On second thought, maybe Prince was the greatest thing to happen to popular music in the 1980s. That seems to be the conclusion made by the digital era’s most influential music blog, Pitchfork Music, in a newly revised, far less vanilla version of its “Best Albums of the 1980s” list issued Monday.
Not only did “Purple Rain” come in at No. 1 on the new tally, but three more of Prince’s albums landed in the top 50, including: his actual best record, “Sign o’ the Times,” at No. 17; “1999” at No. 26, and “Dirty Mind” at No. 33.
Two other Twin Cities acts who were already favored in the original Pitchfork ‘80s tally, the Replacements and Hüsker Dü, also each made the list’s top 100. The ‘Mats showed up at No. 35 with “Let It Be” and at No. 54 with “Tim.” The Huskers’ “Zen Arcade” came in at No. 68.
Reflecting the new list’s due adherence to more R&B and hip-hop acts – “a limited editorial stance” was blamed for Chicago-based Pitchfork’s previous list being so white – Janet Jackson’s Minnesota-made albums with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis also earned high rankings, “Control” at No. 8 and “Rhythm Nation 1814” at No. 30.
No Bob Dylan record made the list; which would not be any great oversight had he not released “Oh Mercy” just four months shy of the decade cut-off.
Expanded to 200 albums from the 100 named in 2002, the new list has already generated ample debate around social media. Here’s the top 20 to get you started:
- Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain
- Michael Jackson, Thriller
- N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton
- Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
- Talking Heads, Remain in Light
- Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
- Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
- Janet Jackson, Control
- The Cure, Disintegration
- Sade, Diamond Life
- Eric B. & Rakim, Paid In Full
- Joy Division, Closer
- The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead
- Pixies, Doolittle
- Beastie Boys, Paul's Boutique
- Madonna, Madonna
- Prince, Sign o' the Times
- Kraftwerk, Computer World
- New Order, Power, Corruption and Lies
- Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded