Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews - We listen to the lousy records so you won't have to.

Year In Review: 1985

This was a big dropoff from the year before; seemingly everyone was embracing prefab corporate rock a la Bryan Adams, Heart and Starship. New Wave was over, though the Talking Heads explored their world beat variant on the fine Little Creatures. Practically the only accomplishment from 60s rockers was Bob Dylan's boxed set. The only really good news in 1985 was the continued development of hip hop: Run-DMC put out a fine followup, LL Cool J got off to an auspicious start, and DC's go go scene produced a remarkable compilation, Go Go Crankin'.

Whitney Houston's pleasantly thin debut sold a ton of copies, as did annoying MTV synth-pop from Wham! and Tears For Fears. Superstars like Prince and Stevie Wonder pumped out decent if unexceptional albums. And everyone got a warm fuzzy feeling inside after participating in We Are The World and Live Aid.

The bad news: college radio rockers and funk bands alike disappeared from the charts, either not releasing anything, wasting time with insipid side projects (George Clinton's Federation Of Tackheads) or, like the Ohios Players' Sugarfoot, embarassing themselves with attempts to stay hip. Joni Mitchell's move to integrate dance synths into her sound gave her the worst album of her career, while Carly Simon's similar effort was even worse. Motown acts had a rough year, with Diana Ross' solo album turning out even worse than a cash-in collection of Marvin Gaye outtakes.

The jazz album of the year was Wynton Marsalis's Black Codes (From The Underground); the Latin album of the year was Rubén Blades's Escenas. (DBW)

Back to 1984 - Forward to 1986 - Back to the future...

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