Tag Archives: albums

Dear Rolling Stone: Some Suggestions for Your Next List

Rolling Stone magazine has published three different versions of its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list: in 2003, 2012, and 2020. There are a total of 691 albums on the combined lists and quite a few of them are on my personal list of favorite albums. But I found 126 albums on my list that were not on any of the Rolling Stone lists – many of them from artists who are not on any of the lists – that I think merit consideration for the next list. (If you want to see the full list of my five-star albums (including classical music), go HERE.)

NOTE 1: This is not a meta-list: these albums don’t represent anything but my personal opinions.

NOTE 2: If the artists on my list is on one or more of the Rolling Stone lists, but with a different album (or albums), I have placed an asterisk next to the selection. This means that if there is no asterisk, none of the three Rolling Stone lists has any albums by the artist.

  1. Various Artists – Ken Burns Jazz (rec. 1917-1995)
  2. Bessie Smith – The Collection (rec. 1923-1933)
  3. Louis Armstrong – The Complete Hot Fives and Hot Sevens (rec. 1924-1929)
  4. Lonnie Johnson – Steppin’ on the Blues (rec. 1925-1932)
  5. Jelly Roll Morton – Birth of the Hot (rec. 1926-1927)
  6. Blind Blake – Ragtime Guitar’s Foremost Fingerpicker (rec. 1926-1930)
  7. Fats Waller – Piano Solos: Turn on the Heat (rec. 1927-1941)
  8. Various Artists – An Anthology of Big Band Swing (rec. 1930-1955)
  9. Art Tatum – Piano Starts Here (rec. 1933, 1949)
  10. Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli – The Quintessential Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli: Le Quintette du Hot Club de France (rec. 1934-1940)
  11. Duke Ellington – Never No Lament: The Blanton-Webster Band (rec. 1940-1942)
  12. Charlie Parker – The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes (rec. 1944-1948)
  13. Charlie Parker – Yardbird Suite: The Ultimate Collection (rec. 1944-1953)
  14. Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool (rec. 1949-1950)*
  15. Bud Powell – The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. 1 (rec. 1949-1951)
  16. T-Bone Walker – The Complete Imperial Recordings (rec. 1950-1954)
  17. Elmore James – The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James (rec. 1951-1961)
  18. Art Tatum – The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces (rec. 1953-1956)
  19. Jimmy Reed – Big Boss Blues (rec. 1953-1961)
  20. Sarah Vaughan – Sarah Vaughan (with Clifford Brown) (1954)
  21. Various Artists – Atlantic & Atco Remasters Series: Sampler One (rec. 1954-1958)
  22. Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus (1956)
  23. Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners (1956)
  24. Nat “King” Cole – After Midnight: The Complete Session (1956)
  25. Otis Rush – The Essential Otis Rush: The Classic Cobra Recordings (rec. 1956-1958)
  26. Original Broadway Cast – West Side Story (1957)
  27. Thelonious Monk – Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (rec. 1957, rel. 2005)
  28. The Everly Brothers – Cadence Classics: Their 20 Greatest Hits (rec. 1957-1960)
  29. Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else (1958)
  30. Champion Jack Dupree – Blues From the Gutter (1958)
  31. Stan Getz & J.J. Johnson – Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson at The Opera House (1958)
  32. The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out (1959)
  33. Miles Davis – Porgy and Bess (1959)*
  34. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – The Ultimate Collection (rec. 1959-1972)*
  35. Art Farmer & Benny Golson – Meet the Jazztet (1960)
  36. Wes Montgomery – The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery (1960)
  37. Hank Mobley – Soul Station (1960)
  38. Freddie King – Hide Away: The Best of Freddy King (rec. 1960-1966)
  39. Etta James – The Sweetest Peaches: The Chess Years, Part 1 (rec. 1960-1966)*
  40. Bill Evans – Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961)
  41. Bill Evans – Waltz for Debby (1961)
  42. John Coltrane – My Favorite Things (1961)*
  43. Dexter Gordon – Go (1962)
  44. Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder (1964)
  45. Joe Henderson – Inner Urge (1965)
  46. Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil (1965)
  47. Sun Ra – The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra (1965)
  48. The Beatles – Past Masters: Vol. 2 (rec. 1965-1970)*
  49. Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Live 1966 – The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert (rec. 1966, rel. 1998)*
  50. Larry Young – Unity (1966)
  51. Various Artists – Chicago/The Blues/Today! (1966)
  52. Albert King – King of the Blues Guitar (rec. 1966-1968)*
  53. Jefferson Airplane – The Worst of Jefferson Airplane (rec. 1966-1970)*
  54. Janis Joplin – Greatest Hits (rec. 1966-1970)*
  55. The Velvet Underground – Peel Slowly and See (rec. 1966-1970)*
  56. Aretha Franklin – The Very Best of Aretha Franklin: The ’60s (rec. 1967-1970)*
  57. Various Artists – Tropicália: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound (rec. 1968-1970)
  58. Hound Dog Taylor – Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers (1971)
  59. Dave Holland – Conference of the Birds (1973)
  60. Yes – Yessongs (1973)*
  61. Yes – Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973)*
  62. Joe Pass – Virtuoso (1974)
  63. Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir – Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares (1975)
  64. Renaissance – Live at Carnegie Hall (1976)
  65. Albert Collins – Ice Pickin’ (1978)
  66. The Roches – The Roches (1979)
  67. Talking Heads – Fear of Music (1979)*
  68. Dire Straits – Making Movies (1980)*
  69. The Roches – Keep On Doing (1982)
  70. Paul Simon – Hearts and Bones (1982)*
  71. Orchestra Baobab – Pirates Choice (1982)
  72. Elvis Costello – King of America (1986)*
  73. Alison Krauss – Now That I’ve Found You (rec. 1987-1994)
  74. k.d. lang – Shadowland (1988)
  75. The Sundays – Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (1990)
  76. They Might Be Giants – Flood (1990)
  77. World Party – Goodbye Jumbo (1990)
  78. Rosanne Cash – Interiors (1990)
  79. Van Morrison – Enlightenment (1990)*
  80. Throwing Muses – The Real Ramona (1991)
  81. R.E.M. – Out of Time (1991)*
  82. Master Musicians of Jajouka – Apocalypse Across the Sky (1992)
  83. Aimee Mann – Whatever (1993)
  84. Letters to Cleo – Aurora Gory Alice (1994)
  85. Various Artists – Party Girl Soundtrack (1995)
  86. Garbage – Garbage (1995)
  87. Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball (1995)
  88. Aimee Mann – I’m With Stupid (1995)
  89. Sarah McLachlan – Surfacing (1997)
  90. The Sundays – Static & Silence (1997)
  91. John Scofield – A Go Go (1998)
  92. Garbage – Version 2.0 (1998)
  93. Jim Hall & Pat Metheny – Jim Hall & Pat Metheny (1999)
  94. Wilco – Summerteeth (1999)*
  95. Greg Osby – Invisible Hand (2000)
  96. Shelby Lynne – I Am Shelby Lynne (2000)
  97. Mariza – Fado em Mim (2000)
  98. Buddy Guy – Sweet Tea (2001)
  99. Macy Gray – The Id (2001)
  100. Jason Moran – Black Stars (2001)
  101. Sleater-Kinney – One Beat (2002)*
  102. The New Pornographers – Electric Version (2003)
  103. Petra Haden – Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out (2005)
  104. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (2005)
  105. The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America (2006)
  106. Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out of This Country (2006)
  107. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2007)*
  108. The New Pornographers – Challengers (2007)
  109. Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová – Once: Music From the Motion Picture (2007)
  110. PJ Harvey – White Chalk (2007)*
  111. Los Campesinos! – Hold On Now, Youngster… (2008)
  112. Tune-Yards – Bird-Brains (2009)
  113. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (2010)*
  114. Superchunk – Majesty Shredding (2010)
  115. Dengue Fever – Cannibal Courtship (2011)
  116. Tom Waits – Bad As Me (2011)*
  117. Yuck – Yuck (2011)
  118. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead (2011)
  119. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake (2011)*
  120. Grimes – Visions (2012)
  121. The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers (2012)
  122. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse (2013)
  123. Alvvays – Alvvays (2014)
  124. Angel Olsen – My Woman (2016)
  125. Alvvays – Antisocialites (2017)
  126. Angélique Kidjo – Remain in Light (2018)

Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time Lists: An Analysis

Over the past 20 years, Rolling Stone magazine has published three different versions of a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The first list came out in 2003, followed by a revised list in 2012, and then a complete overhaul that was just published in September 2020. (You can find the 2020 version HERE.) I looked in vain for an analysis of the three lists online, so I decided to do it myself. The results are below. I have organized all the album lists in chronological order and the artist lists in alphabetical order. If you notice any mistakes, please let me know.

Some initial observations of the changes in the 2020 list:

(1) It looks like the 2020 listers were trying to avoid compilation albums whenever possible, which seems like a good policy, at least for artists who recorded after the mid-1950s. I do think it was a mistake to remove Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, however, which is a foundational document for so many folk, blues and rock styles.

