Top 100 Greatest Music Albums by AAL2014 (2020)
Hey guys. Thanks for checking out my chart. Starting off, this website is great and has been a catalyst to get me into many different types of music and go further into genres I hadn't really explored before. With these charts I get to organize and view my tastes much differently than ever before and in an ever-changing manner.
Here you'll find some of that taking shape. My Top 100 will always be a work in progress, as I hope anyone's would. But here's a couple things you'll find with my chart:
----Top 25- Only one entry per artist.
-For a long time, I've wrestled with not necessarily the inclusions of multiple albums by the same artist, but the placement of them. As of 4/23/2020 I implemented a One Album Per Artist amendment for the Top 25, a personal rule I feel very good about. I've never had a problem with showing off the fact I love 4 or 5 Rush albums, or I can't decide between 2 or 3 Dylan albums so I put them all up. However, as time has gone on and I've been able to scratch more and more records off my Listen-To List, it's clear that the top 25 are truly hallowed and reserved spots. One per artist just so I can more accurately fill in all corners of my taste and give more credit to the art and artists that have impacted my world.
---- My favorite (or thereabouts) lyric from each non-instrumental album.
----Being a drummer of more than a decade, here you'll find the drummer(s) who played on each of my top 100 records to give them a little credit or to shoutout a hero.
Hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think in the comments.
CHART OF THE DAY- 8/9/18
- Chart updated: 06/29/2020 13:15
- (Created: 03/18/2014 17:15).
- Chart size: 100 albums.
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My first favorite musician, Stevie Wonder capped off his run of legendary albums in the 1970's with quite arguably his all time best with Songs. Not a skippable track on the album and each has fantastic melodies, harmonies and instrumentation. No pun intended, truly a wonderful album. Seeing him perform the entire album live in Detroit was truly breathtaking. An all time classic of beauty, love, life, spirituality, and gorgeous, often untouchable music.
This was the album along with Stevie's greatest hits that made me realize what music was in the first place and made me fall in love with it on a grand scale.
Songs in the Key of Life is Stevie capping off a legendary decade of music with his absolute best work. From the performances to the writing to the arranging, mixing, mastering, artwork... this is a masterpiece so full of life it's hard for me to break down how important it is to me in just a couple paragraphs.
This is not a concept album necessarily, but with a title like Songs in the Key of Life, it would have been disappointing for Stevie to not break down the world around him. He did just that through his view on love, life, birth, death, religion, race relation, politics, history.. There is no false advertising in the title. Although Songs was released in 1976, after 2 years of Stevie locking himself in the studio for often times 48+ consecutive hours, this is an album that could be released today and would be no less musically relevant or culturally significant. The messages found throughout this record are too important to ignore and the music is too vibrant not to love and be moved by.
The cohesion in Stevie's writing is more prevalent here than almost anywhere else in his catalog. Never before had he mixed so many styles so effortlessly. Funk (I Wish), soul (Knocks Me Off My Feet), rock (All Day Sucker), jazz fusion (Contusion), and even big band (Sir Duke) and classical influence (Village Ghetto Land) are all on display here, none of them feeling out of place. What's more is the obvious influence it had on the generations to come. The impact this album had on artists like Prince, The Roots, Justin Timberlake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar and so many others is screamingly obvious and a joy to infer. You've heard Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise, and if you haven't, you've heard Weird Al's Amish Paradise, both of which stem from the original structure of Stevie's Pastime Paradise from this album.
Stevie is such a great lyricist. Forget his superb voice and out of this world ear for melody, how can a blind man write a lyric like "I see us in the park, strolling the summer days of imaginings in my head. And words from our heart told only to the wind felt even without being said" that paints as clear of a picture as any song I've ever heard? Absolute genius.
