Slant Magazine's- The 100 Best Albums Of The 1980s

By D.JKruliq D.JKruliq
updated over 5 years ago

Compiled by Slant Magazine's Staff, 5 March 2012.

While '80s pop culture is largely remembered for its frivolity, the social unrest that stirred beneath the decade's brightly colored gloss and greed resulted in not just the guilt-driven good intentions of enterprises like the star-studded USA For Africa, but a generation of artists whose music genuinely reflected the state of the world. They say all politics is local, and the incisive perspectives of the decade's defining acts were likewise geographical: Released in the U.S. in January Of 1980, the Clash's seminal London Calling ushered in a new decade with disgruntled punk rock from across the pond, while U2's early focus was on the violence in their homeland of Ireland. Back in the U.S., (Bruce) Springsteen spoke to the struggles and dreams of the working class, and Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) began using his increasing rock-star status to react to the rising conservatism in American politics. By the end of the decade, the Reagan era's biggest pop stars (Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Madonna) were transformed into cultural critics too, reflecting on poverty, race relations, and what Prince called "a big disease with a little name". Though women were entering the workforce in record numbers, surprising (even to us) lack of female artists on our list points to a music industry that, perhaps, needed a few more years to catch up to the feminist movement, but the women who left the most indelible marks bravely pushed the boundaries of sexuality and gender. And as for the just-burgeoning hip-hop genre, acts like Public Enemy and De La Soul not only had a conscience, they served as ours. Introduction/ Foreward by Sal Cinquemani.

Started this list from Number #100 on top, down to their Number #1 album pick for the decade (bottom of page). Compare this list to the recently added Pitchfork's Staff greatest 80's album list. You'll see some similarities, but also other entries that should have been here and vice versa. Enjoy!

  1. X (5) - Los Angeles

    Number #98.

  2. U2 - War

    Number #94.

  3. Sonic Youth - Evol

    Number #82.

  4. R.E.M. - Reckoning

    Number #81.