My Top 200 Albums Of All Time (2020 Update)

Life During Quarantine Time has produced something like 12+ hours of music listening time around our apartment, each day, every day. Which is a lot, even by my own extreme standards. To fill the daily jukebox, I’ve been buying plenty of new music, as I do, but also taking a lot of spins through old favorites, some that pop up reasonably often, some that lie in wait for years before I remember to slap them on the (virtual) turntable.

Digging through the back catalog reminded me that it’s been awhile since I’ve updated my running list of most-loved albums, so let’s remedy that situation today. As I’ve noted for background before, I’ve been keeping lists of my favorite albums since the very early ’70s, when I was a grade school Steppenwolf fan. My tastes have evolved dramatically over the years (though I still like Steppenwolf), so I review and update this list periodically, dropping things that haven’t aged well, and adding new things that excite me and seem to have staying power.

For many years, this was a “Top 100 List,” but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve felt entitled to expand the roster beyond the century mark, since I’ve listened to a whole lot more music now than I had when I was younger. I also used to exclude “Greatest Hits” and other compilation or live albums, but I’ve gotten less uptight about that, too, since for some artists, their best work may have appeared on singles that only saw long-form release in the form of “Best Of” collections.

So here’s the update, in alphabetical order by artist name. Maybe you’ll be reminded of some old favorites and give ’em some nostalgia spins. Or maybe you’ll find something new to rock your home world. Or maybe you’ll just sigh and wonder what the hell goes on in my head to produce an all-over-the-place listing like this. It’s all good. As is the music.

