Top 20 Albums Of 1988 (Nos. 11-15)

For this week's Ranked!, we compiled our twenty favorite albums released in 1988. Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments!

Here are numbers 11-15:

15. DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince, He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper

Let me just state this for the record: I love Will Smith. No matter what I hear, good or bad, he will always hold a special place in my heart, and about 90% of the reason for that is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. (The remaining 10% is split amongst his album Big Willie Style, Independence Day, and MIB.)

All that being said, even though there was a 1987 debut, this is what I believe gave the true start to this duo. If "Parents Just Don't Understand" hadn't hit, life never would have worked out the way it has. This won the first ever Grammy for Best Rap Performance, and if you don't know every single word of at least the "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air" theme song, get out. Seriously, these are two guys who had a lot of fun and brought the party every time.--J-Hawke

14. Queensryche, Operation: Mindcrime

What is prog metal? Presently, I'm still not sure. What I surmised in 1988 is that it was somehow smarter than the other glam rock I was listening to and the lyrics were about technology and spaceships. There's something operatic but also darkly chilling about Geoff Tate's voice. At the time of release I didn't realize it, but the album is a fully realized rock opera, a cross between Blade Runner and The Manchurian Candidate. Rumors are still circulating that it will be developed for Broadway. Hey, if Green Day can be on Broadway, so can Queensryche.--Robin

13. Run–D.M.C., Tougher Than Leather

I wasn't a big fan of Run–D.M.C. when I first heard them. (Nor was I a fan of the Beastie Boys or pretty much any rap). What do you expect? I was raised in whitebread suburbia on Top 40 radio and Billy Joel concerts. But something happened in the year after Run–D.M.C.'s smash hit Raising Hell was released. I began to open myself up to music. Just in time too, because following Raising Hell was Tougher Than Leather. While not as popular as it's predecessor, Tougher Than Leather was just as good. Any album that gave us the earworm that is "Mary Mary" deserves praise.--Daddy Geek Boy

12. Pixies, Surfer Rosa

There are times in my life where the only song that can properly convey the depth of the situation is off of Surfer Rosa: "Where Is My Mind" for a particularly gruesome outcome that resulted from disastrous decision making, "Gigantic" for when I'd like to feel larger than life, and of course "Broken Face" might suffice when the need to punch someone in the throat overtakes me. The Pixies' first full-length album was and still remains a fan and critic darling as well as a huge accomplishment. It was raw, powerful, and upbeat with a dash of mildly bizarre songwriting and something special for the alt-rock masses. Plus the original cover featuring a beautiful topless woman caused half a scandal when my college roommate's religious zealot of a mother got a gander at it.--Dufmanno

11. Public Enemy, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

I love this album. There really aren't proper words to convey how influential or groundbreaking I thought it was at the time or how it continues to be. It was only the second album for Public Enemy but it's fully-charged lyrics and the no-nonsense approach Of Chuck D was enough to ignite a fire under the ass of the most apathetic of listeners. You were supposed to jump up and scream along to "Don't Believe The Hype" and the urgency of the message was a challenge to the status quo.

Innovative, pulse-pounding, and breathtaking, I count this lyrical and musical masterpiece among my top five of all time. Bring the noise indeed.--Dufmanno

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