Top 100 Greatest Music Albums by pctrooper (2020)
Thanks for checking out my chart! I have included one album per artist, and the descriptions are a work in progress.
Below is a link to my music if anyone wants to hear it:
- Chart updated: 1 hour ago
- (Created: 08/01/2019 05:11).
- Chart size: 100 albums.
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The album begins with "Looking for Someone", as Gabriel's soulful and fragile vocals set the troubled tone of the album. The song contains cryptic references to the conversion of Saul along the road to Damascus, and overall paints a very poignant picture of a lost and searching soul roaming about through desolation and seeking answers. Musically, the band is flying around all over the place, quiet and reflective for a moment here and there, then erupting repeatedly with impassioned fervor. Tony Banks really enhances the lyrics with his emotive organ playing, while Anthony Phillips switches back and forth between melodic acoustic interludes and electrifying leads. Mike Rutherford's bass playing is quite interesting as well, as he employs some counterpoints to the vast array of melodies fleshed out throughout the track. While this album lacks the master Phil Collins, I find that Mayhew's drumming actually fits here quite well, with his sort of scatty and almost nervous percussive style enhancing the feelings behind the music. The song concludes gloriously, as Gabriel cries "Leave me, all that I have I will give!" and the band's response really embodies this newfound feeling of resolution.
Next we have "White Mountain", which tells the tale of a fox named Fang who attempts and fails to usurp the authority of the alpha-male within his pack. The mystical guitar arpeggios trickle out and we get another solid story-based song. The music is so atmospheric and the lyrics so poetic that I can really feel myself in the body of Fang as he dashes through the snowy forests to his bloody demise. The track closes out with some really eerie whistling and feels very satisfying.
Things just keep getting more and more intense as we go along. "Visions of Angels" seems to be an unrequited love song, full of intense apocalyptic imagery. Gabriel's voice sounds so gentle and bittersweet alongside the beautiful piano and 12 string guitar melodies. The choral refrain in particular feels absolutely otherworldly, which is rather fitting as it follows the chilling chorus of "Visions of angels, dance in the sky, leaving me here forever goodbye". The song really captures the feeling of longing and despair in a powerful way, and it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
"Stagnation" is about a rich man who hides himself underground before emerging after a nuclear fallout to find himself the last man on earth. The opening guitar and vocal melodies are incredibly pleasant, especially when staring at a red autumn sunset while listening to the song. In spite of the dire theme, musically the overall sound carries a sort of peculiar optimism. During the middle section Banks makes some really magical sounds on the mellotron, which are complimented nicely by Phillips' and Rutherford's 12 string playing. Things climax as Banks plays a really cheerful solo, before it all quiets down again. The last verses are sung with so much passion, and the closing section is hypnotically beautiful. Gabriel chants "I wanna drink!" as Banks just keeps delivering big time with some really uplifting and inspiring organ parts. It is really quite a journey to listen to.
Things quiet down a bit with "Dusk", in a nice display of acoustic beauty. It has some existential lyrical themes about the ephemeral nature of things, and the overall feeling is a bit frightening but somewhat hopeful. There is also a nice flute solo, and I believe it is Banks who actually lends some very fitting backing vocals. The final chords close things perfectly, switching back and forth between guitar and piano.
Then the band goes into full-on rock and roll mode with the Knife. Banks lays down a churning organ riff to drive things along, while Gabriel takes on the role of a maniacal commander-in-chief, delivering a fiery speech preparing his army for a bloody revolution to fight for their freedom. The chugging bass, berserk drumming, and blazing electric guitar riffs build up more and more tension, until things start to quiet down and Gabriel whips out the flute. Then he chants "We are only wanting freedom" six times before the band absolutely explodes and Anthony Phillips comes through with an earth shattering guitar solo, in contrast to his usual heavenly acoustic style. By the end, the savage release of energy just feels so satisfying, and Gabriel starts declaring victory... "We have won!"
Yes Genesis, you have won. You have created the greatest album of all time. [First added to this chart: 08/01/2019]
The White Stripes were the first band I ever really loved, and I remember hearing them at seven years old, mesmerized by Jack White's killer guitar tone and authentic rock and roll attitude. I followed all their stuff from the time my dad played me the Elephant album, and once I heard that Jack White had a new band I was a little worried about the future of the White Stripes but very interested nonetheless. I didn't know this at the time, but Brendan Benson would become one of my favorite songwriters later in life, and Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence are in a killer Yardbirds-esque rock band called The Greenhornes.
