10 Darkest Rock Music Albums Of The 80s

Darkness in the Age of Neon.

Iron Maiden Number Of The BEast

It's hard to really quantify anything that came out in the '80s as being dark. Since this was the decade that gave us MTV, the entire concept of rock and roll was about to get a much more glittery makeover than what had come before. In between the neon colored mess that was most of the decade, that didn't mean there weren't some sore spots to be found either.

From the start of the decade to its final year, there were artists who were looking to push the envelope in terms of what you could even get away with doing on a rock album. Whether it be through a weird concept behind the album or just depressing sounding songs, these are the kind of albums that got a lot more feral than most people were ready for, which also became a feeding ground once stuff like the PMRC became more active as the years went on.

It's not exactly hard to see why these albums caused a stir back in the day either, with some of them sounding vile and disturbing even listening back to them these days. You can just imagine how they must have sounded then though. These weren't just a bunch of nice songs thrown into a decent order. These were musicians trying to unleash hell on Earth and very nearly succeeding in the process.

10. Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen

In the years when metal and hardcore punk were starting to come into their own, we're not exactly on the darkest of grounds on an album that's all about acoustic guitar. Since most of the E Street Band is gone, this Springsteen album has a lot more in common with an album by Bob Dylan, with just an out of tune guitar, a harmonica, and his voice to keep things rolling. If you write songs dark enough though, it can make any instrument feel dangerous.

Being in a much more vulnerable place than before, this is the Boss after he went through the whirlwind of the fame machine, with songs that are a lot more weary and focusing on the seedier side of life in America. From one song to the next, these characters are far from happy, and it doesn't look like they'll meet a good fate either, like the jaded brother who lets his sibling free in Highway Patrolman or the man on death row on the title track.

Even when it's not as dire as those songs, there are still some sentimental songs with a little bit of heartache, like when Bruce tries to reconnect with his old man on My Father's House only to find out that his father has moved and he might not be able to see him ever again. Compared to the life affirming music of E Street, this is a heavy dose of reality that we might not have been ready for just yet. These songs are basically the feeling of when you grow up and realize that things might not be perfect anymore, and it won't ever go back to normal ever again.


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