|1||The Jesus and Mary Chain|
Everyone reacts to the sonics of Psychocandy and Jesus & Mary Chain did manipulate feedback to
create shoegaze music. What some forgot amid all the scenester hype is that straight up & bone dry
Candy is the years best set of songs.
Waits isn't for everyone but Rain Dogs is perfect, the best way to figure out if you palette at all suits
Tom's Howlin' Wolf via Beefheart inspired blues and cast of characters.
Sprout was my favorite discovery made while researching 1985. They were huge in England, never
more than a college band here. However, they wrote pop songs on par with anyone of the period.
Listen to the guitar interplay on Faron Young or Appetite's matter-of-fact affirming air and you'll
know what I mean.
|4|| ||The Fall|
This Nation's Saving Grace
I'm not going to pretend to having the Fall's prolific discography committed to memory because I
don't. I just know this record is often cited as the place to start discovering this seminal band. It's
easy to hear why. Besides well written, well worn songs what most comes oozing from this record is
Mark E Smith's personality, and he happens to be someone you like to hang around.
|5||Rites of Spring|
Rites of Spring
Before joining Fugazi, Guy Picciotto formed Rites of Spring, invented emo punk, broke up and
severely resented being called emo punk. However, considering the degree to which the style,
watered down though it is, has dominated the American rock landscape, its important to note
New Day Rising
Minneapolis' Husker Du led the lo-fi punk scene of the mid-80s. You can tell a lot about a Du fan by
whether they prefer this or Zen Arcade. On New Day Rising their songs have developed more and
they weren't so dependant upon feral screaming. By the way, the feral screaming here is damn good
|7|| ||Dexys Midnight Runners|
Don't Stand Me Down
It was largely ignored at the time. In Europe, the short sighted rock press who saw nothing wrong
with suspending Kevin Rowland's creative license, dismissed it looking for another Too Rye Aye.
Rowland himself said recording it was miserable but this many years later the record is regarded as
|8||LL Cool J|
It didn't have the same weight as Run DMCs Raising Hell or the run Public Enemy would have later in
the decade but there is no denying the importance of L dropping Radio in '85. Sparse and minimal,
old school milestones like this provide a reference and remind of the power rap wields when left to be
what it is instead of overproduced, self-obsessed drek.
Rum, Sodomy & The Lash
Like Tom Waits, the Pogues are an acquired taste. It helps if you're Irish or just grew up son to an
innkeeper of the 19th century. After you get past the rough edges though and Shane McGowan's
writing is able to peek through, you get it.
Hounds of Love
What would Lilith Fair be without Kate Bush? Tori Amos especially owes Kate a depth of gratitude.
This was the first of Bush's dreamy, mystical records and the opener is a classic.
Reign In Blood is Slayer's unchallenged masterpiece. It's influence can be heard far outside of metal
itself, appropriate since so did its influences. However within metal, especially extreme metal, it's
importance is unrivalled inspiring the 2nd wave of black metal in equal measure as Venom, Celtic
Frost and Bathory.
Hunting High and Low
A-ha never got very much respect but this is one of the premier synth pop albums of the decade.
Years later, stars like Chris Martin of Coldplay sung Hunting High & Low's praises. It's more than the
album with Take On Me. Every song is wonderful.
This Is The Sea
Blue eyed soul in the 80s was Darryl Hall & and John Oates if you lived in America and Simply Red in
England. This record was a pleasant surprise during my focus of '85. Holding Back The Years is the
hit. The entire disc is a joy.
|15||Tears For Fears|
Songs From The Big Chair
Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith's pop experiments hit their watermark on Big Chair. It's a more odd
record than you remember. Album tracks like The Working Hour and Listen endure as well as the
Brothers In Arms
The creation of death metal as a subgenre is a pretty remarkable reason for inclusion but mostly this
is here because it shreds with songs as lethal as its riffs. I wasn't listening to Possessed in 1985, I
was 12, but if i had it would have scared the shit out of me.
So Red The Rose
It's no reflection on them, but sans the Taylor brothers (not actually brothers) this is one of the best Duran Duran albums. Rhodes was never
this daring again composing for synth and Le Bon's performance suggests he enjoyed the break from Duranie madness. Think of it as their
Beatles For Sale, only they didn't following by changing pop music forever. It's an understated, yet ambitious, set from a band at the top trying
In the early days John (Cougar) Mellencamp was a more accessable, less substantial Springsteen clone. Then Bon Jovi came along and Cougar
became a poet laureate. Eh, the truth probably is somewhere in the middle. However, most agree this is his most significant album. It doesn' t
have as many hits as Uh-huh or a titanic one like Jack & Diane, but that works to the record's advantage. Scarecrow is allowed to exist for
what it is, an album instead of a delivery system for the latest quest of Casey Kasem supremecy, and in that context it soars.
|20|| ||The Cure|
The Head on the Door
I had no experience with Propaganda before researching 1985. This German synth-pop act takes the dire mid-eighters commitment to
sophistication, however, beyond the lipstick and sour faces. Its pretentious as hell, of course, and doesn't have the immediacy of works like
Arcadia's So Red the Rose, but I couldn't help wondering if the music here led Talk Talk to take their post-rock turn for the better the
later half of their career and, subsequently, inspired the Bark Psychosis's and Disco Inferno's of the world.
|22||The Dead Milkmen|
Big Lizard in My Backyard
Listening to this album, you don't know whether to be amused or mentally stimulated. Like a lot of college rock of the period (see the
Mekons), it's protest music for wise asses.
|23|| ||The Chameleons|
What Does Anything Mean? Basically
Fables of the Reconstuction
|25||Green On Red|
Gas Food Lodging
Cajun flavored trad rock of striking effectiveness, how has time forgotten these guys?
