Top 25 Albums Of 1987 (Nos. 16-20)

A few weeks back, a Brat bravely postulated that 1987 was the greatest year in the history of music. After the laughter died down, we took a closer look at the albums released twenty-five years ago and you know what?

He may very well be right.

See if he's correct. We compiled the twenty-five greatest albums from twenty-five years ago, 1987. Tell us what you think when you get down to #1. And let us know if you would've ordered them differently.

Here are Numbers 16-20:

20. The Smiths, Strangeways, Here We Come

Is there anything more awe-inspiring than The Smiths firing on all cylinders? I'm fairly certain there is not, but just in case you need some meat on your argument, I present to you: Strangeways, Here We Come, the fourth and final album from the purveyors of danceable dread. Marr and Morrissey both contend that this is the band's best work and while there are days I'm inclined to agree, I can't forget the moments of sheer brilliance from the three albums previous to this one. Still, it's a richly realized classic that still has a place on my shelf and if the gods of musical forgiveness can grant my wish for a Smiths reunion tour. I'd be eternally in their debt. Also, if you've ever gotten to what seems like an impenetrable stalemate while arguing with pals at the college pub, there is nothing better to break through that wall than a jukebox blaring "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" while you sing the words into the neck of a Bass Ale. Works every time.--Dufmanno

19. New Order, Substance

This was one of the first alternative bands that I saw really cross into mainstream. At least locally, it did. Substance was a premiere album at proms and clubs, Asian kids used it to dance salsa, you'd see wannabe gang bangers singing along to "Bizarre Love Triangle," it was used at countless parties where parents designated the garage as the "DJ room." This album also made the number one slot for best Alternative group on our local radio station for at least five years running. I was always surprised, not because I disagreed, but to see it proven how much New Order was universally loved. This album is so incredibly '80s, yet it still feels kind of fresh. But maybe that's just because these songs can STILL make people get up and dance.--The Weirdgirl

18. Pink Floyd, A Momentary Lapse Of Reason

My wife is single-handedly responsible for broadening my musical horizons. Before I met her, my Pink Floyd knowledge started and ended with "Money" and "Another Brick In The Wall Part II." At some point when we were dating, she asked for a Pink Floyd CD box set and I gave it to her for her birthday. (She had the albums on cassette. Remember those?) I mentioned that I had never listened to a Pink Floyd album all the way through, and she insisted that I change that. I was glad that I did.

My tastes run to the "later" Pink Floyd albums, Dark Side Of The Moon (1973) and beyond. I have always liked to listen to music while I write, but it's mostly movie soundtracks and classical (hearing words makes writing difficult). Pink Floyd is one of the rare exceptions. Their songs have some of the greatest lyrics ever written and are worth an attentive listen, but the mellowness of their melodies makes their songs perfect background music as well.

This album has some really great tracks. "Signs Of Life," "Learning To Fly," and "One Slip" are among my favorites, and both "Dogs Of War" and "On The Turning Away" are as extraordinarily poignant and socially relevant now as they were in the '80s. A Momentary Lapse Of Reason is not my favorite Pink Floyd album--hardcore Floyd fans tend to cringe when I say that that honor goes to The Division Bell--but it's close. And it's definitely my favorite album of 1987.--Dave

17. Jane's Addiction, Jane's Addiction

There are those that think this album was recorded mostly in a studio. There are those that believe it was recorded live during one magical performance at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. Regardless of which camp you fall under, there's one thing everyone can agree on: Jane's Addiction kicked much ass and introduced the world to Perry Farrell and his crew. The album features two signature songs, "Pigs In Zen" and "Jane Says," which later appear on the band's Grammy-nominated major label debut, Nothing's Shocking, as well as two tracks, "Whores" and "Chip Away," that were later shined up and put on a sampler for a tour the band did in in 2009 with Nine Inch Nails. But for me, the standout tracks on Jane's Addiction aren't even songs that Jane's Addiction wrote; they are the one-two punch of killer cover songs, the Velvet Underground's "Rock & Roll," which blends seamlessly into "Sympathy For The Devil," resulting in nearly nine minutes of pure musical bliss.--Chris

16. Michael Jackson, Bad

Love him or hate him, MJ is an icon, and if he released an album during a year, it's bound to be on some kind of top list. This was Michael's seventh album, but didn't come out until five years after the last one, Thriller. The accolades are numerous: 30 million copies sold worldwide, five consecutive Hot 100 number ones (a first), six Grammy nominations, with two wins. Aside from the numbers though, the album is just a great listen. Personally, my top favorite Michael songs come from this one are "Smooth Criminal" and "Bad," which are kickin' numbers that the whole world seems to know and love. "Man In The Mirror" is a reflection piece that leaves you with a call to action. My favorite MJ song of all time is here too: "The Way You Make Me Feel." Top it all off with equally great songs between these personal highlights, and you really have an album that's just an awesome experience in the Michael Jackson catalog.--J-Hawke

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