Mixes By Year: 1982 Most Recommended Albums

1982- the year that New Wave haircuts ruled the world.  New Wave had been around at least since 1978 and was a catch-all term invented by record companies to describe a toned-down and more marketable version of Punk Rock.  Though some New Wave had little in common sonically with the aggressive Punk, all of it was inspired by it, at least stylistically if nothing else.  ’82 saw former Punk heavyweights or U.K. New Wave vets like Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Squeeze, XTC, Dexys Midnight Runners, Roxy Music, Simple Minds, Gang Of Four, The English Beat, The Clash, The Jam & Adam Ant release albums that either marked the last phase of their career or a sharp transition.  Other British groups,  like Duran Duran, the Eurythmics, ABC, Yaz & A Flock of Seagulls spawned the ‘New Romantics’ movement and dominated the charts in both the U.S. & U.K. with a fey synth-pop sound, seemingly the polar opposite of Punk.  The Culture Club was an outlier U.K. group.  Mega successful & brand new but neither Synth-pop nor New Romantic- they can best be described as New Wave blue-eyed Soul and didn’t have much in common with the above bands except for maybe Yaz courtesy of the vocal similarities between Boy George and Alison Moyet.  U.S. groups like The Motels, The Stray Cats, Romeo Void, Marshall Crenshaw, the Plimsouls, The Go-Go’s, Thomas Dolby, Wall Of Voodoo & Kid Creole & the Coconuts had varying degrees of success, some one or two hit wonders, others one to two album wonders.  But none was commercially built to last whether or not their artistry had merit.

I was ten years old at the time and listening to nothing but commercial radio so I may be biased but looking back on ’82 I find it to be a fun and exciting time filled with great radio songs.  I was still listening to mostly commercial radio 2 to 3 years later as well and those years just don’t stack up as well.  Outside of a few great albums, ’82 had a dearth of amazing albums but a plethora of great songs.  Beyond the commercial realm groups like New Order, The Cure & R.E.M.- soon to be institutions- were releasing some of their group early works like “Temptation”, “Let’s Go to Bed”, “Pornography” and the “Chronic Town” EP.  U2 mostly took the year off but did come out with the great “A Celebration/Trash, Trampoline & the Party Girl” non-album single between “October” and “Under A Blood Red Sky”.

Despite all of the softer New Wave-style groups mentioned above there were a handful of great bands continuing in the style of their Punk forebears.  X, the Descendents & Fear all put out excellent excellent L.A. hardcore releases, though X was more in the rockabilly Punk style.  D.C.’s Bad Brains released their first and best album- the self-titled “Bad Brains” and Boston’s Mission Of Burma released their one and only full length album (until the 2000’s) Vs..  Bad Brains and Burma in particularly would be hugely influential on all Grunge and Indie Rock of the late 80’s early 90’s.  Both albums were little heard at the time but would gain stature as time moved forward.

At the time black music was very segregated from white rock music- both at radio and especially at MTV who didn’t even play videos by black artists to appeal as much as possible to the middle America.  Though this would not change until ’83 two albums, “1999” by Prince and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson would be instrumental in integrating their music both at radio and MTV.  In fact Jackson would become MTV’s biggest star and “Thriller” eventually the single best selling non-greatest hits album of all time.  Before these two albums, the most prevalent music on black radio was a post funk, post disco, hybrid music by groups like Dazz Band & the Gap Band.  Rap music also had a big year.  Though there were only a few classics released then such as “Rockin’ It” by Fearless Four and “Making Cash Money” by Busy Bee two of the music’s all time game changers appeared that year as well.  The first was Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five released “The Message”- to me still one of Rap’s all time 5 greatest songs- which was the first rap song to use political lyrics and carry a specific message, hence the title.  It also didn’t hurt that the beat is one of the most recognizable and inventive in the genre.  The second was Afrika Bambaatta’s “Planet Rock” which brought a techno beat inspired by the German group Kraftwerk and created the electro sub genre of rap.  Bambaataa also released the almost as good follow up single “Jazzy Sensation” later in the year.  Though Disco had petered out a few years earlier as a commercial force, it had gone back underground, still flourishing in gay clubs and songs like “Don’t Make Me Wait” by the NYC Peech Boys and “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” were minor fringe hits setting the table for House Music and the rise of Madonna in the coming years.

Duran Duran- Rio

Buy Rio (Remastered) – Duran Duran

Buy Rio (2001 Remaster)Amazon

Roxy Music- Avalon

Buy Avalon – Roxy Music

Buy AvalonAmazon

Donald Fagen- The Nightfly

Buy The Nightfly – Donald Fagen

Buy The NightflyAmazon

ABC- The Lexicon Of Love

Buy The Lexicon of Love (Bonus Track) – ABC

Buy The Lexicon Of LoveAmazon

Elvis Costello & the Attractions- Imperial Bedroom

Buy Imperial Bedroom – Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Buy Imperial BedroomAmazon

The Dream Syndicate- The Days of Wine & Roses

Buy The Days Of Wine And Roses – The Dream Syndicate

Buy The Days Of Wine And RosesAmazon

Yaz- Upstairs At Eric’s

Buy Upstairs At Eric’s – Yaz

Buy Upstairs At Eric’sAmazon

Michael Jackson- Thriller

Buy Thriller – Michael Jackson

Buy ThrillerAmazon

The Descendents- Milo Goes To College

Buy Milo Goes to College – Descendents

Buy Milo Goes To CollegeAmazon

Flipper- Generic

Buy Generic – Flipper

Buy GenericAmazon

Lou Reed- The Blue Mask

Buy The Blue Mask – Lou Reed

Buy The Blue MaskAmazon

Mission Of Burma- VS.

Buy Vs. (Remastered) [Bonus Track Version] – Mission of Burma

Buy vs. [Remastered] Amazon

Iron Maiden- The Number Of The Beast

Buy The Number of the Beast – Iron Maiden

Buy The Number Of The BeastAmazon

The Fall- Hex Induction Hour

Buy Hex Enduction Hour (Deluxe Edition) – The Fall

Buy Hex Enduction Hour Amazon

Bad Brains- Bad Brains

Buy Bad Brains – Bad Brains

Buy Bad Brains [Explicit]Amazon

Prince- 1999

Buy 1999 – Prince

Buy 1999 [Explicit]Amazon

X- Under The Big Black Sun

Buy Under the Big Black Sun – X

Buy Under The Big Black SunAmazon

XTC- English Settlement

Buy English Settlement – XTC

Buy English SettlementAmazon

Bruce Springsteen- Nebraska

Buy Nebraska – Bruce Springsteen

Buy NebraskaAmazon

Richard & Linda Thompson- Shoot Out The Lights

Buy Shoot Out the Lights – Richard & Linda Thompson

Buy Shoot Out The LightsAmazon

+ 1 EP

R.E.M.- Chronic Town

*Only available as part of “Dead Letter Office” compilation

Buy Dead Letter Office – R.E.M.

Buy Dead Letter OfficeAmazon

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