Top 20 Albums Of 1986 (Nos. 16-20)

For this week's Ranked!, we compiled our twenty favorite albums released in 1986. Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments!

Here are numbers 16-20:

20. Depeche Mode, Black Celebration

It's 1986 and I'm 15. Which is reason enough for how I listened to this album over and over again. I had been introduced to Depeche Mode with Some Great Reward and I went right out and bought their follow up, Black Celebration. Super moody and full of concepts (like sexuality and (shocker) death) that felt new and subversive to a 15-year-old who couldn't yet drive, Black Celebration was one of the first full-length vinyl albums I owned. And I hearted it hard sitting in my room heavy with the scent of lit candles and melodrama. To be honest, I still like "Question Of Lust," "Stripped," and "Question of Time," all classic Depeche Mode. There is angst, there are synthesizers flying. In retrospect, I can't say it was the best Depeche Mode album over their career. I think both Some Great Reward and Music For The Masses were stronger, but I'm still fond of it and the time it represents. --The Weirdgirl

19. Various Artists, Pretty In Pink Soundtrack

Fact: Pretty In Pink is one of the greatest soundtracks of the '80s. Need proof? Check out this all-star roster found on the disc: INXS, New Order, Echo And The Bunnymen, and The Smiths are all represented. But the best song on the album is the lead-off track and the song played at the prom, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark's "If You Leave." One thing that always puzzled me about the soundtrack was the omission of Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." I know it didn't fit in musically with the rest of Pretty In Pink's soundtrack, but it played such a major role in the film. But even with this slight, it's still a kick-ass compilation.

And oh yeah, the movie ain't half bad either.--Chris

18. Europe, The Final Countdown

I owned this album on cassette, and I wore the hell out of it. The first single of the same name contains one of the most recognized synthesizer riffs in music history. To this day, often you will hear it playing at a sports event, especially entrance songs for wrestlers. The song went to #1 in 25 countries and ended up being Europe's biggest hit. The next singles released, "Love Chaser" and "Rock The Night," were okay but they scored another big hit with the ballad "Carrie." The final single was "Cherokee," a song dedicated to the Trail of Tears and the plight of the Cherokee American Indian. This was a pretty awesome song, as the drum beat was infectious. I remember playing another song from the album called "Ninja." It was a goofy but fun song that was just too weird to be played on the radio. But it was a great song to play while we went into the backyard, pretended to be ninjas, and kick the crap out of each other.--Jay

17. R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant

I came to this album at least a year after it had come out. R.E.M. wasn't on my radar yet because they weren't getting played on Top 40 stations and I was too young to be clued in about the college stations. But somehow in between this album and their mainstream success, I was introduced to just one R.E.M. song and I was hooked. R.E.M. became one of my all-time favorite bands, and Lifes Rich Pageant is just one of the reasons they took that title. With their softly upbeat tempos and Michael Stipe's moody voice, songs like "Fall on Me" and "Swan Swan H" had a way of insinuating into your consciousness until you couldn't shake them free. At least until you heard "I Am Superman," the quintessential teen crush anthem! Pretty much one of the best defiant verging-on-stalker love songs ever. And sheer brilliance, by the way, ending the album with that song.--The Weirdgirl

16. Midnight Oil, Diesel & Dust

One of many great musical tragedies of the 20th century is how few Americans knew and enjoyed the collected works of Midnight Oil. They had been aggressively rocking since 1975 when they hit it big in the States with Diesel & Dust, an incendiary album lashing out at colonization and the abuse of the environment and aboriginal peoples. Their back catalog is deep and worth diving into headfirst--like Scrooge McDuck into his money vault--but at minimum Diesel & Dust gave international audiences a chance to sample their brazen sound and killer hooks. "Beds Are Burning" and "The Dead Heart" were the singles that deservedly gave them the radio play they deserved, but "Dreamworld" and "Bullroarer" are equally deserving, sharing many of the same traits of bands like R.E.M. and the Stone Roses but with a decidedly punk edge. Still one of my all-time favorites.--CroutonBoy

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