Top 20 Albums Of 1989 (Nos. 6-10)

For this week's Ranked!, we completed our look back at the '80s with our our twenty favorite albums released in 1989. Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments!

Here are numbers 6-10:

10. Tom Petty, Full Moon Fever

Full Moon Fever has a special place in my heart. It was the first music I ever bought on CD, and I listened to it repeatedly just to enjoy the (probably imagined) clarity of this new and exciting medium. The CD even had a clever interlude where Petty, with what sounds like a lively farm in the background, offers a moment of silence for the people who have to stand up and flip their LPs and cassettes over. Of course that isn't what gets you on a list of the best of 1989... it's the music, and it's Tom Petty's finest album by far. Clearly energized by their year with the Traveling Wilburys, Petty and producer Jeff Lynne pulled together a batch of songs looser and more relaxed than anything Petty had done with the Heartbreakers to date. "I Won't Back Down" is simple but effective, vignettes like "The Apartment Song" and "Yer So Bad" conjure amusingly human stories that would make Dylan proud, and the propulsive "Runnin' Down a Dream" was so much fun that I actually had a 'routine' that I would act out with a buddy whenever it came on the radio. (It was college... you do what you can to stand out). The highlight for me is "Free Fallin'," which can make a legitimate case for being the best song of the last 25 years, with evocative lyrics and a chorus that both giveth and--with a well-timed pause--taketh away. I still have that original CD, it's jewel case warn and chipped, and you know what? It does sound a hell of a lot better than my cassettes.--CroutonBoy

9. Pixies, Doolittle

Look, you already know everything there is to know about Doolittle. It's the best album Kim Deal, Black Francis, David Lovering, and Joey Santiago produced. It influenced countless musicians. It contained kickass tracks like "Debaser," "Wave Of Mutilation," "Here Comes Your Man," "Monkey Gone To Heaven," "Crackity Jones," "Silver," and "Gouge Away." Now go dig it out of your collection and give it a spin.--Chris

8. Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814

Janet was under a lot of pressure to create something similar to Control, but stuck to her guns and gave us this concept album on social injustice instead. Critics said the theme was too transparent and generalized, but the rest of the world saw her as, once again, an inspiration. In one album, we hear a range of rap, industrial, R&B, swing notes, synth and samples harmonized into a great collection of songs. This is one of those rare occurrences where listening to one song won't do; the album was built altogether, and that is what makes it so great.--J-Hawke

7. 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

6. The Cure, Disintegration

South Park's Kyle Broflovski claims Disintegration is "the best album ever." While that's not true (hell, it's not even the best album of 1989), it is the best album The Cure ever made, containing classic tracks like "Plainsong," "Pictures Of You," "Lovesong, " "Lullaby," and "Fascination Street." This was a return to form for Robert Smith and the band, bringing back the gloomy, moody, and atmospheric music and lyrics that were so prevalent on the band's earliest works.--Chris

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