Top 20 Albums Of 1985 (Nos. 1-5)

For this week's Ranked!, we compiled our twenty favorite albums released in 1985. Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments!

Here are numbers 1-5:

5. R.E.M., Fables Of The Reconstruction

It's hard to figure out how a town as small as Athens, Georgia gave birth to so many wonderful musicians, quality albums, and classic stories. Granted, very few rose to the lofty heights attained by the illustrious R.E.M., but if I'd only known one thousandth of what I know now, I would have stuck around the area to watch it all unfold in person instead of packing my bags. In 1985, however, I was still a plucky, metal-mouthed high school sophomore with great musical taste and a brand new Walkman. I'd purchased all of R.E.M.'s releases up to that point and was prepared to be wowed by my new Fables Of The Reconstruction cassette as I slipped it gingerly into the waiting tape deck. Much to my horror, I found the entire second side played in reverse and was completely unlistenable. Not sure if it was some sort of artistic joke that I wasn't getting or just a manufacturing defect, I sprang up and demanded to be brought back to the mall record store where I'd made my purchase. After making mince meat of my sales associate, I returned home with a proper album and the listening commenced. We'd spend endless hours arguing if the official title of the album was Reconstruction Of The Fables or Fables Of The Reconstruction (A and B sides made it a hotly debated topic) and while it contained the insanely popular hits "Driver 8" and "Can't Get There From Here," there were endless favorites like "Green Grow The Rushes" and "Auctioneer" that we memorized and sang with wild abandon.

This was the album that made you want to take a drive straight down into the heart of Athens and see what inspired such sultry southern jangly goodness. Thankfully, some of us did just that.--Dufmanno

4. Phil Collins, No Jacket Required

This is practically a greatest hits album. "Sussudio", "One More Night," "Don't Lose My Number," and "Take Me Home" all appear for the first time. And I think half the album was featured on Miami Vice so you know it was good.--Archphoenix

3. Sting, The Dream Of The Blue Turtles

When Dream Of The Blue Turtles came out, I was really just hoping it would be just another Police album. It turns out Sting had other ideas. At first I didn't know what to make of it; the full band and jazz influences behind Sting's voice took some getting used to. But as the singles came out--the perky "If You Love Someone Set Them Free," the majestic "Fortress Around Your Heart," the lightweight "Love Is The Seventh Way"--I kept digging it more and more. There are some great songs with serious themes here like "Children's Crusade" and the heavy-handed "Russians," but also some wonderful musical narratives like "Shadows In The Rain" and the Anne Rice-inspired "Moon Over Bourbon Street." It's hard to emerge from the shadow of an iconic band with both your integrity and fans intact, but Sting pulls it off brilliantly on Dream Of The Blue Turtles.--CroutonBoy

2. Talking Heads, Little Creatures

I can't quite put my finger on what was so innovative about the Talking Heads but they seemed to open a whole new realm of sound. Maybe it was David Byrne's singing style or the unexpected lyrics. It was different, even for the modern rock/alternative scene, and they consistently had great songs on each album, the type of songs you don't even realize you know until you hear them and start singing along. Little Creatures proved that the Talking Heads' avant-garde New Wave/pop was still going strong six albums later. With songs like "Road To Nowhere", "And She Was", and "Stay Up Late" (one of my favorites), it was catchy, clever, and fresh without being indulgent. I'm not surprised at all that this album is number two on our list; it stays with you and probably will for years to come. --The Weirdgirl

1. Tears For Fears, Songs From The Big Chair

Tears For Fears weren't on my radar prior to this album, but that didn't stop me from falling hook, line, and sinker for Songs From The Big Chair like the rest of the world. But how could you not? The album had two amazing #1 singles in "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" and "Shout," a top 5 single in "Head Over Heels," and other great songs like "Mothers Talk" and "I Believe."--Chris

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