Kinker Korner’s Top 35 Albums Of 1981 NSFW

      Comments Off on Kinker Korner’s Top 35 Albums Of 1981 NSFW

Right then, the seventies are in the past and we’re marching on through the 80s. Let’s see what you agree with and disagree with. You might even discover some albums you love and isn’t that a great feeling?. Well I hope you enjoy.

35. Loverboy-Get Lucky

Although they became a punchline as the years went on I defy anybody to say they don’t bop their head to the likes of Working For The Weekend. Cheesy pop rock from the Canadian cornballs.

Highlights-“Working For The Weekend” “Take Me To The Top”

 

34. Devo-New Traditionalists

The fourth album from the new wave weirdos is heavy on the synths and holds the guitars back a bit as the new wave genre was starting to become incredibly popular. The band have claimed that the new fans they got after the success of “Whip It” didn’t care about their artistic talent and out of the box thinking, they just wanted comedy songs. To counteract that they wrote a darker album than was expected.

Highlights-“Beautiful World” “Through Being Cool”

 

33.The Carpenters-Made In America

The final album released before the supremely talented Karen Carpenter’s untimely death due to anorexia. A change of pace for my usual entries on the list but I’ve always enjoyed her voice and the sibling duo just made nice, simple ballads that connect on an emotional level.

Highlights-“When You’ve Got What It Takes” “(Want You) Back In My Life”

 

32. The Vapors-Magnets

The English power pop/punk band are most famous for their hit “Turning Japanese” but their second album here has several really good songs. There’s a juxtaposition of tone and subject with many dark themes like oppression and mass murder but the music itself is pretty upbeat and up tempo with the odd exception. A very similar sound to The Jam.

Highlights-“Jimmie Jones” “Silver Machines”

 

31. The Commodores-In The Pocket

Ooft Ronald LaPread’s bass playing on this album is pure sex. This was the final album from the band to feature Lionel Ritchie as his solo career took off shortly after.  Funky soul to dance to and slow jams to make luuuuuuv to. Oh and that bass……yum.

Highlights-“Keep On Taking Me Higher” “Lady (You Bring Me Up)”

 

30. Van Halen-Fair Warning

One of the lesser talked about Van Halen albums, particularly from the Dave Lee Roth era. I’m no expert on the band but even I know it’s not as well regarded as many but hey ho it’s still a solid collection of songs. You know what you’re getting from them, virtuoso musicianship and Roth yelling about sex and prancing around.

Highlights-“Sinner’s Swing” “Mean Street”

 

29.The Kinks-Give The People What They Want

With their eighteenth album, The Kinks showed they still had what it took to compete with their contemporaries. Great melodies and a punk influenced sound have you in disbelief that this band were at their peak in the sixties. Ray Davies and co were always great.

Highlights-“Better Things” “A Little Bit Of Abuse”

 

28.The Go-Gos-Beauty And The Beat

A fun, jangly power pop record from a band that featured Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wiedlin who would go on to have solo success. I think Carlisle was my first crush as a kid., Loved her!. A phenomenally successful debut album full of catchy, memorable songs that have been covered by several artists over the years. Who could forget the Our Lips Are Sealed cover by the Duff sisters…….yea.

Highlights-“How Much More” “Can’t Stop The World”

 

 

27. Joan Jett And The Blackhearts-I Love Rock And Roll

A massive smash hit mainly due to the immense popularity of the title track. Britney did it better though…….nope. Jett became the female spokesperson for “rock chicks” and with good reason, her songs were filled with attitude and distorted guitars but most importantly they are melodic and….well they’re really good.

Highlights-“(I’m Gonna) Run Away” “Crimson And Clover”

 

26.Jim Steinman-Bad For Good

An operatic rock album from Meat Loaf’s song writer. Meat Loaf was originally meant to record the songs but couldn’t so Steinman released it himself. A few years later he would end up recording many of the songs on this album for Bat Out Of Hell 2. Steinman can never be accused of being a great singer but he is a great composer and writer and the songs here are crackers.

Highlights-Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire)” “Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through”

 

25.Judas Priest-Point Of Entry

Definitely one of the more commercially viable and radio friendly Priest albums. Again I’m no expert on the band but even I can see that. I don’t really care though, good music is good music and it’s nice to see variety from bands like Priest who have released tens of albums. Head bopping ditties rather than head banging smashers but hey ho it’s still damn good.

Highlights-“Heading Out To The Highway” “Turning Circles”

 

24. Brian Eno And David Byrne-My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

A weird and eclectic mish-mash of genres and sounds that is well out of my wheel house but still something I enjoy thoroughly. It really isn’t the kind of thing I normally like but hey, sometimes things just click and you don’t know why. I was put on to it by Adam Buxton if I recall as he was going on about it in an interview so I thought I’d check it out. I suggest you do too.An acquired taste though.

