Five albums from the 1980s that have no business being as great as they are

The 1980s churned out a bunch of great songs, but these five albums were really good too.
Depeche Mode in the 1980s
Depeche Mode in the 1980s / Paul Natkin/GettyImages
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Depeche Mode - Black Celebration (1986)

When Depeche Mode was first formed in 1980, they were part of a large group of synth-based bands. Even from the beginning, however, what separated DM from the rest was their ability to write consistently good melodies. Instead of one accidentally excellent song, the group churned out three or four at a time. But much of the group wanted to find their darker sides and this meant founding member Vince Clarke had to go.

By the time Black Celebration was released, the group had already set the foundation for what would become industrial music. Instead of happy pop songs, Martin Gore wrote about the worst angels of our nature. His characters were not unreal, though, and one could definitely empathize with them.

The theme of the lyrics did not change so much on this album, but the sonic feel became darker and fuller. This is especially surprising as Gore and the band based some of the sounds on kitchen noises with constant tings and whistles. Of course, it helped that Dave Gahan could turn any vocal phrase into a pure stream of sweet honey.

The Cult - Electric (1986)

This album was so great, the Cult made it twice. Sort of. The songs were written and the album recorded, but the group was not happy with the finished product. They wanted less mysticism and more rock. They asked producer Rick Rubin, well-known for working with the Beastie Boys, to come in and help fix what the band thought was a mess.

With only a few song changes, the Cult re-recorded the album while Rubin streamlined everything. The band ended up seeming more like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin and that was exactly the point. The name of the record changed, too, from Peace to Electric. The kick drum was also turned up so it became four times louder and created a bombastic bass for the basic voice-guitar-bass-drum sound.

What helped was that the band had created a bunch of songs that went perfectly with the revamped sound. Each is a full-on rager and there is zero hint of balladry. This is a cathartic trip of metal that comes in at just under 39 minutes. This will prepare you mentally for the beginning of your work day.

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