Top 20 Albums Of 1988 (Nos. 16-20)

For this week's Ranked!, we compiled our twenty favorite albums released in 1988. Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments!

Here are numbers 16-20:

20. Cinderella, Long Cold Winter

Cinderella weren't like the other hair bands. Don't get me wrong: they were as glam as everyone else. But Long Cold Winter had more of a bluesy feel than, say, a Look What The Cat Dragged In or a Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. But it still rocked, due in large part to Tom Keifer's gravelly vocals. The album boasted tracks like "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" and "Coming Home," both of which should've been featured in Rock Of Ages; near-hit "The Last Mile;" the upbeat "Gypsy Road;" and my favorite song on the album, "Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin' Apart At The Seams."--Chris

19. Soul Asylum, Hang Time

By the time I moved to Minneapolis in 1992, it had a bit of a chip on its shoulder. The "Seattle scene" was what everybody in the music press was talking about, but Minneapolis was fiercely protective of its own musical legacy. Although state law mandated that you speak in appropriately hushed tones about Prince and The Time, I quickly learned that the true titans of the local music scene were the Big Three: the Replacements, Husker Du, and Soul Asylum. By 1989 the first two were already beginning to tear apart, but Soul Asylum was just hitting its stride. Although most people remember Soul Asylum for "Runaway Train" years later, Hang Time was the album that captures them at their shaggy, alternative best. More pop than their contemporaries, the album is full of anthemic, cerebral tunes that put most of the songs on the charts that year to shame. It's anchored by a killer triptych of rockers right in the middle: "Sometime To Return," "Cartoon," and "Beggars and Choosers," but they show remarkable range, too. "Marionette" would sound totally at home on a Billy Joel album, "Jack Of All Trades" offers a healthy dose of punk, and even the goofy "Twiddly Dee" and "Put The Bone In" add some levity to the proceedings. For anyone who thinks of Soul Asylum as a mid '90s flash in the pan, it's time to dig deeper, and Hang Time is where you should start.--CroutonBoy

18. Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl

I had a friend who was obsessed with Paula Abdul when this album came out. She looked to Paula for fashion tips, made up basement dances to "Cold Hearted," and made me watch the "Opposites Attract" video approximately 847,575 times. I picked up the vinyl album a few years ago for $2 on a lark, and was surprised to remember that it's actually a pretty fun pop album. Remember when Paula was known for dancing and not being crazy? If you don't, pick up a copy of Forever Your Girl and be surprised. --Archphoenix

17. Robert Plant, Now And Zen

Most of my Led Zeppelin knowledge and appreciation come courtesy of my wife. Before we started dating, I only knew the most mainstream Zeppelin songs. After we started dating, I gained a huge appreciation for their more blues-oriented music, the stuff that hardly ever gets any radio play.

The reason I bring all of that up is that, when Now And Zen came out, I was really only vaguely aware that Robert Plant had anything to do with Led Zeppelin. (Yeah, I led a sheltered musical existence.) I really enjoyed all of the songs that made it to the radio from this album, though. And, what gave me an even greater appreciation for this album's style was seeing Page and Plant on tour (twice). A lot of the Eastern influence that is heard in this album was the foundation for the sound that was the hallmark for the Page and Plant albums. Now And Zen holds up well today, and is a great companion disc to those later collaborations.--Dave

16. Cowboy Junkies, The Trinity Session

If you dated me in my 20s (and who didn't?), you were probably subjected to The Trinity Session at some point. It was my go-to "late night sensitive guy" CD, intended to prove beyond a doubt that I could relate to The Ladies. In retrospect that was probably ill-conceived and probably came across as a little silly, but in truth I actually really dug the album. Recorded in a church in a single night, the music on The Trinity Session are haunting and atmospheric, evoking smoky blues clubs and lonely nights on the road. The song that sucked me in at first was their cover of "Sweet Jane," their incredible reinterpretation of the Velvet Undergound classic that was famously included on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack. It's an incredible song, arguably better than the original, but the rest of the album is just as solid, with a mix of classic covers ("I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "Walking After Midnight") and originals, particularly the almost perfect "Misguided Angel." It's still a great album to pop in when I'm feeling chill. And for the record gentlemen, "ill-conceived" and "a little silly" doesn't necessarily mean it didn't work.--CroutonBoy

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