34. “Love Removal Machine” by the Cult
There were few bands that were as big, bombastic and frankly ludicrous as the Cult, bringing to college radio a jolting dose of the long-haired quasi-metal that dominated the commercial charts at the time. Leaning heavily on influences such as the Doors and Led Zeppelin, Ian Astbury and crew seemingly wanted nothing less than hard rock domination. If there was then (and now) and foot-dragging aversion to courting fame among most left of the dial artists, the Cult provided the counter to that, building albums that seemed designed to only really work in stadiums. Their third album, Electric, was produced by Rick Rubin, back before he was content to wring every last rasp from Johnny Cash’s rapidly decaying form. Instead of stripping it down, he pumped it up, giving all the music a paint-peeling intensity. “Love Removal Machine” was the first single from the album, and it was a clear statement of purpose: hard rock heaven or bust.
35. “The Passenger” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Siouxsie and the Banshees had been around long enough by 1987 that they could pretty much do whatever the hell they wanted. They were icons with the earnestly devoted subsets of college radio disciples and goth kids, but they were unlikely to make much headway anywhere else. So why not just have fun? At the time, that evidently meant recording a covers album, but not one meant to stir up that elusive broader success. They’d need to look to far more recognizable artists than Sparks and Television if they wanted to accomplish that. Instead, it truly seemed an acknowledgment of the dark musical genius that preceded and inspired them. Iggy Pop fit nicely amidst those other influences and Siouxsie Sioux’s version of his 1977 song “The Passenger.” The slightly fuller take on the song sounded just right, sounding more than anything else on the album like a true Siouxsie and the Banshees song. The eighties was a pretty good time for Iggy covers.