Tag Archives: Blues

My Top 150 Albums – The Last.Fm List

In 2008, I joined last.fm, a music website (and app) that keeps track of the music I listen to on my computer and my smartphone (excluding Youtube videos), and also makes recommendations based on my listening habits.  Below are the top 150 albums I’ve listened to between 2008 and today (2/6/2022), based on last.fm‘s calculations.  I’ve listed the albums in order of frequency and have included a genre description (usually borrowed from Wikipedia).

After classical music (26 out of 150 albums), the genre I listen to the most is “indie rock” (20 albums). This term originated as a way to identify artists whose music was released by independent record labels, although it has now expanded to describe a brand of alternative rock music.  I’m not sure how alternative rock and indie rock differ.  If someone wants to explain in the comments, that would be great.  (For example, does an “indie rock” band stop being “indie rock” if it is signed to a major record label, even if the style of music they play remains basically the same?)

I also listen to music that is categorized as “indie pop” (eight albums) and “indie folk” (six albums) (including some overlap with “indie rock”).  Once again, I’m not sure I understand how the nature of the company distributing the music tells us anything about the music itself, other than to say that it differs (but how?) from mainstream rock, pop, and folk music.  Other big categories are jazz (18 albums), alternative rock (15 albums), blues (13 albums), and rhythm & blues (R&B) (13 albums).  The artists with the most albums on  the list are The New Pornographers and Aimee Mann, with five albums each.

Some caveats:
(1) These are not necessarily my favorite albums.  They are the albums I’ve listened to the most. Many of my favorite artists are not represented on this list.
(2) This is all music that I personally own – I don’t use Spotify, Pandora or other streaming services.
(3) I rarely listen to an entire album at once, so these ratings mean that I have listened to tracks from the album, not necessarily the entire album.
(4) I often listen to my music in “shuffle” mode. This means that albums with more tracks are more likely to be played, which biases the list in favor of the albums with the most tracks.  This also means that there is a bias in favor of albums with shorter tracks and against albums with longer ones.
(5) This list does not take into account CDs that I have played on my CD players at home and in my car.

