10- The Top (The Cure) - 1984: The Cure doesn't need any introduction. They have been making hits since the 80's, remaining a mainstay on the rock charts for nearly two decades. They even had a number 2 hit with Lovesong off their Disintergartion (1989) album. But The Top (1984), one of their most fascinating works, is almost forgotten now. After the recording of their dark masterpiece Pornography (1982), the band members had a falling out, and Robert Smith, the band's leader and main songwriter, went off to work on several side-projects (one of which you will find on this list). The Top, released in 1984, was recorded mostly by Smith, and the results are nothing short of spectacular. From the stunning opener Shake, Dog, Shake, to the haunting title track, there are a lot of ideas contained in this album, and all of them are a joy to listen to and discover. And who can resist an album that contains a song called Bannanafishbones?
9- Victorialand (Cocteau Twins) - 1986: Cocteau Twins are a love-it-or-hate-it-band. The combination of their lush, dreamy music and Elizabeth Fraser's ethereal vocals, is an acquired taste. But if you're going to listen to one album by this immensely talented band, listen to Victorialand, an acoustic album like no other, with music that spreads its wings around you and takes you over with its otherworldly beauty.
8- Clues (Robert Palmer) - 1980: Robert Palmer is one frustrating artist. He made some great songs, and a number of mediocre ones. Known as a soulful crooner, with pop hits such as Addicted to Love and A Bad Case of Loving You, you wouldn't think he was capable of producing an album such as Clues, a minor masterpiece of musical versatility. From the opening number, Looking for Clues, with its sequenced grooves, to a stunning cover of Gary Numan's I Dream of Wires, to the weird and unnerving closing track, Found You Now, a collaboration with none other than Numan himself, there isn’t a single bad track to be found in the whole album, which, despite being made more than 30 years ago, has aged very well.
7- Swing The Heartache: The BBC Sessions (Bauhaus) - 1989: Bauhaus's output is mainly hit and miss, but this album of live recordings shows the band at their best, with catchy melodies, bizarre lyrics, quirky production, and plenty of atmospherics.
6- Blue Sunshine (The Glove) - 1983: A side-project of Siouxsie and The Banshees's Steven Severin and The Cure's Robert Smith, Blue Sunshine is one of the 80's best kept secrets. Filled to the brim with great song-writing, brilliant production, and some jaw-dropping guitar-work by Smith, no self-respecting fan of good music should miss this one.
5- Dust (Peter Murphy) - 2002: Another largely forgotten album by the eclectic Peter Murphy (lead singer of the now disbanded Bauhaus), this is a must-listen for fans of electronic and world music. Co-produced with renowned Turkish DJ Mercan Dede, and mostly written by Murphy himself, this is an album that’s best listened to in one go, as the songs bleed into one another, enveloping the listener in beautiful melodies, Turkish beats, and an atmosphere so lush you just don't want the album to end.
4- Peepshow (Siouxsie and The Banshees) - 1988: If there was ever a band that deserved to take over the world but didn't, it would be Siouxsie and The Banshees. Spin any of their albums, and what you get is pure originality. It is that simple. When they are firing on all cylinders, they are magnificent. Peepshow, in my opinion, is one of the band's finest moments. From the opening track Peek-a-boo, with its eerie backmasked beats, to the terrifying Scarecrow, to the haunting closer Rhapsody, this is one of the best alternative albums to come out of the 80's.
3- Empires And Dance (Simple Minds) - 1980: Before they turned into one of the blandest bands on the planet, Simple Minds used to be one of the best bands in the world. Don't believe me? Listen to 1980's Empires And Dance, arguably the band's masterpiece. Dark, brooding, original, and brilliant, there isn't one bad track to be found here, and the album sounds as fresh today as when it was released more than 30 years ago. A forgotten masterpiece.
2- Mamouna (Bryan Ferry) - 1994: Bryan Ferry has made some great music with/as Roxy Music. Although some of his solo work is also as good, nothing comes close to Ferry's 1994 album Mamouna. Recorded over the better part of a decade, this is Ferry's masterwork, his vision distilled. Produced to lush perfection, hypnotic, and beautifully romantic, Mamouna was way ahead of its time when it came out 20 years ago, and it's still ahead of its time today. It also features some of the world's greatest musicians, including Roxy Music bandmate Brian Eno, guitarists Nile Rodgers and David Williams, Maceo Parker, and bassist Pino Palladino. Unmissable.
1- The Script of The Bridge (The Chameleons) - 1983: The greatest band you've never heard of, The Chameleons deserved much better than they eventually got. Although they still have a relatively large fanbase, they never hit it big, mostly because of bad luck and their lack of interest in becoming a stadium band. Their debut, The Script of The Bridge, is a stunning rock album. Each song is a masterclass in song-writing and musicianship. Once you put this album into your player and hit play, the world disappears, and what you're left with is some of the most beautiful and heartfelt music ever made. From the ethereal guitar-work, to the majestic melodies, to lead-singer/songrwiter's Mark Burgess's impassioned vocals, this is an album to listen to again and again. Here's hoping the band members come together again one day and record one more album. God knows, there isn't enough of their music out there.
About The Author: Ahmed Khalifa is a filmmaker and writer. He is the author of Beware The Stranger, a horror novel, and Egyptian Gothic: Stories. Both books are available on Amazon here. He is also the director of The Weapon, Egypt’s first action/supernatural Web Series, which centers on a vigilante called “The Hunter”. You can watch the complete first season, for free, here.