Top 100 Greatest Music Albums by Strangel (2019)

These albums are my favourites. This is not meant to be a 'Greatest Album's' chart, although I would strongly argue for each of my chosen albums in being considered for a greatest albums list. My interest is more toward the alternative/indie and electronic genres with a tendency toward experimentation in the music. I also need to be able to comfortably immerse myself in the music. So while I appreciate, and want to explore the work of Autechre (for example), I get far more pleasure from listening to Burial which has more reverie to the sound rather than almost pure math and tech. Aphex Twin, in fact, manages to bridge these aspects perfectly.

It might be noted that Radiohead dominates the list which simply expresses my belief that they have the uncanny ability to release album after album of near perfect alternative music, shifting the landscape of what's possible whilst always remaining relevant. I don't apologise for this. They are that good.

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I don't think any other album even comes close to this for the greatest album of all time. Radiohead's discovery of atmospheric layerings comes to the fore on this album. The general feeling of 90s disillusionment, alienation, and a collective realisation of being screwed by the establishment, is also captured here like no other band was capable of. It is experimental, it is progressive, it is melodic, it is enduring, it is even transcendental when you close your eyes and get taken away on the tendrils of Thom's vocal range especially in songs like Exit Music. If I were to be fair and try to pick a low point it would be Electioneering. While I love the song, it is still the one relatively weak moment amongst a sea of exceptional music. It has more of a B side feel to it for mine. It is still a great rocking track but it seems slightly out of its depth amongst so many exceptionally well crafted songs.

I first heard the album when I randomly walked into a record store in 97 and asked the guy behind the desk for the most interesting new release. I have a lot to thank that guy for (unfortunately the record store no longer exists). Like most people, I knew the song Creep but had somehow missed the release of the Bends and all its adoration. After a couple of listens of OKC though and I was back to the store to purchase Pablo Honey and The Bends. And so my love affair with the band commenced with many many evenings of heavily stoned immersion into all the incredible intricacies of their music. It was a bliss I hadn't been aware of on an auditory level and it was the beginning of my deep enthusiasm for the art of progressive alternative music.

Alternative rock music is not for everyone, but this album is. There is something about it that didn't just speak for a generation of youths. It speaks for everyone who sees through all the deception and the bullshit thwarting our evolution as a species. And that is some sort of an extraordinary achievement.

Rating:100/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT: The building crescendo in Exit Music. It was the first eargasm I think I ever had.
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
1997
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201,871
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The thing that makes this album a masterpiece is that it stepped into the 21st century with a statement of pure progressive intent, leaving behind the 20th century formula that was tried and true. Most bands would either not be brave enough or wouldn't have the talent to pull it off. The thing I love about the music on Kid A is the sense of disembodiment that occurs with the studio production. Nigel Godrich should always be considered when discussing the genius of a Radiohead album. The disembodiment is unquestionably reflective of Thom's headspace during this phase of his life but to make it truly palpable it required some very astute studio production.

Rating: 99/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT: The metaphorical depiction of Yorke floating down the Liffey; he's not here, this isn't happening...
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
2000
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123,599
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In Rainbows is not the progressive leap that you might expect in the chronology of Radiohead's discography. Instead, it is a celebration of the alchemy that exists amongst 5 (6) very talented artists. This alchemy is best expressed when on stage but to observe it in close detail in their 'From the Basement' sessions you can truly appreciate the cohesive mastery of a band at their peak. I believe that 3 of their best dozen or so songs are on this album. Reckoner is a triumph of the alchemy mentioned above. Weird Fishes builds wonderfully and has one of the best mid-song transitions you'll ever hear. Then there is Nude. The first time I heard the studio version of this it brought an an unexplainable deep emotion to the surface and a genuine tear came from my eye as Thom reached his uppermost vocal expression. Stunning song within a stunningly good album.

Rating: 99/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: Yorke hitting that elongated, emotive high note in Nude; 'You'll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thiiiiiiiiinking".

Also, the building crescendo in All I Need deserves mention. It becomes this extraordinary cacophony of sound that ends abruptly before it can outstay its welcome. To be honest, I personally would have liked it to stretch on for a lot longer than it does.
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
2007
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105,941
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If you want depth in your alternative rock experience there is possibly no better album to soak yourself in than Lateralus. While I probably nostalgically enjoy Aenima slightly more due to the associations I have with it, this album is probably the peak of their creative genius and I get more out of it with each listen. They are just such a tight sounding group and the audiophiles amongst us who like to meditate on the nuances of their music will be well rewarded by a full attentive listening. I love albums that give you something new (and at times, profound) with every listen. Lateralus is one of those albums and I think it may offer something new indefinitely. It is an epic psychedelic journey into the core of our being but is done in a far more profoundly complex way than say Revolver by the Beatles. The entire theme of transcendence permeates every sinew of the album. Each track transitions/segues effortlessly to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts... and the parts are pretty fucking awesome.

