Kinker Korner’s Top 35 Albums Of 1980 NSFW

      Comments Off on Kinker Korner’s Top 35 Albums Of 1980 NSFW

…..And so we enter the decade that fashion forgot. Punk is still heavily influencing things and disco and prog are on the outs. Let’s see what the first year of the decade serves up for us.

 

35. u2-Boy

Back when the Irish megastars were still a post punk band they released this debut LP and it was incredibly promising work. Bono was a charismatic, young frontman with a unique voice. You don’t really need me to tell you about U2, we all know what they became and how insufferable Bono is now but back here they were great. Punchy, socially aware punk influenced songs that connect well with me.

Highlights- “Another Time, Another Place” “I Will Follow”

 

34.Journey Departure

STEEEEEEVE PERRY!. This album saw the somewhat goofy band head in a more rock orientated sound than previous albums with a slightly more raw sound. ….for Journey anyway. I’ve always really liked guitarist Neal Schon who does good work here and in his side band Hardline. Steve Perry’s impossibly high vocals are always a treat too.

Highlights- “Any Way You Want It” “I’m Cryin'”

 

33. The Buggles-The Plastic Age

The debut album from the electronic duo consisting of Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes who are somewhat unfairly always shown on one hit wonder lists. That’s due to their massive hit “Video Killed The Radio Star” which is indeed on this album. Ahead of it’s time by a couple of years, just before electro pop and new wave became huge, these guys were a big influence on the genre.

Highlights-” Clean, Clean” “Video Killed The Radio Star”

 

32.Elvis Costello-Taking Liberties

A compilation of rarities and B Sides from the best era of his music. He had such a great punky poppy sound with jangly guitars, stabbing keyboards and soft melodies that combine to make great pop music. He would later go on to do pretty terrible crooning style records but his early stuff remains brilliant.

Highlights- “Big Tears” “Crawling To The USA”

 

31. Blondie- Autoamerican

A bizarre and eclectic album that was received pretty horribly by music journos (those paragons of virtue) due to it’s wild departure from their punk influenced (you’ll see me say that a lot in the early 80s lists) ditties. This album saw influences range from lounge jazz, ska, reggae and all sorts. It makes for a bit of a mess conceptually but there’s plenty to enjoy here.

Highlights-“The Tide Is High” “Follow Me”

 

30.AC/DC-Back In Black

More than a little low on the list for many no doubt but here we are. The band’s seventh album is probably their most famous and the title song in particular is still used in movies and other media on a consistent basis. It’s the first album with the band’s new singer Brian Johnson after Kirriemuir’s own Bon Scott had died from excessive partying. It’s still considered a huge classic in terms of rock albums.

Highlights- “You Shook Me All Night Long” “Back In Black”

 

29. Pete Townshend-Empty Glass

Has old Petey ever released that ahem…”documentary” he was making when he was busted with all that kiddy porn on his computer?. No?…how strange. Anyway, disturbing personal situations aside, the Who guitarist is a great songwriter and this album, his debut, displays plenty of that.

Highlights-“Let My Love Open The Door” “Gonna Get Ya”

 

28. The Doobie Brothers-One Step Closer

I do an awesome Michael MacDonald impression….that’s a fact. This was the last album from the band to feature the instantly recognisable frontman. You know what you’re getting from them, funk rock to get you head bopping and tight musicianship all round.

Highlights-“One Step Closer” “Keep This Train A-Rollin'”

 

27. The Police- Zenyatta Mondatta

Bang in their prime The Police had a UK number one hit album with this oddly titled but excellent collection of crackers. Stewart Copeland’s drumming is something I’ve long been a fan of and here he shows his skills off with great hi hat work and inventive fills. Sting’s vocals and bass playing was great before he decided to bore everyone with his lute and disappear up his own arse and Andy Summers’ jangly guitars mixed in very well. His work is particularly good in the ska songs.

Highlights-“Canary In A Coalmine” “Man In A Suitcase”

 

26..Jon And Vangelis-Short Stories

 

Not usually my kind of thing at all but the debut release by the collaborative efforts of former Yes frontman Jon Anderson and Greek electronic wizard Vangelis is a relaxing and interesting journey. Vangelis did the score for Blade Runner and I became a fan of his work there and checked out his other stuff. Thankfully for me it avoids the usual “Yes” prog nonsense and focues a little more on melody and cohesion and it really is relaxing listening.

Highlights-“Each And Every Day” “Love Is”

 

25. The Undertones-Hypnotised

A great collection of upbeat, good time poppy punk from the Northern Irish legends led by Feargal Sharkey. I don’t think they get the credit they deserve for paving the way for the 90s punk revolution as they were a first wave punk band that didn’t spit and scream and shout like many did. They sang songs about girls and unrequited love, friends and family members and their songs usually had a great upbeat feel to them.

Highlights-“Nine Times Out Of Ten” “There Goes Norman”

 

24. J. Geils Band- Love Stinks

Absurdly upbeat pop rock from the band who went from 70s blues rock mainstays to total sellout radio rockers….but you know what? They kinda sucked in the seventies and their pop rock stuff was excellent fun so hey who cares really?. Such a good time band.