The first Raconteurs album featured some instantly loveable tracks, the best known being "Steady as she goes", and while being a bit more pop-oriented for my taste at the time it was released, I nevertheless really enjoyed it and today I am able to appreciate it more than ever. Then of course, their most recent release, "Help Me Stranger" was a true blessing after many years of me thinking we would never get another Raconteurs album. It was a really great album start to finish, and quite a breath of fresh air to hear.
I gotta backtrack to their second release, though. Man, I have so many fond memories of this amazing album! It came out when I was 10 or 11 years old, still before I really started getting into music. I think I got it on CD for Christmas and sort of forgot about it after a couple listens. About a year later, I sort of rediscovered it, though. I got an mp3 player and realized that this was more than a collection of songs, but a collection of amazing tracks which were really more than the sum of their parts. The thing is, this album didn't really have a stand out track per se, but with repeated listens it didn't take long to discover that about half these songs were really good, and the other half were amazing.
I have so many nice memories of listening to "Consolers of the Lonely" in middle school, on bus rides to baseball games, and soaking in every riff, pondering every lyric, and really feeling these songs on such a deep level. Jack White's craziness is great, but every now and then it can occasionally get a little out of hand. In the Raconteurs he doesn't have that problem, as Brendan Benson's astounding chillness balances him out. Really, I think Brendan must be one of the coolest guys ever and he is a perfect fit to have as a second songwriter alongside Jack. My one slight problem with him is that now and then his songs seem nice but almost like they're missing a little something, but here that is usually fixed by Jack's blazing guitar work or insane vocal adlibbing.
The first two tracks are oozing with swagger and are just awesome rock and roll. "You Don't Understand Me" has some really powerful melodies and some of my favorite lyrics. "Old Enough" is a beautiful piece of epic Americana power pop and the fiddles are super neat. I love how "The Switch and The Spur" sounds so savage, with a face-melting guitar solo and anthemic outro chant of "Any poor souls who trespass against us". Could this be a subtle reference to Trespass by Genesis? (Almost certainly not but that would be really cool) The song makes me feel like I am witnessing a deadly shootout somewhere in the wild west. Songs like "Hold Up", "Five on the Five" and "Attention" are simply loads of fun to listen to and sing along with."Top Yourself" and "Pull this Blanket off" are both really nice sort of blues and roots inspired and very fun in their own way. "Many Shades of Black" showcases Brendan's songwriting prowess and is extremely moving and melodic. "Rich Kid's Blues" and "These Stones Will Shout" are really intense and profound as well. The album ends perfectly with "Carolina Drama", which tells an amazing story and is greatly complimented by the guest female vocalists. At the end when Jack just explodes with emotion at the climax of the story I feel confident that I have listened to some of the greatest rock and roll ever made. [First added to this chart: 08/01/2019]
I first discovered Van Der Graaf Generator not long after I got into Genesis, and they quickly became my two favorite bands. The first VDGG album I heard was Pawn Hearts, and it blew me away. I was immediately terrified and intrigued at the same time. These songs explored some of the darkest human feelings and made for some really brutal listening. It was so cathartic though, I soon found myself always returning.
Pawn Hearts is probably their most ambitious album, and a very close second favorite of mine (all their albums up to World Record are amazing). Godbluff was the last of the core VDGG albums I got, a couple years after first discovering the band, and boy is it good!
The previous albums focus largely on existential sci-fi themes, whereas Godbluff deals more with duality, the conception of self, and the mysteries of the unconscious mind. It is also the first album where lead singer Peter Hammill really utilizes the electric guitar. (VDGG don't "need" a guitar player like most rock bands because of Hugh Banton's soaring organ and David Jackson's killer sax). It also marks a bit of a shift in style. Whereas Pawn Hearts showed the band in all of their magnificent and abstract convoluted perfection, with Godbluff they stripped things back a bit and became more direct. They had disbanded after Pawn Hearts, then regrouped following a couple nice solo albums by Peter Hammill which the band members guested on. It seemed to work quite well as they reinvented their sound while still retaining their formidable essence.
The album opens with “Undercover Man”. I have always thought the lyrics seem to be about someone who is having really intense conversation within themselves amidst an emotional breakdown. It starts out with Hammill whispering “Here, at the glass” as you hear a notes from Jackson’s flute bouncing back and forth between your ears, so right away when I listen, I feel like I am staring myself in a mirror and trying to unravel all my deepest fears and insecurities. The lyrics to this song and indeed the whole album may be my favorite of all time. They are so deeply human and moving. After all the beautiful keyboard melodies and psychological exposition from Hammill the song fades out with the chant of “You still have time, you still have time!”
