Top 20 Albums Of 1981 (Nos. 1-5)

For this week's Ranked!, we decided to compile our favorite albums from 1981. Did your favorite make the cut? Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments!

Here are numbers 1-5:

5. The J. Geils Band, Freeze Frame

Freeze Frame had a hell of a lot to offer. The awesome title track. The funky "Flamethrower." The track "Piss On The Wall," which I really found outlandish at the time because I think it was the only song title on any of my albums that contained a curse word. "Centerfold" and its accompanying video, which had us all wondering if that girl was Martha Quinn or not.

But for me, the real draw to Freeze Frame was "Angel In Blue," the melodramatic almost-hit that may be the sweetest, most romantic song ever written about a stripper.--Chris

4. Rush, Moving Pictures

Are you kidding? Do I even need to explain this one? Hey, I was a latecomer to Rush, primarily because I was put off by Rush fans (who can be as annoying as Dead fans when they want to be), so I get it, but even I still look at this album and say, "Duh!" "Limelight?" "Red Barchetta?" "Tom Sawyer?" Come on! And you haven't lived until you've tried to play "YYZ" on Guitar Hero 2. It's like communing with the God Of Rock. That song is cool whether played by an eleven-year-old or a douchebag, although I'd still take Neil Peart's magic drum kit (which is so big it should apply for statehood). A magnificent expression of all rock is supposed to be.--CroutonBoy

3. Journey, Escape

Something I respect about Journey is that they put out an album every year from 1975 through 1981, not something you see very often. Escape, or E5C4P3 as the cover stylizes it, came out in the heat of summer of 1981, and gave us the best of the best in classic rock. It garnered a game (Atari 2600), top ratings, and the most classic karaoke song that there is - sing it with me now - "Don't Stop Believin'." The band's tracks are just perfect pinnacles of rock, from the fun through the ballads ("Open Arms" will always be a guilty pleasure slow-song favorite of mine). Everything from start to finish here is just right. And this album can only ever be played loudly and sang to at the top of your lungs. Now go hit up a karaoke bar and pay homage!--J-Hawke

2. The Go-Go's, Beauty And The Beat

The Go-Go's came onto the scene of New Wave with an all-girl group and some of the best pop numbers, well, ever. "We Got the Beat" is still a fun song in any club, no matter what the atmosphere may be; it gets everyone, guys and girls, up and moving. "Our Lips Are Sealed" is still a best friends song for the ages, still being covered by today's young female pop stars. The album's still, to this day, the only album entirely written and performed by an all-female band to top the charts. Try to name a downside to it - just try - you can't! Belinda, Charlotte, Gina, Kathy, and Jane made a fantastic album that's just too much fun to turn off!--J-Hawke

1. The Police, Ghost In The Machine

With its bold red digital representations of the band set against the simple black background, the cover of The Police''s fourth album still sends jolts of electricity through my system when I run upstairs to hug and kiss my vinyl copy. If this highly listenable record still evokes such powerful reactions from music and art lovers now, imagine the reaction when it first hit the shelves in 1981. It was a departure of sorts for the band with the introduction of heavy synthesizer and horns to the normally stripped-down powerhouse trio. Their sound was changing, their path was shifting and the natives were becoming restless. This was the album that strapped on the rockets and propelled The Police into the stratosphere where only the very famous had legs long enough to straddle and rule the world. They were now one of the biggest bands on the planet.--Dufmanno

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