(2) I welcome the inclusion of some prog rock (which Rolling Stone has generally eschewed), particularly Close to the Edge (1972) by Yes. I was also glad to see two new African artists on the list (King Sunny Adé and Fela Kuti) and five new jazz additions (Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Nina Simone, Herbie Hancock, and Alice Coltrane). After mostly ignoring Spanish-language or Latinx music in its previous two lists (with Santana as – I think – the only exception), the 2020 list makes amends by adding Selena, Shakira, Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny, and Rosalia. Although the majority of the new additions were recent releases, there were some surprising blasts from the past, including Laura Nyro’s Eli and the 13th Confession (1968) and Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson (1972). For those of us veterans of the rock vs. disco battles of the 1970s, it is nice to see Rolling Stone finally acknowledging the importance of artists like Chic, Rufus, and Donna Summer. And on the other side of that coin, the 2020 list includes several lesser-known punk bands of the late 70s, including The Raincoats, The Slits and X-Ray Spex. Fellow alternative and indie rock/pop fans will appreciate the addition of artists like Arcade Fire, Belle and Sebastian, Neutral Milk Hotel, Bon Iver, Fiona Apple, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Yo La Tengo.

(3) On the omission side, we’ve lost all the Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention albums, which feels like a significant loss. And we lost several important blues artists: Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Little Walter, Professor Longhair, John Mayall, and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Also dropped were several classic 60’s rock mainstays, including The Mamas and the Papas, Buffalo Springfield, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Neil Diamond. I miss alternative country guys Gram Parsons and Steve Earle, as well as some R&B stalwarts (Jackie Wilson, Labelle, The O’Jays) and the inimitable War, but it’s difficult to feel bad about the loss of Don Henley or Moby. Although the 2020 list still includes four albums by the Who, I do take personally the omission of my favorite, 1973’s Quadrophenia.

(4) Not This One but That One. In a number of cases, an artist with a single album on the 2012 list is represented by a different single album on the 2020 list:
— Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) replaced by AM (2013)
— Leonard Cohen: Songs of Love And Hate (1971) replaced by Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
— Manu Chao: Proxima Estacion Esperanza (2001) replaced by Clandestino (1998)
— M.I.A.: Kala (2007) replaced by Arular (2005)
— Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend (2008) replaced by Modern Vampires of the City (2013)

THE NUMBERS

Albums
Albums on all three lists:                                    318
Albums on 2003 and 2012, but not 2020:     145
Albums on 2003 only:                                           29
Albums on 2012 only:                                           17
Albums on 2012 and 2020, but not 2003:        19
Albums on 2003 and 2020, but not 2012:          7
Albums on 2020 only:                                        156

Artists
Artists on all three lists:                                       207
Artists on 2003 and 2012, but not 2020:          42
Artists on 2003 only:                                               2
Artists on 2012 only:                                              3
Artists on 2012 and 2020, but not 2003:            7
Artists on 2003 and 2020, but not 2012:            2
Artists on 2020 only:                                          105

ALBUMS ON 2003, 2012 & 2020 LISTS

  1. Hank Williams – 40 Greatest Hits (rec. 1947-1952, rel. 1978)
  2. Muddy Waters – The Anthology (rec. 1947-1972, rel. 2001)
  3. Sam Cooke – Portrait of a Legend (rec. 1951-1964, rel. 2003)
  4. Ray Charles – The Birth of Soul: The Complete Atlantic Rhythm and Blues Recordings (rec. 1952-1959, rel. 1991)
  5. Elvis Presley – The Sun Sessions (rec. 1954-1955, rel. 1976)
  6. Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours (1955)
  7. Patsy Cline – The Ultimate Collection (rec. 1955-1961, rel. 2000)
  8. Chuck Berry – The Great Twenty-Eight (rec. 1955-1965, rel. 1982)
  9. Jerry Lee Lewis – All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology (rec. 1955-1985, rel. 1993)
  10. Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley (1956)
  11. Buddy Holly & the Crickets – 20 Golden Greats (rec. 1956-1958, rel. 1978)
  12. James Brown – Star Time (rec. 1956-1984, rel. 1991)
  13. Little Richard – Here’s Little Richard (1957)
  14. Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley (1958)
  15. Various Artists – Phil Spector: Back to Mono (rec. 1958-1969, rel. 1991)
  16. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (1959)
  17. Howlin’ Wolf – Moanin’ in the Moonlight (1959)
  18. Ornette Coleman – The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)
  19. John Coltrane – Giant Steps (1960)
  20. Ike and Tina Turner – Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner (rec. 1960-1975, rel. 1991)
  21. Etta James – At Last! (1961)
  22. Ray Charles – Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)
  23. Merle Haggard – Down Every Road (rec. 1962-1994, rel. 1996)
  24. Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
  25. James Brown – Live at the Apollo (1963)
  26. Sam Cooke – Live at the Harlem Square Club (rec. 1963, rel. 1985)
  27. Various Artists – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era (rec. 1963-1968, rel. 1972, 1998)
  28. The Ronettes – Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes (1964)
  29. The Beatles – Meet the Beatles! (1964)
  30. The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
  31. The Temptations – Anthology (rec. 1964-1972, rel. 1973)
  32. Diana Ross and the Supremes – Anthology (rec. 1964-1971, rel. 1974)
  33. Bob Dylan- Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
  34. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
  35. The Beatles – Help! (1965)
  36. The Beatles – Rubber Soul (1965)
  37. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1965)
  38. Otis Redding – Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965)
  39. B.B. King – Live at the Regal (1965)
  40. The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)
  41. The Beach Boys – Today! (1965)
  42. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – Going to a Go Go (1965)
  43. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)
  44. The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
  45. Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde (1966)
  46. Otis Redding – Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul (1966)
  47. The Rolling Stones – Aftermath (1966)
  48. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
  49. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
  50. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced? (1967)
  51. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold as Love (1967)
  52. Love – Forever Changes (1967)
  53. The Doors – The Doors (1967)
  54. Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
  55. Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding (1967)
  56. Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
  57. Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)
  58. Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967)
  59. The Who – Sell Out (1967)
  60. Bob Dylan and the Band – The Basement Tapes (rec. 1967-1968, 1975, rel. 1975)
  61. Sly and the Family Stone – Greatest Hits (rec. 1967-1969, rel. 1970)
  62. The Beatles – The Beatles [White Album] (1968)
  63. Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)
  64. The Band – Music From Big Pink (1968)
  65. Big Brother and the Holding Company – Cheap Thrills (1968)
  66. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland (1968)
  67. The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet (1968)
  68. The Zombies – Odessy and Oracle (1968)
  69. Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul (1968)
  70. Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison (1968)
  71. The Byrds – Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)
  72. Dr. John – Gris-Gris (1968)
  73. The Kinks – Something Else by the Kinks (1968)
  74. The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat (1968)
  75. The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
  76. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (1969)
  77. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II (1969)
  78. Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed (1969)
  79. The Band – The Band (1969)
  80. The Stooges – The Stooges (1969)
  81. Sly & the Family Stone – Stand! (1969)
  82. Dusty Springfield – Dusty in Memphis (1969)
  83. The Who – Tommy (1969)
  84. The Flying Burrito Bros – The Gilded Palace of Sin (1969)
  85. Elvis Presley – From Elvis in Memphis (1969)
  86. The Meters – Look-Ka Py Py (1969)
  87. Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
  88. The Kinks – The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1969)
  89. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969)
  90. MC5 – Kick Out the Jams (1969)
  91. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy and the Poor Boys (1969)
  92. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground (1969)
  93. John Lennon – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
  94. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass (1970)
  95. Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
  96. Van Morrison – Moondance (1970)
  97. Neil Young – After the Gold Rush (1970)
  98. The Beatles – Let It Be (1970)
  99. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (1970)
  100. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James (1970)
  101. The Velvet Underground – Loaded (1970)
  102. Derek and the Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
  103. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)
  104. Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)
  105. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Déjà Vu (1970)
  106. The Who – Live at Leeds (1970)
  107. The Stooges – Fun House (1970)
  108. Santana – Abraxas (1970)
  109. Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman (1970)
  110. Grateful Dead – American Beauty (1970)
  111. Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead (1970)
  112. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)
  113. Carole King – Tapestry (1971)
