Top 100 Greatest Music Albums by NJ (2021)

Very much subject to drastically change at any time. I still have so, so much music to listen to. It's overwhelming. Right now I'm in the process of adding descriptions for each entry, so bear with me while I complete that, since I'm rather slow when it comes to writing. I don't like much of the last half of this chart nearly as much as I should, but that's been getting a lot better the more great albums I add. When I first made this chart I struggled to find 10 I was happy putting as the top 10, and now I can easily do a top 50 and feel satisfied, so it's a process.

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This is probably the best argument against the idea of the average track making an album. It's chock full of short instrumental interludes, all of which would drag down the album's average score, yet I wouldn't get rid of any of them. This is the best example, in my opinion, of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, which is how an album should be. Illinois is truly an epic piece of music, exploring every aspect of humanity, from religion to sexuality to history, through the lens of a study of Illinois. There are so many powerful moments here that it's hard to pick a favorite, but The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us! means a lot to me. Unfortunately it can be quite difficult to listen to this album because Sufjan Stevens is an expert at emotional storytelling, but he also knows how to make things just sound emotional, and I tend to just get too sad.

The key track: The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!
The weakest link: One Last 'Whoo-Hoo!' for the Pullman!!, I guess
The underappreciated gem: The Seer's Tower
[First added to this chart: 08/12/2019]
Year of Release:
2005
Appears in:
Rank Score:
27,692
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The ultimate indie rock album. It's full of catchy tracks, emotional singing, and dense poetry. On the surface the lyricism here may seem like a bunch of nonsense imagery, but digging a little deeper reveals just how potent and genius a writer Jeff Mangum is. You're not a true hipster until you've cried while singing this album to yourself.

The key track: Holland, 1945 (basic, I know)
The weakest link: [untitled], I guess
The underappreciated gem: Ghost
[First added to this chart: 08/10/2019]
Year of Release:
1998
Appears in:
Rank Score:
53,097
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3. (=)
Low 
David Bowie's most experimental record is his masterpiece. It's both an incredibly important and influential album as well as one which wears its influences on its sleeves, but its legacy shouldn't take away from how amazing it is. Side A contains some of his best rock tracks, and is probably the most beloved and consistent album side in his discography. Side B is more divisive, but in my opinion just as strong. Not everyone can appreciate its ambient instrumentals, largely because their influence has partially rendered them basic in comaprison to its predecessors, but it's still a haunting experience which I'd argue equals Side A.

The key track: Sound and Vision, or Subterraneans if I'm feeling like being a hipster
The weakest link: What in the World
The underappreciated gem: Weeping Wall
[First added to this chart: 07/17/2019]
Year of Release:
1977
Appears in:
Rank Score:
23,771
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Teens of Denial is, in my opinion, the rock album that defines my generation. Those of us who transitioned from adolescent into adulthood sometime during the last decade. It perfectly captures the feelings of emptiness and extistential dread and self-loathing so many introverted teenagers and young adults feel as they stumble through life. Each song here is fantastic in its own individual way, but the way it all comes together to paint such a vivid portrait of young life is what pushes it to the next level. Very few artists can make a concept album like this - one whose narrative arc is detailed and cleared, while also allowing the songs to breathe on their own. It's a great album, and also an incredibly enjoyable one.

The key track: The Ballad of the Costa Concordia or Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales, depending on my mood
The weakest link: Unforgiving Girl (She's Not An), if I have to pick one
The underappreciated gem: Connect the Dots (The Saga of Frank Sinatra)
[First added to this chart: 03/15/2020]
Year of Release:
2016
Appears in:
Rank Score:
9,100
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This is one of the most challenging records ever released, but I guess for whatever reason I've always enjoyed it. I will admit that it's a rather overlong record, but it's just so unique that it hardly matters. When I'm in the mood for it, there's nothing else that'll do, so it might as well be 28 songs. It's hard to take seriously, but I feel like I'm laughing with the record, not at it. The composition seems like nonsense on the surface, but in reality it's incredibly smart. You don't have to "get" this album, but if it does connect with you like it has with me, there are some real gems here, and it might just change how you listen to music.

The key track: Moonlight On Vermond
The weakest link: Pena
The underappreciated gem: Hair Pie: Bake 1
[First added to this chart: 07/28/2019]
Year of Release:
1969
Appears in:
Rank Score:
8,912
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It's almost unfortunate that this album exists because Shoegaze as a genre has a lot of excellent records that just really don't matter because this album did it but better. Loveless IS Shoegaze. No other album has come close to matching this album's perfect blend of serene and distorted.

The key track: When You Sleep
The weakest link: Touched
The underappreciated gem: Blown a Wish
[First added to this chart: 08/10/2019]
Year of Release:
1991
Appears in:
Rank Score:
42,055
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Teens of Denial is the album of the last decade which best describes the younger generations, but this album perfectly describes the social climate. Perhaps this deserves credit as the greatest artistic achievement of the 2010s music industry, and perhaps the only reason Teens of Denial is higher is my unfortunate rock bias, but all that aside this is an amazing record through-and-through. It's the same length as the album above it, which I described as being overlong, yet every moment feels as though it counts. Perhaps the repetition of the poem throughout the tracks prevents me from enjoying this as often as a couple of other records, but that technique is still incredibly genius and unique. To Pimp A Butterfly is political without being overly judgmental, and certainly with a sense of self-awareness. This is the Nevermind or the Dark Side of the Moon of its era.