  1. Antisocialites (2017) – Alvvays [indie pop]
  2. Challengers (2007) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  3. Memorial Collection (rec. 1955-1959) – Buddy Holly [rock & roll]
  4. Shostakovich: The String Quartets (2000) – Emerson String Quartet [classical]
  5. Debussy: Images, Etudes (2000) – Jean-Yves Thibaudet [classical]
  6. Complete Decca Recordings (rec. 1937-1939) – Count Basie [jazz]
  7. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (1962) – Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus/Otto Klemperer [classical]
  8. Together (2010) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  9. The Man and His Music (rec. 1956-1964) – Sam Cooke [soul/R&B]
  10. Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (2006) – Tom Waits [experimental/rock/jazz/blues]
  11. Art Angels (2015) – Grimes [dream pop/electronic]
  12. Chopin: 24 Preludes, Piano Sonata #2 (2000) – Evgeny Kissin [classical]
  13. Whiteout Conditions (2017) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  14. The Singles (rec. 1969-1993) – David Bowie [art rock/pop]
  15. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2014) – Courtney Barnett [indie rock]
  16. Lost in Space (2002) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  17. The Guitar Song (2009) – Jamey Johnson [country]
  18. Couperin: Les Nations (1965) – Quadro Amsterdam [classical]
  19. Alvvays (2013) – Alvvays [indie pop]
  20. No Direction Home: Bootleg Series Volume 7 (rec. 1959-1966) – Bob Dylan [folk/folk rock]
  21. New Moon (2007) – Elliott Smith [indie folk/lo-fi]
  22. Ligeti: Works for Piano (1997) – Pierre-Laurent Aimard [classical]
  23. The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson (rec. 1954-1964) – Sonny Boy Williamson [blues]
  24. Twin Cinema (2005) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  25. Bach: Mass in B minor (1977) – Bach-Collegium Stuttgart/Helmuth Rilling [classical]
  26. Gluck: Orphée et Eurydice (French version by Hector Berlioz) (1996) – San Francisco Opera/Donald Runnicles [classical]
  27. The Suburbs (2010) – Arcade Fire [indie rock]
  28. The Early Years (rec. 1940-1947) – Bill Monroe [country/bluegrass]
  29. Britten: Peter Grimes (1978) – Royal Opera House Covent Garden/Colin Davis [classical]
  30. The Blanton-Webster Band (rec. 1942-1944) – Duke Ellington [jazz]
  31. Visions (2012) – Grimes [dream pop/electronic]
  32. West Side Story (1957) – Original Broadway Cast [classical/show tunes]
  33. The Great Twenty-Eight (rec. 1955-1964) – Chuck Berry [rock & roll]
  34. Cross Country Tour (rec. 1958-1961) – Ahmad Jamal Trio [jazz]
  35. Imperial Bedroom (1982) – Elvis Costello & the Attractions [new wave/power pop]
  36. It’s Blitz! (2009) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs [synth-punk/alternative pop]
  37. The Ultimate Collection (rec. 1959-1970) – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles [soul/R&B]
  38. Mozart: The Ten Celebrated String Quartets (1997) – The Franz Schubert Quartet [classical]
  39. Rameau: Castor et Pollux (1994) – English Bach Festival Baroque Orchestra/Charles Farncombe [classical]
  40. Piano Solos: Turn On The Heat (rec. 1927-1941) – Fats Waller [jazz]
  41. The Complete Aladdin Sessions (rec. 1942-1948) – Lester Young [jazz]
  42. Bachelor No. 2 (1999) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  43. 69 Love Songs (1999) – The Magnetic Fields [indie pop/chamber pop]
  44. Burn Your Fire for No Witness (2014) – Angel Olsen [indie rock/indie folk]
  45. Music of the Crusades (1971) – Early Music Consort of London/David Munrow [classical]
  46. Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress (1996) – Chorus and Orchestra de l’Opera Lyon/Kent Nagano [classical]
  47. Poet of the Blues (rec. 1950-1954) – Percy Mayfield [blues]
  48. Tommy (1969) – The Who [hard rock]
  49. Afrocubism (2010) – Afrocubism [world/Latin/mande]
  50. The ArchAndroid (2010) – Janelle Monáe [progressive soul/alternative R&B]
  51. Whatever (1993) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  52. Have a Little Faith (1993) – Bill Frisell [jazz]
  53. The Genius of the Electric Guitar (rec. 1939-1941) – Charlie Christian [jazz]
  54. The Hazards of Love (2009) – The Decemberists [folk rock/progressive rock]
  55. Tippett: A Child of Our Time (1991) – City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/ Michael Tippett [classical]
  56. The Band (1969) – The Band [roots rock/Americana]
  57. I’m With Stupid (1995) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  58. Girls Girls Girls (rec. 1977-1986) – Elvis Costello [new wave/power pop]
  59. Beautiful Creature (1999) – Juliana Hatfield [alternative rock]
  60. Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2004) – OutKast [hip hop]
  61. Singles Collection: The London Years (rec. 1963-1970) – The Rolling Stones [rock/blues/pop]
  62. Blind Lemon Jefferson (rec. 1925-1929) – Blind Lemon Jefferson [blues]
  63. Egyptology (1997) – World Party [alternative rock/indie pop]
  64. Schumann: Kreisleriana, Carnaval (1995) – Mistsuko Uchida [classical]
  65. MASSEDUCTION (2017) – St. Vincent [art rock]
  66. Hide Away: The Best of Freddie King (rec. 1956-1970) – Freddie King [blues]
  67. Bolcom: Songs of Innocence and Experience (2004) – University of Michigan School of Music Symphony Orchestra/ Leonard Slatkin [classical]
  68. Mucho Macho Machito and His Afro-Cuban Salseros (1948-1949) – Machito & His Afro-Cubans [jazz/Latin]
  69. Stockhausen: Stimmung (1984) – Singcircle/Gregory Rose [classical]
  70. The Very Best of (rec. 1967-1969) – Aretha Franklin [soul/R&B]
  71. Trout Mask Replica (1969) – Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band [avant-garde/experimental rock]
  72. Forever Changes (1967) – Love [psychedelic rock]
  73. MAYA (2010) – M.I.A. [hip hop]
  74. Volume One (2008) – She & Him [indie pop/alternative country]