Rating: 99/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT: The complexity within the lyrics, composition, and music is exhaustive. The title track is structured using the Fibonacci sequence, incorporating golden means, and invoking the sacred geometric imagery of spiraling out through a psychedelic wormhole and reaching our spiritual potential.
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
2001
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Rank Score:
16,997
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For any electronic enthusiast, this album is like the template of how to captivate the listener without the explicit requirement to dance to the underlying beat. But it doesn't lose the capacity to make you dance or move to it either. And it isn't just tuneless, experimental bleeps and bloops. It is, instead, an incredibly pleasant sonic listening experience made through basic uncluttered layerings of atmospheric synth/sampling. And it hasn't lost any of its lustre in 24 years. Incredible!

Rating: 98/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT: The opening track, Xtal, has an nostalgic, comforting resonance as soon as it's subtle iconic beats begin to emerge.
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
1992
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Rank Score:
10,599
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Nick Cave fills the next two positions on my list with a couple of albums I find impossible to separate. They arose in the middle of his career, and were more deeply personal compositions when compared with the story-telling he employs to great effect in his other albums. Here he leaves behind the stories of the depraved, sinister, and murky characters and instead focuses more on his own existential musings. As such, we have a more visceral, emotional and moving experience when immersed in his crooning poetry.

His mastery of song-writing comes to the fore on Boatman's Call where he manages to write dark and brooding songs you can actually make love to. It is as if the dark lord is seducing you with the hidden beauty waiting to be extracted from the morose. He seems to be telling us that beauty truly eminates from the darkness and not from the light of which most of us presume. Few artists have the genius to make us realise this incredible insight.

Rating: 98/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT: Into My Arms setting the scene from the opening track.
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
1997
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Rank Score:
7,277
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This album followed Boatman's Call and kept much of the existential musings without being quite as personal. There is not a weak song on this album and if you listen to the compositions closely you will note the extraordinary cohesion with the Bad Seeds, the McGarrigle sisters, and Cave's yearning piano. It is a testament to his genius that there is no schmaltz here in his balladry. I think this is due to poetic talent mixed with darker themes that many song-writers avoid. The closing track, Darker with the Day is probably my favourite Cave song. The imagery is surreal and speaks of something important that you can't quite tap into consciously.
I feel like this album has been overlooked or missed completely by a large percentage of music lovers. If you are one of them then make this the next album you immerse yourself in.

Rating: 98/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT: The poetic closer, Darker with the Day -
'Inside I sat, seeking the presence of a God
I searched through the pictures in a leather-bound book
I found a woolly lamb dozing in an issue of blood
And a gilled Jesus shivering on a fisherman's hook'
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
2001
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Rank Score:
3,165
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This album was truly a 'wow' moment for me. I hadn't heard anything like it before. It was sublimely ethereal and atmospheric like no other album I'd heard. There must be something in the Icelandic air. It's as if the elder spirits are projecting themselves through music as the only universal language that can reach out to us (let's face it, maths hardly reaches out to us like music, right?). This is their most beautiful album where the many various instruments, and Jonsi's voice, manage to weave in and out of the song without the listener even realizing it because the greater whole of each song continues on majestically without breaking stride in ebbing and flowing composition. This is so much more than a Post Rock album. It is a masterpiece of musicianship, composition, and production.

Rating: 98/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT: So many to choose from, because this really is a complete album to be enjoyed in its entirety. Single tracks are not its focus so much as the whole. For now I'd probably settle for the reflective beauty of Olsen Olsen. But I also love the build from lulling ambient to euphoric cacophany in VVLT and NB, and the transcendent qualities of SGE and Staralfur.
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
1999
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34,467
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I think this album is the seed of alternative music. Considering their status as pop icons at this point in their career, it was an alternate path that the Beatles decided that their music must take to feel creatively fulfilled. Rubber Soul, before it, showed glimpses of where their genius might progress but Revolver embraced it fully. The best track for mine, is the immaculate closer Tomorrow Never Knows which is a truly monumental leap of existential art when comparing it to previous Beatles songs. This is where they (Lennon in particular) are truly riding the zeitgeist of 60s consciousness expansion and it epitomises the cultural changes taking effect through experimentation with psychedelics. At the other end of the spectrum, you have the maturing observational story-telling of McCartney with Eleanor Rigby. So much of the album expresses the musings of adults who have dispensed of the simplistic catchy teenage pop songs that made them... popular. This was Music taking charge of its own destiny through the conduit of 4 Liverpudlians.

