Top 20 Albums Of 1983 (Nos. 11-15)

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 11-15:

15. 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

14. Tears For Fears, The Hurting

Keep in mind that this 1983 platinum release was Tears For Fears' debut album and it only serves to increase the awe as you go down the list of classic alternative hits it generated. It spawned no less than four fiercely memorable yet haunting mid-80s anthems ("Mad World," "Pale Shelter," "Change," and "Suffer The Children") with duo Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith at the helm. Swept in on the new wave of straight forward synthesizer pop, a genre they didn't much fit into, they turned out to be mightily gifted in the songwriting and staying power departments. The proof being their meteoric rise after branching out into the mainstream with their next album, Songs From The Big Chair.--Dufmanno

13. John Cougar Mellencamp, Uh-Huh

I often site Mr. Cougar... er, I mean Mr. Mellencamp as one of my great guilty pleasures, but I don't really think I should feel guilty about it at all. He's made some of the best roots rock of the last 30 years, and Uh-Huh stands as arguably one of his finest hours. This was the album where he really donned the mantle of Voice of Middle America, with a knowing blend of down home charm and rebellion. For my money "Pink Houses" is one of the greatest homages to small town life ever penned, wistful and melancholy but also defiant and proud. "Crumblin' Down" and "Authority Song" probably made thousands of teenage boys' mix tapes, but I love "Warmer Place To Sleep" and "Serious Business" just as much; both rock the house with some surprisingly adult sensibilities. If you want to understand the core of what "rock and roll" is, you need to look no further than here.--CroutonBoy

12. Culture Club, Colour By Numbers

America had already gotten over the "shock" of the cross-dressing Boy George through Culture Club's debut album, Kissing To Be Clever, and its three Top 10 singles, so by the time Colour By Numbers washed ashore, we were there to greet it with open arms. Awaiting us was the Motownish "Church Of The Poisoned Mind," the bouncy "It's A Miracle," and "Miss Me Blind," along with the album's best track and the band's only #1 hit, "Karma Chameleon."--Chris

11. Madonna, Madonna

Madonna's self-titled debut album is a brilliant debut. "Lucky Star," "Borderline," "Burning Up," and "Holiday" are some of her biggest hits, and they're all on the album. Every girl I knew in 1983 just absorbed those videos and took notes on the fashion. I have very vivid memories of my younger cousin performing her own cover of "Lucky Star" with a feather boa on the staircase of her home in 1983. This album trumpeted the entrance of a woman to be reckoned with.--Archphoenix

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