  1. 54-40: 54-40
  2. AC/DC: Back in Black
  3. AC/DC: Highway to Hell
  4. Allison, Mose: Swingin’ Machine
  5. Arab Strap: As Days Get Dark
  6. Asian Dub Foundation: Rafi’s Revenge
  7. Bauhaus: The Sky’s Gone Out
  8. Bee Gees: Main Course
  9. Beefheart, Captain and the Magic Band: The Dust Blows Forward
  10. Birthday Party: Mutiny/The Bad Seed
  11. Blacc, Aloe: All Love Everything
  12. Bogmen: Life Begins at 40 Million
  13. Bongwater: The Power of Pussy
  14. Bonzo Dog Band: Keynsham
  15. Bonzo Dog Band: The Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse
  16. Bowie, David: Low
  17. Bowie, David: “Heroes”
  18. Bowie, David: Lodger
  19. Buggy Jive: The Buggy Jive Mix Tape
  20. Buggy Jive: The B-Side
  21. Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey
  22. Bush, Kate: Hounds of Love
  23. Butthole Surfers: Hairway to Steven
  24. Butthole Surfers: Locust Abortion Technician
  25. Camberwell Now: All’s Well
  26. Cave, Nick and the Bad Seeds: Henry’s Dream
  27. Chance The Rapper: Coloring Book
  28. Chap: Mega Breakfast
  29. Christian Death: Catastrophe Ballet
  30. Chrome Hoof: Pre-Emptive False Rapture
  31. Clash: Combat Rock
  32. Clash: London Calling
  33. Cleveland, Reverend James: Sings Songs of Dedication
  34. Clutch: Book of Bad Decisions
  35. Clutch: Elephant Riders
  36. Clutch: Robot Hive/Exodus
  37. Coil: Horse Rotorvator
  38. Coil: The Ape of Naples
  39. Collins, Phil: Face Value
  40. Coup: Sorry to Bother You
  41. Coup: Sorry to Bother You: The Soundtrack
  42. Cramps: Bad Music for Bad People
  43. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: Déjà Vu
  44. Culture: Two Sevens Clash
  45. Dälek: Absence
  46. Dälek: Gutter Tactics
  47. Death Grips: Ex-Military
  48. Death Grips: Government Plates
  49. Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo
  50. Dogbowl: Flan
  51. Dogg, Snoop: BUSH
  52. Dolenz, Micky: Dolenz Sings Nesmith
  53. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment: Surf
  54. Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg
  55. Dunnery, Francis: Tall Blonde Helicopter
  56. Eagles: Desperado
  57. Einstürzende Neubauten: Haus der Luge
  58. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Tarkus
  59. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Trilogy
  60. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery
  61. Eno, Brian: Here Come the Warm Jets
  62. Eno, Brian: Another Green World
  63. Eno, Brian: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
  64. Eno, Brian: Before And After Science
  65. Fairport Convention: Unhalfbricking
  66. Fairport Convention: What We Did On Our Holidays
  67. Fall: Hex Enduction Hour
  68. Fall: The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click)
  69. Fall: Imperial Wax Solvent
  70. Family: Bandstand
  71. Family: Fearless
  72. First Aid Kit: Stay Gold
  73. First Aid Kit: Ruins
  74. Fleetwood Mac: Future Games
  75. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
  76. Focus: Live At The Rainbow
  77. Funkadelic: Maggotbrain
  78. Gabriel, Peter: Peter Gabriel (III/Melt)
  79. Gang of Four: Entertainment!
  80. Gang of Four: Songs of the Free
  81. Genesis: Duke
  82. Genesis: Abacab
  83. Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  84. Genesis: Wind and Wuthering
  85. Good Rats: Tasty
  86. Grateful Dead: American Beauty
  87. Grateful Dead: Workingman’s Dead
  88. Hall, Daryl: Sacred Songs
  89. Hanslick Rebellion: The Rebellion is Here
  90. Hitchcock, Robyn and the Egyptians: Element of Light
  91. Hogg: Solar Phallic Lion
  92. Hogg: Self-Extinguishing Emission
  93. Human Sexual Response: Fig. 14
  94. Human Sexual Response: In a Roman Mood
  95. Hüsker Dü: Zen Arcade
  96. Jarre, Jean-Michel: Equinoxe
  97. Jesu/Sun Kil Moon: Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
  98. Jethro Tull: Songs From the Wood
  99. Jethro Tull: Heavy Horses
  100. Jethro Tull: Thick as a Brick
  101. Jethro Tull: Benefit
  102. Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures
  103. Joy Division: Closer
  104. Juluka: Scatterlings
  105. Kamikaze Hearts: Oneida Road
  106. Kaukonen, Jorma: Quah
  107. Keineg, Katell: Jet
  108. Killdozer: Twelve Point Buck
  109. King Crimson: Starless and Bible Black
  110. King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King
  111. Kraftwerk: Minimum-Maximum
  112. Kurki-Suonio, Sanna: Musta
  113. Lateef, Yusef: Eastern Sounds
  114. Lateef, Yusef: The Complete Yusef Lateef
  115. Lingua Ignota: Caligula
  116. London, Theophilus: Bebey
  117. Magma: Üdü Ẁüdü
  118. McCartney, Paul: McCartney II
  119. McCartney, Paul: McCartney III
  120. Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell
  121. Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime
  122. Mitchel, Joni: For the Roses
  123. Mitchell, John Cameron and Stephen Trask: Hedwig And The Angry Inch
  124. Mos Def: The Ecstatic
  125. Napalm Death: Time Waits For No Slave
  126. Napalm Death: Utilitarian
  127. Napalm Death: Apex Predator — Easy Meat
  128. Napalm Death: Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
  129. New Order: Movement
  130. New Order: Power, Corruption and Lies
  131. Nyman, Michael: A Zed and Two Noughts (Original Soundtrack)
  132. Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance
  133. Phair, Liz: Exile in Guyville
  134. Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon
  135. Pink Floyd: Animals
  136. Pink Floyd: The Wall
  137. Presley, Elvis: Peace In The Valley: The Complete Gospel Recordings
  138. Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet
  139. Public Enemy: Apocalypse ’91 . . . The Enemy Strikes Black
  140. Public Enemy: What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?
  141. R.E.M.: Life’s Rich Pageant
  142. Renaldo and the Loaf: Songs for Swinging Larvae
  143. Replacements: Let It Be
  144. Residents: Animal Lover
  145. Residents: Demons Dance Alone
  146. Residents: Wormwood
  147. Richman, Jonathan: It’s Time For . . .
  148. Richman, Jonathan: Ishkode! Ishkode!
  149. Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St.
  150. Rundgren, Todd: Healing
  151. Run The Jewels: RTJ4
  152. Sepultura: Roots
  153. Shah, Nadine: Kitchen Sink
  154. Shriekback: Some Kinds of Light
  155. Simon & Garfunkel: Sounds of Silence
  156. Snog: Last of the Great Romantics
  157. Snog: Lullabies for the Lithium Age
  158. Sparks: A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
  159. Special A.K.A.: In the Studio
  160. Steely Dan: Aja
  161. Steely Dan: The Royal Scam
  162. Steely Dan: Can’t Buy A Thrill
  163. Steppenwolf: Gold
  164. Stevens, Cat: Buddha And The Chocolate Box
  165. Swans: Filth
  166. Swans: Holy Money
  167. Talking Heads: Fear of Music
  168. Tastee, Gay: Songs for the Sodomites
  169. Tazartès, Ghédalia: Diasporas
  170. Television Personalities: Closer to God
  171. The The: Soul Mining
  172. This Heat: Deceit
  173. Tosh, Peter: Mama Africa
  174. Tosh, Peter: Equal Rights
  175. Tracey, Stan Quartet: Under Milk Wood: Jazz Suite
  176. Tragic Mulatto: Italians Fall Down and Look Up Your Dress
  177. Tsukerman, Slava et. al.: Liquid Sky (Original Soundtrack)
  178. Utopia: Utopia
  179. Utopia: Swing to the Right
  180. Various Artists: If You Can’t Please Yourself You Can’t, Please Your Soul
  181. Various Artists: The Harder They Come (Original Soundtrack Recording)
  182. Wailer, Bunny: Blackheart Man
  183. Wall of Voodoo: Happy Planet
  184. Wall of Voodoo: Seven Days in Sammystown
  185. Wasted: We Are Already in Hell
  186. Weasels: Uranus or Bust
  187. Weasels: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
  188. Who: Who’s Next
  189. Who: Tommy
  190. Wings: Band on the Run
  191. Wings: Venus and Mars
  192. Wire: The Ideal Copy
  193. Xiu Xiu: Angel Guts: Red Classroom
  194. Xiu Xiu: Girl With Basket of Fruit
  195. XTC: Black Sea
  196. XTC: English Settlement
  197. Yes: The Yes Album
  198. Young, Neil and Crazy Horse: re-ac-tor
  199. Zappa, Frank and the Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All
  200. Zappa, Frank: Joe’s Garage, Parts I, II and III

One of my first musical obsessions. I played this 8-track to its breaking point. I also recall a big family argument after my grandfather asked my mother “Why the hell is that boy singin’ about ‘Goddamn the pusher man’?”

3 thoughts on “My Top 200 Albums Of All Time (2020 Update)

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