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Kevin Forest Moreau's Top 10 Albums of the 1980s

1. U2: The Joshua Tree (Island, 1987)
Epic in its dustbowl lyrical scope, sweeping in its soul-searching, cathartic release. A masterpiece, period.
 
2. Pixies: Doolittle (4AD/Elektra, 1989)
The finest hour of a band that indelibly influenced rock in the '90s--albeit from a distance.
3. R.E.M.: Murmur (IRS, 1983)
A blueprint for the group's later works, its jangly tentacles and gauzy introspection went on to shape both the fringes and the mainstream in the band's own blurred image.
 
4. Prince: Purple Rain (Warner Bros., 1983)
For better or worse, laid the groundwork for all of modern R&B, not to mention the entire career of Lenny Kravitz.
5. The Replacements: Tim (Sire, 1985)
Puts some spit-polish on Paul Westerberg's ragged barstool poetics, with mixed but affirming results.
 
6. AC/DC: Back in Black (ATCO, 1980)
The sturdiest, most invincible hard rock record of all time. Not a single wasted moment.
7. The Smiths: The Queen is Dead (Sire, 1986)
Injects some much-needed jangle and buoyancy into the group's mope-poetic art-rock foundations.
 
8. Echo and the Bunnymen: Ocean Rain (Sire, 1984)
A shimmering document of textured melancholy and supernal longing.
9. The Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight (Rykodisc, 1980)
Robyn Hitchcock perfects his unholy union of Lennon and Barrett. As influential on the "college rock" crowd as the equally obscure Big Star, and much more fun to listen to.
 
10. Ice-T: The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say (Sire, 1989)
The godfather of gangsta-rap takes on the First Amendment and the critics, and takes no prisoners. Chilling even today.
 
Notable near misses:
 
  • Clint Black: Killin' Time (RCA, 1989)
  • The Church: Starfish (Arista, 1988)
  • Dash Rip Rock: Ace of Clubs (Mammoth, 1989)
  • Bob Dylan: Oh Mercy (Columbia, 1989)
  • Steve Earle: Guitar Town (MCA, 1986)
  • Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel [3] (Geffen, 1980)
  • Guns N' Roses: Appetite For Destruction (Geffen, 1987)
  • John Hiatt: Slow Turning (A&M, 1988)
  • Jane's Addiction: Nothing's Shocking (Warner Brothers, 1988)
  • Metallica: Master of Puppets (Elektra, 1986)
  • The Pogues: If I Should Fall From Grace With God (Island, 1987)
  • The Police: Ghost in the Machine (A&M, 1981)
  • Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back (Def Jam, 1988)
  • Lou Reed: New York (Sire, 1989)
  • R.E.M.: Lifes Rich Pageant (IRS, 1986)
  • Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians: Fegmania! (Midnight/Rhino, 1985)
  • The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses (Silvertone, 1989)
  • Soul Asylum: Hang Time (A&M, 1988)
  • Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska (Columbia, 1982)
  • The Waterboys: This Is the Sea (Chrysalis, 1985)
  • Neil Young: Freedom (Reprise, 1989)

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