Photo by Mike Madison
The talented folks over at Pitchfork have compiled their list of the 200 Best Albums of the 1980s and it’s chock-full of Minnesota music, especially near the very top!
In a total no-brainer choice, Pitchfork‘s staff have venerated Prince‘s seminal 1984 masterpiece Purple Rain as the best album of the decade, and writer Jeremy D. Larson penned a suitably purple bit of prose in its honor.
Prince spoke to the people during a decade that prided itself on aspiration, sex, and money; from his pen came coy flourishes of romantic scripture and sub-dom fantasies told as casually as a chat over beers. On “Darling Nikki,” he told off the conservative Moral Majority with just a woman, a hotel lobby, and a magazine. And then there’s the closer, the timeless “Purple Rain”: a savior perfumed in petrichor, giving pop music its velvet baptism. Most of what you hear of the song was recorded live at that sweaty and smoky club in Minneapolis, a blinding and momentary flash that singed the essence of Prince into one hymn—the star and artist, giving everything at once.
The Purple Yoda had three more records within the list’s Top 50 segment, with honors for Sign O’ the Times (#17), 1999 (#26), and Dirty Mind (#33).
It wasn’t all Prince though, as MN punk’s founding fathers The Replacements and Hüsker Dü also found their way on the list. In The Replacements’ case, that means 1984’s Let it Be (#35) and 1985’s Tim (#54). The Huskers were honored for a single album, and probably the wrong one in 1984’s Zen Arcade. We would have preferred New Day Rising or Flip Your Wig, tbh.