84. Tom Petty, Full Moon Fever
It seems odd to consider Full Moon Fever Tom Petty’s solo debut. His name is front and center on all of those records with the Heartbreakers after all. He’s hardly a guy stepping out from the shadows. Then there’s the fact that most of the members of Petty’s long-time backing band take their turns on the album, along with appearance from a couple of his fellow travelers that answer to the name Wilbury. That doesn’t mean Petty changed the billing just to make sure the royalties get distributed differently. He insists that the songs sprung forth during writing sessions with producer Jeff Lynne were distinct enough from his older material that a different route to release was required, an assessment that the music itself bears out. And when the songs in question include some of the very best of his career, why wouldn’t he want to have his own name on it?
83. The Cure, Disintegration
Is it hard to stay gloomy when you’re enjoying the greatest success of your career? Not if you’re Robert Smith, the frontman for The Cure. The band may have had a commercial breakthrough with 1987’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to turn the big three-oh. Depressed about that monumental birthday, Smith cloistered himself away and emerged with a batch of grim songs that he presented to the rest of the band. Everyone liked the material and they went to work honing the songs and recording their eighth studio album. Entitled Disintegration, which some think refers to the crumbling state of the band itself, it recalls the darkness of the The Cure’s earliest efforts. That might seem the surest way to backtrack from their burgeoning popularity, but the opposite occurred with the single “Lovesong” going all the way to number two on the Billboard charts.