8/17/16

My 100 Favorite Albums from 1984: 30-21

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the Top 30 of My Favorite Albums from 1984. These subjective lists are never crowd-pleasers and usually get fewer views than virtually any other post here on The Hideaway so for those of you taking time out of your day or night to share a few memories with me, I truly do appreciate it. The Hideaway has always been a labor of love and these lists are what I love most. Thanks again for your time and your comments. Come back tomorrow for the Top 20!
Both Out Of The Cellar (1984) and Invasion Of Your Privacy (1985) had more than a couple of songs with irresistible hooks that transcended their genre and if you're like me, you dubbed each album on the side of a TDK SA90 tape and enjoyed them everywhere you went. We saw the band on tours for both albums though I believe they were an opening act in 1984 and returned as a headliner in 1985 with Bon Jovi, touring behind their second album 7800° Fahrenheit, as their opener. Stephen Pearcy's voice has a growling, rough quality to it that appeals to me, not unlike Cinderella's Tom Kiefer. While I love me some "Round And Round", the song on this album that has been a constant source of motivation as well as bad day stress-relief is the rockin'  "Lack Of Communication"... Back Off!
(Read my Bronski Beat - The Age Of Consent story HERE.) Long story short: I didn't buy the album until 1985. The album is an emotional roller coaster ride whether I'm listening to the original vinyl, the 1996 expanded CD or the 2012 double disc Deluxe Edition which includes the remix EP Hundreds and Thousands among its thirty tracks.
I got into the music of Journey just as Steve Perry joined the band for their Infinity album in 1978. A string of rock radio hits and hit albums followed as my allegiance grew ever stronger, peaking with the great Escape in 1981. Frustratingly, I never got a chance to see Journey live with Steve Perry - they came through a few times but there was always a reason I couldn't go. Like Billy Joel, Journey was a favorite of every woman I had ever dated and when "Oh Sherrie" hit the airwaves in the Spring of 1984, my lady was all over it. Pretty sure she had witnessed the World Premiere on MTV and bought Street Talk shortly thereafter. I was initially resistant because, you know, it wasn't Journey but I came around because, you know, it's Steve Perry - the voice of Journey and the songs were really well-written. "Foolish Heart" proved that Jonathan Cain wasn't the only guy who could write ballads for Perry and "Strung Out" calls to mind Perry's wonderful duet with Kenny Loggins.
Metallica was an unknown quantity to me in 1984 and while I enjoyed head-banging music, my favorites tended to be the hard rockers, hair rockers, and other heavy metal bands. Metallica was lumped in with the thrash-metallers of the time like Anthrax; bands I had never listened to. One night at work in 1989, someone played Metallica's ...And Justice For All and I was hooked. Songs like "Harvester Of Sorrow", "Blackened" and above all, the epic "One" revealed sounds and tempos I had never heard before - rapid firing double bass kick drums, jagged manic buzzing guitar riffs, and wounded angry howling vocals. Soon I had invested a portion of our brand new Discover Card's meager credit line on four Metallica CDs with Ride The Lightning running a close second to ...And Justice For All as my favorite Metallica album. Songs like the album opener "Fight Fire With Fire" and the Hemingway-inspired "For Whom The Bell Tolls" are prime examples of the band's continuing evolution as musicians and songwriters. "Creeping Death" is about Biblical plagues and my favorite track on the album, the suicide note as power ballad that is "Fade To Black" is an air guitarist's dream, with riffs for days. (Somewhat ironically, that song is also one of my go to anti-depression songs when I feel those dark clouds approaching.) I attended a midnight in-store event for the band's self-titled album twenty-five years ago tonight as I type this (August 11, 1991) and came home with a CD and a few free posters I gave away to friends at work who were more into the band's image than I was. I attended two shows on their tour for the album and later saw the band twice more live, headbanging and air guitaring my little heart out under the watchful eye of my one true love.
Risky Business is a great movie with an awesome soundtrack but when you went to the store to buy the soundtrack album after seeing the movie, you were told it didn't exist. Seems like a missed opportunity. In 1984, Virgin issued the soundtrack album in Europe and shortly thereafter it became available here in the Colonies as an import. Though the album doesn't contain all the songs heard in the film, it does feature five music cues from Tangerine Dream and six songs from the film including tracks from Prince, Journey, Muddy Waters, Jeff Beck, Bob Seger, and Phil Collins. As far as I can tell, the credit for this soundtrack compilation belongs to Curt Sobel, who also handled the same duties on the films Eddie & the Cruisers and Against All Odds.

