10 best albums of the 1980s

The decade produced lots of excellent albums.
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No. 8 - Tom Waits - Rain Dogs (1985)

Waits had always been different, though he made a turn in the 1970s to sound less like the folky jazz ballads into something a lot more artistic. With Rain Dogs, he was able to put everything together in an album of bluesy Americana with a tinge of Waits-ness. No one has ever quite sounded like Waits since the early 1980s with his vocal affectations and ability to take nearly any noise from anything and create songs that can be heartfelt or explosive.

Written far away from his native California in an apartment in Manhattan, Waits wrote tracks that made his observational skills appear as if they were coming from someone in their 80s. Waits was only 35. 19 songs long and every track a winner, but "Time" is as beautiful and wonderous as Waits would ever be, and "Singapore" is as manically adventurous.

No. 7 - The Cure - Disintegration (1989)

By the late 1980s, the Cure had gone through several different lineups, but the one constant was, of course, Robert Smith. The band was always his anyway - the vision, the direction, the brilliance of the songcraft. But from the group's more glammy, post-punk edges in the 1970s, Smith's direction became more focused with a fuller, more consistent, sound. While the Cure never left their goth-inflected tracks behind, there was something less angry about the dark songs on Disintegration.

There is, however, quite a bit of hopelessness, as was always a trait of Smith's songs, but there is some bittersweetness to the album which brings some glimmer of light. "Lovesong" is possibly the most direct love song Smith would ever write, which makes sense as the track was about his future wife. "Fascination Street," in contrast, is a full-on rock song but delivered in a way no other band than the Cure might do so.