  114. Joni Mitchell – Blue (1971)
  115. The Who – Who’s Next (1971)
  116. Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East (1971)
  117. Black Sabbath – Master of Reality (1971)
  118. Dolly Parton – Coat of Many Colors (1971)
  119. Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971)
  120. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
  121. John Lennon – Imagine (1971)
  122. David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971)
  123. Sly and the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1971)
  124. Janis Joplin – Pearl (1971)
  125. Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story (1971)
  126. T. Rex – Electric Warrior (1971)
  127. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (1971)
  128. John Prine – John Prine (1971)
  129. Al Green – Greatest Hits (rec. 1971-1975, rel. 1975)
  130. Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street (1972)
  131. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders From Mars (1972)
  132. Curtis Mayfield – Superfly (1972)
  133. Neil Young – Harvest (1972)
  134. Lou Reed – Transformer (1972)
  135. Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972)
  136. Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything? (1972)
  137. Stevie Wonder – Talking Book (1972)
  138. Various Artists (incl. Jimmy Cliff) – The Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack (1972)
  139. Stevie Wonder – Music of My Mind (1972)
  140. Al Green – I’m Still in Love with You (1972)
  141. Nick Drake – Pink Moon (1972)
  142. Randy Newman – Sail Away (1972)
  143. Eagles – Eagles (1972)
  144. Elton John – Honky Chateau (1972)
  145. Big Star – #1 Record (1972)
  146. The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers (rec. 1972-1973, rel. 1976)
  147. ABBA – The Definitive Collection (rec. 1972-1982, rel. 2001)
  148. Bob Marley – Legend (rec. 1972-1983, rel. 1984)
  149. Stevie Wonder – Innervisions (1973)
  150. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
  151. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
  152. Bob Marley and the Wailers – Catch a Fire (1973)
  153. Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, the Innocent, and the E. Street Shuffle (1973)
  154. Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (1973)
  155. Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On (1973)
  156. New York Dolls – New York Dolls (1973)
  157. Al Green – Call Me (1973)
  158. Toots and the Maytals – Funky Kingston (1973)
  159. Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure (1973)
  160. Lynyrd Skynyrd – (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘Nérd ‘Skin-‘Nérd) (1973)
  161. Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark (1974)
  162. Big Star – Radio City (1974)
  163. Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets (1974)
  164. Richard and Linda Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974)
  165. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks (1975)
  166. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run (1975)
  167. Patti Smith – Horses (1975)
  168. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975)
  169. Kiss – Alive! (1975)
  170. Queen – A Night at the Opera (1975)
  171. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
  172. Parliament – The Mothership Connection (1975)
  173. Neil Young – Tonight’s the Night (1975)
  174. Brian Eno – Another Green World (1975)
  175. Earth, Wind & Fire – That’s the Way of the World (1975)
  176. Ramones – Ramones (1976)
  177. The Eagles – Hotel California (1976)
  178. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
  179. David Bowie – Station to Station (1976)
  180. Aerosmith – Rocks (1976)
  181. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)
  182. Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
  183. Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977)
  184. The Clash – The Clash (1977)
  185. Ramones – Rocket to Russia (1977)
  186. Television – Marquee Moon (1977)
  187. Steely Dan – Aja (1977)
  188. Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True (1977)
  189. Bob Marley & Wailers – Exodus (1977)
  190. Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger (1977)
  191. Various Artists (incl. Bee Gees) – Saturday Night Fever (Original Soundtrack) (1977)
  192. David Bowie – Low (1977)
  193. Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express (1977)
  194. Wire – Pink Flag (1977)
  195. Suicide – Suicide (1977)
  196. Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model (1978)
  197. Blondie – Parallel Lines (1978)
  198. Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
  199. Funkadelic – One Nation Under a Groove (1978)
  200. The Rolling Stones – Some Girls (1978)
  201. The Cars – The Cars (1978)
  202. Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978)
  203. Van Halen – Van Halen (1978)
  204. Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)
  205. Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers (1978)
  206. Marvin Gaye – Here, My Dear (1978)
  207. Michael Jackson – Off the Wall (1979)
  208. The Clash – London Calling (1979)
  209. Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)
  210. The B52’s – The B-52’s (1979)
  211. Gang of Four – Entertainment! (1979)
  212. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes (1979)
  213. Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
  214. Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady (1979)
  215. AC/DC – Back in Black (1980)
  216. Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)
  217. The Pretenders – Pretenders (1980)
  218. Joy Division – Closer (1980)
  219. Prince – Dirty Mind (1980)
  220. X – Los Angeles (1980)
  221. The Clash – Sandanista! (1980)
  222. The Go-Gos – Beauty and the Beat (1981)
  223. Black Flag – Damaged (1981)
  224. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)
  225. Prince – 1999 (1982)
  226. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska (1982)
  227. R.E.M. – Murmur (1983)
  228. Run-DMC – Run D.M.C. (1983)
  229. The Police- Synchronicity (1983)
  230. Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual (1983)
  231. Madonna – The Immaculate Collection (rec. 1983-1990, rel. 1990)
  232. Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
  233. The Replacements – Let It Be (1984)
  234. Los Lobos – How Will the Wolf Survive? (1984)
  235. Prince – Purple Rain (1984)
  236. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
  237. Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising (1985)
  238. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston (1985)
  239. Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms (1985)
  240. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs (1985)
  241. Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)
  242. Run DMC – Raising Hell (1986)
  243. Metallica – Master of Puppets (1986)
  244. Peter Gabriel – So (1986)
  245. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1986)
  246. Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill (1986)
  247. U2 – The Joshua Tree (1987)
  248. Guns ‘N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction (1987)
  249. Prince – Sign o’ the Times (1987)
  250. Michael Jackson – Bad (1987)
  251. Eric B. and Rakim – Paid in Full (1987)
  252. George Michael – Faith (1987)
  253. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
  254. N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton (1988)
  255. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman (1988)
  256. Pixies – Surfer Rosa (1988)
  257. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation (1988)
  258. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)
  259. Pixies – Doolittle (1989)
  260. Bonnie Raitt – Nick of Time (1989)
  261. Madonna – Like a Prayer (1989)
  262. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
  263. The Cure – Disintegration (1989)
  264. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
  265. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
  266. Depeche Mode – Violator (1990)
  267. Sinéad O’Connor – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990)
  268. Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)
  269. U2 – Achtung Baby (1991)
  270. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory (1991)
  271. Pearl Jam – Ten (1991)
  272. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (1991)
  273. Metallica – Metallica (The Black Album) (1991)
  274. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
  275. Massive Attack – Blue Lines (1991)
  276. R.E.M. – Automatic for the People (1992)
  277. Dr. Dre – The Chronic (1992)
  278. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine (1992)
  279. Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted (1993)
  280. Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream (1993)
  281. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
  282. PJ Harvey – Rid of Me (1993)
  283. Nirvana – In Utero (1993)
  284. Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville (1993)
  285. Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die (1994)
  286. Green Day – Dookie (1994)
  287. Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral (1994)
  288. Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)
  289. Mary J. Blige – My Life (1994)
  290. Weezer – Weezer (The Blue Album) (1994)
  291. Jeff Buckley – Grace (1994)
  292. Nirvana – Unplugged in New York (1994)
  293. TLC – CrazySexyCool (1994)
  294. Nas – Illmatic (1994)
  295. Portishead – Dummy (1994)
  296. Hole – Live Through This (1994)
  297. Björk – Post (1995)
  298. Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
  299. Beck – Odelay (1996)
  300. Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt (1996)
  301. Fugees – The Score (1996)
  302. The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death (1997)
  303. Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)
  304. Janet Jackson – The Velvet Rope (1997)
  305. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
  306. Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
  307. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
  308. Madonna – Ray of Light (1998)
  309. Eminem – The Slim Shady LP (1999)
  310. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication (1999)
  311. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
  312. D’Angelo- Voodoo (2000)
  313. Outkast – Stankonia (2000)
  314. The Strokes – Is This It? (2001)
  315. Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)
  316. Bob Dylan – Love and Theft (2001)
  317. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
  318. The White Stripes – Elephant (2003)

