DAVID BOWIE - Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980) Though the LP begins with a song in Japanese, this should be the most accessible and commercially successful Bowie LP in years.
DAVID BOWIE - Let's Dance (1983) Bowie's debut for EMI lives up to the tantalizing promise of the title single, already a deserved smash with multiformat muscle: In teaming with co-producer Nile Rodgers, the influential stylist restores the directness of his mid-'70s plunge into richly R&B-inflected dance music without abandoning the textural subtlety of his subsequent pioneering swing into electronic pop.
JACKSON BROWNE - Hold Out (1980) Jackson Browne had convincingly lowered the bar set by his first three albums on his fourth and fifth ones, his sixth, Hold Out, found him once again seeking some measure of satisfaction, albeit in reduced circumstances. THE CHURCH - Starfish (1988) Australian outfit rewards Arista's intrepidness in signing it after no-gos at two other majors by delivering a shimmering, thoroughly satisfying album sure to win the hearts and playlists of college programmers; rarely is band's proclivity for rambling in evidence here. ERIC CLAPTON - Behind The Sun (1985) The veteran British rock stylist hasn't captured platinum since 1978, and his well-received last set failed to match sales to critical response. PHIL COLLINS - No Jacket Required (1985) No Jacket Required finds Collins in highly commercial form, spinning his trademark ballads and uptempo pop for surefire dividends.
MARSHALL CRENSHAW - Field Day (1983) Crenshaw's second album hews to the lean and hungry trio settings used on his debut, while opting for an updated production polish courtesy of producer Lillywhite. MARSHALL CRENSHAW - Downtown (1985) With the help of producer T-Bone Burnette and a handful of session sidemen, Crenshaw delivered a strong collection of originals and covers.
DEF LEPPARD - Pyromania (1983) Of all the new generation of heavy metal bands, Def Leppard has been one of the most approachable because of the sense of melody behind the mandatory heavy riffing. DEF LEPPARD - Hysteria (1987) If Pyromania was great pop-metal, Hysteria upped the ante a few more notches. DIRE STRAITS - Brothers In Arms (1985) Band's first studio album since 1982's exquisite Love Over Gold features an expanded lineup and a shift toward keyboards, but more than ever it's leader Mark Knopler's vision shaping the music. DAVE EDMUNDS - Twangin' (1981) Edmunds' passion for early rock'n'roll is given full rein here.
ELO - Secret Messages (1983) After the disappointing response to Time, which interrupted ELO's long string of radio-active, platinum-edged albums, this new set will be watched closely. DONALD FAGEN - The Nightfly (1982) The late great Steely Dan survives in both style and substance through this stunning debut for its keyboard player and chief vocalist. A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS - A Flock Of Seagulls (1982) A Flock Of Seagulls create a layered and textured orchestral sound, which gives the band a haunting if high-glossed sound, in their basic techno-pop efforts. DAN FOGELBERG - The Innocent Age (1981) This two-record conceptional LP marks a turning point in Fogelberg's career.
JOHN FOGERTY - Centerfield (1985) How can the former Creedence leader snare a hit after a nine-year hiatus? FOREIGNER - 4 (1981) Foreigner is back after more than a year's layoff with what might eventually develop into a classic. PETER GABRIEL - So (1986) His first formal studio set since 1982's Security does for Peter Gabriel what "Let's Dance" did for Bowie: By summing up and simplifying themes from his earlier work, "So" presents Gabriel with a warmth and directness almost certain to broaden his audience beyond the platinum mark. GENESIS - Abacab (1981) Even though Genesis has been a consistently selling act over the years, their popularity should be further enhanced by the phenomenal success of drummer Phil Collins' solo LP Face Value, which spent 10 weeks in the top 10. GENESIS - Invisible Touch (1986) Despite their longevity and appeal as a touring band, Genesis has yet to enjoy the massive album sales achieved by group member Phil Collins.