Rating: 98/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT: Tomorrow Never Knows
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
1966
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Rank Score:
150,795
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This album is the peak of James Mercer and The Shins creativity thus far. It is absolute indy rock perfection. If anyone asks you how to define indy rock just throw this album at them. Each track is so damn good it's difficult to pick a standout track - not a weak track on the whole album. Catchy hooks come at you relentlessly. The lyrics are fantastically enigmatic, poetic, and quirky. Mercer's vocals are at their most expressive and emotive. The guitar has a raw edge yet the album production is far more polished than Oh, Inverted World. All in all I cannot fault Chutes Too Narrow. If I were to be picky it only suffers in comparison to other great albums in this chart due to the fact that it has few songs that can lay claim to being hailed as all time classics. However, any number of these songs have the quality to be seen as classics. Perhaps they get lost in amongst the company they keep...

Rating: 97/100

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT: Probably Pink Bullets, but depending on the day it could be Mine's Not A High Horse, or Kissing the Lipless, or Those to Come. or...
[First added to this chart: 07/05/2016]
Year of Release:
2003
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Rank Score:
9,105
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Total albums: 100. Page 1 of 10

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Top 100 Greatest Music Albums composition

Decade Albums %


1930s 0 0%
1940s 0 0%
1950s 0 0%
1960s 7 7%
1970s 7 7%
1980s 5 5%
1990s 28 28%
2000s 36 36%
2010s 17 17%
Artist Albums %


Radiohead 8 8%
Burial 4 4%
Metallica 4 4%
The Beatles 4 4%
The National 3 3%
Portishead 3 3%
Nirvana 3 3%
Show all
Country Albums %


United States 42 42%
United Kingdom 41 41%
Iceland 6 6%
Australia 5 5%
Mixed Nationality 2 2%
Sweden 1 1%
Ireland 1 1%
Show all

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Top 100 Greatest Music Albums ratings

Average Rating: 
88/100 (from 48 votes)
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Top 100 Greatest Music Albums comments

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From Timooosterink 08/30/2019 10:38
Love your chart! I agree on amok it is a very underated album.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
90/100
From Granny-Smith 06/26/2019 12:36
I like your chart. Have a lot Artists and Albums in common.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
90/100
From Paule 03/06/2019 11:36
Good list! We share the Radiohead "problem". I suggest you to dive into some older Krautrock and Ambient music. You will find a lot of Radioheads work is influenced by that stuff and there are some gems to be found.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
95/100
From Kurtco 01/29/2019 18:22
We have 31 albums and 21 artists in common... It's very funny!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
95/100
From Kurtco 01/29/2019 18:18
I find your chart very interesting and complete. You have musical tastes very similar to mine. Radiohead is one of my favorite bands!
I'm glad you like Icelandic music: Sigur Rós and Björk. I agree with you that "Vespertine" is Björk's best album: It's a real masterpiece. You put a lot of recent music in your chart and it's nice to see AMOK of Atoms For Peace in your rankings. This is surely one of Thom Yorke's underrated albums. I'm really happy to see artists not very well known as Burial, Nick Cave or Amon Tobin who are part of my favorite artist. The 90s are really well represented in your chart with great artists like Nirvana, Aphex Twin, Tool or Massive Attack. Really very good job and very good choice!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
90/100
From guzguzgarbit 01/21/2019 20:08
Good choices, great descriptions, great diversity (even with 8 Radiohead albums!). I particularly appreciate the presence of some electronic (Four Tet, Jon Hopkins, Burial...) among all the rock picks.
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Rating:  
95/100
From jhuik 11/16/2018 14:00
I don't agree with your top ten, or some other picks, or (as has been noted by others) the excess of Radiohead, but who gives a shit about my opinion. I love the passion in your descriptions and the personalized responses. Great chart!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From Strangel 07/19/2018 01:19
Ahh well, what can you do? They're that good. It's not like Pablo Honey is on the chart just coz Radiohead. Pablo Honey was an objectively average to good album and thus hasn't got anywhere near this chart. Their subsequent albums were all objectively created to a much higher level and the artistic merit of each universally critically acclaimed. Subjectively (which is what this chart mainly expresses), the music deeply resonates with me so why wouldn't their very best be difficult to supplant by another artist's work?
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Rating:  
80/100
From fps74 07/18/2018 05:04
Radiohead! Radiohead everywhere!
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Rating:  
90/100
From foxytreeko 07/09/2018 14:11
Great list, love your descriptions. We have 13 albums and 16 artists in common
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Best Ever Albums
1. OK Computer by Radiohead
2. The Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd
3. Abbey Road by The Beatles
4. Revolver by The Beatles
5. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles
6. Kid A by Radiohead
7. Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin
8. The Velvet Underground And Nico by The Velvet Underground And Nico
9. Funeral by Arcade Fire
10. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
11. Nevermind by Nirvana
12. In Rainbows by Radiohead
13. The Beatles (The White Album) by The Beatles
14. Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys
15. The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars by David Bowie
16. London Calling by The Clash
17. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel
18. The Bends by Radiohead
19. Doolittle by Pixies
20. The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths


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