1984, the beginning of the years that formed my musical taste. Of course it has evolved during the years, I have added electronic music, outlaw country as well as progressive metal to my genres I listen to among others. But the middle of the eighties was the swseet spot.
The focus is as always with these “top albums of the year” lists nostalgia and how much I have enjoyed albums over the years. This historical significance is up against the freshness of a recent discovery. It will be a jolly mix.
So, what do we have on 1984? The post-punk new wave era, some progressive rock and pudle hair rock bands, and above all, in the middle of the bubble gum pop and radio hits era.
A comment about live albums in my lists is suitable here. I do allow live albums on my list, but only if I have listened to it as it would have been a “full” new album by the artist. And the live album must be of its time. I try to avoid compilations as they are not linked with the year in focus.
Now, let me show you my favourites, and please let me know about yours in the comments!
Top 10 albums from 1984
10. Madonna – Like a virgin
Icon album from the queen of pop. Smash hits “Material girl” and “Dress you up” together with hidden gems like “Love don’t live here anymore” are all in the shadows of one of the songs of the decade – “Like a virgin”. Great pop songs, even greater artist.
9. David Gilmour – About face
Can never get enough of Gilmours wonderful guitar play. However this album is a little too safe and soft around the edges. Classic songs like “Until we sleep”, “Murder”, “All lovers are deranged” and “You know I’m right”.
8. Sade – Diamond life
The smoothest album in the collection? Perfect for late nights easy listening Sade’s debut album is truly stellar. Not to be missed by any cool cats.
7. The Waterboys – A pagan place
The second of three albums from The Waterboy’s “Big Music” era. Still a great album that hold up through time. Many great tracks like “Rag”, “The big music”, “Red Army blues” and the fantastic “The thrill is gone”. Oh, and also single material like “Church not made with hands”, “All the things she gave me” and “Somebody might wave back”.
6. The Cure – Concert: The Cure live
The first of two live albums on this list. I have listened to both these albums alot. Here we get two non album tracks, the singles “Killing an arab” with the lyrics based on Albert Camus’ novel “The stranger” and the curious “Charlotte sometimes”. When? Sometimes. Add in great live versions of “Shake dog shake” and “10:15 Saturday night” and my favourite Cure song “A forest”. How many again and again and agains…? 21.
5. Marillion – Real to reel
This is an album I have listened to more than new studio albums from most other artists. As we only got four albums from Marillion all their output from live shows in concerts are that much more valuable. Here we get two non album tracks in “Cinderella search” and “Market square heroes”. Great live tracks. If you chose to listen to the 1997 remaster on 2cd bundled with the mini LP “Brief encunter” you get nine live tracks from the 1984 tour including “Incubus”, “Fugazi”, “Emerald lies”, “Script”, “Garden party” and “Forgotten sons”.
4. The Cure – The top
The first four albums from The Cure are stellar. I have never seen this as that great, it was living in the shadows of “Seventeen seconds”/”Faith”/”Pornography”, but at closer review this summer I have gotten a new appreciation for “The top”. Hey, it is great, is it not? Some favourites are “Shake dog shake”, “Bird mad girl” (how great is that!), “Wailing wall”, “Dressing up”, “The caterpillar” and “The empty world”.
3. Alphaville – Forever young
The only late discovery for me on this list. The title song is brutal, it may be the best pop song ever. Crazy. And with the very nice super deluxe edition release of the album last year I got to enjoy the whole album, and it is so good. I love most of the tracks and I must say I am a little bit in love with the album even though it is 36 years old.
2. Roger Waters – The pros and cons of hitch hiking
The best “road trip” album I know. To pack your car and go on an adventure on the desert highways of North America. To see the small towns, meet the friendly people, eat at the family owned diners, stay att seedy motels and see the stunning nature wherever the back roads may take you. Driving through Death Valley this is the album to play.
1. Marillion – Fugazi
Only one of four precious albums released by Marillion. It may be the third or fourth best of the four but for me it is clearly the best album of the year. The whole album is stellar, maybe only with a slightly blemish on the opening track “Assassing” that is a little too jumpy and rowdy for my taste. It is great at concerts but it can’t compete with classics like “Incubus” and “Fugazi”. This album are among the few that I actually get tears in my eyes when I sit down and listen to.
My honorable mentions:
- The Alarm – Declaration
High autobiographically nostalgic to me, I listened to these guys alot around this time
- Prince – Purple rain
Prince never stuck on me, but his Purple rain movie was a blast and I was really into this album back then, but now it has faded. Some great tracks on the album nevertheless…
- Simple Minds – Sparkle in the rain
One of the albums I liked back thenn but now it doesn’t feel that fresh. Anyway, it made me want to lsiten to more Simple Minds mainly the older stuff so it did something to me…
- Frankie goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the pleasuredome
Way too uneven to make the list but “The power of love” is up there among “Forever young” competing for the best pop song…
Other albums I considered:
David Bowie – Tonight
Dire Straits – Alchemy: Dire Straits live
Adolphson & Falk – Över tid och rum
Depeche Mode – Some great reward
John Lennon – Milk and honey
Stephen Stills – Right by you
U2 – The unforgettable fire
Nick Cave – From here to eternity
Deep Purple – Perfect strangers
Eurythmics – 1984
Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
Ultravox – Lament
Sheila E. – The glamorous life
Richard Wright – Zee
Jean-Michel Jarre – Zoolook
Original Soundtrack – Footloose
Next up will be… I don’t know, I am thinking maybe 1991. The dawn of the grunge era? Yeah. Maybe…
Until next time – keep on rockin’.