Onward we go. 1982 - really an iconic year... musically speaking that is. I don't have a lot to say about the year, so I'll jump right in to the countdown.
#5 Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes: I'll kick the list of with an album that provided much of the soundtrack to my sophomore year high school drama class. Despite being 12 years old at the time, it still sounded fresh. Three of the four singles (Gone Daddy Gone, Blister in the Sun, and Kiss Off) seemed to be constantly playing in our auditorium's backstage area. A good friend of mine was a huge Femmes fan... and I blame her for part of my tastes in music - or at least the music I listened to in high school. The album is alternately sweet, and dirty... utterly minimalistic yet irresistibly fun. And what I mean by fun... I dare you to grab an acoustic guitar and pluck out the main riff of Blister (for those of you that know how to play the guitar) and not smile while doing it. It's not possible. Really, it isn't.
#4 The Clash - Combat Rock: I've said it before, but it bears repeating... I love The Clash. Their '82 release is home to some of their most recognisable tracks: Should I Stay or Should I Go and Rock the Casbah. This is the pinnacle of all that was great about The Clash. Unfortunately, it was the last good album from this amazing band.
#3 Amy Grant - Age to Age: This is another record that is earliest in my musical memories. This is the album that made Amy a star - at least in the Christian markets. Some of these songs are cherished Christian classics (El-Shaddai and Sing Your Praise to the Lord) and personal favorites of mine (Fat Baby and In a Little While).
#2 Michael Jackson - Thriller: You can't take a tour through the musical landscape of 1982 without mentioning Thriller. By '82 Michael had begun his slippery descent into La-La Land, but the sheer musical genius (despite the inner-fruitcake of the artist) is difficult to ignore. Love it or hate it, the facts about this album are staggering... It's sold over 65 million copies. That's roughly one album per 104 people on Earth. Each of the album's seven singles reached the top 10 (quite an accomplishment considering the album only contained nine tracks). And Jackson earned eight Grammys for this single record. All this from a man with a questionable grip on reality.
#1 Steve Taylor - I Want to be a Clone: Why is it that Christians come up with some of the best satire? First let's define satire: (according to dictionary.com) the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. or a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule. The church is as prone to human folly as any other group of people. Eh... Who are we kidding? There is much within the Christian world deserving of the scorn and ridicule of satire. And honestly - as a Christian - if find the satire that poke fun at the human vices within the Christian church to be funnier than the satire outside the church. And what a better person to make fun of the church than the son of a Baptist preacher. On his debut album, Taylor attacks some of the biggest problems within Christendom with all the wit and sarcasm anyone could muster. The sad thing about this album is that many of the topics teased are still big problems... 25 years later. Church-hopping (Steeplechase); apathy & hypocrisy (Bad Rap and What Ever Happened to Sin?); and sheeple - the peculiar belief held by some Christians that all believers must act and think alike (I Want to be a Clone) - an ideal that was most rampant during last fall's election season. Sure the record may sound a bit dated now... but it is the beginning to a colorful and controversial career to one of the greatest creative minds in the music industry.
Honorable mention: Stevie Wonder - Original Musiquarium I: Would have made the 5 if it wasn't a greatest hits record... however this fantastic collection of songs is still worth a mention - if only for the 10 minute jam Do I Do.