4 of the Best New Wave Albums From the 1980s

The new wave movement marked the beginning of a notable change in the 1970s and 1980s when it came to music. New types and genres of music were emerging after the genesis of punk rock, all of which were kind of crammed into one category. Really, it’s hard to define exactly what new wave is. But, we do know of four killer records under the genre that are worth listening to decades later. Let’s explore four of the best new wave albums from the 1980s!

Videos by American Songwriter

1. ‘Rio’ by Duran Duran

This 1982 album is easily recognizable, especially its album cover. Rio was what connected Duran Duran to new wave, and it’s a real piece of work. It’s playful, futuristic, and artsy. You won’t find dance-rock music that seamlessly blends traditional instrumentation with synths quite like this.

2. ‘Zenyatta Mondatta’ by The Police

“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” and “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” are two major hits from The Police’s 1980 album Zenyatta Mondatta. Outside of those singles, the rest of the album is still a new wave gem that showcases how much the band had changed up until that point. It’s The Police at their most elevated.

3. ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’ by New Order

This sophomore record from New Order had one foot in the past and the other in the future. By this point, similar bands were getting heavier with synths, and New Order was doing the same thing. However, the way New Order did it just hit. The heavy synths, the powerful guitar riffs, the cohesiveness of it all; it’s a really, really fun album.

4. ‘Remain In Light’ by Talking Heads

A little bit new wave, a little bit alternative rock, there’s really not an album out there quite like Talking Heads’ Remain In Light. It’s indulgent and pleasurable, with addictive tracks like “Born Under Punches” and “Houses In Motion”. While Talking Heads would go on to chart higher with newer works, there’s something about Remain In Light that keeps fans coming back for more.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Leave a Reply

'American Idol' Winner Nick Fradiani Takes On Role of Neil Diamond

‘American Idol’ Winner Will Headline National Neil Diamond Musical Tour

Jelly Roll is seen onstage during Day 2 of SiriusXM's The Music Row Happy Hour Live on The Highway at Margaritaville on June 07, 2024 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jelly Roll Books His First International Shows After Fear His Felony Convictions Would Hold Him Back