Song of the Day #4,287: ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ – The Police

My #5 album of 1983 is The Police’s fifth, final, and top-selling album, Synchronicity.

This album went 8X Platinum in the U.S., and even unseated Michael Jackson’s Thriller at Billboard’s #1 spot for a spell. It featured the hits ‘Every Breath You Take,’ ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ and ‘King of Pain,’ all of which appear on the album’s stacked Side Two.

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Song of the Day #4,286: ‘Brothers’ – John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp released my favorite of his albums, Human Wheels, in 1983. Despite that record’s excellence, his label was reportedly unhappy with the result because it didn’t “fit the format.”

In response, Mellencamp delivered a follow-up album that he recorded in just two weeks, with few instruments and little attention to the production. You want the format, he was saying, I’ll give you the format. That album was 1984’s Dance Naked.

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Song of the Day #4,285: ‘Medicine’ – Broken Bells

Broken Bells is a group formed by The Shins’ frontman James Mercer and the DJ Danger Mouse. They released two albums, in 2010 and 2014.

After the Disco is the band’s sophomore effort, and it’s a blast. As you’d expect from this pairing, the songs combine the sticky, off-kilter melodies of The Shins with some novel production techniques. It’s cerebral ear candy.

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Song of the Day #4,284: ‘Miami’ – Randy Newman

If national treasure Randy Newman releases an album, you can bet it’s going to make my list of that year’s best work. And indeed, Newman’s Trouble in Paradise is my #6 album of 1983.

Best known for the minor hit ‘I Love L.A.,’ Trouble in Paradise is a satirical exploration of hedonism and excess, with songs such as ‘My Life Is Good’ and ‘There’s a Party at My House’ showcasing some of the most despicable characters Newman has ever voiced. Of course, they’re also hilarious.

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Song of the Day #4,283: ‘Keeping the Faith’ – Billy Joel

An Innocent Man, Billy Joel’s tribute to the R&P, soul and doo wop music of his youth, is my #7 album of 1983.

A Innocent Man was Joel’s follow-up to the excellent, but under-performing (by his standards), The Nylon Curtain. While Nylon went “only” double-Platinum, this album went 7x Platinum and ties with 52nd Street and Glass Houses as his second most successful album, behind the Diamond-level The Stranger.

Yes, Billy Joel was a freaking juggernaut.

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Song of the Day #4,282: ‘China Girl’ – David Bowie

David Bowie’s Let’s Dance comes in at #9 on my list of best 1983 albums. I knew the hits from this album at the time of release but I never heard the whole thing through until I spent some time exploring Bowie’s catalog after his death.

Let’s Dance was Bowie’s most successful album, selling nearly 11 million copies worldwide. Hits ‘Let’s Dance,’ ‘Modern Love’ and ‘China Girl’ are among his top-selling singles. Critically, its reception was mixed, though over time its reputation has grown.

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Song of the Day #4,281: ‘Running With the Night’ – Lionel Richie

This is surely the first and only list on which I’ll ever have a Lionel Richie album ahead of a Bob Dylan album, but I can’t deny the consistent excellence of Richie’s Can’t Slow Down, my #10 album of 1983.

Can’t Slow Down enjoyed considerable critical and commercial success, and even bested Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. and Prince’s Purple Rain for the Album of the Year Grammy. I can’t say I agree with that particular outcome, but it’s certainly a notch in this album’s belt.

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