Here are numbers 1-5:
5. Genesis, Invisible TouchIf there was any doubt that Genesis had shed its progressive roots and become purely a hit machine, the proof was Invisible Touch. Phil Collins, playing the role of Phil Collins, took his old bandmates to the top of the charts with some of their best hooks and silliest lyrics. There's certainly some cheesiness to this album (just look up the lyrics to "In Too Deep" for a sample) but it's so sleek, with all its rough edges buffed off in the studio, that it exudes a certain crafted exuberance that makes Patrick Bateman's defense of it in American Psycho seem completely legit. It's very much of its era, but how can you not bounce back and forth to "Invisible Touch" or imagine yourself cruising down an open highway at night to "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight." Especially if Don Johnson in a pastel suit is sitting with you in the passenger seat.--CroutonBoy
4. Peter Gabriel, SoSo is the only Peter Gabriel album I own. Like so many artists, I first heard Gabriel in the '80s. In his case, it was a combination of MTV videos ("Big Time" and "Sledgehammer") and John Cusack movies ("In Your Eyes"). I was thrilled at the time to find out that all three of those songs were on the same album. I was even more thrilled to find out that every song on the album was good, not just the singles. The weird thing is that, as much as I like So, I never bothered to explore any of Peter Gabriel's other albums, earlier or later. Not sure why, because I'd definitely consider So one of the best albums of the mid '80s.--Dave
3. Poison, Look What The Cat Dragged InIf you're looking for songs with deep and meaningful lyrics, move along. Look What The Cat Dragged In is brash, in-your-face, and dumb. But it's also a hell of a lot of fun.
While the album boasted the ballad "I Won't Forget You" and the anthem "Cry Tough," most of the songs on the album were about sex. And they weren't very subtle either with titles like "I Want Action," "Talk Dirty To Me," and "Want Some, Need Some." It was good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. It was the music of my youth, the perfect soundtrack for those hot summer nights, cruising around town with the top down.
Damn, I loved this album. "Talk Dirty To Me" might very well be the greatest hair band song of all time.--Chris
2. Beastie Boys, Licensed to IllThis was a legendary release and I'm not just saying that because of the untimely death of Adam Yauch. Licensed To Ill was the first hip hop album to chart on Billboard, and the fastest-selling debut record Columbia has ever released. This brought us three of our favorite white rappers at a time when this genre was making a real resurgence in the world. A minor crossover was seen, using Kerry King of Slayer for the infamous "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn" (which I still personally think of just about every time I cross into the borough), just slightly allowing a spoof on glam metal, which had certainly had its place throughout the decade. And of course the band still has us fighting for our right to party, over twenty years later, even if we may or may not have already won! The album is just an iconic piece of hip hop history, and one that will always provide a great soundtrack to our Saturday night binges.--J-Hawke
1. Bon Jovi, Slippery When WetThere is a point in every road trip when there is nothing to do but start belting out Bon Jovi. It's late, it's dark, and more coffee might be more than a human's nerves can handle. But Slippery When Wet will kick you back to life. Who cares about umpteen miles of highway in the middle of "You Give Love a Bad Name?" Road rage can take a literal backseat to "Livin' On A Prayer." Then bring it all home to "Never Say Goodbye."
Slippery was Bon Jovi's big arrival, and twenty-six years later it's an undisputed classic. They gave New Jersey a new claim to cool, and they accomplished something a lot of other eighties bands didn't: they made fun songs that weren't slathered in cheese. You could rock out unashamed. As well you should.--Amanda