click on album title to listen
Billboard Peak
Billboard Year EndRolling Stone Year End
#album titleartist1984198519841985
30Out of the CellarRatt74122
29The Age of ConsentBronski Beat36
28Street TalkSteve Perry124772
27Ride the LightningMetallica100
26Risky Businesssoundtrack

Here we have Tony Carey again; this time in full Planet P Project mode, his alternate recording entity. Pink World is a double disc concept album that is often described as "sprawling" or even more aspiringly as a "rock opera" though it's just shy of being in the same league as definitive rock operas like The Who's Tommy or Pink Floyd's The Wall. Pink World is full of Carey's trademark hooks & melodies, swooshing synth sounds, and his Alan Parsons level of studio wizardry. An extra bonus for us record collectors, the album was initially pressed on Pepto Bismal pink vinyl. I prefer to hear the album all the way through though I'd be lying if I fully understood the narrative - I just like the way it sounds, both the performance and the production. If you must sample, I suggest the title track, "What I See", or "Behind The Barrier". It would turn out to be another twenty years before Carey released further albums under the Planet P Project banner with the ambitious Go Out Dancing (G.O.D.) trilogy of albums. For headphone-listening geeks like me, Carey's works have always been among the most rewarding sessions with a wide cinematic soundstage, an enveloping surround sound effect through just the two stereo channels with all sorts of voices, sounds, and other effects. 
After falling madly in love with the song "Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)" and the album New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), I was highly anticipating a follow-up but my expectations were a little high as they tended to be when I was younger. I liked the album quite a bit but Sparkle In The Rain was one of the dozens of albums I recorded off the radio before eventually purchasing. In this case, I didn't pick up the album until December 1985 because it was on sale for $1.99. But as I've said time and again throughout this countdown, the album has endeared itself to me through the years, capping off with the multi-disc Super Deluxe Edition in 2015. The first four tracks are as good as the band has ever recorded and if you need eighteen minutes of music for any reason, you can't do much better.
The soundtrack album to Purple Rain is sadly incomplete but what it does contain is so good that there is little complaint. But imagine what it would have been like if it had the contributions from the other artists featured in the film "Modernaire", "Sex Shooter" and the two show-stoppers from The Time: "Jungle Love" and "The Bird". While that would have been nice, if you had been following along as I had than any album by The Time was a worthy purchase and Ice Cream Castle was no exception. Besides the two songs performed in Purple Rain, I really enjoy the album's first two tracks "Ice Cream Castles" and "My Drawers" - the former for its bubbly, Summery beat and the latter for its live show band sound. Who am I kidding? I dig the whole album just like the two that preceded it.
How incredible was this album the first time you heard it? It would be an understatement to say it blew my little mind. But I guess that statement is an exaggeration as I had been prepared, having picked up the group's Into Battle twelve-inch single in 1983 with "Beat Box" and "Moments In Love". Who's Afraid Of ...! upped the ante by including the clanky "Close (To The Edit)" alongside the songs mentioned above for an album lasting barely a few minutes longer than the twelve-inch. The music strangely does not sound as dated as other equally electronic based music of the time due to its sampled nature. I still get buzzed listening to this album, though, in terms of repeated listenings, the Daft compilation has been my go-to listen.
Even loaded with lead single "Original Sin", INXS's The Swing fared poorly on the US charts falling just short of matching the number 48 peak of the band's 1982 effort Shabooh Shoobah. While I love that album, this album shows an evolved, more rhythmic sound than their previous efforts and would serve as a taste of what was to come on KICK. I rarely skip any of the first five tracks though after they have played I usually jump down to "Burn For You". Some of the credit should go to Nile Rodgers for his production on "Original Sin" but the rest of the tracks were produced by Nick Launay and the band still sounds great. I'm still harboring hope that the powers that be release Super Deluxe Editions of the INXS catalog with single edits, remixes, and soundtrack one-offs like they did with KICK25.

click on album title to listen
Billboard Peak
Billboard Year EndRolling Stone Year End
#album titleartist1984198519841985
25Pink WorldPlanet P Project121
24Sparkle in the RainSimple Minds64
23Ice Cream CastleThe Time24445246
22Who's Afraid Of The Art Of Noise?Art Of Noise85
21The SwingINXS52

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