Top 100 Albums Of The '80s (Nos. 91-100)

For this week's Ranked!, we've got one of our most epic editions ever: the Top 100 Albums Of The '80s. Did we get it right? Let us know!

Here are Numbers 91-100:

100. Social Distortion, Mommy's Little Monster

I love a good debut album. It's the music you play when nobody is watching, before the pundits and pigeonholes set in. Mommy's Little Monster announced Social Distortion to the world as a tough-talking punk band with a straightforward attack. Yet there's skill behind that raucous noise; the guitar in "Hour Of Darkness" is proof.

What's really interesting is that the evolution to their signature sound had already begun. It would be another album before they nailed it, but stronger melodies are emerging, along with a little bit of country twang. "Another State Of Mind" is the first sign of the heart of gold that has always lurked beneath Mike Ness's rough edges.

1983 was a weird year for punk. Into The Unknown saw Bad Religion go pretty badly awry, while the Clash were slowly falling apart. Mommy's Little Monster had no such issues. It was loud, obnoxious and all kinds of fun.--Amanda

99. U2, Rattle and Hum

Even though U2 had been around for a few years, they seemed like a relatively new band for there to be a movie. But the idea of an Irish band performing classic American rock by exploring the country that inspired the songs was a profoundly interesting one. The album that accompanied the doc was an energetic double album that was part live, part studio. The radio played "Angel Of Harlem," which sounded great with horns. But I was drawn in by U2's raucous cover of "Helter Skelter." In a time when I was just starting to love this band, Rattle & Hum helped further my infatuation with them.--Daddy Geek Boy

98. Whitney Houston, Whitney

Whitney Houston's Whitney was the singer's second album and avoided the dreaded "sophomore slump." It ended up being certified 9 times platinum and put Whitney in the top tier for female artists. It was the first album by a woman to debut at number one on the Billboard charts. In short, it made Whitney a superstar and if you say you you've never sung into your hairbrush and belted out "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," I'm pretty sure you're lying.--Archphoenix

97. Motley Crue, Theatre Of Pain

Less heavy than the band's previous albums, Theatre Of Pain is the album that put Motley Crue on the map, led by the cover of Brownsville Station's "Smokin' In The Boys Room" and "Home Sweet Home," whose video set the standard for slo-mo live performance music videos and clocked in at #1 for 849 straight weeks on Dial MTV. The album also boasted kick ass songs like "Tonight (We Need A Lover)," "Keep Your Eye On The Money," and "Raise Your Hands To Rock."--Chris

96. Billy Joel, Storm Front

Unlike so many of my favorite artists, I got on board with Billy Joel pretty early: my first album of his was Turnstiles in 1976. My uncle and cousin got me interested in his music; they told me that Billy Joel was "...sort of like Barry Manilow with more of an edge." I don't really think that's an accurate description (and I doubt Billy Joel would care for it), but as a Manilow fan it was enough to get me into Joel's music. So, all's well.

I bring this up because, as a long-time fan, I definitely recognize that Storm Front is pretty different from most of the albums that came before it. Honestly, I don't know that I could put my finger on exactly what's different. It's more... polished? Not sure that's really the right descriptor, but it does have less of a hard edge to it while, at the same time, not being as pop as some of his mid '80s stuff. But you can probably get an idea of what I'm talking about if you listen to "Big Shot" followed by "Uptown Girl" followed by a cut from Storm Front like "And So It Goes." Three very different sounds. 

Which is not to say that I don't like all three. Storm Front retains its listenability today, even though it's not at all the same experience as listening to Joel's earlier albums. I had the pleasure of seeing him live on the Storm Front tour, and I found that his (then) new stuff blended very well with his earlier hits. It was and is an excellent Billy Joel album.--Dave

95. 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

94. U2, War

I resisted U2 for a long time. I never really listened to them when they were college radio stations, and dismissed them as obnoxious posers even after The Joshua Tree made them the Biggest Band In The World. Once I got over myself and started re-examining their music, I found myself drawn to War over and over again as one of the most compelling albums of the decade. This was the album that I think really defined their politics and their sound, kicking off with "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and really never slowing down until the majestic closer "40." Both "New Year's Day" and "Two Hearts Beat As One" are iconic, with The Edge's propulsive guitar work setting the pace while Bono offers his trademark wail as a call to arms. It can be a little heavy at times--I can't always tell if "The Refugee" is brilliant or silly, although I love it either way--but I think it's their best work, standing at the pivot point when they first refined and defined their sound and before they swelled into superstars.--CroutonBoy

93. Joe Jackson, Night And Day

1982 was the year I really became a voracious music listener, and I consumed every song on the Top 40 and every video on MTV like they were delivered on stone tablets from Mount Sinai. It was like drinking from a fire hose, but every once in awhile something would catch my ear that was really different and interesting, and would make me stop to take notice. And that was how I got my first taste of retro-hipness, Night And Day, even before I knew what retro-hipness was. I vividly remember the video to "Stepping Out," with it's propulsive piano lines and New York street life, as a snapshot of an adult fantasyland I found myself longing to experience. As I got older I grew to appreciate that album more as it ambitiously skipped genres while tackling grown-up perspectives on anger and longing. Joe Jackson was one of those effortlessly cool cats, like Tom Waits or Elvis Costello, who served notice that you didn't have to be dashing and slick to be a badass. That hipness is what makes Night And Day as fresh and exciting as it was 30 years ago.--CroutonBoy

92. Motley Crue, Dr. Feelgood

This album is just a fantastic album from start to finish. It was also the real end of the greatness of the Crue - Vince Neill left the band (or got fired, depending on who you talk to) after the album and the rise of grunge kind of killed metal. It's a shame because this is certainly the best album that Motley Crue ever put out. And now I have the title track firmly lodged in my head. Anyone else?--Archphoenix

91. Duran Duran, Duran Duran

So you think guys with crazy asymmetrical haircuts and new romantic tassels on their blouses can't make you get up and dance around your living room? Wrong.

I was as much of a skeptic as the next gal when I picked up this record on a whim after hearing from a friend who had just returned on the last flight from London that "these are the guys to watch." Never would I imagine that this band, and this record, would become one of my all time favorites almost eclipsing the all consuming love I already had for a certain three blond dreamboats.

Suddenly, I found myself easing Duran Duran's debut album onto the turntable with some regularity and I even designated myself a favorite band member: the still wildly popular John Taylor. They've seen mind-boggling highs and some bottomed-out lows since 1981 but this is a band that has endured endless lineup changes, personal turmoils, and changing tastes, but they have come out the other side with a fan base so rabid and loyal that it boggles the mind. I dare you to listen to this record, with the infectious grooves and swirling otherworldly melodies and try NOT to dance around just a little bit.--Dufmanno

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