The 1980s changed the game of music. The technology for making records was better. CDs sounded better than cassette tapes (though vinyl still sounds better than both). And record companies seemed OK with taking more chances on new artists and selling them to a mass audience.
Because of that, listeners had a lot more to choose from, of course, and allowed musical artists to not be so afraid to be different. This wouldn't last long, sadly.
But the three albums that follow were gems of the musical landscape that was full of great stuff. They still sound as good today as they did then. These should be a part of your record collection.
Fishbone - Truth and Soul (1988)
For those who might not have heard Fishbone, describing their music isn't so simple. And it's not because the band doesn't sound good. The challenge is trying to sum up in a couple of sentences exactly what to tell the person about to embark on the journey that is Fishbone, especially early Fishbone. Maybe just let them to Truth and Soul and figure out for themselves.
Fishbone was heavily influenced by many types of music such as ska, reggae, punk, soul, and hard rock. But they didn't just use these influences and turn them into a general Fishbone sound. The band wants to create songs in all those subgenres and that is exactly what they do on Truth and Soul and each song is better for it. On this the band's second album, the difference between the debut record and this one is that Fishbone is lyrically more expansive.
Truth and Soul wants you to feel how angry the band is about a government trying to control all things people do but only to help the few on "Subliminal Fascism." On "Ma and Pa" the band talks about a family falling apart. And then there's Fishbone's cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead" which is an excellent hard rock song that some might not even realize is a cover as Fishbone make it their own.