Skip to content

1987 top albums

May 14, 2012

My favorite albums from 1987

Originally appeared in the Rochester, Minn., Post-Bulletin, January 23, 1988

1. Prince, SIGN O THE TIMES

Complex in its simplicity. After killing time and confusing listeners since PURPLE RAIN, ol’ Raspberry Breath comes through in breathtaking fashion. Even if I can do without side four.

2. R.E.M. DOCUMENT

Simple in its complexity. As unhip as it may be now, my passion for these guys has been increasing since FABLES… (my best of 1985), and this record speaks more to me than just about any record ever released.

3. XTC as the Dukes of Stratosphear, PSONIC PSUNSPOT

More than XTC playing games with its music, this is a terrific example of one of the world’s best bands blending all sorts of influences into a touching and fun record. A triumph of style AND substance.

4. Husker Du, WAREHOUSE: STORIES AND SONGS

Like the Prince album, this might have been better cut to three sides, but who wants to do the editing? Each song has something making it interesting.

5. Replacements, PLEASED TO MEET ME

It’s funny (”Shooting Dirty Pool”), touching (”The Ledge,” ”Skyway”) and pays tribute to ”Alex Chilton.” For what more can one ask?

6. Green Pajamas, BOOK OF HOURS

If these guys were on a major label, they’d be called the pop saviors of a new generation. But since they’re on an independent label, a limited number of people know about them. Check it out, and see why Green Pajamas should be universally loved.

7. The Cure, KISS ME, KISS ME, KISS ME

So outrageously dense, it wouldn’t be surprising if this record WEIGHED twice as much as most double-LP sets. Still a great listen.

8. The Soft Boys, LIVE AT THE PORTLAND ARMS

As much fun as any record to come out in 1987. Hear them miss notes, play songs out of order and keep an appreciative audience in stitches. This makes missing their existence easier.

9. RAGE TO LIVE

See the Green Pajamas comments above. ”Enough is Never Enough” is the greatest No. 1 single that never was.

10. Bruce Springsteen, TUNNEL OF LOVE

Abandoning bombast for sentiment, and still losing no passion, Springsteen gave those of us who prefer subtle thoughts to sledgehammers his most palatable album of the decade.

HONORABLE MENTION:

OUT OF OUR IDIOT, Elvis Costello
BABYLON AND ON, Squeeze
IT’S ALRIGHT, Chris Stamey
CLOUD NINE, George Harrison
Rhino Records’ SOUL SHOTS series
RCA Records’ Elvis Presley reissues
THE OTIS REDDING STORY
ROMEO AT JULLIARD, Don Dixon
THE LONESOME JUBILEE, John Cougar Mellencamp
DANCING WITH STRANGERS, Chris Rea

This list would have been dramatically different if some of my favorite artists (Costello, Robyn Hitchcock, Beat Rodeo, Graham Parker, Shriekback) had bothered to put out new studio albums this year, and if some of my old favorites (Long Ryders, Housemartins, Hoodoo Gurus) hadn’t put out such dismal pieces of tripe.

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: