1987! The Albums That Were Made 25 Years Ago! Part Two!
Welcome back to 1987! A year that had we known what was up ahead would've been considered much better than it was at the time. Keep in mind that just because all of the music listed below existed in 1987, it wasn't always easy to hear it. Music fans had to spend a pocketful of money, sometimes many pockets full, to figure out if the bands they read about were any good.
There were no streaming services. Heck, there was no widely available internet to find out what others were thinking. You had to trust the names in magazines to tell you the truth. Who knew where the other fans of this music were? If you were of age, you joined a college radio station -- and even there you only met a few people who shared your particular tastes. Pity those who didn't even have that. Opal fans were lonely people!
Very few of the names on this list were heard in prime time. Maybe today with the world now being flat, we can assess everyone equally. Let's do it!
25) Depeche Mode -- Music For The Masses: In 1987, there were schisms among the alterna-rockers. Guitar bands stood on one side. Synth bands stood on the other. Punks wanted to rock. Goths wanted to mope. And girls wanted to dance and/ or dream. It was like Visa vs. Mastercard vs. Amex vs. Discover. These days, we except all major credit cards. That's progress!
24) Swans -- Children of God: Swans had to expand their attack. How many times can you tell people everything is crap before they decide to put Gloomy Gus on ignore? They're still plenty down and abrasive, but Jarboe offered glimmers of light where Gira wallowed in darkness. Times were changing and all that outsider music had some chance of getting inside, if you could just find a way to connect. They'd do it the next year with a cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" that sounded like Gira had finally practiced his mellowing lessons.
23) The Jesus and Mary Chain -- Darklands: The band name was pure gold. What college-age kid wouldn't want to say that name on the radio waves? The music hinted at the Velvet Underground the first go around and this second try peels back the reverb and distortion just enough to hear a pop band. "Happy When It Rains"? OK, but you sound pretty sunny singing about it, boys.
22) Pet Shop Boys -- Actually: England's always had different musical values than America. Which is why I find it weird how much they like Bruce Springsteen. Maybe it's just that everyone in the U.K. is a music fan. The country's small enough to make a cult band a mainstream one, whereas here you'll never get out of New York City alive.