GEORGE HARRISON - Cloud Nine (1987) Beatle's first solo in some time will benefit from unprecedented press fanfare and 20-years-ago-today nostalgia wave. HEART - Heart (1985) A move to a new label is the only change from the band's earlier work. DON HENLEY - I Can't Stand Still (1982) Henley's post-Eagles solo bow stands in dark contrast to the generally upbeat mood of former partner Glenn Frey's recent album, but that's largely a plus: laced with edgy new rock elements and shadowed by a sense of social and political unrest untouched since the Eagles' Hotel California, Henley's new songs live up to the oft-mentioned but seldom earned notion of new creative growth. DON HENLEY - Building The Perfect Beast (1984) Henley will likely be the Boy of Summer again this year with this solid release, his first in five years. BILLY IDOL - Rebel Yell (1983) Tight rock arrangements featuring Steve Stevens's slashing guitar playing and Idol's vocal sneer. MICHAEL JACKSON - Thriller (1982) Jackson's second Epic album has the same mix of rhythmic dance tracks and plush midtempo ballads that made 1979's Off The Wall one of the most acclaimed albums of recent years. JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP - Uh-Huh (1983) His reversion to his real name won't eclipse Mellencamp's now familiar brand of heartlands rock, which kicks off here with a driving, Stones-styled corker, "Crumblin' Down," already out as a single. JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP - Scarecrow (1985) Mellencamp follows a pair of double platinum albums, American Fool and Uh-Huh, with a set again focusing on the hopes, aspirations and fears of everyday people in his native Midwest.
JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP - The Lonesome Jubilee (1987) Here Mellencamp infused his Heartland rock with a strong dose of acoustic and country instrumentation in the form of fiddle, accordion, hammer dulcimer, dobro, banjo, and pedal steel. MEN AT WORK - Business As Usual (1981) This was one of the top albums in Australia last year and it's easy to see why. GEORGE MICHAEL - Faith (1987) Though the rock intelligentsia routinely dismiss Michael's material as fluff, it's often weighty enough to hold down the top slot on the charts.
THE MOODY BLUES - Long Distance Voyager (1981) It's been more than three years since the group's Octave reunion LP.
STEVIE NICKS - Bella Donna (1981) Fleetwood Mac's in-house poet goes solo with a collection of atmospheric short stories that continue in the tradition of "Rhiannon," "Sara" and "Dreams." The material ranges from thought-provoking tales like the country-tinged "After The Glitter Fades" and "Bella Donna" to the high energy of "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," performed with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT - The Turn Of A Friendly Card (1980) The Turn of a Friendly Card was The Alan Parson Project's second straight number 13 album, but it proved more successful than either Pyramid or Eve, going platinum and spending over a year on the charts. THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT - Ammonia Avenue (1984) Parsons and partner Eric Woolfson have already burnished their production style to a point where only minor revisions can be detected with each new set: while the cast of vocalists and players may change slightly, the overall style is now fully established.

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT - Vulture Culture (1985) Parsons' clean yet driving studio creations remain the ultimate in radio fare, while affording softer mainstream options as well.
Established artists like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel continued their streak of successful albums, while newcomers like Guns N' Roses and A Flock of Seagulls took rock in new directions.
Bowie has synthesized and made his own recent musical developments while at the same time recalling his own early '70s man from outer space persona.
Here, that visionary stance brings authority to Bowie's most accessible music in years, pared with propulsive economy by Rodgers' own arranging contributions and liquid, insistent guitar.
Browne is backed on these songs by longtime colleagues Russell Kunkel, Craig Doerge and Rick Vito, among others. Engaging alternative rock, appealing to a wider range of listeners than their previous output. A brace of stars (Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, David Crosby, Stephen Bishop) add marquee value.
There's still a classic feel to the layered, echo-laden vocals and Crenshaw's jangling guitars, both befitting his penchant for writing short, smart anthems faced with melodic honks. Highlights include a version of Ben Vaughn's "I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)" and Crenshaw's own "The Distance Between." This set of straightforward American rock, brightened with touches of wit and whimsy, is one of Crenshaw's best efforts. Obviously, many hard rock fans agree as the first two Def Leppard albums went into the U.S.
With dense, elaborate instrumental layering and meticulous engineering, the album became known almost as much for its production values as for its terrific music.