Next, we enter the realm of metaphor with “Scorched Earth”. The keys and sax sound off a warning as Guy Evans starts pounding away some sinister and powerful rhythms on the drums, signaling that it is time for a chase. The lyrics are about a fugitive fleeing for his life on a battlefield, not knowing how he found himself upon it, leaving a straight line of scorched earth in his wake, unable to turn back. What a powerful metaphor for life! It is here that we really get a taste of just how commanding Hammill’s voice can be. He is possibly my favorite vocalist and lyricist of all time. This song is just pure energy and chaos, and it will have you running for your life, my friend.
“Arrow” starts off with some jazzy interplay between the band, and now we switch from a song about the exhilarating pursuit of time which haunt us all to the moments when time itself stands still. The song details the feeling of being struck by an arrow, as time freezes, and you prepare the fateful moment of impact. The whole song details the flight of this arrow and really captures a snapshot in time. After that long exhausting chase, it all comes down to this for our antagonist. All that running and struggling to escape is now completely forgotten in light of the circumstance. Hammill really shows off his vocal range hear, screaming “How swiftly flies the arrow!” He describes a feeling of despair and hopelessness as Jackson blares out his mournful saxophone, switching between matching the vocal melodies and mimicking the cries of a dying beast.
For the closer, things get absolutely insane as an army of sleepwalkers arise and execute their dance of death. The drum fills are so explosive I can feel my heart pounding out of my chest! It seems to be some metaphor for us going through our lives in a sort of unconscious sort of way, not knowing what terrible fate our senses are leading us towards. I especially love the line “From what tooth or claw does murder spring? From what flesh and blood does passion?” At about 3 minutes into the song we get a little break into a sort of “cha cha cha” instrumental dancing section, which is really cool and kind of funny. Then Hammill starts declaring that the dream has ended. There is an electrifying riff played on both saxophone and keyboard along with a pulsing drum beat. Hammill lets out some blood-curdling screams about how we are all sleepwalkers, involuntarily surrendering ourselves to the darkness of our unconscious minds and bodies “dancing to that moonlight song” before this dream of life ends. What a beautiful and horrifying way to end this powerhouse of an album! [First added to this chart: 08/01/2019]
First coming from the punk rock band Heatmiser, Smith's sound progressed throughout his career, as he started recording more minimalistic and quiet songs on his own, then later expanded again by the time he released his XO album. Within a year from the time I first discovered his music, I came to appreciate all his albums and had them on nonstop rotation. His posthumous release, "From a Basement on the Hill" is full of songs he wrote near the end of his life as he was in a period of recovering from drugs and alcohol. It is a bit overwhelming at first listen, but after letting it soak in a few times it quickly became one of my favorite albums ever. A beautiful swansong that showcases Elliott reinventing and developing his sound to a whole new realm.
"Coast to Coast" is really quite a cool sounding rock song, and I love the themes about asking for help/wanting to be left alone all the time. "Let's Get Lost" is really quite a beautiful tearjerker, especially considering Elliott's passing soon after. The lyrics "Burning every bridge that I cross, to find some beautiful place to get lost" just sound so desperate and sad, but he sings them gracefully. "Pretty (Ugly Before) is so melodic and again bittersweet. The melodies are absolutely infectious and I love the line "Is it destruction that you're required to feel like somebody wants you? Someone that's more for real?". "Don't go Down" and "Strung out Again" are both really harsh sounding and even sound a bit self-destructive to me. "A Fond Farewell" is melodically irresistible, and the lyrics are so poetic. "King's Crossing" is perhaps one of Elliott's darkest songs ever with all of the raw imagery and troubling metaphors. Twilight is really melodic, and sort of like a declaration of emotional exhaustion told in a heartbreaking way. Passing feeling has more amazing and troubling metaphors, and the guitar riff after the refrain is so stylish. "The Last Hour" is probably my favorite on the album, and I feel absolutely crushed every time I listen to it. While the lyrics suggest a state of complete resignation, it sounds so comforting. "Shooting Star" is such a vicious, angry, hard rocking song. I absolutely love it. "Memory Lane" seems laced with feelings of helplessness which contrast interestingly with the bombastic chord progression. "Little One" is definitely my least favorite track on the album, but still quite nice. It just doesn't really stand out to me. "A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to be Free" is a great closer track. The riff at the beginning is really rad, and the lyrics sound so aggressive. The Phrase "Shine on me baby, cause it's raining in my heart" is the perfect way to close the album. There are some other songs Elliott recorded which weren't included in the release, such as "Suicide Machine" and "See You in Heaven" which are well worth checking out. [First added to this chart: 08/01/2019]
These songs consist of mainly instrumental guitar and piano pieces. "Beauty and the Beast" is the first on the album, and it sounds so cool! It features Ant playing 3 different pianos, which is pretty magical. The acoustic guitar pieces have a very nostalgic and reflective feel to them, almost like reading a letter from a long lost friend. My favorite is probably "Tregenna Afternoons", for all of its sentimental beauty and little musical explosions. Phillips' guitar skills are out of this world! "The Reaper" is another really amazing and melodic track, with some amazing sounding 12-string parts. Another favorite of mine is the bonus track, "Stranger" in which Anthony Phillips sings. It is quite a heavy listen to me. He might not have the most impressive voice, but it has a lot of character and personally I love the way he sounds. I like how these songs are kind of melancholic but also unspeakably beautiful.
