My process for these Decades posts starts with combing through a variety of sources for the year in question (1984, in this case), including Billboard charts, Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll, critics’ lists, Rolling Stone guides and the like.
I set aside the albums I know well for my own best-of list, then assemble a list of titles with which I’m not familiar, giving precedence to the ones that show up most often. When I’m down to my final list of 10 or 15, I listen to each all the way through at least once, sometimes more than once, before posting.
My look back at 1984 has been pretty heavy on rock music so far, but the year also saw the release of at least one pioneering rap album.
Run-D.M.C.’s self-titled debut was one of the first new-school hip-hop albums, replacing the disco-influenced tracks of the late 70s and early 80s with spare tracks driven by staccato drum machines and more aggressive rhyming. You can hear the seeds of both Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys on this record.
I recently wrote that I’d like to feature more Beatles music this year, and I guess the Random iTunes Fairy was listening. Today she’s offering up the opening track of the band’s classic 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
While Pepper is an iconic release and one of The Beatles’ top-selling albums, it sits pretty low on my personal list. Of course, this being The Beatles, that means the album still features several all-time classic songs, including ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,’ ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ and ‘A Day in the Life.’
It seems crazy to me that I’ve written nearly 5,000 Song of the Day posts and yet this is only my fourth featured track from Ryan Adams’ 2000 alt-country album Heartbreaker.
I love this album enough to have posted a track from it all the way back in 2008 for Song of the Day #2. I posted another nine months later. And then nothing, save for a Random Weekend appearance in 2018.
I own only one Los Lobos album, and that’s 1992’s Kiko, a rich and wide-ranging record that is widely considered their best.
More than ten years ago, when I first wrote about Kiko on the blog, commenter Phil made this suggestion: “Do yourself a favor and pickup Will the Wolf Survive and By the Light of the Moon.”
Well, it took me a decade, but I finally took his advice on one of those titles.