  75. Embryonic (2009) – The Flaming Lips [neo-psychedelia/alternative rock]
  76. The Soft Bulletin (1999) – The Flaming Lips [neo-psychedelia/alternative rock]
  77. The Number One Hits (rec. 1956-1969) – Elvis Presley [rock & roll]
  78. Schubert: Die Winterreise (1983) Haken Hagegard & Thomas Schuback [classical]
  79. That Lonesome Song (2008) – Jamey Johnson [country]
  80. The Classic Cobra Recordings (rec. 1956-1958) – Otis Rush [blues]
  81. Cadence Classics: Their 20 Greatest Hits (rec. 1957-1960) – The Everly Brothers [country rock]
  82. LIFTED or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (2002) – Bright Eyes [indie rock/indie folk]
  83. Beautiful Garbage (2001) – Garbage [alternative rock/trip hop]
  84. Who Is Jill Scott? (Words and Sounds Vol. 1) (2000) – Jill Scott [neo-soul/R&B]
  85. Uh Huh Her (2004) – PJ Harvey [alternative rock/art rock]
  86. Gold (2001) – Ryan Adams [alternative country/indie rock]
  87. Greatest Hits (rec. 1962-1967) – The Righteous Brothers [pop/soul]
  88. Closer (1980) – Joy Division [post-punk/gothic rock]
  89. Hot Fives & Sevens, Vol. 4 (Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines) (rec. 1928-1929) – Louis Armstrong [jazz]
  90. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (2007) – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds [alternative rock]
  91. I and Love and You (2009) – The Avett Brothers [indie folk]
  92. Complete Chess Recordings (rec. 1950-1959) – Jimmy Rogers [blues]
  93. Riley: Salome Dances for Peace (1989) – Kronos Quartet [classical]
  94. Middle Cyclone (2008) – Neko Case [indie rock/alternative country]
  95. Schoenberg: Gürrelieder (2001) – Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Simon Rattle [classical]
  96. Alice (2002) – Tom Waits [experimental/rock/jazz/blues]
  97. Body and Soul (rec. 1939-1956) – Coleman Hawkins [jazz]
  98. Blonde on Blonde (1966) – Bob Dylan [folk rock]
  99. SMiLE (2004) – Brian Wilson [orchestral pop]
  100. 25th Anniversary (rec. 1939-1964) – Judy Garland [pop standards/show tunes]
  101. No Boundaries (1996) – Natalie MacMaster [world/Celtic]
  102. Flood (1990) – They Might Be Giants [alternative rock/power pop]
  103. Freetown Sound (2016) – Blood Orange [alternative R&B/experimental jazz]
  104. Offenbach: Les Contes d’Hoffmann (1950) – Choeur et Orchestre du Theatre National de l’Opera-Comique/Andre Cluytens [classical]
  105. Bartók: Six String Quartets (1988) – Emerson String Quartet [classical]
  106. In Exile Deo (2004) – Juliana Hatfield [alternative rock]
  107. The College Dropout (2004) – Kanye West [hip hop]
  108. Cripple Crow (2005) – Devendra Banhart [psychedelic folk]
  109. Galore: The Singles (rec. 1987-1997) – The Cure [gothic rock/post-punk]
  110. Electric Version (2003) – The New Pornographers [indie rock]
  111. Malibu (2016) – Anderson .Paak [soul/R&B/hip hop]
  112. Pure Comedy (2017) – Father John Misty [indie rock/indie folk]
  113. This World Is Not My Home (rec. 1985-1987) – Lone Justice [cowpunk/country rock]
  114. Próxima Estación: Esperanza (2001) – Manu Chao [worldbeat/Latin alternative]
  115. Toxicity (2001) – System of a Down [alternative metal]
  116. 16 Greatest Hits (rec. 1965-1968) – The Mamas & the Papas [folk rock]
  117. Before Today (2010) – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti [lo-fi/hypnagogic pop]
  118. Midnite Vultures (1999) – Beck [funk rock/R&B]
  119. The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes (rec. 1945-1948) – Charlie Parker [jazz]
  120. A Town Called Addis (2008) – Dub Colossus [world/dub/reggae]
  121. Dusty In Memphis (1968) – Dusty Springfield [pop/soul/R&B]
  122. New Amerykah, Pt. 1 (4th World War) (2008) – Erykah Badu [neo-soul/funk/R&B]
  123. Adams: The Death of Klinghoffer (1992) – Lyon National Opera Orchestra & London Opera Chorus/Kent Nagano [classical]
  124. Segundo (2000) – Juana Molina [world/folktronica]
  125. Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out (2005) – Petra Haden [indie rock]
  126. Kid A (2000) – Radiohead [experimental rock/electronica]
  127. Verve Jazz Masters 34 (rec. 1944-1962) – Coleman Hawkins [jazz]
  128. With the Beatles (1963) – The Beatles [pop/R&B/rock & roll]
  129. Beethoven: The Late String Quartets (1992) – Tokyo String Quartet [classical]
  130. Summer Sun (2003) – Yo La Tengo [indie rock/dream pop]
  131. Mental Illness (2017) – Aimee Mann [pop/rock]
  132. Armchair Apocrypha (2007) – Andrew Bird [indie rock]
  133. For Emma, Forever Ago (2007) – Bon Iver [indie folk/indie pop/indie rock]
  134. Stravinsky: The Great Ballets (1963, 1973) – London Philharmonic Orchestra/Bernard Haitink [classical]
  135. Let England Shake (2011) – PJ Harvey [folk rock]
  136. Anthology (rec. 1960-1972) – Ray Charles [soul/R&B]
  137. Dear Science (2008) – TV on the Radio [art rock/indie rock]
  138. The Buddy Holly Collection (rec. 1954-1959) – Buddy Holly [rock & roll]
  139. Le Quintette du Hot Club de France (rec. 1934-1940) – Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli [jazz]
  140. The Fat Man – 25 Classic Performances (rec. 1949-1961) – Fats Domino [rock & roll/R&B]
  141. Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004) – Modest Mouse [indie rock]
  142. Third (2008) – Portishead [trip hop/alternative rock]
  143. White Blood Cells (2001) – The White Stripes [garage rock/alternative rock]
  144. Goodbye Jumbo (1990) – World Party [alternative rock/indie pop]
  145. King of the Blues Guitar (rec. 1966-1969) – Albert King [blues]
  146. The Information (2006) – Beck [alternative rock]
  147. The Definitive Blind Willie McTell (rec. 1929-1933) – Blind Willie McTell [blues]
  148. My Maudlin Career (2009) – Camera Obscura [indie pop]
  149. The Crane Wife (2006) – The Decemberists [indie rock/progressive folk]
  150. Sleep Well Beast (2017) – The National [indie rock/art rock]

