There's a lot of talk about death on To Lose My Life..., the first album from this London trio (which debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. last January). "Everything has got to be love or death," sings frontman Harry McVeigh on the disc's first cut, simply named "Death." The thumping title track also connects love with doom and gloom: "Let's grow old together/And die at the same time." It's the best of these haunting tales from the dark side, which find White Lies picking up the black mantle of Joy Division and the Arcade Fire. With tunes like "Farewell to the Fairground"—one of the bleakest songs you'll ever hear about amusement rides—they prove goth rock is alive and well.
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TOP 10 '80S ARTISTS
• With recent releases, Prince, U2, Morrissey and the Boss remind us who totally rocked the decade.
He's still prolific, just releasing two new CDs, but in the '80s Prince ruled with quantity (10 albums, two of them double discs!) and quality, including no less than three classics: 1999, Sign o' the Times and, best, Purple Rain.
2 MICHAEL JACKSON
Sure, it's hard to separate the King of Pop from the freak show he became. But Thriller, the best-selling album of all time, defined the decade more than any other disc. And his videos defined an art form.
It's difficult to imagine a world before Madonna. Paving the way for many a pop diva—from Janet to Britney—she changed the very concept of what a female artist could be in the MTV generation.
They're still the biggest band in the world. But it all started for U2 back in 1980 with Boy. By the time they released their masterpiece, The Joshua Tree, in 1987, these lads had truly come of age.
5 BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
Yes, he made his debut in the '70s, and that decade gave us his best album, Born to Run. But it was in the '80s, thanks to his blockbuster Born in the U.S.A., that the Boss really became an American icon.
6 WHITNEY HOUSTON
Starting in 1985 with "Saving All My Love for You" and ending in 1988 with "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," she had an amazing seven No. 1's in a row. Houston was simply the greatest voice of all in the era.
7 THE SMITHS
In terms of sales, certainly other bands, like the Police, were bigger. Before the Smiths disbanded in 1987, though, Morrissey and Marr were like alt-rock's answer to Lennon and McCartney.
What the Smiths were to British alt-rock, R.E.M. was to American alt-rock. Seriously, was there a dorm room across the country that wasn't blasting them? Luckily for us, they kept going.
9 GEORGE MICHAEL
His work with Wham! produced some of the yummiest pop of the decade. Then Michael proved that he was more than just bubblegum when he went solo with 1987's Faith, a Thriller of his own.
10 JANET JACKSON
She had a nasty start to the '80s with her first two albums. But on the strength of her two career-defining discs, 1986's Control and 1989's Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, Jackson makes this list.