There is no denying that this record is piled higher with cheese than a Dimmu Borgir release. Additionally, Its a prog album about lost innocence
which give it the further indignity of preciousness. However, Misplaced Childhood is so unabashed in its investment as to be uncompromising.
One either has to concede they take themselves too seriously to be able to entertain such themes or relent to its charms with a knowing smile,
and any piece of art that determined to illicit a cathartic response has to be worth something.
Kind of the odd step-cousin fixed between family favorites, Pleased To Meet Me and Let It Be, Tim is often elevated beyond its true merit. It's
a strong record in its own right that rides the coattails of proxy of better albums similar to how Piece of Mind does from Iron Maiden.
Bonded By Blood
The best thrash album not from one of the big 4, BbB sounds like a thrash record from 1985, which
is to say, a hell of a lot it fun, and not in need of the silly rerecording what's left of the band offered
up a couple years ago.
|29||Dead Can Dance|
Spleen and Ideal
This is Dead Can Dance's best record and if I was doing a purely subjective list of favorite albums it would be much higher on this list.
However, Dead Can Dance's importance to pop music stops pretty soon after the bands who wanted to be the next Dead Can Dance. Its funny
how little of the greater rock consciousness includes a desire to mine the wisdom of past celtic farmers or Ottoman bishops, the common
Fear and Whiskey
Here Comes Everybody
Factory Records vets released a mess of singles before their album, which makes their inclusion in
the recent reissue a boon and a bane to the release. There is literally no continuity between the singles
and its clear that the album is its own animal unto itself, however, you'd be a fool to not want them both. So even if together they don't work
together as a solidified program, they are welcomed in their adjoined state for practical reasons.
As an aside, it is so blatantly apparent Wild Nothing are big fans.
The Cult sure have aged well. They proved to be one of the decades most consistent bands. This is
their first great record featuring their first great single, She Sells Sanctuary.
|33||The Legendary Pink Dots|
To the neophyte, there is no preparing you for a Pink Dots release. There might be no artist that is more unpredictable from album to album
and its no source of solace that you have no experience with them yet to create a set of false expectation. Basically, this is an avant-pop band
existing through the lens of the post-punk environment around it. However, from song to song, the ideas here are so realized yet erratic as to
cause concern as to the mental well being of its authors.
|34||Katrina and the Waves|
Katrina and the Waves
When KatW rerecorded the best material from their first two albums as power-pop instead of post-
punk, it made all the difference. "Fine. Listen to sad bastard music, see if I care..."
|35||Stormtroopers of Death|
Speak English or Die
When Scott Ian had studio time left over after completing Anthrax album, Spreading The Disease,
SOD was born. Speak English or Die is the only album informed as to what was ridiculous about
1985 and happy being in on the joke. Ok, maybe The Dead Milkmen...
Live After Death
Definitive mid-80's live document of one of metal's best ever bands. The only reason this is 36 and not 16 or even 6 is how sprawlingly
intimidating it is. Basically an anthology of Iron Maiden's most fertile period, Live After Death never ends. And further, why all the dead space?
We don't need preserved the minutes of crowd noise between songs. Even a condensing of songs to be included would have been
welcome. Still, if you want a Maiden live record, your choice is an easy one, and as good as they still are, they never would be this powerful
|37|| ||The Hoodoo Gurus|
Mars Needs Guitars!
While it didn't have highs of fellow countrymen, INXS, Mars Needs Guitars is actually more
consistent than Listen Like Thieves. It's an unassuming but delightful indiepop record without a
misstep anywhere, except for that album cover.
It's so...urgent...uh..yeah urgent...i just want to, er...do something...exert my will...change the world just by virtue of it...we can do this
Yello hadn't even regarded album track, Oh Yeah, as a potential selling point, releasing Desire and
Vicious Minds instead, but when it was selected for the soundtrack to hit film, Ferris Bueller's Day
Off, they had their claim to fame. The rest of the album is campy Euro-cheese, of course, to our ears
today, but Yello in fact was pretty important within the greater electronica community.
Listen Like Thieves
No Jacket Required
Admittedly, much of NJR hasn't aged well. Of the singles, Take Me Home sounds the best today. For
better or worse though few records capture the zeigiest of pop radio in 1985 better than No Jacket
The album itself is awful, but man, what and instrument.
|43|| ||The Eurythmics|
Be Yourself Tonight
Flip Your Wig
The lesser release in a prolific year from Minneapolis legend, Husker Du, this album probably would sound better if they hadn't also released
New Day Rising.
Meat Is Murder
The problem with doom acts between Black Sabbath and the 90s is that none of them added anything to the sludge between Black Sabbath and
the 90s. That said, Pentagram is a killer band who stepped in to carry the flag while Sabbath was comparatively off its game. All the St. Vitus
and Candlemass fans are gonna be mad at me now.
To Mega Therion
|50|| ||Robert Wyatt|