Highlights-“Love Stinks” “Just Can’t Wait”

 

23. Bootsy Collins-Ultra Wave

Experimental funk from one of the funk masters who played with James Brown in the seventies before striking out on his own. This album was produced by another funk legend in George Clinton and the sexy grooves just pour out with slower beats and a more proggy approach than a lot of his stuff.

Highlights-“Mug Push” “Sound Crack”

 

22. Billy Joel-Glass Houses

A huge monster hit from the New Yorker with some of his most rock influenced songs with more guitar based songs than he often goes for. Joel certainly knows his way around a song and a melody, his composition is always first class. A good entry into his discography.

Highlights-“I Don’t Want To Be Alone” “C’etait Toi (You Were The Only One)”

 

21. The Specials-More Specials

The second album from Coventry ska band The Specials and what a great follow up it is. Terry Hall’s deadpan delivery and the great music from the band help deliver the working class message of anti racism, poverty and life in Britain. This album saw them bring in loads of cameos from the likes of Belinda Carlisle and Lee Thompson.

Highlights-“Hey Little Rich Girl” “Rat Race”

 

20. The Damned-The Black Album

The fourth album from the English goth punks is a cracking bunch of tunes with the band branching out a little with acoustic songs and different instrumentation to stray from the three chord punk they had been known for previously. I prefer their three chord stuff really but this was a nice balance between that stuff and the rather lame direction they ended up in down the road.

Highlights-“Wait For The Blackout” “Twisted Nerve”

 

19. Joy Division-Closer

Ok settle down hipsters it’s done well on the list. I know I’ll get heat for this placement just as I’ve had heat most of my life for not thinking Joy Division are the greatest thing ever. Look, clearly I like them so just back off. Their second and final album before the tragic suicide of frontman Ia Curtis is a troubling, atmospheric and moody expression of depression and post punk angst from a deeply troubled soul. It’s a damn shame that “Love Will Tear Us Apart” wasn’t an album track as it would have elevated it even more.

Highlights-“A Means To An End” “Atrocity Exhibition”

 

18. Talking Heads-Remain In Light

The new wave band’s fourth album was met with high worldwide praise for it’s experimental approach with world music influences and David Byrne’s typically odd vocal delivery. A great example of weird done right and it’s no doubt their most well known and influential album.

Highlights-“Once In A Lifetime” “The Great Curve”

 

17. The Jam-Sound Effects

Jeez 1980 is a hell of a list for frontmen who were in great bands and became insufferable twats down the road. Paul Weller and his post punk homies head in a more Beatles influenced direction for this album but still keep that somewhat aggressive and energetic sound that defined them. I’ve always  been a big fan of Bruce Foxton and his bass playing which I think is the real heartbeat of the band. That gritty bass tone is godly.

Highlights-“Dream Time” “Man In The Corner Shop”

 

16.Rush-Permanent Waves

 

This album saw the supremely talented band, led by virtuoso bassist/singer Geddy Lee move away from their prog roots and head in a more radio friendly nature which is fine by me as prog is not my thing at all. Expert composition and insanely tight playing from a band that are known for such things and extremely well respected for it.

Highlights-“Spirit Of The Radio” “Freewill”

15.Prince-Dirty Mind

Everyone’s favourite sexy midget returns for his third album and he really ramped up the sex factor with this one. The wee man wrote, produced and composed everything in his own studio and what a gargantuan feat it is when you look at the musicianship on the album. A truly talented and incredibly unique artist. I don’t think a lot of people realise that he played every instrument on his albums and was really a tremendous, one of a kind star.

Highlights-“When You Were Mine” “Head”

Youtube doesn’t allow Prince videos so here’s the awesome Cyndi Lauper cover of When You Were Mine

 

14. Bob Marley And The Wailers-Uprising

The last album released before Marley’s untimely death from cancer the following year. Marley was deeply buried in the Rastafarian religious movement at the time and it shows in his lyrics for this album with him giving praise and professing his beliefs. It’s a nice mix of laid back, upbeat reggae and sombre, contemplative musings. Marley is one of those icons who will forever be adorned on the walls of idiotic students who couldn’t name two of his songs. He’s sitting alongside the Che Guevara poster but hey, that doesn’t take away from what a great artist he was. I don’t know if I could name two Che Guevara songs either to be honest.

Highlights-“Redemption Song” “Real Situation”

 

13. The Cure-Boys Don’t Cry

A weird release as it’s kind of a compilation album despite there only having been one album previous. It’s also kind of an alternative version of the first album….oh I don’t know how to categorise it. Whatever the case it’s a great collection of post punk, moody angst filled songs. They hadn’t fully found their voice at this point as they would go on to be a unique and truly brilliant band. They are relatively formulaic and part of a larger genre at this point. Still hugely promising stuff.

Highlights-“Jumping Someone Else’s Train” “Boys Don’t Cry”

 

12. The Beat-I Just Can’t Stop it

The amiable 2 tone legends released this under “The English Beat” hence the album cover there. A massive influence on the 3rd wave ska movement of the 90s that I was such a fan of, the brummies Led by Dave Wakeling were inventive with unique tuning of their instruments and a really upbeat disposition. Great party time ska and a wonderful album.

