|1983 Classic Rock Reviews
|1983 provided some good, pop-oriented music as well as some incredible comebacks and excellent breakthroughs. Traditional prog-rock groups Genesis and Yes composed their best pop-rock efforts during the year, while classic rockers David Bowie, ZZ Top, and The Kinks each produced their last great album. On the other side, Def Leppard and Motley Crue had breakthrough album while Cyndi Lauper and Zebra had very impressive debuts. Topping all was Synchronicity by The Police, one of the finest albums of the entire decade.
We featured albums from the year 1983 during May and June 2013. During this 30th anniversary celebration of this music, we have written original reviews the following albums:
Def Leppard – Pyromania
The Fixx – Reach the Beach
Genesis – Genesis
Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
Journey – Frontiers
The Kinks – State of Confusion
Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual
Men At Work – Cargo
Mötley Crüe – Shout At the Devil
Robert Plant – The Principle of Moments
The Police – Synchronicty
U2 – War
Yes – 90125
Zebra – Zebra
ZZ Top – Eliminator
*1983 Album of the Year
Below are further descriptions of each album, in the order that we reviewed.
|May 3, 2013|
|Recorded in Wales, Robert Plant‘s second album, The Principle of Moments is polished and clinical while maintaining enough rock edge to keep it original and interesting. With the help of a first rate backing band, Plant’s second life as a major recording artist was fully spawned in 1983.
Review of The Principle of Moments
|May 7, 2013|
|When Men at Work recoded their second album Cargo in the summer of 1982, they were still just a regional act and couldn’t anticipate the delayed success of their debut album later that year. When this follow-up was finally released in mid 1983, the group was suddenly Grammy-winning superstars on top of the charts.
Review of Cargo
|May 11, 2013|
|One of the most successful pop debuts ever, She’s So Unusual by Cyndi Lauper went on to spawn four top-five hits, a first for a debut album by a female artist. Produced by Rick Chertoff, the material for the album was drawn from an abundance of sources, with each song having distinct composers which gave the album a diversity of song styles.
Review of She’s So Unusual
|May 15, 2013|
|A sequence of unintended events led to a reunion of Yes in 1983 and the production of their most successful album commercially, 90125. This second carnation of the group found a contemporary, yet rich and rewarding sound for the eighties, starting with this solid album of high quality pop/rock.
Review of 90125
|May 19, 2013|
|The rock trio Zebra had legitimate hopes for superstardom when they released their self-title debut in early 1983. Although that top level of popularity never came, the group did put out some interesting and entertaining material during their short-lived recording career through the middle of the decade.
Review of Zebra
|May 23, 2013|
|The Kinks reached the climax of their second major success phase with State of Confusion in 1983. This album comes at the heart of the band’s early eighties “renaissance” when they once again embraced the more direct, straight-forward, “garage rock” sound which the group initially forged in the 1960s. The album contains what would become The Kinks’ last batch of charting hits.
Review of State of Confusion
|May 28, 2013|
|U2 fully arrived on the international music scene with their album War, and has pretty much remained on the top echelon ever since. A commercial success for the band, the album topped the U.K. charts and reached #12 in the U.S. Further, it found the band forging their definitive sound for the first time.
Review of War
|June 1, 2013|
|Rebel Yell is the second studio album by Billy Idol, released during the height of his popularity in late 1983. This album completes Idol’s transformation from the punk rock of the seventies to a pop synthesis sound which helped define the sound of the eighties – big guitars, thunderous drums and streamlined synths beneath edgy lyrics and vocals.
Review of Rebel Yell
|June 5, 2013|
|A phenomenal yet surprise commercial success, Let’s Dance by David Bowie was his most popular and fastest selling album ever, with the a sleek new funk-infused sound to go along with an image makeover. But this success had a downside, as it ushered in a subsequent creative slump for one of rock’s most creative artists.
Review of Let’s Dance
|June 10, 2013|
|Shout at the Devil acted as a catalyst to propel Mötley Crüe to become the top selling heavy metal act of the 1980s. It was also the high-water mark for the “hair metal” style of rock which would be copied into extinction within a decade of its release.
Review of Shout at the Devil
|June 14, 2013|
|Journey‘s 1983 album Frontiers was very strong commercially, reaching #2 on the US charts and spawning four Top 40 singles. While it represents the group at the peak of their popularity, it was also the beginning of the band’s adoption of a more synth-centric sound which served to date their sound and commence their rapid descent from superstardom.
Review of Frontiers
|June 17, 2013|
|With their eighth album Eliminator, the Texas group ZZ Top finally found their major commercial success, topping charts worldwide with U.S. sales of over 10 million copies. Formulaic to a fault, the group embraced a hybrid sound which blended their traditional guitar sound with synths and sequencers, making them adaptable to the eighties sound.
Review of Eliminator
|June 20, 2013|
|Although it is titled like a eponymous debut, Genesis was actually the twelfth studio album by Genesis. The group decided to name it such because it is the first album on which all (three) members of the group helped compose each track. The album was a huge commercial success, reaching the Top Ten on both sides of the Atlantic.
Review of Genesis
|June 23, 2013|
|Pyromania was the result of a huge gamble paying off, as Def Leppard‘s record label gave the group and producer “Mutt” Lange a year to record with an over $1 million budget. The album eventually sold more than 10 million copies and permanently brought the quasi-heavy-metal band to a mainstream audience.
Review of Pyromania
|June 27, 2013|
The Police saved their best for last with the diverse and daring Synchronicity. The album combines the experimental tracks of the first side with radio-friendly pop “hits” of the second side in what would be the group’s fifth and final album and their absolute masterpiece as well as Classic Rock Review’s Album of the Year for 1983.
Review of Synchronicity
|May 9, 2018|
|Reach the Beach marked a significant step forward in the progression of The Fixx’s sound, with accessible, catchy pop/rock and synth effects added to their core new wave sound. The result is their multi-platinum commercial apex and the record most identified with the group’s sound.|
|May 25, 2018|
|A very impressive debut by a group which was formed and composed original material very quickly, Holy Diver has gone on to achieve legendary status for Dio. Fronted by veteran vocalist and lyricist Ronnie James Dio, the group drew from contemporary rock and metal to forge a commercially successful album template which would be widely replicated for years to come.|
|More On 1983 All Reviews|
|Final 1983 Poll Results|
|Q: What is the best album of 1983?
Conducted on our site, May-June, 2013
|Other 1983 Albums of Note|
There were many fine albums from 1983, several of which we were not able to review. The Fixx had a pop/new wave favorite with Reach the Beach as Ozzy Osbourne released his first his first post-Randy Rhoads album Bark at the Moon. Both Bob Dylan and Paul Simon had impressive solo albums and Pink Floyd recorded their final album with Roger Waters called The Final Cut.
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