Top 20 Albums Of 1983 (Nos. 1-5)

For this week's Ranked!, we compiled our twenty favorite albums released in 1983. Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments!

Here are numbers 1-5:

5. David Bowie, Let's Dance

It's only recently that I discovered there is a lot of loathing of this album among David Bowie fans. We have friends who regularly play Rock Band with us that cringe whenever I choose "Let's Dance" or "Modern Love." Personally, I don't get it. David Bowie's '80s work was different than some of his older stuff--say, "Ziggy Stardust" or "Space Oddity" or "Starman"--all of which are awesome--but I think the songs from Let's Dance stand up well when compared to his earlier work. Let's Dance made me a David Bowie fan and, in spite of the fact that my Bowie tastes are much broader today than they were in 1983, I'm still a big fan of the album.--Dave

4. Def Leppard, Pyromania

Pyromania was Def Leppard's third studio album and it's their most polished. It was a monster success for them, driven largely by the songs "Foolin," "Photograph," and of course, the wildly successful "Rock Of Ages." The songs were a bit more pop, a bit more melodic, a bit more anthemic, and totally bitchin' awesome. Play the album from start to finish and rock your hair off.--Archphoenix

3. Cyndi Lauper, She's So Unusual

Quick! Name the first album by a female artist to have four Top Five hits. That's right, it was She's So Unusual. And in 1983, Cyndi Lauper was quite unusual to much of the US. She had bright orange hair, hung out with wrestlers, had a helluva thick New York accent (which has its own Facebook page), and also possessed one of the most powerful and beautiful female voices ever. While She's So Unusual was a big hit, she would never achieve that level of commercial success with future releases. Why, I don't know. But I do know that She's So Unusual might be the best solo female debut album ever. The album contained two awesome covers: Prince's "When You Were Mine" and The Brains' "Money Changes Everything." But it also contained "All Through The Night" the anthemic "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," the ode to masturbation that was "She Bop," and quite possibly the most beautiful song she ever recorded, "Time After Time." Admit it. You forgot just how damn good this album was.--Chris

2. R.E.M., Murmur

Michael Stipe's voice is a like a fishing hook. Layered in bright echoes, it gets stuck in your head and makes you sing along. There is no escape. You may not understand the whole journey, but you'll love the trip.

Once stuck, the songs turn themselves over in your head, revealing carefully woven sounds and slightly dense lyrics. None of the words are meant too seriously, and puzzling them out is half the fun.

Part of the instinctive appeal of Murmur also comes from its guitar tones. Clean and simple, they bring an element of folk to the mix, especially in the cheerful bounce of "We Walk."

The music never drags, even when it's deep in thought. The chorus of "Perfect Circle" is almost like a round, neatly rolling it past the pitfalls of moaning and moping. It's a trick that sets R.E.M. apart from the angst of later alternative rock. Murmur is great because it lets things go.--Amanda

1. The Police, Synchronicity

Talk about going out on top. It all came together for The Police on Synchronicity, a sprawling, ambitious masterpiece that dominated the summer of 1983 for me. The minimalist "Every Breath You Take," effortlessly straddling the line between intensely romantic and intensely creepy, can make a legitimate case for being the best song of the decade, and the other big singles, "King Of Pain" and "Wrapped Around Your Finger," have a similarly dark and lonely feel. It was pop music with a depth and edge that left a huge impression on my thirteen-year-old brain. Every other song on the album would be the best song on any other band's album, particularly "Walking In Your Footsteps," "Miss Gradenko," and "Murder By Numbers," (although I could do without "Mother"... what was that about, Andy?) That the band hated each other and Synchronicity turned out to be their last album just cements its reputation as one of the great swan songs in music history (the Behind The Music on The Police is fantastic) and still leaves me wondering "what if?"--CroutonBoy

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