1988 — What Really Happened Twenty-Five Years Ago!
Having written up the #1 hit singles of the era and also having looked deep and hard at the best-selling albums of 1988, I realized I was leaving out a huge part of the story. Some might say THE story. Pop music is popular fashion, but the underbelly only grew larger the more the corporate entities attempted to control the outcome. No one can believe the shoulder pads were theirs, but those who dressed in black never went out of style.
Beyond the charts are often the musicians who do the more interesting work. College radio really expanded the scope for all things and back in the 1980s it came into its own formalized success story. Still, there were bands only a few people ever caught in their prime.
This list reflects albums I remember seeing and either hearing or hearing about at the time that 1988 was happening. Plenty of great albums from the likes of the Go-Betweens to Talk Talk to (your missing fave here) are not here because fact is, some names didn’t break in my neck of the NYC suburb woods. So, blame thine self!
25) All — Allroy Sez: The Descendents named their last studio album ALL and then shuffled the line-up and came back as All. Not as immediately great as the Descendents’ best moments, but with the right energy and the potential to hit with the right song in the future.
24) The Steppes — Stewdio: This was an obscure release at the time. Which college radio stations chose to play the album is beyond my knowledge. I heard it, bought it. But I’m a sucker for guys who wish the 1960s had lasted awhile longer. Early Bee Gees fans liked it.
23) Bongwater — Double Bummer: In the late 1980s, Kramer the producer was a household name among people who surfed the underground. As popular as, if not more than, Steve Albini. Shimmy-Disc was a beloved record label until they weren’t any longer. This double album tried people’s patience at a time when they liked having their patience tested.