Top 20 Albums Of 1984 (Nos. 11-15)

For this week's Ranked!, we compiled our twenty favorite albums released in 1984. Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments!

Here are numbers 11-15:

15. Don Henley, Building The Perfect Beast

Aside from "Good Vibrations," I consider the "The Boys Of Summer" the greatest summer song of all time. Maybe it's because I heard it all the time the summer of '85 (when it and the video were everywhere) with my cheap Walkman knock-off with the orange-foam covered headphones. But frankly, I think it's a glorious song, an ode to love and loss that masks its poignancy with its sun-drenched production, only catching up to you when you pause to consider what's being sung. Henley was obviously the most talented ex-Eagle, and he eschewed the Miami Vice bullshit of his bandmates for catchy, observant ruminations within his music. Building The Perfect Beast is his strongest set, and it's not limited to just "The Boys Of Summer." The other hits, "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" and "Sunset Grill," are both excellent, and although the rest of the album suffers from a few too many mid-'80s synthesizers, the songs themselves are great explorations of the southern California lifestyle and its sometimes unseemly underbelly. And it's a million times better than anything Glen Frey ever did, so there.--CroutonBoy

14. The Scorpions, Love At First Sting

Did I ever tell you about my friend Randy? Probably... I talk about him a lot, especially when The Scorpions are involved. He and I were roommates in college, and we spent almost every waking hour we weren't in class sitting on milk crates in our dorm room, playing cribbage on a stolen traffic sign converted into a table/beer-holder, and listening to The Scorpions at obscenely high volumes. He was from Montana, and he used to tell me about how he'd ride on the hood of his friend's car in his underwear, shooting mailboxes with a shotgun, with "Big City Nights" or "I'm Leaving You" cranked. It's that kind of album. Although I've never participated in any firearm-fueled postal vandalism, I have banged the head very, very hard to this album, and the images from the video for "Rock You Like A Hurricane"--a crowd of long-haired weirdos shaking a cage to the music--are an apt metaphor for what goes on in my brain when I hear it. It's one of the cornerstones of '80s hard rock, and if you don't own it and love it, you're a pussy.--CroutonBoy

13. R.E.M., Reckoning

How do you follow up a debut masterpiece that practically invented a genre? With an equally brilliant statement of purpose that reinforces and expands on the template of its predecessor. R.E.M. didn't skip a beat with Reckoning, another batch of jangle-pop awesomeness that's as catch today as it was twenty-eight years ago. "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" is worth the purchase price alone, but the whole album is a peppy, stripped-down counterpoint to the rest of the music of 1984, especially "So. Central Rain," "Little America," and "Pretty Persuasion." It's not hard to find an R.E.M. fan who will point to this as their favorite album (I can introduce you to a couple), and I still love to play it when i'm putzing around the house, imagining a more carefree time in my life. --CroutonBoy

12. Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Welcome To The Pleasuredome

What band would have the balls to cover Bruce Springsteen's classic "Born To Run" on their debut album? Frankie Goes To Hollywood, that's who. In addition to the Sprinsgteen tune, the band also covered Edwin Starr's "War," Gerry And The Pacemakers' "Ferry Cross The Mersey," and Dionne Warwick's "Do You Know The Way To San Jose." But it was the band's originals tunes, their music videos, the controversy surrounding both, and the overall vibe of debauchery that oozed from their pores that made them superstars. The album's big hits were the epic "Welcome To The Pleasuredome" the ballad "The Power Of Love," and "Two Tribes," with its insanely epic music video depicting a wrestling match between Ronald Reagan and Konstantin Chernenko. But it was "Relax," the thumping, pounding ode to gay sex that took America buy store and made half of the suburban kids purchase "Frankie Says Relax" t-shirts (which went nicely with their "Choose Life" tees), even if the meaning was lost on them.--Chris

11. Thompson Twins, Into The Gap

I know Simon Le Bon gets all the girls, but The Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey had the sexiest voice of any of the guys who washed ashore to take over our radio waves in the '80s. Into The Gap was the band's fourth (!) album and contained hits like "Doctor! Doctor!" (which was later turned into the horrible Doctor Pepper ad), "The Gap," "You Take Me Up," and their biggest hit, "Hold Me Now."--Chris

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