My 49 Favorite Pop Albums

skylarking
XTC, SKYLARKING.  Pop at its best.

Though I’ve been a prog rock guy as far back as memory allows, I’m always open to fine, angular, and clever pop.  When pop is done well, count me in as a huge fan.  If I begin to list favorite prog albums—say a favorite 50 or 100 list—my mind starts to get a bit foggy, and my opinion changes, day by day, and, for better or worse, hour by hour.  Not necessarily the top 10, but everything else begins to swirl and maneuver, position by position, place by place.

When it comes to my favorite pop (broadly defined, I suppose) albums, though, I can readily list them and, amazingly enough, in chronological order.  I assume this is because my mind isn’t as full of pop as it is prog.

So, for better or worse, here goes.

  1. Beach Boys, PET SOUNDS
  2. Thomas Dolby, GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS
  3. ABC, LEXICON OF LOVE
  4. Simple Minds, NEW GOLD DREAM
  5. Roxy Music, AVALON
  6. ABC, BEAUTY STAB
  7. Blancmange, HAPPY FAMILIES
  8. Psychedelic Furs, FOREVER NOW
  9. Echo and the Bunnymen, PORCUPINE
  10. Echo and the Bunnymen, OCEAN RAIN
  11. Simple Minds, SPARKLE IN THE RAIN
  12. Talk Talk, IT’S MY LIFE
  13. Big County, STEELTOWN
  14. Alphaville, FOREVER YOUNG
  15. Psychedelic Furs, MIRROR MOVES
  16. New Order, LOW LIFE
  17. Bryan Ferry, BOYS AND GIRLS
  18. Cure, HEAD ON THE DOOR
  19. Kate Bush, HOUNDS OF LOVE
  20. The Smiths, MEAT IS MURDER
  21. Tears for Fears, SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR
  22. The Smiths, QUEEN IS DEAD
  23. XTC, SKYLARKING
  24. Bryan Ferry, BETE NOIRE
  25. Sundays, READING, WRITING, AND ARITHMATIC
  26. World Party, GOODBYE JUMBO
  27. Matthew Sweet, GIRLFRIEND
  28. Cure, WISH
  29. Cranberries, EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT
  30. Suzanne Vega, DAYS OF OPEN HAND
  31. Psychedelic Furs, WORLD OUTSIDE
  32. XTC, NONSUCH
  33. My Bloody Valentine, LOVELESS
  34. Lush, SPOOKY
  35. Tears for Fears, ELEMENTAL
  36. Sarah McLachlan, FUMBLING TOWARD ECSTACY
  37. The The, DUSK
  38. Radiohead, PABLO HONEY
  39. Love Spit Love, LOVE SPIT LOVE
  40. Radiohead, THE BENDS
  41. Suzanne Vega, NINE OBJECTS OF DESIRE
  42. Sixpence None the Richer, SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER
  43. Tears for Fears, EVERYBODY LOVES A HAPPY ENDING
  44. Mew, FRENGERS
  45. Elbow, SELDOM SEEN KID
  46. Muse, BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS
  47. NAO, GRAPPLING HOOKS
  48. NAO, FOG ELECTRIC
  49. Vertica, HAUNTED SOUTH

What am I missing?

 

17 thoughts on “My 49 Favorite Pop Albums

  1. Bryan Morey

    Seems a great deal of this could be considered prog… but then again, that’s the beauty of progressive rock. It transcends genres. Any room for Al Stewart in your list? For some reason iTunes considers him pop, when I think he has more in common with Big Big Train than Madonna.

    I must say, since you’ve shared Songs from the Big Chair through Dropbox, I’ve come to really enjoy the album. I’m not a big 80s fan, but it is really good. Interestingly, Disturbed covered “Shout” on their first album. Not all that surprising, though, considering the other covers Disturbed has done (Land of Confusion, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Sound of Silence, and probably others I’m forgetting – all covers I like more than the originals).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. carleolson

    Fascinating list, Brad. Fun! How would distinguish between “pop” and “rock”? And how does that play into your list? By the way, I’m especially fascinated that you have two Radiohead albums–but neither is “OK Computer”! That it’s in my Top 10, and I’ve been thinking about it a bit since this summer marks the 20th anniversary of its release.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What are you missing?

    Human League, Travelogue
    Human League, Dare
    Yahoo, Upstairs at Eric’s
    Depeche Mode, singles album
    Dire Straits, Makin Movies
    Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
    The Police, Outlandos Damour
    Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Scream
    Al Stewart, The Year Of The Cat
    T.Rex, Electric Warrior
    Pauline Murray, and the Invisible Girls

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Stuck in the 80’s much, Brad? 😉 I would (and have many times) recommend PREFAB SPROUT’s ‘Steve McQueen album. Excellent melodies tempered with amazing lyrics. i’d say most of my favourite albums of the pop kind are stuck in the 70’s and 80’s with a dab or two of the 60’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: One CEO’s 50 (or so) favorite pop albums | Progarchy

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