Best of 1986- The Album List

In early 1985, the Pet Shop Boys stormed the UK charts with "West End Girls" which would also remain their signature tune and biggest hit. Together with Erasure, they were transforming the synth pop into electro dance giving it a new face. The Communards certainly contributed to this trend as their cover of the disco classic “Don’t Leave Me This Way” was the best selling single of the year. Madonna and George Michael were still among the best selling artists further developing the pop genre and Madonna’s third studio album True Blue was the best selling in the UK. 

 The following Top 25 represents the result of the 'Best of 1986 - The Album list' from 2016 together with our in-house votes.

01. The Smiths- The Queen is Dead [Rough Trade Records] 
The Queen Is Dead is the fourth studio album by the The Smiths which was released on June 16th 1986 in the United Kingdom by Rough Trade Records. The album spent twenty-two weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at No. 2. and was certified Gold by the RIAA in late 1990. The title of the album is from the novel, "Last Exit to Brooklyn" by author Hubert Selby, Jr. The album featured some of the Smiths biggest hits “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, “Panic” and “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”. The album was produced by Morrissey and J. Marr, working predominantly with engineer Stephen Street, who had engineered the band's 1985 album, Meat Is Murder. The Queen is Dead has received critical acclaim, and is considered to be a defining album of the 1980s, as well as one of the greatest albums of all time.

02. Depeche Mode- Black Celebration [Mute] 
Black Celebration is the fifth studio album by Depeche Mode released by Mute records in 1986. The album further cemented the darkening sound created by Alan Wilder which the band later used for the acclaimed and globally successful albums which were released in the following years. The album featured the hit singles “Stripped”, “A Question of Lust” and “A question of Time”. Despite not being a commercial success at the time its official release, as the band said in 1998 during an interview available on The Videos 86–98 DVD, Black Celebration has been cited as one of the most influential albums of the 1980s. The album was reissued in 2007 as master edition with bonus tracks.

03. R.E.M.- Lifes Rich Peagant [I.R.S.] 
Lifes Rich Pageant is the fourth studio album by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., released in 1986 on I.R.S. label. It included the singles “Fall on Me” and “ Superman” both released during the same year. With R.E.M.'s fan base beginning to grow beyond its college rock boundaries, Lifes Rich Pageant proved to be at the time the band's most commercially successful album in the U.S., peaking at No.21. Slant Magazine listed the album at No.52 on its list of "Best Albums of 1980s" saying that it stands as a nearly seamless transition between the band's formative period and their commercial dominance. The album was reissued as 25th anniversary deluxe edition in 2011.

04. XTC- Skylarking [Virgin Records] 
Skylarking is the ninth studio album by XTC, released on 27 October 1986. The album was produced by Todd Rundgren after the band chose his name from a list of potential producers submitted by its label, Virgin Records. The singles from the album were "Grass", "The Meeting Place" and "Earn Enough For Us". The staff at Pitchfork placed the album at 15 on their November 2002 list of the "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". The album was reissued in 2001 and 2014.

05. Sonic Youth- EVOL [SST Records] 
EVOL is the third studio album by Sonic Youth released in May 1986 by SST Records. Despite not being successful at the time, the album has received retrospective praise and Pitchfork for example put it on their list of 80’s albums at Number 31 while Trouser Press labeled it "a near-masterpiece”. The album featured the single “Starpower” which was released during the same year. EVOL was reissued in 2010 by ORG Music.

06. Pet Shop Boys- Please [Rough Trade Records] 
Please is the debut album by Pet Shop Boys released on Parlophone in 1986. The album sold 3 Millions of copies worldwide and it featured the hit singles “West End Girls”, “Opportunities (Let’s Make a Lot of Money) and “Suburbia”, the first one being hit on both sides of the Atlantic. The album was re-released for the first time in June 2001. The re-released version was not only digitally remastered but came with a second disc of B-sides and previously unreleased material from around the time of the album's original release. Yet another re-release followed on 9 February 2009.

07. New Order - Brotherhood [Factory Records] 
Brotherhood is the fourth studio album for New Order released on Factory Records in 1986. There were two songs released as a singles from this album, namely "Bizzare Love Triangle" which also helped the band gaining some success in the USA and "State of the Nation". Like all the releases before this, the album cover was once again a Peter Saville design. The album was reissued in 2008 with bonus tracks and remixes.

08. The The- Infected [ Some Bizzare/Epic Records] 
Infected is the second album by The The, released on Some Bizzare/Epic Records in November 1986. The album produced four UK singles, "Heartland", "Infected", "Slow Train to Dawn", and "Sweet Bird of Truth”. The reviews from the British music magazines upon Infected's release in 1986 were mostly very positive, with reviewers impressed by the bleakness of the lyrics and the strength of Johnson's vision. In 2000 Q placed Infected at number 99 in its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever". The album was reissued in 2002.

09. Cocteau Twins- Victorialand [4AD] 
Victorialand is the fourth album by Scottish band Cocteau Twins, released by 4AD in April 1986.The album title referred to the part of Antarctica known as Victoria Land, after Queen Victoria. This was an absolute acoustic ambient work modeled to Elisabeth Frazers dreamy voice. No singles were released from this album. The Album was reissued in 2003 by 4AD again.

10. Peter Gabriel- So [Chrisma] 
So is the fifth studio release by Peter Gabriel in 1986, released for Chrisma records. It is Gabriel's first non-eponymous album, So representing an "anti-title" that resulted from label pressure to properly market his music. Widely regarded as his best album, as well as his most accessible, it transformed Gabriel from a cult artist into a mainstream star. This album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It spawned five singles, "Sledgehammer", "Don't Give Up", "Big Time", "In Your Eyes" and "Red Rain". The Album was reissued in 2002 and then again in 2012.

11. Elvis Costello and The Attractions- Blood & Chocolate [IMP / Columbia]
12. Clan of Xymox- Medusa [4AD]
13. The B52's- Bouncing off the Satellites [Warner Bros]
14. The Chameleons- Strange Times [Geffen]
15. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds- Your Funeral ... My Trial
16. Siouxsie and the Banshees- Tinderbox [Polydor / Geffen]
17. Talk Talk- The Colour of Spring [EMI]
18. This Mortal Coil- Filigree and Shadow [4AD]
19. Love and Rockets- Express [Beggars Banquet]
20. The Communards- Communards [London Records]
21. Book of Love- Book of Love [Sire]
22. The Housemartins- London 0 Hull 4 [Go!]
23. Erasure- Wonderland [Mute/Alfa/Sire]
24. Throwing Muses- Throwing Muses [4AD]
25. Crowded House- Crowded House [Capitol]