15. OMD - self-titled [US edition] (1980)
There were your pretty boy new wave acts and there were those more keen on experimentation. OMD fell squarely in the latter category, making some of the most engaging, yet innovative music of the period. Those wondering why anyone would put the group's first album on this list and not, say, Architecture and Morality or Dazzle Ships need only recall that the U.S. version included both "Electricity" and "Enola Gay".
For once, U.S. kids got the better track listing! Of course, the CD collects all tracks from both US and UK versions with bonus tracks that include a cover of VU's "Waiting For The Man" and an alternate version of "Electricity" produced by Martin Hannett.
14. Waitresses - Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? (1982)
If you think this album doesn't belong on this list, then you weren't alive in the 80s, when "I Know What Boys Like" came out of nowhere with its snarky, conversational brilliance and became the theme song for both the nerds and those who shoved them into lockers. After the song featured prominently in the epic 80's teen flick "Last American Virgin", MTV got in on the action and the song began climbing the charts. The entire album, though, is a hidden gem that plays like an 80's time capsule covering ska, funk, and angular post-punk with cheeky delight.
13. Tom Tom Club - self-titled [cassette version] (1981)
If only all "side projects" could be this wonderfully effervescent and funky. Much as Talking Heads may get all the attention and TTC get written off as a one-hit wonder ("Genius of Love"), those who have ever spun this album at a party know that all you need to really do is drop the needle at the beginning of this "party on a platter" and let the band take care of the rest.
And why do we list the "cassette version", you ask? Because it was the only format to feature the band's beach-ready cover of "Under The Boardwalk".
12. Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights (2002)
With a Miolotov cocktail of Joy Division-inspired bass lines and Kevin Shields-ian guitar riffs, Interpol embodied both the darkness and the visceral charge of rebellion with the same perplexed confusion as Ian Curtis. Much like the Ramones, Interpol had a musical angle forged on self-imposed limitations and a template that frowned upon variation, Turn Out The Bright Lights isn't just the best Interpol album, it is a strong argument for band's only making one album.
11. Missing Persons - Spring Session M (1982)
It's hard to believe that a band of Zappa expatriates would not only lead L.A.'s burgeoning new wave movement, but make an album that works on the superficial level, giving the Top 40 crowd enough ear worms to chew on while the rest of us got off on the high-speed musical interplay over which Dale Bozzio's plaintive hiccup sounded right at home. Truth be told, any album that includes"Words", "Walking In L.A.", "Destination Unknown", "Windows", and "Noticeable One" - a.k.a., themes from the Great American New Wave Songbook - would have made this list.