Aside from what a great listening experience Songs In The Key of Life is, what I love specifically about this album is how it makes me feel as close to spiritual as I've ever been. I'm not a religious person, god to me is any positive person, place, or item I find. Discovering this album changed me and lead me down the path to eventually playing drums, teaching music, and meeting all of the people in my life that are important to me now. Songs in the Key of Life is almost a bible of sorts to me. From the first listen, it was something new and it had a visceral effect on me. It gave me the feeling that I could connect to something, in this case music, and stick with it, which I had never done before. I still feel it whenever I decide to play it. It's my go-to uplifting album.
Bury me with a copy of Songs In The Key of Life, my favorite album of all time.
Favorite tracks: As, Another Star, Knocks Me Off My Feet
Drummer(s): Stevie Wonder, Raymond Pounds, Greg Brown, [First added to this chart: 03/21/2014]
Dream Theater's magnum opus and one of the greatest stories ever told on an album. Every song has a hand in telling part of the story, partly set in the present, other parts set in 1928. Fantastic songs, melodies, and of course playing from the powerhouses of Myung, Petrucci, LaBrie, Ruddess, and Portnoy. My favorite part about Dream Theater is when the powerhouse playing meets melody, harmony, and musicality. This record is the best of both DT worlds. This is the concept album I hold all other concept albums up against.
This album is still essentially perfect, but after a long time at number 1, I can't keep SITKOL out of the top spot any longer. Someday it may return to that spot, but I know it will always be in the top 5.
Favorite tracks: Strange Deja Vu, the Dance of Eternity, Finally Free. (But really, listen to the whole album)
Drummer: Mike Portnoy [First added to this chart: 03/21/2014]
I kid you not when I saw Springsteen, that one part before the last verse in Born To Run he extended and just kept conducting the band to keep getting louder and louder until it was this swirling tornado of noise for what was probably an entire minute, maybe more. before masterfully bringing it back to the remainder of the song. It was as loud and heavy as any moment in the Motorhead set I saw in the same arena a few years later.
So picture this. It's November 13, 2009, a Friday aftenoon, nearly 3 PM. I'm getting out of school during my Freshman year of High School and walking out to my dad's blue Chevy S10. He's on the phone with come to find out his friend Brad who has Springsteen tickets for that night but it sick and can't go. My dad tells me that as he gets off the phone and says "Wanna go?". To which I replied very quickly "yes". I had just started to like rock music and play the drums a year and a half previous to this and had not gone to any major concerts.
Springsteen popped my rock concert cherry in a way I could have never imagined. I experienced the hardest working man in rock n roll that night at the Palace of Aubrun Hills in Michigan. A capacity crowd with a normal stage but seats behing the stage, probably only 1,000 seats were not used. I would guess I was one of at least 20,000 souls that night. It was a religious experience the likes of which I had merely read about. He played Born To Run in it's entirety. It changed my life and outlook on music. This could easily be my favorite album.
Favorite tracks: Thunder Road, Born to Run, Jungleland
Drummer(s): Max Weinberg, Earnest "Boom" Carter [First added to this chart: 03/21/2014]
I don't remember the first time I listened to many of the albums I like, but I remember, IN VIVID DETAIL, putting my burned copy of Master of Puppets from my good friend in my CD player for the first time and being blown away by the lightning quick guitar, pounding drums, and huge and terrifying vocals. It scared me to death... and I couldn't stop listening to it. A Masterpiece. Pun intended this time.
This album changed my life. I would not have continued to be as passionate about playing drums without this record. Master of Puppets opened so many doors for me musically, and changed my perception of what "heavy" music was and what it could be. I finally realized heavy metal could be as beautiful, constructed, and genuine, if not more, than any other genre.
Is there a better album opener than Battery? The acoustic intro tricked me into thinking this was not what I was expecting and was an astounding intro to the blazingly fast and viscous guitar bass and drums that were to follow for the next 54 or so minutes. Lars Ulrich's drumming was as ferocious and pummeling as Hetfield's guitar and vocals were, fuck what you think.
This is Metallica at their otherworldly apex. This is heavy music at its pinnacle. This is the record I hold all other metal records up to in standard to this day some 10 (wow) years later.
Master of Puppets is a classic. Metallica were firing on cylinders, a lot of them, all of them and they were a band set on world domination and they fucking got it. For better or for worse. A genius album and such a deserving choice for our Top 100 albums on this beautiful site.