Highlights-“America Is Waiting” “Regiment”

 

23. Rick Springfield-Working Class Dog

Springfield’s simple brand of blue collar folk rock became something of a punchline with every song seemingly being about his home town but there’s no denying the catchiness in his four chord anthems. It’s fun guitar based music that talks about working class life.

Highlights-“Love Is Alright Tonite” “I’ve Done Everything For You”

 

22.Elvis Costello And The Attractions-Trust

 

Costello’s trademark songwriting is as solid as ever here and although the post punk jangly sound is slowly evaporating there is still very good songs here. Yes it’s more mellow but it’s a nice middle ground between where they were and where they’d end up. Just good song writing all round. Long time collaborator Nick Lowe produced.

Highlights-“Clubland” “Strict Time”

 

21. Rush-Moving Pictures

The hugely successful follow up to Permanent Waves is largely considered to be the band’s masterpiece with some tracks going on to become classics. From proggy and intricate compositions to more radio friendly tracks there’s a nice variety of what the band do so it should please fans of all eras of Rush.

Highlights-“Tom Sawyer” “Red Barchetta”

 

20.James Taylor-Dad Loves His Work

 

Tremendously inventive album cover. Taylor’s smooth, silky voice is a joy to listen to and his lyrics are uplifting. Just great, easy listening folk music from a master craftsman. The album contains a lot of guest musicians and most famously a duet with legendary artist J.D Souther.My mum will be happy her man made the list.

Highlights-“I Will Follow” “Hard Times”

 

19.Iron maiden-Killers

Maiden’s second album features all the expected stunning dual guitar work and high pitched vocals, only not from Bruce Dickinson as this was the last album before he came on board and took the band to new heights. Paul Di’Anno is the vocalist here but was fired soon after for substance issues affecting his performance.

Highlights-“Murders In The Rue Morgue” “Wrathchild”

 

18.The Exploited-On Stage

Scotland’s greatest punk export, recorded live during their infancy. It came out the same year are their first studio album which is odd for a live album as they usually come out down the line. Punks like to do it different. Ferociously fast for the time, Wattie and co are a hugely influential band in the hardcore scene.

Highlights-“Cop Cars” “Royalty”

 

17. The Who-Hooligans

The gods of mod released this double album which is a collection of hits and hard to singles. One of dad’s favourite bands from his youth so I’d hear some of their stuff when I was young. Well that and the fact they were often on tv and the radio too…..I mean they are one of the biggest bands ever. Remember Limb Bizkit’s cover of Behind Blue Eyes?…….lolz.

Highlights-“Baba O’Riley” “I Can’t Explain”

 

16. The Undertones-Positive Touch

A radical departure from their punk albums, Positive Touch took their sound in the direction of The Beatles and the bands of the Brit invasion of the sixties. Well if it works it works and although I prefer their punk stuff a lot more it’s still a good album with well written songs.

Highlights-“I Don’t Know” “Julie Ocean”

 

15. The Police-Ghost In The Machine

For the most part, the band strayed away from the reggae sound they had become known for and went in a more pop rock direction. I’m unsure how I feel about that as some of their best stuff came from that sound and this album certainly doesn’t have too many standouts. That said it’s a cohesive and atmospheric album that melds well together.

Highlights-“Demolition Man” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”

 

14.Agent Orange-Living In Darkness

The debut album from hugely influential skate punks shows a great mix of speed, aggression and melody. A forerunner for the 90s style of punk that became so big through bands like Pennywise and NOFX.

Highlights-“No Such Thing” “Breakdown”

 

 

13.Motorhead-No Sleep Til’ Hammersmith

The first seconds of the album declare it’s intent with Lemmy’s gritty Rickenbacker bass and Phil Taylor’s ferocious drumming bringing in Ace Of Spade which had been released the previous year. The band’s most successful album peaking at number one in the UK and an incredibly tight performance. Usually for bands who play at that pace there are little inconsistencies in the performance or technical snafus here and there but especially for 1981 it’s an incredible recording.

Highlights-“Ace Of Spades” “The Hammer”

 

12. Rick James-Street Songs

The big mad cocaine enthusiast has become recognised more for the Dave Chappelle skits than his artistic achievements which is funny but kinda sad as he’s an incredibly talented guy. Boy is his stuff funky as hell too with unreal basllines performed by James himself. This is the album with “Superfreak” which was a hit and later became known for being sampled by MC Hammer.

Highlights-“Ghetto Life” “Superfreak”

 

11. Prince-Controversy

A more personal album from Prince with his lyrical musings going beyond sex and….sexiness to religion, anti war politics and existential crisis with a heavy emphasis on synthesizers which were growing in popularity throw the new wave revolution. Let’s not forget the sex though….as my buddy Paul says, Prince has had sex with us all whether we know it or not. 

