10 Best Alt-Rock Albums Of The 80's

Who needed the mainstream when we could have The Cure?

the cure disintegration

The 80's were known as an era where everything sounded big. Whether it be loud guitars or splashy synthesizers, each record that received mainstream attention all seemed to have a sound that felt monumental. People got so used to this steady sonic palette that Nirvana's eventual rise in the early 90's seemed like a sudden left turn.

However, there are certain albums laced throughout the 80's which hinted that something different was on the horizon. While bands were coming out with more melodramatic odes to love or partying, some albums came out of the woodwork that couldn't really be put into one singular category. This was the beginning of something that was new, fresh, and... well... alternative to the mainstream.

Even though all of the records on here have completely different sounds, all of them fall under the umbrella of being alternative. The identity of alt-rock doesn't necessarily have to rely on just the sound but rather a feeling brought forth in the music being played.

While some instances show a band making off-the-wall sonic experiments, others were taking the familiar sounds of the 80's and flipping them on their head with spectacular results. Once you sit down and listen to these records, the road to Cobain's reign becomes much clearer.

10. Tim - The Replacements

The Replacements were one of the most endearing band of drunks to come out of the 80's punk scene. Though the band was known for more hardcore punk throwdowns at the start of their career, things began to turn a corner once they hit the mid-80's. Suddenly, the band became less of a punk thrashabout and more seeped in their songwriting.

Right in the sweet spot of the band's 80's run is Tim, whose songs are some of the most earnest tracks to come out of the punk movement. The sound of the guitars and drums are so organic as they pound across Paul Westerberg's infectious melodies like "Hold My Life" or "Lay it Down Clown." The album also features some real tearjerking moments like on the drunken loneliness of "Here Comes a Regular" and the slowjam "Swinging Party."

This approach to songwriting is evident in the alt-rock found in later years, with everyone from Kurt Cobain to the members of Blink-182 citing the band as a major influence. This is a heartland rock album with a punk's heart, which would make it fit right in among its other alternative brethren many years down the road.

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I'm just a junkie for all things media. Whether it's music, movies, TV, or just other reviews, I absolutely adore this stuff. But music was my first love, and I love having the opportunity to share it with you good people. Follow Me On Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/timcoffman97