Kinker Korner’s Top 28 Albums Of 1984 NSFW

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1984, the year of my birth so it has to be a good list to celebrate that momentous occasion eh? ….eh?. Let’s find out shall we?.

 

28. Bronski Beat-The Age Of Consent

Scottish singer Jimmy Somerville’s falsetto voice would become famous as the 80s went on and it all began here with the debut of openly gay synthpop band Bronski Beat. Many of the songs dealt with homosexuality which was brave for the time as most media personalities preferred to be in the closet at the time.  The title itself even relates to the UK government’s refusal to get with the times and reduce the homosexual age of consent from 21.Anyway me and my buddy Rick did a great karaoke version of Smalltown Boy many years ago.

Highlights-“Why?” “Smalltown Boy”

 

27. Joan Jett And The Blackhearts-Glorious Results Of A Misspent Youth

The queen of rock is back on the list with her raspy voice and punk rock attitude. This album leans towards a 50s rock and roll style with a classic rock sound. She’s always had a good ear for tune even if it is a little generic at times.

Highlights-“I Need Someone” “Hold Me”

 

26. Rick Springfield-Hard To Hold

The soundtrack to the musical movie Springfield himself starred in….overkill much?. It’s full of catchy but generic pop rock hits that he is known for. Good melodies and looks that make housewives weak at the knees. A bit like me.

Highlights-“Love Somebody” “Stand Up”

 

25. Madonna-Like A Virgin

The more provocative and sexual side of big mad Madge came out for her second album. You know the deal with her, not the best singer but a  certain charisma, a fashion team and song writing teams that have seen her survive an incredible, lengthy career.

Highlights-“Material Girl” “Pretender”

 

24. The Smiths-Hatful Of Hollow

A compilation of tracks that was released shortly after their debut album and contains some songs from that record but in different forms. It contains a lot of b-sides and live tracks that are really essential for a Smiths completionist especially when it contains tracks recorded from the John Peel sessions.

Highlights-“Handsome Devil” “How Soon Is Now?”

 

23. Spinal Tap-This Is Spinal Tap

The soundtrack to the classic mockumentary that brilliantly sends up rock musicians. I love the fact the movie infuriated rockers who didn’t get the joke as their egos were so big and they were so self unaware that they couldn’t get it. The fact they released an album is great as it added to some people’s confusion as to whether or not they were a real band.

Highlights-“Big Bottom” “Gimme Some Money”

 

22.The Pretenders-Learning To Crawl

The first album recorded after two of the original members died of drug overdoses within a year of each other. This album saw them going in a slightly softer rock direction including a song that will forever be on xmas compilation records because it says xmas at one point…..despite it actually being about her former bandmate’s death.

Highlights-“2000 Miles” “Back On The Chain Gang”

 

21. Bryan Adams-Reckless

Yes, the Canadian stadium rocker is as dull as dishwater and as vanilla as it gets but for this album he recorded a few cracking jams. The kind of music that’s electric guitar laden but safe enough for your mum to listen to in the car and sing along with. Some catchy stuff on this one.

Highlights-“Somebody” “Run To You”

 

20. Tina Turner-Private Dancer

Tina is the bomb, don’t pull that face. At this point she decided to change her image from that of a Motown style soul queen to a pop rock RnB icon. It worked as she gained a new lease on her career and became a mega star for a whole new generation. This era so so many great power ballads from her. There’s blues, reggae, pop, soul and all sorts in there and her raspy and powerful voice makes it all work.

Highlights-“What’s Love Got To Do With It” “Better Be Good To Me”

 

19. John Waite-No Brakes

The rocker who would go on to form Bad English hit it big with his solo smash “Missing You” which is one of the best power ballads ever. He’s kind of like a better but less successful Bryan Adams type with a bunch of bland stadium rock songs and then a few banging anthems out of nowhere!.

Highlights-“Missing You” “Tears”

 

18. Chicago-17

The final Chicago album with their defining frontman Peter Cetera sees them in far less of a jam band groove than previous albums and much more poppy and power ballad heavy. Classic dad rock but some undeniably catchy tunes. Peter Cetera’s high pitched vocals are most definitely not for everyone but they work.

Highlights-“You’re The Inspiration” “Along Comes A Woman”

 

17. Ramones-Too Tough To Die

That this is so high shows that 1984 is not a fantastic year for albums. You should know by now that I’m a massive Ramones fan but this is not even close to their best efforts. Nonetheless there’s plenty catchy, melodic punk ditties to get you going.

Highlights-“Warthog” “Chasing The Night”

 

16 (Tied). Black Flag-My War

But…but you’re a punk Neil how could you have Black Flag so low you Poseur?. Well dear friend this era of Black Flag, the Henry Rollins disappearing up his own arse era when he began to get more creative control is not particularly my cup of tea. It’s still on the list so I clearly like it but it doesn’t hold a candle to the earlier stuff for me. Half the album is kind of standard Black Flag but the second half is pseudo Black Sabbath drudge. This was the era that Bill Stevenson of Descendents was drumming for them so that’s a huge positive.

Highlights-“Beat My  Head Against The Wall” “I Love You”

 

16 (Tied). Black Flag-Slip It In

Pretty much see above. This album is the second to feature Kira Roesseler on bass after Family Man which didn’t make the list.

Highlights-“Wound Up” “The Bars

 

15. The Pogues-Red Roses For Me

The band that popularised the mixing of traditional Irish music with punk rock swagger. Frontman Shane MacGowan has become more known over the years for his sever alcoholism and his public fall from grace but there’s no denying what a great, energetic, good time band The Pogues were. This debut was a sign of even better things to come from the band.