ALBUMS ON 2003 and 2012 LISTS, BUT NOT 2020 LIST

  1. Various Artists – Anthology of American Folk Music (rec. 1926-1933, rel. 1952)
  2. John Lee Hooker – The Ultimate Collection (rec. 1948-1990, rel. 1991)
  3. Professor Longhair – New Orleans Piano (rec. 1949, 1953, rel. 1972)
  4. Various Artists – The Sun Records Collection (rec. 1950-1958, rel. 1994)
  5. Little Walter – The Best of Little Walter (rec. 1952-1955, rel. 1958)
  6. The Drifters – Golden Hits (rec. 1954-1964, rel. 1968)
  7. Frank Sinatra – Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)
  8. Bobby Bland – Two Steps From the Blues (rec. 1956-1960, rel. 1961)
  9. Jackie Wilson – Mr. Excitement! (rec. 1956-1975, rel. 1992)
  10. The Crickets (feat. Buddy Holly) – The “Chirping” Crickets (1957)
  11. Ray Charles – The Genius of Ray Charles (1959)
  12. Muddy Waters – At Newport 1960 (1960)
  13. Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain (1960)
  14. Howlin’ Wolf – Howlin’ Wolf (rec. 1959-1962, rel. 1962)
  15.  Various Artists – The Best of the Girl Groups, Vols. 1 and 2 (rec. 1960-1965, rel. 1990)
  16. Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions – The Anthology (rec. 1961-1977, rel. 1992)
  17. Various Artists – A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (1963)
  18.  The Beatles – Please Please Me (1963)
  19. Stan Getz and João Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto (1964)
  20. Muddy Waters – Folk Singer (1964)
  21. Loretta Lynn – All Time Greatest Hits (rec. 1964-1978, rel. 2002)
  22. The Rolling Stones- Out of Our Heads (1965)
  23. The Who – The Who Sings My Generation (1965)
  24. The Yardbirds – Having a Rave Up With the Yardbirds (1965)
  25. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1965)
  26. The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones, Now! (1965)
  27. The Mamas and the Papas – If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears (1966)
  28. Cream – Fresh Cream (1966)
  29. John Mayall – Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (1966)
  30.  The Mothers of Invention – Freak Out! (1966)
  31. The Yardbirds – Roger the Engineer (1966)
  32. The Who – A Quick One (Happy Jack) (1966)
  33. Simon and Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966)
  34. Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign (rec. 1966-1967, rel. 1967)
  35. Moby Grape – Moby Grape (1967)
  36. Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield Again (1967)
  37. The Rolling Stones – Between the Buttons (1967)
  38. The Doors – Strange Days (1967)
  39. The Byrds – Younger Than Yesterday (1967)
  40. Linda Ronstadt – The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt (rec. 1967-1995, rel. 2002)
  41. Otis Redding – The Dock of the Bay (1968)
  42. Cream – Wheels of Fire (1968)
  43. The Byrds – The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968)
  44. Blood, Sweat and Tears – Child Is Father to the Man (1968)
  45. Mothers of Invention – We’re Only in It for the Money (1968)
  46. Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends (1968)
  47. Grateful Dead – Anthem of the Sun (1968)
  48. Neil Diamond – The Neil Diamond Collection (rec. 1968-1972, rel. 1999)
  49. Santana – Santana (1969)
  50. Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica (1969)
  51. Quicksilver Messenger Service – Happy Trails (1969)
  52. Grateful Dead – Live/Dead (1969)
  53. Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers (1969)
  54. James Brown – In the Jungle Groove (rec. 1969-1971, rel. 1986)
  55. The Carpenters – Close to You (1970)
  56. MC5 – Back in the USA (1970)
  57. Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection (1970)
  58. Randy Newman – 12 Songs (1970)
  59. Elton John – Greatest Hits (rec. 1970-1974, rel. 1974)
  60. The Doors – L.A. Woman (1971)
  61. Alice Cooper – Love It to Death (1971)
  62.  Jethro Tull – Aqualung (1971)
  63. The Kinks – The Kink Kronikles (1972)
  64. The O’Jays – Back Stabbers (1972)
  65. Dr. John – Dr. John’s Gumbo (1972)
  66. Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes (1972)
  67. War- The World Is a Ghetto (1972)
  68. The Rolling Stones – Tattoo You (rec. 1972-1981, rel. 1981)
  69. Sly and the Family Stone – Fresh (1973)
  70. The Wailers – Burnin’ (1973)
  71. Jackson Browne – For Everyman (1973)
  72.  The Stooges – Raw Power (1973)
  73. ZZ Top – Tres Hombres (1973)
  74.  Paul McCartney and Wings – Band on the Run (1973)
  75. Mott the Hoople – Mott (1973)
  76. Lou Reed – Berlin (1973)
  77. The Who – Quadrophenia (1973)
  78. David Bowie – Aladdin Sane (1973)
  79. Tom Waits – The Heart of Saturday Night (1974)
  80. Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel (1974)
  81. Jackson Browne – Late for the Sky (1974)
  82. Barry White – Can’t Get Enough (1974)
  83. Labelle – Nightbirds (1974)
  84. The Meters – Rejuvenation (1974)
  85. Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic (1974)
  86. Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974)
  87. Bob Marley and the Wailers – Natty Dread (1974)
  88. Randy Newman – Good Old Boys (1974)
  89. Elton John- Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)
  90. Roxy Music – Siren (1975)
  91. Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic (1975)
  92. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac (1975)
  93. Bob Dylan – Desire (1976)
  94. Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle (1976)
  95. Jackson Browne – The Pretender (1976)
  96.  Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
  97. Cheap Trick – In Color (1977)
  98. Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
  99. Eric Clapton – Slowhand (1977)
  100. Talking Heads – Talking Heads: 77 (1977)
  101. Cheap Trick – At Budokan (1978)
  102. Billy Joel – 52nd Street (1978)
  103. The Police – Outlandos D’Amour (1978)
  104. Willie Nelson – Stardust (1978)
  105. The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry (rec. 1978-1979, rel. 1980)
  106. The Police – Regatta de Blanc (1979)
  107. Graham Parker – Squeezing Out Sparks (1979)
  108. AC/DC – Highway to Hell (1979)
  109. Public Image, Ltd. – Metal Box (1979)
  110. Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Armed Forces (1979)
  111. Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980)
  112. U2 – Boy (1980)
  113. Echo and the Bunnymen – Heaven Up Here (1981)
  114. X – Wild Gift (1981)
  115. The Police – Ghost in the Machine (1981)
  116. New Order – Substance (rec. 1981-1987, rel. 1987)
  117. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Imperial Bedroom (1982)
  118. Richard and Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights (1982)
  119. Eurythmics – Touch (1983)
  120. ZZ Top – Eliminator (1983)
  121. U2 – War (1983)
  122. The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs (rec. 1983-1987, rel. 1987)
  123. The Smiths – The Smiths (1984)
  124. Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense (1984)
  125. The Replacements – Tim (1985)
  126. The Pogues – Rum Sodomy & the Lash (1985)
  127. LL Cool J – Radio (1985)
  128. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy (1985)
  129. The Smiths – Meat Is Murder (1985)
  130. Steve Earle – Guitar Town (1986)
  131. R.E.M. – Document (1987)
  132. Def Leppard – Hysteria (1987)
  133. Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love (1987)
  134. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking (1988)
  135. EPMD – Strictly Business (1988)
  136. Don Henley – The End of the Innocence (1989)
  137. Pearl Jam – Vitalogy (1994)
  138. Johnny Cash – American Recordings (1994)
  139. Soundgarden – Superunknown (1994)
  140. Bob Dylan – Time Out of Mind (1997)
  141. Tom Waits – Mule Variations (1999)
  142. Moby – Play (1999)
  143. U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)
  144. Peter Wolf – Sleepless (2002)
  145. Beck – Sea Change (2002)

ALBUMS ON 2003 LIST ONLY

  1. Robert Johnson – King of the Delta Blues Singers, Vol. 2 (rec. 1936-1937, rel. 1970)
  2. Hank Williams- The Complete Hank Williams (rec. 1946-1952, rel. 1998)
  3. James Brown – 20 All-Time Greatest Hits (rec. 1956-1976, rel. 1991)
  4. Otis Redding – Dreams to Remember: The Otis Redding Anthology (rec. 1960-1967, rel. 1998)
  5. The Beatles – With the Beatles (1963)
  6. Simon and Garfunkel – Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits (rec. 1964-1969, rel. 1972)
  7. The Byrds – The Byrds’ Greatest Hits (rec. 1965-1966, rel. 1967)
  8. The Mamas & the Papas – Greatest Hits (rec. 1966-1968)
  9. Otis Redding – Live in Europe (1967)
  10. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Green River (1969)
  11. Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left (1969)
  12. David Bowie – ChangesOneBowie (rec. 1969-1976, rel. 1976)
  13. The Beach Boys – Sunflower (1970)
  14. Elton John – Elton John (1970)
  15. Nick Drake – Bryter Layter (1971)
  16. Paul Simon – There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973)
  17. Bruce Springsteen – Greetings From Asbury Park N.J. (1973)
  18. Roxy Music – Country Life (1974)
  19. Def Leppard – Pyromania (1983)
  20. Public Enemy – Yo! Bum Rush the Stage (1987)
  21. Jane’s Addiction – Ritual De Lo Habitual (1990)
  22. No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom (1995)
  23. PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love (1995)
  24. Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)
  25. Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club (1997)
  26. Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles (1999)
  27. Madonna – Music (2000)
  28. No Doubt – Rock Steady (2001)
  29. Eminem – The Eminem Show (2002)

ALBUMS ON 2012 LIST ONLY

1. The Complete Recordings – Robert Johnson (rec. 1936-37, rel. 1990)
2. The Beach Boys – The Smile Sessions (rec. 1965-1971, rel. 2011)
3. Boz Scaggs – Boz Scaggs (1969)
4. B.B. King – Live in Cook County Jail (1971)
5. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love And Hate (1971)
6. Bonnie Raitt – Give It Up (1972)
7. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle, Vol. 1 (1976)
8. Manu Chao – Proxima Estacion Esperanza (2001)
9. The White Stripes – White Blood Cells (2001)
10. Radiohead – Amnesiac (2001)
11. Bruce Springsteen – The Rising (2002)
12. My Morning Jacket – Z (2005)
13. Bob Dylan – Modern Times (2006)
14. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
15. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular (2007)
16. M.I.A. – Kala (2007)
17. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (2008)

ALBUMS ON 2003 AND 2020 LISTS BUT NOT 2012 LIST

  1. Robert Johnson – King of the Delta Blues Singers (rec. 1936-1937; rel. 1961)
  2. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (1970)
  3. Linda Ronstadt – Heart Like a Wheel (1974)
  4. Roxy Music – Avalon (1982)
  5. Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (1995)
  6. Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded (1987)
  7. Massive Attack – Mezzanine (1998)

ALBUMS ON 2012 AND 2020 LISTS BUT NOT 2003 LIST

  1. Paul Simon – Paul Simon (1972)
  2. Various Artists – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto (1985)
  3. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989)
  4. Radiohead – The Bends (1995)
  5. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)
  6. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out (1997)
  7. Outkast – Aquemini (1998)
  8. The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs (1999)
  9. PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (2000)
  10. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001)
  11. Jay-Z – The Black Album (2003)
  12. Green Day – American Idiot (2004)
  13. Kanye West – The College Dropout (2004)
  14. Kanye West – Late Registration (2005)
  15. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (2006)
  16. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
  17. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver (2007)
  18. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III (2008)
  19. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