The key track: The Blacker the Berry
The weakest link: Momma
The underappreciated gem: For Sale? (Interlude)
[First added to this chart: 10/22/2019]
Year of Release:
2015
Appears in:
Rank Score:
41,202
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I'm not sure why the popular opinion is that Homogenic is Bjork's best album, because to me it's clearly Vespertine. It's more beautiful, more consistent, more unique, and more, well, Bjork. Maybe it's overly sentimental and optimistic views on love is a little hard to look back on now seeing as where Bjork would go later on down the road, but this album still remains a shining light in the world.

The key track: Unison
The weakest link: Frosti
The underappreciated gem: Aurora
[First added to this chart: 08/11/2019]
Year of Release:
2001
Appears in:
Rank Score:
9,240
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Long Season may be the band's most well-known work, but this is their true masterpiece (well, other than the live album, but that doesn't count). Long Season is great no doubt, and the idea of having a one-song-long album is certainly interesting, but ultimately is what drags it down; Uchu Nippon Setagaya takes the perfected style of Long Season and breaks it up into more enjoyable chunks.

The key track: Pokka Pokka
The weakest link: Magic Love
The underappreciated gem: Ushirosugata
[First added to this chart: 01/27/2021]
Year of Release:
1997
Appears in:
Rank Score:
1,179
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This is the singer-songwriter genre perfected. Joni Mitchell's raw, personal storytelling is spread out across 10 perfect tracks. I can't say I enjoy the genre as much as a couple of others - it's a little too barebones for me - which is why it's not higher, but this is pretty damn close to perfection.

The key track: A Case of You
The weakest link: Carey, I guess?
The underappreciated gem: This Flight Tonight
[First added to this chart: 07/28/2019]
Year of Release:
1971
Appears in:
Rank Score:
19,633
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Comments:
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 1 1%
1960s 10 10%
1970s 14 14%
1980s 11 11%
1990s 20 20%
2000s 13 13%
2010s 29 29%
2020s 2 2%
Country Albums %


United States 56 56%
United Kingdom 29 29%
Mixed Nationality 6 6%
Germany 3 3%
Japan 2 2%
Iceland 2 2%
Canada 1 1%
Show all
Compilation? Albums %
No 99 99%
Yes 1 1%

Top 100 Greatest Music Albums chart changes

Biggest climbers
Climber Up 20 from 92nd to 72nd
Nervous Young Man
by Car Seat Headrest
Climber Up 13 from 29th to 16th
How To Leave Town
by Car Seat Headrest
Climber Up 11 from 28th to 17th
Trans-Europa Express
by Kraftwerk
Biggest fallers
Faller Down 3 from 27th to 30th
Hunky Dory
by David Bowie
Faller Down 2 from 16th to 18th
The Beatles (The White Album)
by The Beatles
Faller Down 2 from 17th to 19th
Meat Is Murder
by The Smiths

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Top 100 Greatest Music Albums ratings

Average Rating: 
89/100 (from 22 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution Average Rating = (n ÷ (n + m)) × av + (m ÷ (n + m)) × AV
where:
av = trimmed mean average rating an item has currently received.
n = number of ratings an item has currently received.
m = minimum number of ratings required for an item to appear in a 'top-rated' chart (currently 10).
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02/17/2021 19:15 sweetness  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 7584/100
  
95/100
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02/10/2021 21:21 odetoviceroy98  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 62787/100
  
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12/10/2020 12:28 reelcolonel  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1496/100
  
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11/11/2020 03:33 leniad  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 46282/100
  
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11/10/2020 21:49 Rhyner  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,20599/100

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This chart is rated in the top 2% of all charts on BestEverAlbums.com. This chart has a Bayesian average rating of 89.4/100, a mean average of 91.1/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 91.5/100. The standard deviation for this chart is 6.0.

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Top 100 Greatest Music Albums comments

Showing latest 10 comments | Show all 11 comments |
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From 11/29/2020 12:31
Good chart, good to see TMR ranked at number 4. I never gave Carseat Headrest a fair listen. That was an interesting best album pick
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
90/100
From 11/11/2020 03:33
good chart, may comeback when you enter another 50 albums
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
85/100
From 06/23/2020 15:52
Great chart. Although we only share 4 or so albums there’s a lot of albums I love here and will feature as I expand my own chart. Write ups are great also
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +3 votes (3 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
95/100
From 06/14/2020 18:14
A lot of great choices!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (1 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
Rating:  
100/100
From 06/14/2020 09:46
More-de-scrip-tions! More-de-scrip-tions! ....
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
85/100
From 05/13/2020 18:54
good chart.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
85/100
From 10/03/2019 12:47
Great chart
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
85/100
From 08/13/2019 07:34
Great chart and I'm sure it will be even better when it will be longer.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
90/100
From 08/13/2019 03:19
These are all great albums! I'd definitely recommend branching out into the current decade a little bit, there's a lot to discover! My first thought was "22, A Million" by Bon Iver (another electronic-departure-from-a-big-band album, like in your intro post), but I'd also suggest "Ten Love Songs" by Susanne Sundfør and "Right from Real" by Lydia Ainsworth.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
90/100
From 08/10/2019 23:48
Nice chart. I would have picked a different order, but great chart
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +3 votes (3 helpful | 0 unhelpful)

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