years havent exactly been the stuff of revolution, they have been a critical time of re-assessment and reconstruction. Musicians and audiences alike have struggled to come to terms with rocks parameters and possibilities, its emotional resonance and often dormant social consciousness.
The following survey of the 100 best albums of the Eighties, as selected by the editors of Rolling Stone, shows that the music and the values it stands for have been richer for the struggle. Punks got older and more articulate in their frustration and rage, while many veteran artists responded to that movements challenge with their most vital work in years. And rap transformed the face and voice of popular music.
The first 10 entries here span the Clashs polyglot punk, Princes crossover funkadelica, Afro-bop from Talking Heads and Paul Simon and hymns of innocence and experience by U2 and Tracy Chapman. Further down the list, old-timers like Dylan, the Stones and Lou Reed hit new highs; Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C. kicked out some serious streetwise jams; Metallica and Guns N Roses established new hard-rock beachheads; and Hsker D, Sonic Youth and the Replacements offered definitive statements of postpunk angst. The embarrassment of riches on this list is all the more remarkable, since arthritic radio programming, corporate sponsorship and outbursts of racism and sexism in rap and metal have complicated rocks present and raised fears for its future.
Best-of lists such as this one are by nature subjective. But rock in the Eighties was like that lively, varied, contentious and, to some degree, inconclusive. Looking at the best rock has had to offer in the Eighties, its clear that theres plenty of life left in the old beast yet. The next revolution may be just around the corner.