Favorite tracks: Battery, Master of Puppets, Disposable Heroes
Drummer: Lars Ulrich [First added to this chart: 03/21/2014]
Not too long ago, I had Sgt Pepper as my favorite Beatles album, not this high however. I still love it, it was the record that got me into the Beatles. But then, I gave Abbey Road a well deserved listen all the way through for the first time. I fell in love with the beautiful darkness of the album. Paul's vocals kick ass on this album, maybe his best album vocal-wise. The guitars are beautiful, the drums more than do their share, and the production is top notch and so well mixed. I'm only going to mention the medley on side two.
Favorite tracks: Oh! Darling, I Want You (She's So Heavy), and the Abbey Road Medley (the entire medley).
Drummer: Ringo Starr [First added to this chart: 12/30/2014]
When Soundgarden made their big comeback a couple years back, I was intrigued. I had heard Black Hole Sun before, but I wanted to hear more. Luckily my dad had a copy of Superunknown in his collection. At the time, that album was just what I needed. Every song really struck me as a musician and a listener and, to me, Soundgarden will always be kings of the "grunge" movement. Superunknown is fantastic start to finish. 4th of July and Like Suicide take me to a truly dark place but Black Hole Sun and Fell On Black Days pull me back into other ones.
When the world lost Chris, I took it quite hard. His voice was more familiar to me than some family members'. His lyrics and delivery of them spoke to me in a way that so few ever have. I'm sad he's no longer here. I'm ecstatic he existed. I miss you, Chris.
Favorite tracks: Fell On Black Days, 4th of July, Like Suicide.
Drummer: Matt Cameron [First added to this chart: 03/21/2014]
I remember the hype. It was here, it was on other sites, it was among friends, musicians, record stores, it was everywhere. And perhaps more than any other record, TPAB not only lived up to that hype, it backflipped over the hype.. did cartwheels around the hype. Just wow.
How Kendrick effortlessly blended hip hop, rap, funk, r&b, rock, jazz, soul... I can't believe it. This album made me want to go so much further into not only Kendrick's catalog, but rap as a genre in general. The emotion, intelligence, effort, and power that went into this album has justifiably not gone un-noted. I still remember putting the CD in for the first time, the hook for Wesley's Theory kicked in and I was already on the trip. This record not only took me along for the ride, it unapologetically made me feel like a part of the album. Kendrick is speaking to you when you play this album. Even if in the end he's really speaking to.. Ehhh, I won't spoil it in case you haven't heard it.
To Pimp A Butterfly is a masterpiece and well on its way to all time great status.
Favorite tracks: Welsey's Theory, The Blacker The Berry, Mortal Man [First added to this chart: 07/14/2015]
One of the great revolutionary works of this century. And one of the most unique "concept" albums ever, not just because of the theme(s) of the music but because you can fucking reorder the tracks and they flow even better. As the normal order of the album stands, Tool followed up AEnima with another album generally well received by fans and critics. Danny and Justin continued their exploration into the out of left field rhythms and compositions to make Tool even more a musical anomaly than ever before. Maynard's lyrics here are brilliant and even more so than on AEnima, shows off all of the different sides of his voice. The Throwing-shit-to-the-wind vocals of Ticks And Leeches to the spell-binding hypnotism of Reflection and everything in between, this is a band at the top of their creative game. The title track is one of the greatest songs ever.
Favorite Tracks: Lateralus, The Grudge, Reflection
Drummer: Danny Carey [First added to this chart: 07/25/2017]
If there is only one word that I'm allowed to use to describe the music of John Coltrane, it might be something like.. immaculate. As someone who is not (yet) a jazz aficionado, I can still feel the emotion and detail in every note on this album. This is a complete and powerful, musical trip through the mind of John Coltrane. Along with the help of the great Elvin Jones on drums, McCoy Tyner on keys and Jimmy Garrison on bass, his classic lineup, Coltrane's "gift to God", lives up to every expectation. In my opinion this cemented John Coltrane's case as one of the 5 greatest musical geniuses of all time.