The illustration from Peter Cross is also very nice here, but his artwork on "The Geese and the Ghost" is my favorite album cover ever. [First added to this chart: 08/01/2019]
This is his second album here. It is really intense and authentic, with lots of heavy spiritual themes. The intonation of his voice is very tormented in some tracks, while gentle and comforting in others. The lyrics are really solid as well... a little too idiosyncratic and abstract to quite pin down, but also minimalistic, and they still manage to evoke strong feelings. Just enough to keep you searching, and marveling at the unspeakable weight they carry.
The band also compliments his music very well. One of my favorite songs on the album "I Hear You Calling", starts off with a really smooth and relaxing high-hat, along with an enchanting piano melody from Bill, who proceeds to stop time in its tracks with his calming, weary voice. I really like how between certain tracks, there is random face-melting electric guitar solos from Ray Russell to segue one reflective ballad to another. Another favorite track of mine would have to be "Till the Christ Comes Back". All the songs are just amazing though, and they flow together very well. Bill's songs are truly unique and precious.
It's really interesting, because apparently after this album and his previous eponymous debut, Bill just couldn't sell any records, so he had to quit his music career. A few years later he recorded another album, "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow", but it wasn't released for years. He spent decades working in factories and shops, until in the late 90's his work gained some popularity and was reissued. He also recorded a couple new albums in 2012 and 2015 which are a bit lighter listening than "Time of the Last Persecution", but still really enjoyable to me nonetheless.
This album is the real deal, and there really is nothing quite like it. [First added to this chart: 08/01/2019]
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As much as I have enjoyed their heavy blues-rock oriented stuff in the past, now when I return to listen I usually go for stuff from the more diverse middle period of their career. Of all their albums, I think Houses of the Holy showcases them at their most melodic. Plus, it's original songwriting... no ripping off old blues players or psychedelic rock bands haha! "The Song Remains the same" is a really solid opener, at once mystical and groovy. The vocals are soaring, the guitar zooms around all over the place, Bonham's drumming is energetic as always, and John Paul Jones is really the underappreciated member for me, as his bass playing just tends to bring everything together. Then "The Rain song" is absolutely beautiful. So melodic and such powerful chords. When Plant sings "I felt the coldness of my winter!" I feel like a cathartic release of bittersweet joy. Such a classic. Then of course you can't forget "Over the Hills and Far Away" as one of their all-time biggest hits. "D'yer Maker" is possibly my favorite song on the album, cause it just gives off really chill vibes and makes me smile uncontrollably. This is like the ultimate feelgood album to me, to play in the springtime on a warm flowery afternoon. All the songs are rather uplifting, with the exception of "No Quarter", which showcases some spooky keyboard work from JPJ and is extremely atmospheric.
Very fantastic, dreamy, and takes me back to being a happy kid. This is Led Zeppelin at their creative peak! [First added to this chart: 08/01/2019]
"And You and I" is also chilling from the outset, with the tender acoustic intro full of nice harmonics. When the synths kick in it gets real sweet and charming. I really like the section about the preacher and the teacher or whatever it's called. Jon Anderson's voice sounds so innocent and almost childlike, and overall just very cordial. My favorite track of all on the album might be "Siberian Khatru", though. It is very funky and hypnotic. Feels like you are being launched off into outer space, and the groove just keeps soaring higher and higher until you disintegrate into bliss.