ALBUMS ON 2020 LIST BUT NOT ON 2003 OR 2012 LISTS

  1. Billie Holiday – Lady in Satin (1958)
  2. Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um (1959)
  3. Nina Simone – Wild Is the Wind (1966)
  4. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
  5. The Beach Boys – Wild Honey (1967)
  6. The Four Tops – Reach Out (1967)
  7. Laura Nyro – Eli & the 13th Confession (1968)
  8. Roberta Flack – First Take (1969)
  9. Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul (1969)
  10. King Sunny Adé – The Best of the Classic Years (rec. 1969-1974, rel. 2003)
  11. Curtis Mayfield – Curtis (1970)
  12. James Brown – Sex Machine (1970)
  13. Harry Nilsson – Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)
  14. Bill Withers – Just As I Am (1971)
  15. Loretta Lynn – Coal Miner’s Daughter (1971)
  16. Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidanada (1971)
  17. Paul and Linda McCartney – Ram (1971)
  18. Aretha Franklin – Amazing Grace (1972)
  19. Bill Withers – Still Bill (1972)
  20. Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted and Black (1972)
  21. Can – Ege Bamyasi (1972)
  22. Yes – Close to the Edge (1972)
  23. Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters (1973)
  24. The Isley Brothers – 3 + 3 (1973)
  25. Sparks – Kimono My House (1974)
  26. Neil Young – On the Beach (1974)
  27. Joni Mitchell – The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)
  28. Fela Kuti and Africa 70 – Expensive Shit (1975)
  29. Donna Summer – Bad Girls (1975)
  30. Joni Mitchell – Hejira (1976)
  31. Blondie – Blondie (1977)
  32. Rufus (ft. Chaka Khan) – Ask Rufus (1977)
  33. X-Ray Spex – Germfree Adolescents (1978)
  34. The Raincoats – The Raincoats (1979)
  35. The Slits – Cut (1979)
  36. Chic – Risqué (1979)
  37. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures (1980)
  38. Motörhead – Ace of Spades (1980)
  39. Diana Ross – Diana (1980)
  40. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (1980)
  41. Rush – Moving Pictures (1981)
  42. Luther Vandross – Never Too Much (1981)
  43. New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)
  44. Sade – Diamond Life (1984)
  45. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love (1985)
  46. Janet Jackson – Control (1986)
  47. Anita Baker – Rapture (1986)
  48. Pet Shop Boys – Actually (1987)
  49. Lucinda Williams – Lucinda Williams (1988)
  50. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine (1989)
  51. Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever (1989)
  52. Ice Cube – AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (1990)
  53. Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas (1990)
  54. Sonic Youth – Goo (1990)
  55. Boyz II Men – II (1991)
  56. Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1991)
  57. LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out (1991)
  58. De La Soul – De La Soul Is Dead (1991)
  59. Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes (1992)
  60. Sade – Love Deluxe (1992)
  61. Beastie Boys – Check Your Head (1992)
  62. Mary J. Blige – What’s the 411? (1992)
  63. The Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (1992)
  64. The Breeders – Last Splash (1993)
  65. Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle (1993)
  66. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders (1993)
  67. Tom Petty – Wildflowers (1994)
  68. Oasis – Definitely Maybe (1994)
  69. Selena – Amor Prohibido (1994)
  70. Blur – Parklife (1994)
  71. Pavement – Wowee Zowee (1995)
  72. GZA – Liquid Swords (1995)
  73. Mobb Depp – The Infamous (1995)
  74. Pulp – Different Class (1995)
  75. D’Angelo – Brown Sugar (1995)
  76. Aaliyah – One in a Million (1996)
  77. 2Pac – All Eyez on Me (1996)
  78. Belle and Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister (1996)
  79. Sheryl Crow – Sheryl Crow (1996)
  80. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing (1996)
  81. Shania Twain – Come on Over (1997)
  82. Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One (1997)
  83. Erykah Badu – Baduizm (1997)
  84. Björk – Homogenic (1997)
  85. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott – Supa Dupa Fly (1997)
  86. Elliott Smith – Either/Or (1997)
  87. Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
  88. Manu Chao – Clandestino (1998)
  89. Juvenile – 400 Degreez (1998)
  90. Shakira – Dónde Están los Ladrones (1998)
  91. Kelis – Kaleidoscope (1999)
  92. The Roots – Things Fall Apart (1999)
  93. Destiny’s Child – The Writing’s on the Wall (1999)
  94. Fiona Apple – When the Pawn… (1999)
  95. Dixie Chicks – Fly (1999)
  96. Erykah Badu – Mama’s Gun (2000)
  97. Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele (2000)
  98. Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)
  99. Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) (2001)
  100. 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2002)
  101. OutKast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)
  102. Alicia Keys – The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003)
  103. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)
  104. Daddy Yankee – Barrio Fino (2004)
  105. Madvillain – Madvillainy (2004)
  106. Brian Wilson – Smile (2004)
  107. Usher – Confessions (2004)
  108. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
  109. Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine (2005)
  110. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter II (2005)
  111. Mariah Carey – The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)
  112. M.I.A. – Arular (2005)
  113. John Mayer – Continuum (2006)
  114. My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade (2006)
  115. J Dilla – Donuts (2006)
  116. Kanye West – Graduation (2007)
  117. Britney Spears – Blackout (2007)
  118. Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak (2008)
  119. Bon Iver – For Emma Forever Ago (2008)
  120. Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon: The End of the Day (2009)
  121. Maxwell – BLACKsummers’night (2009)
  122. Robyn – Body Talk (2010)
  123. Drake – Take Care (2011)
  124. Adele – 21 (2011)
  125. Lady Gaga – Born This Way (2011)
  126. Eric Church – Chief (2011)
  127. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange (2012)
  128. Kendrick Lamar, ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ (2012)
  129. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel… (2012)
  130. Taylor Swift – Red (2012)
  131. Beyoncé – Beyoncé (2013)
  132. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (2013)
  133. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City (2013)
  134. Arctic Monkeys – AM (2013)
  135. Kanye West – Yeezus (2013)
  136. Jason Isbell – Southeastern (2013)
  137. Taylor Swift – 1989 (2014)
  138. D’Angelo and the Vanguard – Black Messiah (2014)
  139. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)
  140. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness (2015)
  141. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (2015)
  142. Tame Impala – Currents (2015)
  143. Beyoncé – Lemonade (2016)
  144. Frank Ocean – Blond (2016)
  145. Rihanna – Anti (2016)
  146. Miranda Lambert – The Weight of These Wings (2016)
  147. Solange – A Seat at the Table (2016)
  148. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN (2017)
  149. Lorde – Melodrama (2017)
  150. SZA – Ctrl (2017)
  151. Bad Bunny – X 100pre (2018)
  152. Rosalía – El Mal Querer (2018)
  153. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour (2018)
  154. Harry Styles – Fine Line (2019)
  155. Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell (2019)
  156. Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019)

ARTISTS

Artists on 2003 list only

  1. Buena Vista Social Club
  2. No Doubt

Artists on 2012 List only

  1. MGMT
  2. My Morning Jacket
  3. Boz Scaggs

Artists on 2012 and 2020 Lists but not 2003 List

  1. LCD Soundsystem
  2. Lil Wayne
  3. The Magnetic Fields
  4. Raekwon
  5. The Stone Roses
  6. Wilco
  7. Amy Winehouse

Artists on 2003 and 2020 Lists but not 2012 List

1. Boogie Down Productions
2. Alanis Morissette

Artists on 2003 and 2012 Lists but not 2020 List

  1. Alice Cooper
  2. Blood, Sweat and Tears
  3. Bobby Bland
  4. Jackson Browne
  5. Buffalo Springfield
  6. The Carpenters
  7. Def Leppard
  8. Neil Diamond
  9. The Drifters
  10. Steve Earle
  11. Echo and the Bunnymen
  12. EPMD
  13. Eurythmics
  14. Stan Getz and João Gilberto
  15. Don Henley
  16. John Lee Hooker
  17. The Jesus and Mary Chain
  18. Jethro Tull
  19. Albert King
  20. Labelle
  21. Little Walter
  22. LL Cool J
  23. The Mamas and the Papas
  24. John Mayall
  25. Paul McCartney and Wings
  26. Moby
  27. Moby Grape
  28. The Mothers of Invention
  29. Mott the Hoople
  30. The O’Jays
  31. Graham Parker
  32. Gram Parsons
  33. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  34. The Pogues
  35. Professor Longhair
  36. Public Image, Ltd.
  37. Soundgarden
  38. War
  39. Barry White
  40. Jackie Wilson
  41. Peter Wolf
  42. The Yardbirds

Artists on 2020 List but not on 2003 or 2013 Lists

  1. 2Pac
  2. 50 Cent
  3. Aaliyah
  4. Adele
  5. Tori Amos
  6. Fiona Apple
  7. Arcade Fire
  8. Erykah Badu
  9. Bad Bunny
  10. Anita Baker
  11. Belle and Sebastian
  12. Beyoncé
  13. Blur
  14. Bon Iver
  15. Boyz II Men
  16. The Breeders
  17. Kate Bush
  18. Can
  19. Mariah Carey
  20. Chic
  21. Eric Church
  22. Cocteau Twins
  23. Alice Coltrane
  24. Sheryl Crow
  25. Kid Cudi
  26. Daddy Yankee
  27. Daft Punk
  28. Lana Del Rey
  29. Destiny’s Child
  30. Dixie Chicks
  31. DJ Shadow
  32. Drake
  33. Billie Eilish
  34. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott
  35. Roberta Flack
  36. The Four Tops
  37. Ghostface Killah
  38. GZA
  39. Jason Isbell
  40. Lady Gaga
  41. Herbie Hancock
  42. Isaac Hayes
  43. Billie Holiday
  44. Ice Cube
  45. The Isley Brothers
  46. J Dilla
  47. Juvenile
  48. Kelis
  49. Alicia Keys
  50. King Sunny Adé
  51. Fela Kuti and Africa 70
  52. Kendrick Lamar
  53. Miranda Lambert
  54. LL Cool J
  55. Lorde
  56. Madvillain
  57. Maxwell
  58. John Mayer
  59. Charles Mingus
  60. Mobb Depp
  61. Motörhead
  62. My Chemical Romance
  63. Kacey Musgraves
  64. Neutral Milk Hotel
  65. Harry Nilsson
  66. Laura Nyro
  67. Frank Ocean
  68. Pet Shop Boys
  69. The Pharcyde
  70. Primal Scream
  71. Pulp
  72. The Raincoats
  73. Rihanna
  74. Robyn
  75. Rosalía
  76. Diana Ross
  77. The Roots
  78. Rufus (ft. Chaka Khan)
  79. Rush
  80. Sade
  81. Selena
  82. Shakira
  83. Nina Simone
  84. The Slits
  85. Elliott Smith
  86. Snoop Doggy Dogg
  87. Solange
  88. Sparks
  89. Britney Spears
  90. Harry Styles
  91. Donna Summer
  92. Taylor Swift
  93. SZA
  94. Tame Impala
  95. Shania Twain
  96. Usher
  97. Luther Vandross
  98. The Weeknd
  99. Gillian Welch
  100. Brian Wilson
  101. Bill Withers
  102. X-Ray Spex
  103. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  104. Yes
  105. Yo La Tengo


