Best Album of 1986


I was only 7 in 1976, so this thread is more my speed.

86 was a huge crossroads year. Lots of new styles of music being established or coming into their own. Seminal albums in metal, new country, alt. rock. Hard to even pick a top 10.

I've made my list a little broader; pretty much everything that was on my radar at age 17.

Soul Asylum – Made to be Broken, Time’s Incinerator
Frank Zappa – Does Humor Belong in Music?
Bangles – A Different Light
The Church – Heyday
Public Image Ltd. – Album
The Violent Femmes – The Blind Leading the Naked
Brian Setzer – The Knife Feels Like Justice
Talk Talk – The Colour of Spring
Elvis Costello – King of America, Blood & Chocolate
The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Tuff Enuff
Metallica – Master of Puppets
Prince – Parade
Husker Du – Candy Apple Grey
Dwight Yoakum – Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc.
Van Halen – 5150
Judas Priest – Turbo
The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work
The Firm – Mean Business
The Butthole Surfers – Rembrandt *****horse
Siouxsie and the Banshees – Tinderbox
Lou Reed – Mistrial
The Cure – Standing on a Beach
Poison – Look What the Cat Dragged In
Peter Gabriel – So
AC/DC – Who Made Who
Ramones – Animal Boy
Sonic Youth – EVOL
Europe – The Final Countdown
Bruce Hornsby – The Way It Is
Genesis – Invisible Touch
Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
Madonna – True Blue, Live to Tell
Sting - Bring on the Night
Richard Thompson – Daring Adventures
Cinderella – Night Songs
Lyle Lovett – Lyle Lovett
David Lee Roth – Eat ‘Em and Smile
Ministry - Twitch
Bob Dylan – Knocked Out Loaded
Run-DMC – Raising Hell
Neil Young – Landing on Water
R.E.M. – Life’s Rich Pageant
Vinnie Vincent Invasion – Vinnie Vincent Invasion
Motorhead – Orgasmatron
Paul Simon – Graceland
Nick Cave – Kicking Against the Pricks; Your Funeral, My Trial
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
Camper Van Beethoven – Camper Van Beethoven
Great White – Shot in the Dark
Ozzy Osbourne – The Ultimate Sin
King Diamond – Fatal Portrait
Voivod - Rrroooaaarrr
New Kids on the Block – New Kids on the Block
Accept – Russian Roulette
Journey – Raised on Radio
Metal Church – The Dark
Quiet Riot – QRIII
Big Country – The Seer
Midnight Oil – Deisel and Dust
Dio – Inetermission
Love and Rockets – Express
Huey Lewis – Fore!
Throwing Muses – Throwing Muses
Boston – Third Stage
New Order – Brotherhood
Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time
Ratt – Dancing Undercover
John Fogerty – Eye of the Zombie
Billy Bragg – Talking with the Taxman about Poetry
Yngwie Malmsteen – Trilogy
Slayer – Reign in Blood
Talking Heads – True Stories
Weird Al – Polka Party
XTC – Skylarking
Til Tuesday – Welcome Home
Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
Megadeth – Peace Sells . . . But Who’s Buying?
They Might Be Giants – They Might Be Giants
Sepultura – Morbid Visions
The Kinks – Think Visual
Killing Joke – Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
Bad Brains – I against I
Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill
Robert Cray – Strong Persuader
Guns and Roses - Live Like a Suicide
Venom – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Chris Isaak – Chris Isaak
Kraftwerk – Electric Café
The Cramps – A Date with Elvis
The Smithereens – Especially for You
The Feelies – The Good Earth
Steve Earle – Guitar Town
Joe Satriani – Not of this Earth
General Public – Hand to Mouth
Eric Johnson – Tones
Matthew Sweet – Inside
The Scientists – Weird Love
Queensryche - Rage For Order
Fishbone - In Your Face
Government Issue - Government Issue
Guadalcanal Diary - Jamboree
Dag Nasty - Can I Say
Naked Raygun - All Rise
Firehose - Ragin', Full On
Dead Kennedys - Bedtime For Democracy
The Jayhawks - The Jayhawks
Drivin' n Cryin' - Scarred But Smarter
The Magnolias - Concrete Pillbox
The Mekons - Edge Of The World
Georgia Satellites - Georgia Satellites
Descendents - Enjoy!
Dead Milkmen - Eat Your Paisely
Dumptruck - Positively Dumptruck
Webb Wilder - It Came from Nashville
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not a fan myself but from the list I would say...Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet


Montonero, MOY, Multitudes
Platinum Supporting Member
I turned 16 in '86, so I'm right around the age of the OP. I cannot imagine having to pick just one album (I spent many, many hours listening to a great deal of the albums included on the OPs list, and purchased a bunch, as well), but the first album that sprang to mind as the best album of '86 is this one:



Male Supermodel
Wow... What a nostalgia trip. TQID is definitely top three

I'd have to say that Skylarking and Lifes Rich Pageant (no apostrophe) would be my other picks for the best... Although there are a lot of honorable mentions on that list:

Kicking Against the Pricks... The album that made me a Nick Cave fan.
Both Elvis Costello albums
I Against I
Licensed to Ill

Hand of Doom

Metallica – Master of Puppets
Slayer – Reign in Blood
Megadeth – Peace Sells . . . But Who’s Buying?
King Diamond – Fatal Portrait
Metal Church – The Dark

Top 5

Mark 63

Silver Supporting Member
I'll tell you the worst album on that list: Knocked Out Loaded. I'm still pissed that I bought that crappy record based on a Rolling Stone review.


The ten I listened to the most at the time would be:

Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey
Sonic Youth - EVOL
The Feelies - The Good Earth
Bad Brains - I against I
They Might Be Giants - They Might Be Giants
Fishbone - In Your Face
Elvis Costello - Blood and Chocolate
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Paul Simon - Graceland
R.E.M. - Lifes Rich Pageant (last of their albums I cared about)
fIREHOSE - Ragin' Full On

My interest in metal had pretty much ended by this point except for Metallica, which I recall wishing I had discovered at 13 instead of 17.

All the metal bands I had listened to in middle school seemed to be putting out inferior albums, although maybe I was just outgrowing it. But the 1986 Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, etc offerings still feel weak to me.

I didn't yet appreciate the greatness of these three albums, but would within a few years:

Steve Earle - Guitar Town
Lyle Lovett - Lyle Lovett
Dwight Yoakum - Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc.
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I can't break the tie:

Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring
Peter Gabriel - So
Paul Simon - Graceland
XTC - Skylarking


Silver Supporting Member
I want to answer with the artsy-est answer, but Eat Em And Smile is just too burnin'.
I turned 16 in 1986 and I own at least 50% of the albums on that list. I could probably list at lest 10 that I played in heavy rotation, but I am pretty confident that I played 1 more than anything else:

Boston - Third Stage

I don't know if I would call that the best album of 1986, but I listened to it more than anything else at the time.

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