Overall, it's a real life-affirming, unforgettable album and certainly one of the greatest of all time. [First added to this chart: 08/01/2019]
Originally they had a different line-up and were named Rachel Unthank and the Winterset. Now they are sort of a family band in at least some sense, consisting of the vocalists Becky Unthank, and her sister Rachel Unthank, who is married to the pianist/producer/arranger Adrian McNally, as well as Niopha Keegan and Chris Price (unrelated) who provide additional instrumental and occasional vocal support. This is their third album, and the first in which they adopted their new line-up.
When people ask me what music I like, I usually say that I like anything with nice melodies and harmonies. The Unthanks fit this bill to a tee. The instrumentation and arrangements are hauntingly beautiful, to say the least. However, it is the vocals that really solidify their sound. Rachel and Becky are a couple of the most recognizable and expressive voices I've heard, and together I would have to say they make for some of the greatest vocal performances of all time.
The majority of tracks on this album, and indeed most of their albums, are covers. They mainly reimagine a lot of old folk tunes in a majestic way. Their version of "Sad February" reminds me of Genesis a bit, with all of the haunting harmonies and ethereal instrumentation. "Annachie Gordon" is stunningly heartbreaking. The songs composed by Adrian McNally are in my opinion some of the strongest on the album. "The Testimony of Patience Kershaw" is based on a song originally by Frank Higgins, about an actual testimony of a young girl who transported coal in the 1800's. "Lucky Gilchrist" is dedicated to a deceased friend of the band, and is rather touching. My favorite song on the album is probably "Living by the Water" Becky's voice really shines here, and the acoustic guitar and trombone make the track extremely atmospheric. The title track is also very tender sounding, hence the name, which also refers to a boat. The last track is a hidden one called "Betsy Bell" which is a really sort of fun and lighthearted track and a great way to end the album. [First added to this chart: 08/01/2019]
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Top 100 Greatest Music Albums composition
|The White Stripes||1||1%|
Top 100 Greatest Music Albums chart changes
| Up 26 from 86th to 60th|
Who Are You Now
by Madison Cunningham
| Up 1 from 54th to 53rd|
Fish Out Of Water
by Chris Squire
| Up 1 from 53rd to 52nd|
Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
by Wu-Tang Clan
| Down 8 from 46th to 54th|
Stranger In The Alps
by Phoebe Bridgers
| Down 3 from 66th to 69th|
by Chelsea Wolfe
| Down 2 from 61st to 63rd|
by Mikaela Davis
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This chart is rated in the top 1% of charts on BestEverAlbums.com. This chart has a mean average rating of 91.0/100. The trimmed mean (excluding outliers) is 93.4/100. The standard deviation for this chart is 11.8.
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Great list and agree with everyone else that the descriptions are awesome and definitely give insight into why you love these albums.
We have a lot of shared favourite artists - Zappa, Groundhogs, Van Der Graaf, Genesis, Waits and Jack White’s various bands!
There’s also a few on here I’ve never heard so now got them on my list to listen to!
There are a lot of records that i don't know, but seem to be unknown gems. And as everyone said already, the discriptions are excellent, i can tell you really love all these records. gonna give all of them a chance when i can. Thanks for sharing!
Loving the dedication to writing descriptions for the first 40 or so albums, there's some great insight there. Eclectic and varied
Well, I am a white person. You got that right!
This charts wack as fuck. It screams ‘Old white male who hates rap music and considers popularity an important factor in how good an album is’ energy
This is an extremely impressive and obviously highly personal chart with excellent descriptive notes – what I look for in a chart.
Whilst I cannot say I agree with everything on this chart, there are a number of impressive choices with which I most definitely would agree – Renaissance, Van der Graaf Generator and Linda Perhacs for instance. There are a number of unexpected genres spiced in – which I always desire in a chart to make it more personal and interesting.
If you have heard the Unthanks’ version of “Living by the Water” (which is very good indeed), I might note the original from Anne Briggs on her ‘A Collection’ compilation is even better and starker.
Very interesting chart. Great descriptions.
Revisiting this now as it's chart of the day. First of all, congrats! Secondly, this chart has just kept on delivering! Really admiring what you have done on here, truly an inspiration both in picks and especially write-ups, and now there's more fo them! Just notices I've used wayy too many exclamation points these past sentences, but I cannot be anything else than amazed!!!
thank u so much mate :)
Excellent chart. There are many exclusive albums, a lot of variety of genres, and few that I dont know and I would wish to focus in the future !!