Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Slant disagrees with me about 1982

Fifth time is not a charm.  I'm looking at yet another "100 Best Album's of the '80s" list in hopes of finding some publication/website that will agree with me that 1982 is the best year ever for pop music.  First, I looked at Rolling Stone magazine's list, then the lists at Best Ever Albums, Dave's Music Database, and Popjustice.   Today, I'm examining the list put together in 2012 over at Slant Magazine.  1982 lands in the 7 spot this go 'round.  Using the same formula (album #1 received 100 points, album #2 received 99 points, and so on through #100 receiving 1 point, 5050 total points available), here are the results:

Number of albums: 12
Points: 729

Number of albums: 12
Points: 631

Number of albums: 14
Points: 621

Number of albums: 9
Points: 541

Number of albums: 13
Points: 532

Number of albums: 9
Points: 497

Number of albums: 10
Points: 469

Number of albums: 8
Points: 423

Number of albums: 7
Points: 317

Number of albums: 6
Points: 290

The ten albums selected for the list which were released in 1982 are:

 1ThrillerMichael Jackson
 44Big ScienceLaurie Anderson
 45AvalonRoxy Music
 57NebraskaBruce Springsteen
 59Imperial BedroomElvis Costello
 71The DreamingKate Bush
 79PornographyThe Cure
 80Combat RockThe Clash
 97Computer GamesGeorge Clinton

Looking at these lists is an interesting exercise; it's easy to discern the listening preferences of the editors/writers/critics that put each list together.  For example, in this list there are 3 releases from Kate Bush, so she's definitely got fans over at Slant.  Prince places 3 albums in the top 11 spots (2, 8, 11, plus another album at 53) and is the clear winner of the Slant list.  The only group on this list that was new to me was 808 State, so that's on today's listening agenda.


RS = Rolling Stone, BEA = Best Ever Albums, DMDB = Dave's Music Database, PM = Popmatters

Emerging trends: 
  • 1981 is always at or near the bottom
  • 1987 and 1984 are always in the top half. 
  • Thriller is always the top album of 1982.


  1. Don't think the lists Pitchfork or Paste (which only offers up 80 albums instead of 100) are going to provide the desired results either but I'm itching to find out. If you're looking for artists and albums you've never heard of before, I offer Fact's list.

    Hoping you'll conclude your Best Albums of the 80s series with a Top 100 Albums of your own so the next blogger that picks up the gauntlet will have even more fodder for their own posts. Or better yet, list your Top 100 Albums of 1982. Game over, case closed, please recycle.

    1. It's like you're reading my mind - I've already started breaking down the lists at Pitchfork and Paste (as well as some others). Looking over the Fact list, I'm only familiar with about half the entries; you could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw Sade at #53.

      I'm planning on constructing my own Top 100 list, but it will span the years 1976-85, of course. I hadn't considered a top 100 of 1982, now you've got me thinkin...

  2. Ooooh, now that would be interesting to read - both of your top 100 albums from 1982. I have a hard time ranking things myself but I am curious to see what you guys would come up with.