Drummer: Elvin Jones [First added to this chart: 02/01/2015]
If you have to ask why this album is so high up on my chart, you'll never know.
This is one of those albums that has been like a friend to me over the years, thanks in large part to sharing it with so many friends of my own. Is it too long? Yeah..(all RHCP records are too damn long), Cut it down even just by 3 songs and we're talking a socks out masterpiece. With that said, however, I still love just about everything this album has to offer. This album has been important to me in so many different regards and has different moods for my own different moods. Funky, powerful, and dangerous one song, beautiful and heartfelt the next.
One thing is for sure, it's a landmark in funk rock. I'd say they made the funk gods proud with this one. There is also not a note out of place from Chad Smith. An EXCELLENT drum album.
Favorite tracks: The Power of Equality, Suck My Kiss, Sir Psycho Sexy
Drummer: Chad Smith [First added to this chart: 12/04/2014]
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Top 100 Greatest Music Albums composition
Top 100 Greatest Music Albums chart changes
| Up 10 from 55th to 45th|
by Death (Metal)
| Up 7 from 99th to 92nd|
Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
by Wu-Tang Clan
| Up 5 from 96th to 91st|
by Alice Cooper
| Down 7 from 71st to 78th|
Rage Against The Machine
by Rage Against The Machine
| Down 6 from 70th to 76th|
Appetite For Destruction
by Guns N' Roses
| Down 4 from 34th to 38th|
Ride The Lightning
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Hello all, I appreciate all the continued comments, votes, and overall good-natured support in this ongoing endeavors of finding out exactly what my favorite music is and why.
A number of you are probably in quarantine like me and this website has provided a ton of solace and inspired me to dive into artists, albums, and just plain music again for the first time in a long time. I'm catching up, slowly but surely I'm catching up.
One of my main tasks in this quarantine has been giving this chart (and a number of my other charts) well needed attention. This Main Chart got its largest shake up since the point it reached the 100 mark. It's been a lovely affair.
Likewise has been some of the discography dives I've done with a few artists during the last bunch of weeks including Motorhead and Fiona Apple. Based off of this chart, what artists do you think I should take on in that way?
Thanks a lot, be well!
The Van Halen love is almost mutual!
Love your view on music - a real personal list. Loved reading through it. Thanks for sharing.
Better than last update. Even though I dislike Springsteen alot, your refreshing (and new) descriptions overwhelm me.
XXXTentacion - ?
Daniel Bedingfield - Second First Impression
OutKast - Stankonia
Michael Jackson - Bad
Coldplay - Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
Black - Comedy
The White Stripes - De Stijl
Queen - News of The World
I left a similar comment on kickerofelves overall chart recently and it applies here to - many of these albums are not my cup of tea (some I even actively dislike) but the time and effort with which you have reviewed and placed them is astonishing, and to give this chart anything less than what I have would be an insult. My only criticism would be that the chart suffers from a little too much Anglophonic centrism (at the risk of sounding high and mighty), with all the international picks being UK/US collabs and even Billy Cobham being someone who moved the US aged three and was brought up on a strict musical diet of American Jazz. I think considering your love of the drums (probably my favourite instrument too) you should definitely check out Can; Jaki Liebezeit is often celebrated as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. Maybe start with their album Ege Bamyasi for more coneventional stuff and then Tago Mago for some real freaky shit. :)
A nice mixture and I can't argue with your No.1 as its also my No.1
It’s funny to see Stevie Wonder at the top of a chart filled with metal and rock. I’ll give Songs in the Key of Life another listen.
You and I are cut from the same cloth
I'll give your suggestion a listen. I love Simon's work on Priest's Sin After Sin album and I've heard a bit of his Protocol work too. Phenomenal player.
Innervisions is one of my favorite albums to play on vinyl. I say scoop it up. I love Stevie. Ultimately he's the reason I am here talking to you now. His music altered my life's path forever.
Thanks for the comment and rating!