Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Top 50 New Wave Albums of All Time

image from last.fm

“New Wave” is one of the more difficult genres to define, because as AllMusic.com says, it was “a catch-all term for the music that directly followed punk rock” in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Even that is misleading, however, because punk and new wave co-existed in that era.

In general, punk was marked by simplistic three-chord music and a D.I.Y. attitude while new wave was artier in style and fashion and typically infused with a dose of electronics. According to Wikipedia, new wave was “first considered the same as punk rock before being identified as a genre of its own right, incorporating aspects of electronic and experimental music, mod subculture, disco, and 1960s pop music.” Wikipedia says the term “new wave” was first used in the early 1970s by critics like Nick Kent and Dave Marsh in defining groups like the Velvet Underground and New York Dolls. In 1976, the term began showing up in UK magazines as a way of defining “music by bands not exactly punk, but related to, and part of the same musical scene.”

As the list below shows, much of new wave falls in other categories, including goth (Joy Division, The Cure), punk (The Clash), new romanticism (Duran Duran, Culture Club), proto-punk (Television), synth-pop (Depeche Mode, Human League, Tears for Fears), and early Britpop (The Smiths). This list was created by aggregating 27 lists (see resources at bottom of page).

The Top 50 New Wave Albums of All Time

1. Joy Division Closer (1980)
2. Elvis Costello This Year’s Model (1978)
3. The Cars The Cars (1978)
4. Blondie Parallel Lines (1978)
5. Talking Heads More Songs About Building and Food (1978)

6. Pretenders Pretenders (1980)
7. Talking Heads Remain in Light (1980)
8. Devo Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo (1978)
9. Gang of Four Entertainment! (1979)
10. Television Marquee Moon (1977)

11. The Police Outlandos D’Amour (1978)
12. Joy Division Unknown Pleasures (1979)
13. Elvis Costello Armed Forces (1979)
14. The Human League Dare! (1981)
15. New Order Power, Corruption, and Lies (1983)

16. Duran Duran Rio (1982)
17. Joe Jackson Look Sharp! (1979)
18. The Smiths The Queen Is Dead (1986)
19. The Clash London Calling (1979)
20. Elvis Costello My Aim Is True (1977)

21. XTC Drums and Wires (1979)
22. Tears for Fears Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
23. The Pop Group Y (1979)
24. The Jam Sound Affects (1980)
25. Ultravox Vienna (1980)

26. Devo Freedom of Choice (1980)
27. Talking Heads Fear of Music (1979)
28. Public Image Ltd. Metal Box (aka “Second Edition”) (1979)
29. Pere Ubu The Modern Dance (1978)
30. Simple Minds New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84 (1982)

31. The B-52’s The B-52’s (1979)
32. The Police Synchronicity (1983)
33. Nick Lowe Jesus of Cool (1978)
34. New Order Substance (1987)
35. ABC Lexicon of Love (1982)

36. Squeeze Argybargy (1980)
37. The Cure Boys Don’t Cry (1980)
38. The Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat (1981)
39. Duran Duran Duran Duran (1981)
40. The Cure Dinstinegration (1989)

41. Siouxsie & the Banshees The Scream (1978)
42. U2 Boy (1980)
43. The Slits Cut (1979)
44. Talking Heads :77 (1977)
45. The Police Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)

46. Depeche Mode Black Celebration (1986)
47. Tears for Fears The Hurting (1983)
48. Yazoo Upstair’s at Eric’s (1982)
49. Big Country The Crossing (1983)
50. Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues (1983)


Resources:

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