Sound Advice: The Updated Albums Lists

I’ve revised and updated my best albums meta-lists.  This is the combined wisdom of over 34 different listers – most of the lists were created by music critics, music magazines, newspapers and radio stations. The meta-lists I’ve created include every album on at least three of the original source lists.  Here they are:

Best Albums of All Time – Ranked
Best Albums of All Time – Chronological
Best Albums of All Time- By Artist

While updating the list, I decided to create some lists about the meta-lists:

Most Prolific: Artists with the Most Albums on the Meta-List
1. Bob Dylan (10 albums)
2. The Beatles (9 albums)
3. The Rolling Stones (8 albums)
4. Led Zeppelin (7 albums)
5. Neil Young (6 albums)
6. David Bowie (6 albums)
7. The Who (5 albums)
8. Jimi Hendrix (5 albums)
9. Bruce Springsteen (5 albums)
10. U2 (5 albums)
11. R.E.M. (5 albums)

 One and Done: Highest Ranked Albums by Artists with Only One Album on the Meta-List
Love – Forever Changes (1967)
Carole King – Tapestry (1971)
Patti Smith – Horses (1975)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)
Television – Marquee Moon (1977)
Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)
Guns n’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction (1987)
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989)
Pearl Jam – Ten (1991)
Jeff Buckley – Grace (1994)

Just didn’t make it: Albums on two lists by artists with no albums on at least three lists
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – Moanin’ (1959)
Bobby “Blue” Bland – Two Steps from the Blues (rec. 1956-1960, rel. 1961)
Essra Mohawk – Primordial Lovers (1970)
Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes (1972)
Bob Seger – Night Moves (1976)
Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth (1980)
Genesis – Abacab (1981)
Huey Lewis & the News – Sports (1983)
L.L. Cool J – Radio (1985)
Pet Shop Boys – Discography (rec. 1985-1991, rel. 1991)
INXS – Kick (1987)
Don Henley – The End of the Innocence (1989)
Bikini Kill – Revolution Girl Style Now! (1991)
The Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion (1992)
Jane Siberry – When I Was a Boy (1993)
Tool – Undertow (1993)
Dave Matthew Band – Under the Table and Dreaming (1994)
Mary J. Blige – My Life (1994)
No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom (1995)
Paul Weller – Stanley Road (1995)
Tool – Aenima (1996)
Super Furry Animals – Radiator (1997)
Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane over the Sea (1998)
Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R (2000)
Andrew W.K. – I Get Wet (2001)
Blink-182 – Blink-182 (2003)
Adele – 21 (2011)

2018: The Year in Review in Books, Music and Movies

Finally, some good news: the annual meta-lists of best books, music, and movies have arrived!  As always, I need to remind everyone that these are not my personal opinions – they are compilations of multiple lists published in newspapers, magazines and websites. I have not read all these books, listened to all this music or seen all these movies.

Here they are:

Best Books of 2018
Best Music of 2018
Best Films of 2018

Some random observations:

Every year, the “best of the year” lists seem to come earlier and earlier, just like Christmas music in the stores.  I’m guessing this has to do with the retailers’ desire to use these lists to inspire holiday gift givers to make purchases (of books and music) and get folks out to see the movies on the lists.  I just hope that movies, books and albums released in late December get considered for next year’s lists.

Another thing that is changing (i.e., expanding) is the length of nonfiction book subtitles (the stuff after the colon).  The publishing industry needs to take a chill pill on this – pretty soon, the entire first chapter is going to be on the cover of the book.  Maybe the worst offender this year is: BOOM TOWN: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its
Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming
a World-Class Metropolis.  

The Wikipedia genre descriptions for musical acts (which I include in the Best Music lists) make me laugh.  Like one band that is described as both “punk” and “post-punk” – how is that logically possible?  (And how is “post-punk” different from “post-punk revival”? Is post-punk already dead such that someone had to revive it? And if so, why are some bands still referred to as “post-punk”?)  Also, the proliferation of “cores.” I assume that “hardcore” was the first one, but now there are “grindcore”, “slowcore” and “sadcore” (I’m sure I’m missing some). Not to mention “shoegaze.”

 

The Best Albums by Women: Another Perspective

You may have seen the list published last week by NPR of the best 150 albums by women since 1964 (click here to see it).  Like all the best lists, it is fun to read and fun to argue with. To provide another perspective, I went through my lists of Best Albums of All Time, Best Jazz, Best Blues, Best World Music, Best Hip Hop, Best Country, Best Music – Year by Year and Best Songs to compile an alternative list.  This one has 164 albums, in chronological order by date of the earliest recording on the album – the recordings here begin in 1920 and go all the way to 2016. I have added an asterisk to any album on my list that is also on the NPR list. Enjoy!

NOTE: Unlike the NPR list, which focuses almost exclusively on female vocalists, I have also including albums from bands with female instrumentalists, like Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, The Velvet Underground, Talking Heads and The Smashing Pumpkins.

