Judging from the continuing success of genres such as retro wave, synthwave, and so on, the halcyon days of the '80s new wave movement remains the object of much adoration some thirty years after it took the mainstream by storm. While many would argue that "new wave" was always more of a singles-based genre full of colorful one-hit wonders, our list of the 20 best new wave albums seeks to prove that, in many cases, there is real substance beneath the flashy visuals of the day.
20. The Killers - Hot Fuss
21st Century new wave band discovered fully formed in the Nevada desert in the year of our lord 2004. While everything they've recorded since has been mired in self-consciousness and trend-chasing, for a brief shining moment Brandon Flowers and Co. reminded us all of the inherent joy and "dance like nobody is watching" innocence of youth while creating soundscapes that were as tasty as anything the greats had done before them.
19. B-52's - Wild Planet
It's a coin toss between this and their debut, but this one seems a little more synth-based and quirky. Perhaps not nearly as confident as their first, with just a hint of dark desperation at times, but no album better sums up the "new wave" aesthetic" as this platter. An album is only as good as its clunkers and, well, there are none.
18. Ministry - With Sympathy
Sure, "What He Say" may just be one of the most misguided attempts at world music ever recorded, but at least half the album ("Revenge", "Effigy" "I Wanted To Tell Her", "Should Have Known Better", and "Work For Love") is brilliant enough that I am not alone in singing the album's praises some 30 years after its release.
17. Gary Numan - Pleasure Principle
There is something to be said for fine tuning your formula down to its most basic elements and, once in place, delivering the single awe inspiring manifesto for which you will always be remembered. What's so great about Pleasure principle is that we get to hear Numan putting the pieces together in different configurations and coming up with more winners ("Airlane", "Metal" and "Conversation") than losers ("Observer") . Of course, then we get to hear the moment when all the pieces fall together just right: "Cars".
16. Duran Duran - Rio
If not for a couple flashy videos that stunted their forward progress as artists, perhaps Rio would be seen as the musically challenging and sophisticated mix of Bowie, Roxy and Chic that it was. Beyond "Rio" and "Hungry Like The Wolf", any song from this album could hold its own as a single in its own right and their most ambitious songs ("Save A Prayer" and "The Chauffeur") are stuck at the end of the album as a reward to those who make it past "the hits".