Cheer Up – The Blues Lists Are Here!

I’ve updated my lists of best blues albums – adding a number of new lists, revising the formatting and creating two separate lists: one organized by rank (that is, with the albums on the most lists at the top) and one in chronological order.

Here are the updated lists:
Best Blues Albums of All Time – Ranked
Best Blues Albums of All Time – Chronological

The challenge of making a list of best blues albums is that so many of the albums are compilations and so many of the compilations have duplicate material.  As an example, take Sonny Boy Williamson (II), who has five albums on the list:
1. King Biscuit Time (rec. 1951-1965) (on 3 lists)
2. Down and Out Blues (rec. 1955-1958) (on 3 lists)
3. His Best (Chess, rec. 1955-1964) (on 3 lists)
4. The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson (rec. 1955-1963) (on 2 lists)
5. The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues (rec. 1957, 1960-1964) (on 3 lists)
I don’t know exactly, but my guess is that there are at least some of his tracks that are on all five albums, and probably a lot more that are on three or four.  The same problem is true for so many other blues artists.  To complicate matters, not all these compilations are of the same quality.  This creates a problem for the lister, and for the person trying to use the list to make choices about what .  My recommendation is that if you are looking for a first album to buy from a blue artist, start with my list, but in trying to decide among the compilations here take the next step of googling “what is the best compilation for [Artist’s Name]” and see what advice you get.

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