Highlights-“Rough Riders” “Hands Off She’s Mine”

 

11. Bruce SpringsteenThe River

Look at that sexy bastard. The Boss enters the 80s and starts as he means to go on with anthemic working class stadium rock belters. It would take another couple of albums for him to become the mega star he deserved to be although it did hit number one in America so they were starting to build him up. It seems he’s an acquired taste as I know a lot of people who don’t dig his stuff but for the most part I love his work. Interesting fact, the lead single Hungry Heart was intended to be written for The Ramones but he liked it so much he kept it.

Highlights-“The Ties That Bind” “Hungry Heart”

 

 

10.D.O.A-Something Better Change

The debut album from the Canadian punk legends is often seen as the forerunner to the hardcore genre with it’s fast beats and aggressive delivery and they were alongside the likes of Angry Samoans and Black Flags in defining the genre. Led by Joey Shithead….yup….they played in your face, snarling punk rock with a melodic edge and this is one of the better punk debuts ever.

Highlights-“2+2” “Last Night”

 

 

9. Pretenders-Pretenders

The Chrissie Hynde led rockers made their debut and what a declaration off intent it was. A cracking album filled with punky pop songs with Hynde’s attitude oozing through the speakers. An absolute corker of a debut.

Highlights-“Kid” “Precious”

 

8. The Clash-Sandinista!

One of the big two in first wave UK punk released their fourth album which was a massive, self indulgent triple album tribute to communism. This was probably the band at their most experimental with world music, dub, reggae and folk songs splattered all over the album. It annoyed a lot of punks because of it’s vast departure from the standard punk roots but it shows the band were capable of trying their hand at anything and although it varies in success it’s overall a great album.

Highlights-“Somebody Got Murdered” “Police On My Back”

 

7.The Cure-Seventeen Seconds

They’re back on the list again with officially their second album. It’s the first album with bassist Simon Gallup as a proper band member which is great because he’s an awesome addition to the band. Dark, moody and poetic with of course plenty of melody. This is where I feel they really started to find their sound and break away from the other indie bands at the time. They would go on to get even better as time went on. 

Highlights-“A Forest” “Play For Today”

 

6. X-Los Angeles

A legendary punk album produced by The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek. Punchy, intimidating and atmospheric, it’s a rollercoaster of energetic anger and social awareness. A powerhouse of punk history fronted by John Doe and Exene. 

Highlights-” The World’s A Mess, It’s In My Kiss” “You’re Phone’s Off The Hook But You’re Not”

 

5. Stiff Little Fingers

 

The Belfast punks’ second album is an absolute banger of melodic punk beauty. Another band that I don’t feel quite gets the respect for paving the way for 90s melodic punk. They were a voice of reason during the troubles in Ireland with an aggressive dissenting growl of logical angst against the violence.

Highlights-“Wait And See” “Tin Soldiers”

 

4. Elvis Costello And The Attractions-Get Happy!!

Costello’s fourth album saw him move away somewhat from his punky sound and into a more soulful direction. It works though with great lyrics and short but sweet compositions. His offbeat charisma always made him a great personality which makes it such a shame he became a total bore.

Highlights-“Love For Tender” “Possession”

 

3. Circle Jerks-Group Sex

The legendary hardcore group’s debut album is fifteen minutes long and includes fourteen songs…..brilliant. Short, punchy, aggressive, funny ditties that you can blast through in no time and have a great time with. Circle Jerks have always been one of the best hardcore bands out of the early genre legends and they didn’t take themselves too seriously which is a refreshing change in a genre filled with self importance and pretension. I love the genre by the way and most of the more serious bands are great but variation is nice.

Highlights-“Deny Everything” “Operation”

 

 

2. Dead Kennedys-Fresh Fruit For Rotten Vegetables

A blistering debut from the hyper left wing punks. Being a punk at a very young age I had heard of a lot of these bands but didn’t have the funds to check them out and they weren’t on tv so when my buddy Rick gave me a copy of this album I had it on repeat for quite a time. Jello Biafra, the charismatic frontman with a unique voice blasts his way through the album with sarcasm, anger and righteous indignation while the band play fast paced hardcore for a perfect political soundtrack.

Highlights-“Kill The Poor” “California Ueber Allies”

 

1 Ramones-End Of The Century

The “sellout” album….whatever that means. Joey Ramone, who was always the heart and soul of the iconic punk band, was a fan of Motown and soul records and he wanted to work with Phil Spector who produced a lot of his childhood favourite records. It led to a poppy sound taht left the band conflicted. I understand a lot of fans not liking this one due to the different direction but as an album I love it. It’s beautifully melodic and contains some of their best songs.

Highlights-“Danny Says” “Baby I Love You”

 

Well that’s us off and running into the 80s. It’ll be interesting to see how the styles and production techniques change as we go on. Until next time catch me @swing_kinker cheers x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

comments