Evocative story songs ("Ride Across The River" and the title song), droll rockers ("Money For Nothing," "One World") and sultry ballads ("So Far Away") offer a slightly broader mix of commercial prospects. Whether the songs are new or old, the spirit of Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers lives in each composition. Fagen brings more than those musical signatures to bear on this loose concept set, however, using a typically blue-chip crew of crack players and crisp digital production to highlight songs steeped in the same mix of pop, blues and jazz perfected on Aja and Gaucho. Subsequent listens should make it clear this is anything but a step backward, however: as the production credit reveals, principal Tusk architect Lindsey Buckingham shows his evolving skill as arranger and instrumentalist, especially in the gloriously lush vocal charts, which recall the Beach Boys at their most expansive. The band creates a pop cathedral of sound, which appears very impressive, even it it rings a bit hollow inside. In this case, with a bracing return to form as a confident, uncompromised rocker who can convey youthful exuberance and mature introspection with equal conviction. The group is spearheaded by new producer Lange and the recording debut of a streamlined Foreigner, reduced to a quartet consisting of guitarist Mick Jones, vocalist Lou Gramm, bassist Rick Wills and drummer Dennis Elliott. Frey introduced a light tone in a series of songs, many of them co-written with Jack Tempchin and punctuated by Al Garth's tenor sax work. The first single, the sly and slinky "Sledgehammer," is already pounding onto mainstream turf with its Muscle Shoals-to-Mars synthesis of classic R&B moves, while AOR will find enough depth for heavy play.
They still find room for more epic pieces (the two-part "Home By The Sea"), but it's tracks like "Illegal Alien," "Taking It All Too Hard" and "That's All" that will sustain their broader pop credentials. All that should change this time around, though, as the band enjoys a tremendous amount of momentum from the market strength of solo projects from Collins and Mike Rutherford. The hard-driving rock of the Wilson sisters survives the move intact, and the power ballad "What About Love" should push them back into the upper reaches of the singles chart.
It's a leap from the romantic obsessions of his old band to his new concern for lost national purpose ("Long Way Home"), TV journalism ("Dirty Laundry"), illiteracy ("Johnny Can't Read," the deceptively perky single) and the threat of nuclear annihilation ("Them And Us"), but Henley makes that leap with aplomb. Titular single has already become a No.1 album rock track, and there is no shortage of other potent material here.
Idol has had two semi-hits with "Dancing With Myself" and "White Wedding," on this solo album he has found a collaborator in Stevens, and together they have forged some memorable and haunting rock with strong commercial potential. The lead-off single, a duet with Paul McCartney, is already in the top five, and there are several strong followup candidates here, suggesting that this album could repeat the four-single attack which led "Off The Wall" to its multi-platinum heights. That song is only one of many here recalling the Glimmer Twins' heartiest work, but the effect is more homage than rip-off, thanks to the songs' emphatic Yankee self-image, which reaches a sardonic peak on "Pink Houses." His writing overall continues to improve, and shrewd collaborations (such as "Jackie 0," written with John Prine) are enabling Mellencamp to broaden his style without sacrificing his bedrock vigor. The first single from the set, "Lonely Ol' Night," is already in the top 25, snd at least two additional singles, "Small Town" and "Rain On The Scarecrow," wait in the wings. Thematically, he attempted to flesh out the big statements that predominated his previous album Scarecrow. While that was a rather uneven package, the group is in prime form here with a knockout collection of gorgeous melodies, harmonies and poetic lyrics.
MISTER - Welcome To The Real World (1985) Fans of obsessively elaborated studio baroque -- of constructs masquerading as songs, virtuasity attempting to pass for excitement, hair styles parading as brains -- loved this record. Ex-Joy Divisioners already have a modern rock hit happening with "Fine Time," which could be followed up neatly by the incessantly rhythmic "Round And Round." Expands the band's trademark sound by adding elements of dense acid house rhythms, the occasional acoustic guitar, and a greater reliance on pop melody. Musically, the group had matured, offering intricate, carefully crafted pop songs that were exacting in detail. Here, that means new exercises in the stately, soft-rock vein that has brought widespread pop acceptance and platinum sales, including several strong singles contenders, "Prime Time" and "Don't Answer Me" dominant among them. Musically, it's a bit tougher and more ambitious than Ammonia Avenue, though it basically reiterates the same themes as its predecessor, only in a more abstract way.