Highlights-“Transmetropolitan” “Poor Paddy”

 

14.Talking Heads-Stop Making Sense

If you were following my lists of 80s movies you would have seen the Jonathan Demme directed concert film that this album is the audio recording of. So yea it’s not quite the same without seeing their energy onstage etc but it’s still a cracking live album although there is editing on the songs and it’s not the entire concert for some reason.

Highlights-“Once In A Lifetime” “Psycho Killer”

 

13. Run D.M.C-Run D.M.C

A hugely important and monumental, influential hip hop debut that took the early roots of rap away from funk and soul and stripped it down with heavier beats and more aggressive vocal delivery. It sounds primitive now in terms of the ways the genre evolved over the year, particularly as lyricists and MCs improved their flow and lyricism. It’s very interesting to see how pioneers like Run D.M.C influenced the game.

Highlights-“Rock Box” “Sucker M.Cs

 

12. Anthrax-Fistful Of Metal

The debut album from the thrash band known for being part of the Big 4″ (Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer). Anthrax were always the most fun of the four with their focus being more about geek culture and writing songs about comic book characters and fantasy movies rather than just satan all the time like some of the others. Neil Turbin was the (very squealy) singer on this one only before Joey Belladonna took over permanently.

Highlights-“Deathrider” “Across The River”

 

11. Van Halen-1984

Known as their “sell out” album by idiots for them having the audacity to use keyboards. How very dare they….whatever. A huge smash hit and the final album before frontman Dave Lee Roth left to embark on a solo career. Eddie’s signature virtuoso guitar skills are on display as expected with some riffs that are destined to be played in guitar shops until the end of time.

Highlights-“Jump” “Hot For Teacher”

 

10. Bruce Springsteen-Born In The U.S.A

Right, by now you should know that I’m a huge Springsteen fan but the song Born In The U.S.A is an absolute shit pile. I hate it, it’s dull, stadium dirge which sucks as he is the man that took stadium style music and actually made it good. Anyway, that said the album makes up for it with some really good songs. It was a monster hit that showed the world that he was still a massive force in the 80s.

Highlights-“No Surrender” “I’m Goin’ Down”

 

9. Iron Maiden-Powerslave

If ever an album opened with it’s intentions clear from the start then it’s Powerslave with a rip roaring guitar riff letting you know exactly what you’re in for. In a time where American metal was leading the way, Maiden were proudly flying the flag for Britain mixing the 70s style that saw the UK lead the way for metal with the thrash sound that was en vogue.

Highlights-“Aces High” “Flash Of The Blade”

 

 

8. The Smiths-The Smiths

Pioneers of the Manchester indie sound make their debut with this wee cracker. Johnny Marr’s pleasant and distinctive, whimsical guitar tone really  helped define a genre and his style of playing is still attempted today but never bettered. Obviously we’re going to have to talk about old Morrissey….sigh….he’s obviously great and especially in his youth he had an enigmatic, hippy charisma and stage presence and his voice was unique. It just sucks he’s such a monumental shitprick.

Highlights-“The Hand That Rocks The Cradle” “What Difference Does It Make?”

 

7. The Cure-The Top

An experimental album from a time where Robert Smith was very interested in psychedelia so it’s definitely different to a lot of their stuff. It still has Smith’s distinctive, impassioned wailing but the music is far more trippy and less goth rock than previous releases. It’s interesting for sure.

Highlights-” Wailing Wall” “Give Me It”

 

6. Prince And The Revolution-Purple Rain

The soundtrack to the brilliantly self indulgent and over the top musical movie of the same name is every bit as over the top and a wonderfully flamboyant album. Some of his best 80s songs come from this album. A brilliantly arrogant and indulgent piece of work, never more evident than in the brilliant title track.

Highlights-“I Would Die 4 U” “When Doves Cry”

 

5. Big Country-Steetown

A year after their breakthrough album, the Scottish post punk legends returned and as an album performed even better reaching number one in the UK. Stuart Adamson’s distinctive bagpipe sounding guitar effects were back on display and the music had a harder edge to it. The title refers to Thatcher’s vast destruction of the workforce that affected many Scots and Brits in general.

Highlights-“East Of Eden” “Steeltown”

 

4. Metallica-Ride The Lightning

The thrash legend’s second album is considered one of the greatest records in the genre ever and it’s easy to see why with the raw energy and power that their debut brought being progressed on with musical variations and songs with different tempos. It showed the band’s talent as musicians as well as their aggression and speed. If thrash fans were angry at them for having acoustic guitars etc….wait until you see their reaction in a couple of albums time…..oh boy.

Highlights-“Trapped Under Ice” “Creeping Death”

 

3. Husker Du-Zen Arcade

An album that became hugely influential in the post hardcore scene that got going a few years later. Passionate, intelligent and well composed music that takes influences from punk, hardcore and rock and would also be influential in the early emo scene of the 90s before that genre became a giant parody of what it started as. Fantastic album from a very good band.

Highlights-“Something I Learned Today” “Chartered Trips”

 

2. Minor Threat-Minor Threat

An absolutely iconic album cover in the punk rock community and the album itself is a hardcore classic. A compilation of the bands early e.p releases and released after the band had split. Fast aggressive and with a positive message, Minor Threat remain one of hardcore’s greatest bands despite their short time together. Sometimes the best things come in small doses.

Highlights-“I don’t Wanna Hear It” “Bottled Violence”

 

 

1 Minutemen-Double Nickels On The Dime

The criminally underappreciated and seminal punk band’s third album is, in my opinion their magnum opus. A double album that touches on the usual left wing politics of a lot of punk and hardcore such as racism, anti war politics, tolerance and more. It really is a fantastic album mixing punk rock, hardcore, funk infused basslines and garage rock.

Highlights-“Viet Nam” “Shit From An Old Notebook”

 

Hitting the half way point now, join me back here for 1985 soon. Catch me @swing_kinker cheers xx

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