How Good Was The Year (in music) - 1981?

You cannot be serious! HGWTY serves up 1981 and the ball is in your court to say if we think the smashes of the time were ace, or will the court of opinion rule them out?

A reminder of the premise of the thread

After a number of days of posting and reminiscing, we’ll be rating the music of the year out of ten, based on the albums, singles, gigs, whatever that stand out for you that year, and voting for our favourite nominated albums and songs.

Everyone can nominate one album and one song from the year which will then be collated into side-polls two days before the thread closes - please make it clear when you post a nomination for the poll (as opposed to just posting clips or lists of songs and albums you like, which are very welcome).

Leaderboard
Rank Year Rating Top Album Top Song
1 1997 8.60 Radiohead - OK Computer The Beta Band - Dry The Rain
2 1967 8.48 Love - Forever Changes Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Some Velvet Morning
3 1992 8.29 Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted Pulp - Babies
3 2013 8.29 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street
5 2019 8.14 Self Esteem - Compliments Please Big Thief - Not
6 2004 8.10 Madvillain - Madvillainy / Arcade Fire - Funeral The Walkmen - The Rat
7 2014 7.69 FKA Twigs - LP1 FKA Twigs - Two Weeks
8 1970 7.61 Neil Young - After the Goldrush Curtis Mayfield - Move on Up
9 1976 7.47 David Bowie - Station to Station Bob Dylan - Hurricane
10 1986 7.42 Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle
11 2005 7.39 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Amerie - 1 Thing
12 1965 7.38 The Beatles - Rubber Soul Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)
13 2009 7.10 Fever Ray - Fever Ray Animal Collective - My Girls
14 1974 6.95 Neil Young - On The Beach Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - The Bottle
15 1985 6.53 Tom Waits - Rain Dogs Prince and the Revolution - Raspberry Beret
16 1961 5.16 John Coltrane - My Favourite Things Roy Orbison - Crying




1981 was the year of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer’s wedding, Bobby Sands’ ultimately fatal hunger strike, the Brixton Riots, the launch of MTV, the first flight for NASA’s space shuttle Columbia and the first London Marathon

We said goodbye to Bob Marley, Natalie Wood, Bobby Sands, Bill Haley and Bill Shankly and hello to Beyonce, Britney Spears, Natalie Portman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Serena Williams.

How good was the music?

Going to let the threads from 1980 forwards have a little longer for now, so you have until Sunday 1st May to nominate one album and one song which will then go into a poll along with a number rating poll for year overall out of 10, which will close on Tuesday 3rd.

Some lists for inspiration:

Best Albums of 1981 : Best Ever Albums
Best albums of 1981 - Rate Your Music
100 Greatest Albums of 1981
https://www.albumoftheyear.org/ratings/6-highest-rated/1981/1
The Best Albums of 1981 - Paste
The 50 Best Albums of 1981
1981 Best Albums And Tracks Of The Year - NME
100 Greatest Songs From 1981

Nominations will be tallied here as the week goes on:

Album Nominations

Track Nominations

4 Likes

oof

some BIG albums from 1981

tempted to nominate DARE straight off the bat but I think I’ll have a think first

3 Likes

I’ll have to ponder my album nomination but no hesitation with nominating one of my all time favourite tracks.
Nominate song The dB’s ‘Black and White’

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Picking a track is gonna be impossible

damn

11 Likes

Not even close.

Nominate album: My life in the Bush of Ghosts

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Such a fucking ridiculously good year for music that my brain is actually melting from the effort of trying to sum it up in a paragraph, so i’m giving up. Easy 10, will get back with lists and nominations tomorrow.

1 Like

I …think I’m gonna have to Nominate Album Kraftwerk - Computer World

just so far ahead that it still sounds futuristic and influenced so much

but…
Tin Drum
Bush of Ghosts
Dare
Nightclubbing
Penthouse & Pavement
Heaven up Here
Controversy

not a bad year

12 Likes

I only knew the Perfecto Allstarz version of this until just now, but it turns out Pigbag were doing in 1981 what it took me until Sons of Kemet in 2013 to realise was just what I wanted from music:

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early days, but I really don’t think I’ll come up with a better 1981 album than Siouxsie And The Banshees - Juju so consider it nominated

10 Likes

What a year for iconic album covers - 3 of the absolute best in a row here in your list:



3 Likes

NOMINATE SONG Ghost Town - The Specials

billy-odwyer

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The Go-Go’s - Beauty and the Beat

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NOMINATE ALBUM ABBA - The Visitors

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God I wish I’d been to that nightclub

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Might end up nominating this

5 Likes