10 best albums of the 1980s

The decade produced lots of excellent albums.
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No. 4 - The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (1986)

Even in the 1980s, there were many who disliked Morrissey's seeming arrogance over his ability to write lyrics. The truth is, however, he earned the right to be as no one wrote words as consistently emotive, imaginative, and excellently as he did throughout the 1980s. His songs of loneliness, coupled with a dry wit, and cut in-between by his hatred of the record industry were always tempered by Johnny Marr's own fantastic ability and originality with the melodies he produced with his guitar.

The Smiths only released four proper studio records and all were good but none reached the level of The Queen Is Dead. The record begins with as loud of a track as the band ever created, the title track of the album, but gems such as "Cemetry Gates," "I Know It's Over," and "Bigmouth Strikes Again" follow. Yet perhaps the best song humanity has ever produced, "There is a Light That Never Goes Out," is the penultimate track on the 37-minute-long album.

No. 3 - Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)

In the 1980s, before hip-hop evolved from rap, and instead of one person speaking truth alone the person now does that backed with a fuller sound, many people complained that rap was only "noise." For PE's second full-length album, Chuck D and producers, the Bomb Squad, gave the people what they thought they didn't want: Actual noise. Public Enemy spoke the truth to the listening public, but they did so through beeps and pings and snippets from Malcolm X, James Brown, and yes, Slayer.

But all the noise only allowed Chuck D and Flavor Flav's words (OK, mostly Chuck's) to stand out more. We were delivered bon mots on not believing what you see on TV ("She Watch Channel Zero?!"), drug addiction ("Night of the Living Baseheads"), and a jailbreak ("Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos"). 58 minutes of brilliance and lots of noise, just the way Public Enemy wanted.