Top 100 Albums Of The '80s (Nos. 71-80)

For this week's Ranked!, we've got one of our most epic editions ever: the Top 100 Albums Of The '80s. Did we get it right? Let us know!

Here are Numbers 71-80:

80. Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls

Two chicks, two acoustic guitars, and killer blended harmonies. For a girl who was doing a lot of singing at the time, this album was pretty extraordinary. I listened to it the other day and I still wanted to sing along. Fun fact: this album got the Indigo Girls nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy, which they lost to... Milli Vanilli. (You know, the Grammy was later revoked when it came out that they didn't actually sing.)--Archphoenix

79. Tears For Fears, Songs From The Big Chair

Tears For Fears weren't on my radar prior to this album, but that didn't stop me from falling hook, line, and sinker for Songs From The Big Chair like the rest of the world. But how could you not? The album had two amazing #1 singles in "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" and "Shout," a top 5 single in "Head Over Heels," and other great songs like "Mothers Talk" and "I Believe."--Chris

78. Prince, 1999

This is the album that put Prince on the map. Sure, he had reached #11 back in 1979 with "I Wanna Be Your Lover," but he had yet to taste the success that 1999 brought: this was his first Top 10 album and it yielded two Top 10 singles and one Top 20 single.

1999 was a double album; its eleven songs ran for over seventy minutes, with six of its tracks coming in at six minutes or longer. And while everyone knows and loves the three major hits from the album--"1999," "Little Red Corvette," and "Delirious"--it's the sexy dirty ditty "Let's Pretend We're Married" that always stood out for me. And despite its racy subject matter and the fact that it was over seven minutes long, the song still reached #52 on the charts, a true testament to Prince's greatness.--Chris

77. The Who, It's Hard

I only started really listening to music in the '80s, so a lot of classic bands escaped my notice during my formative years. That is, unless they released an album in the '80s that produced a single that got radio airplay on the pop stations. When this happened, I got introduced to the group in a backward sort of way. This happened with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and, of course, The Who.

Now that I fancy myself a Who connoisseur, I have to admit that It's Hard is hardly their best album. However, there are a couple of good songs on there that, in my opinion, are able to stand with their better tunes. This includes the two most popular singles from the ablum, "Athena" and (better still) "Eminence Front." But it also includes "Dangerous," which is really catchy.

From the sound to the album cover (which features an Asteroids Deluxe arcade game), this was the most "'80s" of the band's two '80s albums. Although most of the songs (apart from "Eminence Front") were pretty much ignored by the band in their post-'80s tours, I think It's Hard as a whole manages to stand the test of time as both a great album in general and a solid Who album.--Dave

76. Queen, Flash Gordon Soundtrack

There are a lot of movies and television shows that I remember loving when I was a kid or a teenager that, upon viewing them through adult eyes, I found to be total crap. For example, when Nick at Night premiered way back when and I saw that they were showing Mr. Ed, I was excited. I loved that show as a kid. So I tuned in and after five minutes, I realized that this beloved show was actually one of the worst ideas for a television show that was ever conceived. So, when Flash Gordon was re-released on DVD (I missed the first go-round and it took forever for them to release it again), I bought it with great trepidation. I remembered the movie as being truly awesome high-camp, and I didn't want to be disappointed. Luckily, It's still as awesome today as I remember it being in the 80s.

Part of the reason is the soundtrack. I've always liked Queen, and they really went all-out for this soundtrack. It's so 80s, and so campy, and so Queen. And it's so memorable. Most of my friends and family, whether they were fans of the movie or not, still reflexively respond "ah ah!" when you say "Flash!" to them. Something that makes this soundtrack somewhat unique (apart from it being Queen's only movie soundtrack) is that it includes dialog and sound effects from the movie. I've always been good at picturing scenes from the movie based on the music from the film but, in this case, I don't have to.

This might not be one of my favorite soundtracks overall (at least not in a symphonic sense), but it is quite awesome. It's also one of the handful of albums released in 1980 that I still listen to in its entirety on a regular basis today.--Dave

75. Twisted Sister, Stay Hungry

From the moment I first saw the video for "We're Not Gonna Take It," I was hooked. But how could I not be? The video had huge hulking guys dressed in drag, cartoon violence, Animal House references, cowbell, and featured a song about questioning authority. It was crack for a fourteen year old. Truth be told, I probably played this album more than any other on the list, save our #1. I still know the lyrics to every song, from opener "Stay Hungry" to closer "S.M.F.," and every song in between. In fact, I'm going to dig the CD out right now and give it another spin.--Chris

74. Faith No More, The Real Thing

First there was the wailing guitar featuring the pseudo rock/rap style that wouldn't become popular until close to the end of the following decade. Then there was the goldfish. The dying goldfish, flipping around and gasping for air that was featured prominently at the end of the video for "Epic," the smash hit from Faith No More's gigantic record The Real Thing. That fish caught the ire of a lot of animal activists and helped thrust the video into heavy rotation on MTV. Fancy video aside, the appeal of Faith No More was that they were grungy before grunge. They shouldn’t have been mainstream. But their powerful wailing guitars and that damn goldfish helped them break through. Thankfully. Otherwise we might have missed out on one of the coolest rock bands to close out the '80s.--Daddy Geek Boy

73. Quiet Riot, Metal Health

This album holds a lot of fond memories for me. Why? The first concert I ever saw was Quiet Riot, Saga, and Headpins. I'll be honest: I don't remember a lot about that concert other than the fact that I was still short enough to stand on my chair and not have the teenagers behind me start throwing crap at me. (I was so obsessed with this band, not only did I buy a concert tee of the three-quarter sleeve baseball shirt variety (where have you gone?) but I also bought a stupid knockoff of the mask the dude wears on the album's cover.)

But I remember this album fondly. I played it to death. Metal Health had two rock 'n' roll anthems that endeared the public to heavy metal: "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)" and a cover of Slade's "Cum On Feel The Noize." But my favorite song by far was the ballad "Thunderbird" which closed the album, a tribute to Randy Rhoads.--Chris

72. Queen, A Kind Of Magic

It was a kind of a magic, what Queen and Freddie Mercury could do. The way they gently built "Who Wants To Live Forever" to a smashing crescendo. The pulse-pounding beat of "Don't Lose Your Head." It winds you up until you think you can conquer the world. Just take that feeling and run with it right into space. "The Miracle" and "Innuendo" followed, but "A Kind Of Magic" and the tour behind it were really the spectacular rousing stomp of a high note on which Queen and Freddie ended. How do you follow that?--Amanda

71. The Cars, Heartbeat City

I really started listening to music on a regular basis when I got my own car. My radio, at least in the mid-'80s, was always tuned to the pop stations, so pop is what's ingrained in my brain from this musical era. I would definitely consider The Cars a step above your standard pop fare. They had a lot of staying power and had already been around for a while by the time Heartbeat City hit the shelves. But for me, this album is the source of most of my favorite Cars tunes--especially "Drive," which is generally a lot more ballad-y than I like. Something about that song, however, just resonates with me. I have to admit that The Cars have always been a greatest hits collection kind of band to me--but, barring the actual greatest hits album, for my money Heartbeat City gets you the best bang for the buck.--Dave

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