Here are numbers 16-20:
20. Various Artists, Beverly Hills Cop SoundtrackBeverly Hills Cop was a monster hit in 1984, and its soundtrack is also pretty damn good. Harold Faltermeyer, king of the '80s action movie score, wrote the instant classic "Axel F" for the film. The soundtrack also had "The Heat Is On" written by Faltermeyer and performed by Glenn Frey. It's a song that came to define the summer jam. Follow that up with "Neutron Dance" and "Stir It Up," and you've got an instantly awesome soundtrack.--Archphoenix
19. Meat Puppets, Meat Puppets IIThe Meat Puppets have always been one of the funnier, more eccentric bands out there. Their music isn't exactly radio-friendly, and I can confirm from personal experience that their live performances aren't particularly polished (they really, really can't sing). But they are clever and ambitious songwriters, and the hugely influential Meat Puppets II is perhaps their finest achievement. Their willfully demented delivery is offset by catchy punk-country-hardcore-psychadelia and a willingness to throw anything into the stew to see what comes out. It's an album that should be familiar to everyone since no less than three of its songs were covered by Nirvana on their Unplugged album ("Plateau," "Oh, Me," and "Lake Of Fire"). It's the messy soundtrack to that night you were totally baked in college and had the best time ever, even if you can't really remember why. --CroutonBoy
18. "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Weird Al" Yankovic In 3DI'm a big fan of humor set to music and, when it comes to song parodies, "Weird Al" is king. But even though this album, his second, includes such classic parodies as "Eat It" and "I Lost On Jeopardy"--and, of course, the amazing "Polkas On 45," which set a ton of classic songs to a polka beat--it's not the wealth of humor that puts this album high on my 1984 "best of" list.
In college, I studied film and TV production. I made a bunch of short films along the way, but the one that I consider my best is one that was inspired by one of the lesser-known songs on "Weird Al" Yankovic In 3D. "Nature Trail to Hell" is the magnum opus to my college film career. The song that inspired it describes a much different plot than the one that made it onto film, but when I heard it for the first time, I immediately said, "Somebody HAS to make a horror movie with that title. It's awesome!" My first instinct was to attempt a slasher film like Friday The 13th, but my friend Darren (who played the killer in the film) rightly pointed out that we could never do a serious horror film on a $425 budget. He said we should make it a comedy, so we did. And it is pretty funny. And it has some decent effects.
So, while most people probably think "Eat It" when they remember this album, for me this one is all about "Nature Trail To Hell."--Dave
17. U2, The Unforgettable FireTo me, The Unforgettable Fire seemed like art, something a bit over my head but oddly compelling. It was the first time I realized an album was trying to tell me something, but I wasn't yet old enough to understand. Yet I was drawn to U2's music. There was something hypnotic and cool about it. Apparently, a lot of other people felt the same. It's an album that is borne of the '80s, but surprisingly has a timeless sound. I think I've finally grown into it.--Daddy Geek Boy
16. The Who, Who's LastI've written many times about how I discovered many of my favorite classic rock bands through their '80s work and then worked my way back through their catalogs to hear their earlier stuff. In the case of The Who, my task of discovering their classics was pretty easy. After Face Dances (1981) and It's Hard (1982) got me interested, the band decided to break up after doing a farewell tour (the first of many). The result was Who's Last which, for me, served as an excellent live introduction to classic Who, with 17 tracks that spanned pretty much their entire career. Although it's not always the case when I buy a greatest hits-type collection, Who's Last whet my appetite for more classic Who, and started me on a buying spree of Who albums so that I could hear what else they had to offer. If you're a fan of the band and you never got a chance to see them live (which I did, twice), you should really pick up Who's Last. It's the next best thing to being there.--Dave
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