Here are numbers 1-5:
5. Jane's Addiction, Nothing's ShockingJane says... this album rocks hard. Between Perry Farrell's trademark yowl and Dave Navarro's sinuous guitar, Nothing's Shocking never loses energy. That energy is the driving force behind songs like "Ocean Size" and "Had A Dad". In contrast is the almost childlike "Summertime Rolls," which sounds like a summer night spent stretched out on the hood of a car, staring up at the sky. But the quieter moments are never too quiet, and "Pigs In Zen" proves that the album holds together even when it's spinning out of control. This is how you make a statement.--Amanda
4. R.E.M., GreenTo me, Document was R.E.M.'s last great album and Green was the last R.E.M. disc I cared about. This was R.E.M.'s first release on a major label and had some lifelong fans wagging their fingers and labeling the band as a sellout. While I stopped being a fan after this album, that didn't mean I didn't enjoy the hell out of Green. My favorite tracks on the album were "Pop Song 89," "Get Up," "You Are The Everything," and "World Leader Pretend," which remains one of my favorite R.E.M. tunes to this day.--Chris
3. Poison, Open Up And Say... Ahh!In hindsight, I can now see how this album basically took over my life as a teen. Poison represented everything I was not, but wished I could be: sexually expressive, heavy substance users (hey, at the time it seemed cool!), caring about nothin' but a good time, and confident to rock out as they please. This, their second album, did prove that they were more than a glam rock hair band. The songs on Open Up tended to be more hard rock-influenced and basically defined the eighties power ballad with "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," which showed their vulnerable side. My favorite track from the album is "Fallen Angel" because it told the tale of a young girl seeking fame and love in LA. If they hadn't sung about her demise, I'd probably would have jumped on a bus to LA and offered myself to Bret Michaels.--Robin
2. Guns N' Roses, G N' R LiesHalf live album and half acoustic, G N' R Lies is more than just a placeholder between Appetite For Destruction and the Use Your Illusion albums. The more restrained attack shows the transition between the two; there are echoes of "November Rain" in "Patience." But the anger is still there, all the more powerful for being straightforward. "Used to Love Her" lays things out plainly, "I had to put her six feet under, and I can still hear her complain." Talk about a breakup song. Lies also features an almost jazzy new version of "You're Crazy" that lets loose the wicked bassline. When Guns N' Roses held it together, they were really, really good.--Amanda
1. Bon Jovi, New JerseyIn one of the earliest articles on Culture Brats, I argued that Jon Bon Jovi, and not Bruce Springsteen, should be considered the poet laureate of New Jersey. He was the working man's rocker, the underdog who took his image of New Jersey straight to the top of the charts.
The pressure must've been huge for Bon Jovi. Most bands would have caved due to the expectations on the follow-up to an album that has sold twenty-eight million copies worldwide and was the best-selling album of 1987. But Bon Jovi answered with New Jersey, which had five top 10 singles, something never seen before or since from a hard rock album. The best songs on the album were "Lay Your Hands On Me," "Bad Medicine," "Born To Be My Baby," and "Blood On Blood," my favorite Bon Jovi song of all time.--Chris