  1. Umm Kulthum (Oum Kalsoum): The Legend: The Arab World’s Greatest Singer (1920-1949)
  2. Bessie Smith: The Essential Bessie Smith (alternative pick: The Collection) (1923-1933)
  3. Ma Rainey: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (1924-1928)
  4. Louis Armstrong: The Complete Hot Fives and Hot Sevens (1925-1930) (feat. Lil Armstrong)
  5. Memphis Minnie: Bumble Bee: Essential Recordings of Memphis Minnie (1929-1941)
  6. Billie Holiday: Lady Day (1933-1944)
  7. Big Maybelle: The Complete Okeh Sessions (1952-1955)
  8. Big Mama Thornton: Hound Dog – The Peacock Recordings (1952-1957)
  9. Amália Rodriques: The Art of Amália (1952-1970)
  10. Sarah Vaughan: Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown (1954)
  11. June Christy: Something Cool (1955)
  12. Ella Fitzgerald: The Complete Songbooks (1956-1964) (NPR lists Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook (1964)*)
  13. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis (1957)
  14. Billie Holiday: Songs for Distingué Lovers (1957)
  15. Patsy Cline: The Definitive Collection (1957-1963)
  16. Asha Bhosle: The Rough Guide to Bollywood Legends: Asha Bhosle (1957-1999)
  17. Billie Holiday: Lady in Satin (1958)
  18. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: Everybody’s Boppin’ (1959-1961) (feat. Annie Ross)
  19. Koko Taylor: What It Takes – The Chess Years (1960-1971)
  20. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley: Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley (1961)
  21. Abbey Lincoln: Straight Ahead (1961)
  22. Dionne Warwick: Make Way for Dionne Warwick (1964)
  23. Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto: Getz/Gilberto (1964) (feat. Astrud Gilberto)
  24. Big Mama Thornton: Ball n’ Chain (1965-1968)
  25. The Mamas & the Papas: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears (1966) (feat. Cass Elliott and Michelle Phillips)
  26. Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)*
  27. Bobbie Gentry: Ode to Billie Joe (1967)*
  28. The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) (feat. Nico and Maureen Tucker)
  29. Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul (1968)
  30. Tammy Wynette: D-I-V-O-R-C-E (1968)
  31. Carla Bley & Paul Haines: Escalator over the Hill (1968-1971)
  32. Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis (1969)*
  33. Tammy Wynette: Stand By Your Man (1969)*
  34. Gal Costa: Gal Costa (1969)
  35. The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground (1969) (feat. Maureen Tucker)
  36. Fairport Convention: Liege & Leaf (1969) (feat. Sandy Denny)
  37. Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter (1970)*
  38. Essra Mohawk: Primordial Lovers (1970)
  39. The Velvet Underground: Loaded (1970) (feat. Maureen Tucker)
  40. Joni Mitchell: Blue (1971)*
  41. Carole King: Tapestry (1971)*
  42. Janis Joplin: Pearl (1971)*
  43. Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors (1971)*
  44. Aretha Franklin: Young Gifted and Black (1972)*
  45. Roberta Flack: Killing Me Softly (1973)
  46. Joni Mitchell: Court and Spark (1974)
  47. Richard & Linda Thompson: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974)
  48. Elis Regina & Tom Jobin: Elis & Tom (1974)
  49. Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco: Celia & Johnny (1974)
  50. Patti Smith: Horses (1975)*
  51. Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)
  52. Koko Taylor: I Got What It Takes (1975)
  53. Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Kate & Anna McGarrigle (1975)
  54. Emmylou Harris: Elite Hotel (1975)
  55. Joni Mitchell: Hejira (1976)*
  56. ABBA: Arrival (1976) (feat. Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad)
  57. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977) (feat. Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie)*
  58. Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris: Trio (1977)
  59. Blondie: Parallel Lines (1978) (feat. Deborah Harry)*
  60. The Slits: Cut (1979) (feat. Ari Up, Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt)*
  61. Talking Heads: Fear of Music (1979) (feat. Tina Weymouth)
  62. Gloria Gaynor: Love Tracks (1979)
  63. Pretenders: Pretenders (1980) (feat. Chrissie Hynde)*
  64. Talking Heads: Remain in Light (1980) (feat. Tina Weymouth)
  65. Rosanne Cash: Seven Year Ache (1981)
  66. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts: I Love Rock ‘n Roll (1981)
  67. Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1983) (feat. Annie Lennox)
  68. Madonna: The Immaculate Collection (1983-1990)
  69. Prince & The Revolution: Purple Rain (1984) (feat. Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Novi Novoq, Suzie Katayama and Apollonia)
  70. Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense (1984) (feat. Tina Weymouth)
  71. Tina Turner: Private Dancer (1984)*
  72. Kate Bush: Hounds of Love (1985)*
  73. Ofra Haza: Fifty Gates of Wisdom: Yemenite Songs (1985)*
  74. Salt-N-Pepa: Hot, Cool & Vicious (1986) (feat. Cheryl James and Sandra Denton)
  75. Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir: Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (1987)*
  76. Sonic Youth: Sister (1987) (feat. Kim Gordon)*
  77. Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (1988) (feat. Kim Gordon)
  78. Pixies: Surfer Rosa (1988) (feat. Kim Deal)
  79. Tracy Chapman: Tracy Chapman (1988)*
  80. Pixies: Doolittle (1989) (feat. Kim Deal)
  81. Madonna: Like a Prayer (1989)*
  82. Queen Latifah: All Hail the Queen (1989)*
  83. The B-52’s: Cosmic Thing (1989) (feat. Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson)
  84. Sinéad O’Connor: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990)*
  85. My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (1991) (feat. Bilinda Butcher and Debbie Googe)
  86. Mary Black: Babes in the Wood (1991)
  87. Bikini Kill: Revolution Girl Style Now! (1991) (feat. Kathleen Hanna, Kathi Wilcox and Tobi Vail)
  88. Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes (1992)*
  89. Cesária Évora: Miss Perfumado (1992)
  90. Cherish the Ladies: The Back Door (1992) (feat. Mary Coogan, Siobhan Egan, Eileen Golden, Winifred Horan, Maureen Doherty Macken, Joanie Madden, Cathie Ryan, & Linnane Wick)
  91. Altan: Harvest Storm (1992) (feat. Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh)
  92. Cassandra Wilson: Blue Light ‘Til Dawn (1993)*
  93. Björk: Debut (1993)
  94. Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville (1993)*
  95. PJ Harvey: Rid of Me (1993)*
  96. Sheryl Crow: Tuesday Night Music Club (1993)*
  97. Jane Siberry: When I Was A Boy (1993)
  98. The Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream (1993) (feat. D’arcy Wretzky-Brown)
  99. Portishead: Dummy (1994) (feat. Beth Gibbons)*
  100. Hole: Live Through This (1994) (feat. Courtney Love, Kristen Pfaff and Patty Schemel)*
  101. Annbjørg Lien: Felefeber (1994)
  102. Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill (1995)*
  103. Cesária Évora: Cesária Évora (1995)
  104. Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball (1995)*
  105. Shania Twain: The Woman in Me (1995)
  106. Björk: Post (1995)*
  107. No Doubt: Tragic Kingdom (1995) (feat. Gwen Stefani)*
  108. Garbage: Garbage (1995) (feat. Shirley Manson)
  109. The Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995) (feat. D’arcy Wretzky-Brown)
  110. Fugees: The Score (1996) (feat. Lauryn Hill)*
  111. Diana Krall: All for You (1996)
  112. Solas: Solas (1996) (feat. Karan Casey and Winifred Horan)
  113. Leann Rimes: Blue (1996)
  114. Susana Baca: Susana Baca (1997)
  115. Mary Jane Lamond: Suas e! (1997)
  116. Shania Twain: Come On Over (1997)*
  117. Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)*
  118. Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)*
  119. Dixie Chicks: Wide Open Spaces (1998)*
  120. PJ Harvey: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000)
  121. Mariza: Fado em Mim (2000)
  122. Lo’Jo: Bohême de Cristal (2000) (feat. Yamina Nid el Mourid and Nadia Nid el Mourid)
  123. Sezen Aksu: Deliveren (2000)
  124. Diana Krall: Live in Paris (2001)
  125. Björk: Vespertine (2001)
  126. Gillian Welch: Time (The Revelator) (2001)*
  127. The White Stripes: White Blood Cells (2001) (feat. Meg White)
  128. Dixie Chicks: Home (2002)
  129. Missy Elliott: Under Construction (2002)
  130. Joyce (also known as Joyce Moreno): Just a Little Bit Crazy (2003)
  131. Sevara Narzarkhan: Yol Bolsin (2003)
  132. Madeleine Peyroux: Careless Love (2003)
  133. The White Stripes: Elephant (2003) (feat. Meg White)
  134. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever to Tell (2003) (feat. Karen O)
  135. Maria Schneider: Concert in the Garden (2004)
  136. Angélique Kidjo: Oyaya! (2004)
  137. Loretta Lynn: Van Lear Rose (2004)
  138. Arcade Fire: Funeral (2004) (feat. Régine Chassagne and Sarah Neufeld)
  139. Sleater-Kinney: The Woods (2005) (feat. Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss)
  140. Amadou & Mariam: Dimanche à Bamako (2005) (feat. Mariam Doumbia)
  141. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (2006)*
  142. Cat Power: The Greatest (2006)
  143. Joanna Newsom: Ys (2006)*
  144. Miranda Lambert: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2007)
  145. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Raising Sand (2007)
  146. Santigold: Santigold (2008)
  147. Portishead: Third (2008) (feat. Beth Gibbons)
  148. The xx: xx (2009) (feat. Romy Madley Croft)
  149. Miranda Lambert: Revolution (2009)
  150. Janelle Monáe: The ArchAndroid (2010)
  151. Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (2010) (feat. Régine Chassagne and Sarah Neufeld)
  152. PJ Harvey: Let England Shake (2011)
  153. Adele: 21 (2011)*
  154. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel… (2012)
  155. Sharon Van Etten: Tramp (2012)
  156. HAIM: Days Are Gone (2013) (feat. Este, Danielle & Alana Haim)
  157. Laura MarlingOnce I Was An Eagle (2013)
  158. LordePure Heroine (2013)
  159. FKA Twigs: LP1 (2014)
  160. Taylor Swift: 1989 (2014)
  161. Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015)
  162. Grimes: Art Angels (2015)
  163. Beyoncé: Lemonade (2016)*
  164. Solange: A Seat at the Table (2016)*

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time – For Listers

The month of December is high season for listers and those who love lists.  Because December is the time that arts critics in every newspaper, magazine, website, blog, TV or radio station look back over the past year and make lists (usually Top Ten lists, but not always) of the best accomplishments from the past 12 months.  I’ve been collecting these lists – specifically for films, music and books – since 2002, and collating them to find out which items are on the most lists, and then making my own meta-lists.  Why do I do this?  One (somewhat inexplicable) reason is that I enjoy the process.  But a better reason is that I believe it exposes me to the best of these three arts.  Each list becomes a set of recommendations that I trust and that pushes me beyond my comfort zone.  I know that some folks don’t trust critics and reviewers to guide their choices of what to see, what to read and what to listen to, but to me the critics’ lists are the best option available, given that you can’t read/watch/listen to everything and must make choices.

What  are the other options for choosing what movies to see, books to read, music to listen to: (1) recommendations of friends and family; (2) following one particular expert, critic or reviewer; (3) critics’ reviews in newspapers, magazines and websites, or on radio or TV; (4) recommendations of people who sell movies or CDs or books, like Amazon; (5) trailers or other types of ads; (6) crowd-sourced websites like Goodreads or reviews on Amazon or other sites by ‘regular people’; or (7) meta-data sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes that collect critics’ reviews and assign ratings.  I have tried most of these methods myself, and I find that – except for (7), which is very similar to what I do – they all leave me disappointed.  I end up feeling like I have either adopted someone else’s tastes; sold out to The Man; ended up in a solipsistic spiral of stuff I know already, or that I’m just being exposed to the winners of various popularity contests judged by people completely unlike me who can’t spell and seem to base their opinions on completely irrational criteria.  So instead I rely on the critics and reviewers – people who analyze works of art for a living and may know more than I do about their subject.  While I may not agree with the tastes and judgment of each one, there is a pretty good chance that if several of them (or 10, 20 or 30 of them!) agree that a book is worth reading, a film is worth seeing, or an album is worth listening to, they are right.  Plus, when you pool the lists of many critics, you get a much wider variety than under most of the other available methods.  Taking this approach has led me to find masterpieces of artistic expression – from low to highbrow – that I would never have found had I just listened to what my friends’ recommended.  And while the critics’ top ten isn’t always my top ten, I have never regretted a choice I’ve made based on these lists.  (Even in the rare case that I don’t ‘like’ a highly rated book, recording or movie, I can appreciate the artistic qualities that led to its high rating and thus I benefit from it.  I just won’t be watching/reading/listening to it again any time soon.)

Here are the 2013 lists and Happy New Year:

Best Films of 2013
Best Books of 2013
Best Music of 2013

 

Check It Out – My Personal Checklists

As you may already know, I don’t just make lists, I also like to play with my lists.  (Contrary to popular belief, this does not lead to blindness.)  I have been wanting to take my best music, literature and film of all time lists and set them up so you can see which items I’ve checked off, and so you can do the same.  If you’ve ever spent any time on listsofbests.com, you know what I’m talking about.  Unfortunately, WordPress (at least here in the cheap seats) doesn’t allow for such sophisticated programming.  Undaunted, I have found an alternative ‘check-off’ method.  Instead of checking off each movie I’ve seen, book I’ve read and and piece of music I’ve listened to, I have highlighted it in blue – Royal Blue, I might add.  (See below.)  So now, if you care (and, honestly, why would you?), you can find out which of the “best evers” I have partaken of so far.  And to make the fun last longer, you can make a copy of each list and do the same.  Happy listing!