Highlights-“Private Joy” “Let’s Work”

 

10. Ramones-Pleasant Dreams

This was the era where the real tension between Joey and Johnny Ramone got really bad and would never recover despite the band limping on for another 15 years. Johnny had gotten together with Joey’s ex which broke Joey’s heart leading to the song “The KKK Took My Baby Away”. The album is more in tune with the earlier a work of the band as opposed to the previous Phil Spector produced album.

Highlights-“The KKK Took My Baby Away” “You Sound Like Your Sick”

 

9.The Beat-Wha’ppen?

Another excellent 2-tone album from the amiable brummies led by Dave Wakeling. Sweet basslines and nice jangly guitars with  smooth rhythms and nice melodies. A more relaxed and slow paced album than much of their stuff.

Highlights-“Walk Away” “Limits We Set”

 

8 (Tied). T.S.O.L-Dance With Me

Unlike most hardcore bands of the time, T.S.O.L (True Sounds Of Liberty) eschewed political lyrics for their first album in favour of a Misfits style horror theme. Songs of necrophilia and dark gothic fairy tales abound in this short, fast paced hardcore classic.

Highlights-“Sounds Of Laughter” “Die For Me”

 

 

8 (Tied). X-Wild Gift

The follow up to 1980’s critically acclaimed debut is another album that received great plaudits from critics and fans alike. It’s a more mellow album, even bringing in plenty of surf punk sounds and a more slowed down rock vibe. It won’t be for every punk but if you can accept it isn’t the same album as their debut it’s a hell of a record.

Highlights-“Back 2 The Base” “The Once Over Twice”

 

7.Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers-Hard Promises

Of the numerous musician deaths that have happened over the last couple of years Tom Petty’s hit me the hardest. I’m a huge fan of his simple songs and melodic delivery. He’s just a master of memorable guitar pop songs and relatable lyrics. Hard Promises has plenty of his memorable song son it.

Highlights-“The Waiting” “Letting You Go”

 

6. The Cure-Faith

Deeply moody and atmospheric, it’s one of The Cure’s less pop goth albums and more just dark goth indie with minor chords aplenty and echoing instruments creating a foreboding and unsettling aura around it. Robert Smith’s howling voice and darkly poetic lyrics mix with the music beautifully.

Highlights”The Holy Hour” “The Drowning Man”

 

5.Minutemen-The Punch Line

 

Incredible short songs, incredible influential punk rock, incredibly angry, political and sarcastic geniuses. That pretty much sums up their debut album released on the legendary SST records. Frenetic, odd time drum beats and a title more out of the box than a lot of hardcore bands although they are just as confrontational, poking fun at things many Americans hold sacred.

Highlights-“Monument” “No Parade”

 

4. Black Flag-Damaged

Surely the most famous and influential hardcore record of the original movement. A truly ferocious debut that covered subjects from mental health, poverty, violence and the drug culture infecting the punk rock scene in certain areas. Henry Rollins confrontational singing and the band’s lightning fast and thunderous playing help create an all time classic. My buddy Ewan who was a few years older than me was obsessed with the band and when I first heard them at a very young age I didn’t quite get it. That all changed a wee while down the line.

Highlights-“Depression” “Police Story”

 

3.Adolescents-Adolescents

What an incredible year for punk and in particular hardcore. So many influential albums I’m getting tired of typing it!. A huge forerunner in the Californian skate punk sound with fast, slam dance inducing sonic booms. Unlike a lot of hardcore bands at the time there were a lot of lead guitar riffs rather than just thrashing chord progressions.

Highlights-“Self Destruct” “No Way”

 

2.Stiff Little Fingers-Go For It

Another fantastic melodic punk album from the Ulstermen with fun, punchy chord progressions, meaningful lyrics and an overall mix of fun punk numbers, Clash influenced reggae style songs and more dark pieces tackling a range of topics. SFL have always blended styles well and managed to mix melodic punk songs with well formed lyrics.

Highlights-“Silver Linings” “Gate 49”

 

1.The Exploited-Punk’s Not Dead

Their second entry of the year. In a year and era where American bands were dominating and innovating the hardcore punk scene Britain and in particular our wee country of Scotland had our own trailblazers in the ferocious, angry and snarling street punks from Edinburgh. Road warriors who traveled (and still do) the world spreading the word of chaos and anarchy with rip roaring blasts of punk with lyrics as spiky as their hair.

Highlights-“Punk’s Not Dead” “S.P.G”

 

There we go then we’re right into the 80s now, let’s see what 82 serves up for us. Catch me back here soon for that and until then as always catch me @swing_kinker cheers x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

comments