30 years ago, this week, one film was released that was the epitome of the 80s teen-sex-comedy, all-too common fare, good for a few smiles.
Whether tender ("China Girl"), tough ("Richochet," "Criminal World"), or in between, the music is bracing, state-of-the-art urban dance rock.
In "Of Missing Persons," he once again took on a eulogy as his subject, but unlike "Song To Adam" or "For A Dancer," here the song was directed to his late friend's daughter and encouraged her recovery: it was more a song for the living than for the dead.
For starters, with a fast breaking first single, "Forever Man," that's already rivaling Clapton's biggest single hits in terms of station response.
Album leans toward the act's sparse sound of the early '80's and has already found a hit with the forceful "Fascination Street," which has clicked outside the traditional college and alternative perimeters.
Drummer Rick Allen, who lost an arm in an automobile accident, adds an even harder core of bottom end with his specially rigged drum kit. All the songs, except one, were recorded recently, but even the production sounds pretransistor, when vacuum tubes imparted a more hollow, more thumpy song. In style and substance, the music rests squarely within the band's previous work, while adding a few new synthesizer twists to mesh more easily with the work of younger techno-pop successors.
They scored one big hit, "I Ran," in the driving, quick-tempo dance style that characterized most of their work.
Though each song stands on its own, together the "song cycle" relates to the years of one's youth or the "innocent years," chronicled through poignant narratives. GNR's Aerosmith-derived sound has some fresh melodic wrinkles, while raw lyrics (album is stickered) play the bad-boy image to the hilt. Glittering assemblage of backup talent, including Eric Clapton, Elton John, Gary Wright, and Ringo Starr, powers this classily produced outing. Certain to get further airplay exposure is "I Will Not Go Quietly," Henley's duet with Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses. The title track has the eerie, macabre touches that distinguished "Heartbreak Hotel," a hit from the Jacksons' last studio album, while "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin" has Jackson tackling a bolder reggae rhythm.
In spite of the fact that Mellencamp's admonishments (with almost Biblical undertones) are delivered with the proselytizing earnestness of the recently converted, Jubilee's spirited performances and memorable melodies make this one of his best efforts.
This is the kind of music that made the Moody Blues perennial favorites during the heydays in the late '60s and early '70s. All of the subtle experimentation makes Technique one of their most intriguing and successful records.
Yet underlying each track is Nicks' haunting vocal style and a lyrical quality that has developed into a style all her own. Thematically, the record seemed to be their slightest effort to date, as it superficially explored the medieval ramifications of a card game. Expect strong exposure to core rock fans, who've enabled Parsons to cross the platinum threshold in the past. At first listen, most of the songs come off as mere excuses for the dance floor, driven by cold, melodic keyboard riffs and pulsing drum machines. Thomas Howell (PonyBoy!), Lori Laughlin, Kelly Preston (Pre-Travolta), Dee Wallace Stone (mother in every movie, right?), and even sported a prepubescent Corey Haim.
If you’re looking for a glimpse of the cheesy way in which Hollywood portrayed teens in the early to mid 80s, this is your movie.
They are replaced by short, comparatively uptempo tunes that are melodic though no less sophisticated. This album continues the formula which has worked so well contrasting hook-laden rockers ("Die Hard The Hunter," "Rock! Though a majority of the songs are delivered in Fogelberg's melancholy often syrupy style, there are songs that rock and rock well at that.
Walker ("Urgent"), guitarist Hugh McCracken, synthesists Larry Fast and Tom Dolby, among others. Still other cuts have the irresistible pulse and energy that most memorably characterized the last album.
The material is evenly divided among writers Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Ray Thomas and Graeme Edge with the LP maintaining a consistent flow. Those who prize spontaneity, idiosyncracy, high spirits or any of the other qualities commonly associated with rock & roll loathed the sucker.
Dig a little deeper, however, and the record reveals itself to be a rumination about destiny versus the choice of self-determination. However, the songcraft that the beats support is surprisingly strong, featuring catchy melodies that appear slight because of Neil Tennant's thin voice. Patrick Moraz, who played keyboards on the group's "Octave" tour, remains with the group in place of original member Mike Pinder. Note somehow gets inadvertently passed around amongst their parents, triggering much jealousy and accusations of adultery.

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