Monday, January 20, 2014

Counting down the Top 82 of '82 - Albums #28 - 20

A breakdown of my favorite albums from my favorite year in pop music

After the Fire
Peak on Billboard 200: 25
Peak in Cashbox: 30
Top 40 pop singles: "Der Kommissar"
Top track: "Laser Love"

As is sometimes the case, this band is best known for one of their worst songs. This album, a compilation of their UK releases from 1979-1982, contains some catchy techno power pop.  The lead track, "Laser Love," got a lot of playing time in my car's cassette player in high school.

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Roxy Music
Peak on Billboard 200: 53
Peak in Cashbox: 32
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Avalon"

The title track is not only my top pick for this album, it is one of my favorite songs of the '80s.  A lush album of rich, meticulously crafted tunes.

Peak on Billboard 200: 61
Peak in Cashbox: 42
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Reap the Wild Wind"

Sterile new wavish synthpop (heavy on the synth) with additonal guitar, drum machine, and the occasional electric violin.  Somehow all that worked and caught my teenaged ear.  Produced by George Martin (yes, the one that worked with the Beatles), this easily the most consistent Ultravox album and my favorite by the group.

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Talking Back to the Night
Steve Winwood
Peak on Billboard 200: 28
Peak in Cashbox: 28
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Valerie"

With lots of moody keyboards, Winwood spent this whole album trying to recapture the magic of "While You See a Chance."  No problem here - I love that song.  I remember playing this cassette in the car on the way to prom.  To my surprise, my date sang along to "Valerie."

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Original Musiquarium I
Stevie Wonder
Peak on Billboard 200: 4
Peak in Cashbox: Did not chart
Top 40 pop singles: "That Girl," "Do I Do"
Top track: "Do I Do"

Yes, Stevie should be in the top spot of any music list, but since this is a greatest hits compilation, I ranked it based mainly on the four new tunes here, including the joyous, spectacular 10½ minute "Do I Do" with  trumpet solo from Dizzy Gillespie.

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The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect
Todd Rundgren
Peak on Billboard 200: 66
Peak in Cashbox: 60
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Drive"

This album contains the Friday 5 PM radio standard, "Bang on the Drum All Day," but that's alongside no fewer than six first-rate pop gems.  Rundgren reportedly disavows this album, but I think it's great.

Suburban Voodoo
Paul Carrack
Peak on Billboard 200: 78
Peak in Cashbox: 162
Top 40 pop singles: "I Need You"
Top track: "I'm in Love"

I bought this based on Carrack's vocals on the Squeeze song "Tempted" and I wasn't disappointed.  With help from producer Nick Lowe, we're treated to 12 solid pop rock songs in under 40 minutes. 

Chicago 16

Peak on Billboard 200: 9
Peak in Cashbox:  7
Top 40 pop singles: "Hard to Say I'm Sorry," "Love Me Tomorrow"
Top track: "Love Me Tomorrow"

Adding David Foster and Bill Champlin to the mix was a brilliant idea and gave this band a second wind.  This seemed to be the one cassette that I could put in the car stereo and hear no complaints, no matter who was in the car with me.  Easily my favorite Chicago album.

Marshall Crenshaw
Marshall Crenshaw
Peak on Billboard 200: 50
Peak in Cashbox: 51
Top 40 pop singles: "Someday, Somewhere"
Top track: "Someday, Somewhere"

The only reason this fantastic album is ranked this low is because I didn't discover it until the '90s.  Crenshaw is possibly the most underrated songwriter on this list.  I've heard Crenshaw say he doesn't like the term "power pop" but I really don't know what else to call it.  Well, maybe I could call it catchy as hell.

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These are my personal top 82 albums released in 1982.  The following criteria was used on a very slippery sliding scale:
  • How often I enjoyed the album at the time of release
  • How often I've enjoyed the album over the past 30+ years
  • Overall quality of the album
Chart information is from the US Billboard charts for the top albums and "Hot 100" pop singles.  The top track for each album is solely my opinion.

1 comment :

  1. I would have guessed at the outset of this countdown that albums 20-27 whould have landed higher on the list. I'm also surprised that some of them have yet to be reviewed on The CD Project.

    Did you find yourself most often nudging Crenshaw's album up or shoving it down?

    Purposely left Chicago off my list and I forgot about ATF but don't think they would have made it.

    (It's getting harder and harder to prove I'm not a robot.)