How the VanJam Music War works

What’s your favourite decade for music? Your answer almost certainly depends on your age as most of us eternally favour the music of our teens and early 20s (it’s science!).

This blog is for the children of the 80s and 90s.

If you waited outside the store to buy The Joshua Tree or vividly remember the first time you heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit”…if you bore witness to the birth of rap or the death of hair metal…if you have an appetite for destruction or ridden the downward spiral…

…this blog is for you. (Or if you just love “old” music!) Our name, in case you haven’t guessed, is a mash up of two mega bands from the two decades.

Many will tell you there was no better decade for music than the 80s. Others will say the same thing about the 90s. So let’s settle this once and for all.

Let’s do a head-to-head comparison of the music of the 80s and the 90s, and crown a champion.

So how do we do that exactly?

We start with lists. There are more “best of the decades” lists on the internet than Eddie Van Halen has guitars.

For our purposes we will lean on the dependable rock ‘n’ roll pundits at RollingStoneLOGOmagazine.

Here’s what we’re going to do:

Take Rolling Stone’s 50 best albums of the 80s.
Take Rolling Stone’s 50 best albums of the 90s.
Put those albums into one-on-one battles.
Week one – compare #50 on one list to #50 on the other. Pick a winner.
Week two – compare #49 on one list to #49 on the other. Pick a winner.
And so on.

No decade bias. No assumptions. We’ll approach every album like we’re hearing it for the first time (which in some cases, we will be), and pick winners based on how well they hold up, how innovative they were, how influential they have been.

We’ll keep a running tally. And we’ll keep score, recognizing that albums higher on the lists ought to be worth more. Hence:

  • 50-41 = 1 point each
  • 40-31 = 2 points each
  • 30-21 = 3 points each
  • 20-11 = 4 points each
  • 10-1 = 5 points each

Whichever decade scores the most points wins the war, and we will know which decade reigns supreme, musically-speaking.

We certainly don’t expect readers to agree with all our picks. Use the comments to tell us if we got it right or wrong!

JG and JS