My Film Checklist
My Literature Checklist
My Music Checklist 

The Terrifying 2000s

The fall of the Twin Towers.  Al-Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism on the rise.  Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.   Intifada.  Chechnya.  The Janjaweed.  The tsunami.  SARS.  Benazir Bhutto assassinated.  The Great Recession.  The Patriot Act.  Reality TV.  Mel Gibson.  There was plenty to be scared of in the first decade of the 21st Century.  We were so frightened, we even started a war against terror itself.  We started out with Clinton and ended with Obama, but mostly we got the misunderestimations of George Bush.  There were other, less terrifying developments: The Eurozone.  GPS.  Hybrid cars.  Atheism bestsellers.  Martha Stewart went to jail.  Peter Jackson did LOTR fans proud (except for Tom Bombadil fanatics).  Kids got their news from The Daily Show.  Hunter Thompson’s ashes were shot from a cannon.  Vets coming home with PTSD were refused treatment by the government they bravely served.  It was that kind of decade.

Here they are: some of my favorite books, films and music from the 2000s.

Favorite 00s Films

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Mungiu, 2007)
Fat Girl (Breillat, 2001)
American Splendor (Berman, 2003)
Capturing the Friedmans (Jarecki, 2003)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Jackson, 2001)
Dogville (von Trier, 2003)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (Moore, 2004)
Grizzly Man (Herzog, 2005)
Talk to Her (Almodovar, 2002)
Juno (Reitman, 2007)
The Lives of Others (von Donnersmarck, 2006)
Moulin Rouge! (Luhrmann, 2001)
Mulholland Dr. (Lynch, 2001)
No Country for Old Men (Coen, 2007)
Once (Carney, 2006)
Requiem for a Dream (Aronofsky, 2000)
The Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson, 2001)
Slumdog Millionaire (Boyle, 2008)
Tarnation (Caouette, 2004)
Traffic (Soderbergh, 2000)
Downfall (Hirschbiegel, 2004)
Waking Life (Linklater, 2001)
The White Ribbon (Haneke, 2009)
Yi Yi (Yang, 2000)

Favorite 00s Music

PJ Harvey  Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (2000)
Shelby Lynne  I Am Shelby Lynne (2000)
U2  All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)
Mariza  Fado em Mim (2000)
Greg Osby  Invisible Hand (2000)
Pérotin  Perotin (Hilliard Ensemble) (2000)
Johann Sebastian Bach  Mass in B Minor (Gächinger Kantorei & Bach-Collegium Stuttgart/Rilling) (2000)
Macy Gray  The Id (2001)
Buddy Guy  Sweet Tea (2001)
Jason Moran  Black Stars (2001)
Wilco  Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
Beck  Sea Change (2002)
Sleater-Kinney  One Beat (2002)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs  Fever to Tell (2003)
The New Pornographers  Electric Version (2003)
Arcade Fire  Funeral (2004)
Sufjan Stevens  Illinois (2005)
My Morning Jacket  Z (2005)
Petra Haden  Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out (2005)
John Adams  The Dharma at Big Sur (BBC Symphony Orch./Adams) (2006)
The Hold Steady  Boys and Girls in America (2006)
Camera Obscura  Let’s Get Out of This Country (2006)
Arcade Fire  Neon Bible (2007)
The New Pornographers  Challengers (2007)
The Swell Season  Once: Music From the Motion Picture (2007)
PJ Harvey  White Chalk (2007)
Los Campesinos!  Hold On Now, Youngster… (2008)
Tune-Yards  Bird-Brains (2009)
Leonard Bernstein  Mass (Baltimore Symphony Orch./Alsop; Sykes) (2009)

Favorite 00s Books

Dave Eggers  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000)
Ian McEwan  Atonement  (2001)
David McCullough  John Adams (2001)
Leif Enger  Peace Like a River (2001)
Jeffrey Eugenides  Middlesex (2002)
Janet E. Browne  Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (2002)
Edward P. Jones  The Known World (2003)
Bill Bryson  A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003)
David Maraniss  They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967 (2003)
Steve Coll  Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (2004)
David Crystal  The Stories of English (2004)
Tim Riley  Fever: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Transformed Gender in America (2004)
Kazuo Ishiguro  Never Let Me Go (2005)
Charles C. Mann  1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (2005)
Joan Didion  The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)
Duncan Clark  The Rough Guide To Classical Music (2005)
Michael Pollan  The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006)
Julie Phillips  James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon (2006)
Philip Lopate (ed.)  American Movie Critics: An Anthology From the Silents Until Now  (2006)
Alex Ross  The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (2007)
Annette Gordon-Reed  The Hemingses of Monticello (2008)
Mark Harris  Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood  (2008)

The Naughty Nineties

Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton, the cigar, and the blue dress that never made it to the dry cleaners.  Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas and the Coke can.  Desert Storm and the Scud Stud.  CNN and the 24-hour news cycle.  The Rwandan Genocide.  The Bosnian Genocide.  Kosovo.    Grunge mashed up heavy metal and punk and draped a torn flannel shirt over it.  Riot grrls took third wave feminism and added electric guitars and explicit lyrics.  And speaking of explicit lyrics, they put warning labels on rap CDs, helping sales under the law of unintended consequences.  The 90s was the era of sex, lies and the Intertubes.  James Cameron was king of the world.  Disney started making animated classics again.  They freed Nelson Mandela.  Alternative music and indie film briefly took over, until the big corporations caught on and cashed in.  A lot of us started thinking it might be worth it to pay more for organic.  Scientists cloned a sheep – hello, Dolly.  Al Gore started talking about something called ‘global warming.’  On TV we had Friends (hairdo: the Rachel), ER (hairdo: the Clooney) and, of course, Steve Urkel.

Here are some of my favorite films, books and music from the 1990s:

Favorite 90s Films

Short Cuts (Altman, 1993)
Before Sunrise (Linklater, 1995)
Being John Malkovich (Jonze, 1999)
Schindler’s List (Spielberg, 1993)
Magnolia (Anderson, 1999)
Happiness (Solondz, 1998)
Ed Wood (Burton, 1994)
Fargo (Coens, 1996)
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (Morris, 1997)
The Celebration (Vinterberg, 1998)
Groundhog Day (Ramis, 1993)
Lone Star (Sayles, 1996)
Microcosmos (Nuridsany/Pérennou, 1996)
Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994)
Rushmore (Anderson, 1998)
Secrets & Lies (Leigh, 1996)
The Sweet Hereafter (Egoyan, 1997)
All About My Mother (Almodóvar, 1999)
Unforgiven (Eastwood, 1992)
Boogie Nights (Anderson, 1997)
The Apostle (Duvall, 1997)
American Beauty (Mendes, 1999)
Election (Payne, 1999)
Boys Don’t Cry (Peirce, 1999)
Brother’s Keeper (Berlinger/Sinofsky, 1992)

Favorite 90s Music

World Party  Goodbye Jumbo (1990)
The Sundays  Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (1990)
They Might Be Giants  Flood (1990)
Sinéad O’Connor  I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990)
Rosanne Cash  Interiors (1990)
Franz Liszt  Sonata in B minor (Pollini) (1990)
Erik Satie  Erik Satie (Queffélec) (1990)
R.E.M.  Out of Time (1991)
U2  Achtung Baby (1991)
Throwing Muses  The Real Ramona (1991)
Johann Sebastian Bach  Cello Suites (Rostropovich) (1991)
Elliott Carter  The Four String Quartets (Juilliard Quartet) (1991)
R.E.M.  Automatic for the People (1992)
Josquin Des Prés  Missa “Ave maris stella”; Motets & Chansons (Taverner Consort & Choir/Parrott) (1992)
Aimee Mann  Whatever (1993)
Liz Phair  Exile in Guyville (1993)
Anonymous  Adorate Deum: Gregorian Chant from the Proper of the Mass (Nova Schola Gregoriana/Turco) (1993)
PJ Harvey  To Bring You My Love (1994)
Letters to Cleo  Aurora Gory Alice (1994)
Johnny Cash  American Recordings (1994)
John Dowland  Complete Lute Works, Vol. 1 (O’Dette) (1995)
Alban Berg  Wozzeck (Barenboim; Grundheber; Meier; Baker; Clark) (1994)
Dmitri Shostakovich  String Quartets (Emerson String Quartet) (1994-1999)
Garbage  Garbage (1995)
Alanis Morissette  Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Emmylou Harris  Wrecking Ball (1995)
Aimee Mann  I’m With Stupid (1995)
Beck  Odelay (1996)
Radiohead  OK Computer (1997)
Sarah McLachlan  Surfacing (1997)
The Sundays  Static & Silence (1997)
Bob Dylan  Time Out of Mind (1997)
Yo La Tengo  I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (1997)
Garbage  Version 2.0 (1998)
John Scofield  A Go Go (1998)
Lucinda Williams  Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
Steve Reich  Music for 18 Musicians (1998)
Wilco  Summerteeth (1999)
Tom Waits  Mule Variations (1999)
The Magnetic Fields  69 Love Songs (1999)
Jim Hall & Pat Metheny  Jim Hall & Pat Metheny (1999)

Favorite 90s Books

David Foster Wallace Infinite Jest (1996)
Arundhati Roy  The God of Small Things (1997)
Zadie Smith  White Teeth  (1999)
Daniel C. Dennett  Consciousness Explained (1991)
Richard Fortey  Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth (1997)
Philip Gourevitch  We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (1998)
Janet E. Browne  Charles Darwin: Voyaging  (1995)
Andrea Barrett  Ship Fever: Stories (1996)
John McPhee  Annals of the Former World (1998)
Norman Rush  Mating (1991)
Tony Judt  Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (1999)
Tim Riley  Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary (1992)
David McCullough  Truman  (1992)
Julia Cameron  The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (1992)
Dennis Overbye  Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos: The Story of the Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe (1991)
Aljean Harmetz  Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca–Bogart, Bergman, and World War II  (1992)