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