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Top 20 Hair Metal Albums of All Time: #5-1

Top 20 Hair Metal Albums of All Time: #5-1

See also:

*The Top 20 Hair Metal Albums Of All Time: #20-16

*The Top 20 Hair Metal Albums of All Time: #15-11

*The Top 20 Hair Metal Albums Of All Time: #10-6

*Chuck Klosterman's Favorite Hair Metal Albums

5. Motley Crue

Shout At the Devil (1983)

Motley Crue's second record stands as an old fashioned ode to Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and the play-your-records-backwards satanism of the '70s. It's also their hardest album. Though it was initially panned -- Rolling Stone gave it two stars -- it's now seen as the work that defined the band, portraying them as loud, fun absurdists. Of course, one could also argue that they were eerily talented; from the opening chords of "The Beginning" to Mick Mars' slithering shreds throughout, Shout At The Devil established the Crue as the era's band to beat. -Nikki Darling

4. Skid Row

Skid Row (1989)

Skid Row struck a resonant chord with teens on their self-titled debut. Sebastian Bach looked like the kid you would befriend if you weren't scared of him. His "Youth Gone Wild" wail served as a call to arms for misfits, while "18 And Life" trades in some first-rate working class melodrama. We'll gloss over the part about Bach then going on to rock a t-shirt that said "AIDS Kills Fags Dead." -Phillip Mlynar

3. Motley Crue

Too Fast For Love (1981)

The hesher-in-leather crotch shot cover almost belies what's inside Too Fast For Love: wistful Cheap Trick-ish power pop that's less about guitar assaults than potent grooves. The work foreshadowed Motley Crue's mainstream accessibility of later years with its dramatic starts and stops, layers of riffs, and Tommy Lee's thunderous drums. Meanwhile, Vince Neil's vocals more than hold their own -- especially on the mid-tempo cuts -- and Nikki Sixx, who did most of the writing, knew what he was creating here: a little pop metal masterpiece with very big balls. -Lina Lecaro

2. Def Leppard

Pyromania (1983)

Pyromania took Def Leppard from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal into the stratosphere. Uber-producer Mutt Lang was known as an incessant micromanager, but it paid off here, as the songs are flawlessly crafted for maximum pop appeal. Pyromania gave the band three huge hits -- "Photograph", "Foolin", and "Rock of Ages," pushing the band into freaking diamond platinum status. 10 million copies sold, baby. -Linda Leseman

1. Guns N' Roses

Appetite for Destruction (1987)

This is the sound of sleaze. Though they're rarely lumped in with the hair metal scene, at the time of Appetite for Destruction's release Guns N' Roses were still very much a part of the Sunset Strip scene. Rude, decadent, and doomed to implode, G N' R crafted their debut amid an alcohol-soaked hurricane of wild sex, rage, and dysfunction -- that managed to capture them in all their grit and glory. Witness the terrifying, beautiful chaos of Axl Rose's shriek and the furious guitars of Slash and Izzy Stradlin. The album's furious tracks of metal, funk, punk -- and no fucking ballads -- sounds as great now as ever. Thankfully, this gang of misfits stayed intact just long enough to get it all on tape. -Steve Appleford

See also:

*Excerpt From Duff McKagan's New Memoir: Guns N' Roses Finds Their Identity, Somewhere Between Metal And "Cow-Punk"

*The Top 20 Hair Metal Albums Of All Time: #20-16

*The Top 20 Hair Metal Albums of All Time: #15-11

*The Top 20 Hair Metal Albums Of All Time: #10-6

*Chuck Klosterman's Favorite Hair Metal Albums


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