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. Arab Strap: As Days Get Dark
  5. Asian Dub Foundation: Rafi’s Revenge
  6. Bauhaus: The Sky’s Gone Out
  7. Bee Gees: Main Course
  8. Birthday Party: Mutiny/The Bad Seed
  9. Blacc, Aloe: All Love Everything
  10. Bogmen: Life Begins at 40 Million
  11. Bongwater: The Power of Pussy
  12. Bonzo Dog Band: Keynsham
  13. Bonzo Dog Band: The Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse
  14. Bowie, David: Low
  15. Bowie, David: “Heroes”
  16. Bowie, David: Lodger
  17. Buggy Jive: The Buggy Jive Mix Tape
  18. Buggy Jive: The B-Side
  19. Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey
  20. Bush, Kate: Hounds of Love
  21. Butthole Surfers: Hairway to Steven
  22. Butthole Surfers: Locust Abortion Technician
  23. Camberwell Now: All’s Well
  24. Cave, Nick and the Bad Seeds: Henry’s Dream
  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. Dogbowl: Flan
  49. Dogg, Snoop: BUSH
  50. Dolenz, Micky: Dolenz Sings Nesmith
  51. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment: Surf
  52. Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg
  53. Dunnery, Francis: Tall Blonde Helicopter
  54. Eagles: Desperado
  55. Einstürzende Neubauten: Haus der Luge
  56. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Tarkus
  57. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery
  58. Eno, Brian: Here Come the Warm Jets
  59. Eno, Brian: Another Green World
  60. Eno, Brian: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
  61. Eno, Brian: Before And After Science
  62. Fairport Convention: Unhalfbricking
  63. Fairport Convention: What We Did On Our Holidays
  64. Fall: Hex Enduction Hour
  65. Fall: The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click)
  66. Fall: Imperial Wax Solvent
  67. Family: Bandstand
  68. Family: Fearless
  69. First Aid Kit: Stay Gold
  70. First Aid Kit: Ruins
  71. Fleetwood Mac: Future Games
  72. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
  73. Focus: Live At The Rainbow
  74. Funkadelic: Maggotbrain
  75. Gabriel, Peter: Peter Gabriel (III/Melt)
  76. Gang of Four: Entertainment!
  77. Gang of Four: Songs of the Free
  78. Genesis: Duke
  79. Genesis: Abacab
  80. Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  81. Genesis: Wind and Wuthering
  82. Girlpool: Before the World Was Big
  83. Good Rats: Tasty
  84. Grateful Dead: American Beauty
  85. Grateful Dead: Workingman’s Dead
  86. Hall, Daryl: Sacred Songs
  87. Hanslick Rebellion: The Rebellion is Here
  88. Hitchcock, Robyn and the Egyptians: Element of Light
  89. Hogg: Solar Phallic Lion
  90. Hogg: Self-Extinguishing Emission
  91. Human Sexual Response: Fig. 14
  92. Human Sexual Response: In a Roman Mood
  93. Hüsker Dü: Zen Arcade
  94. Jarre, Jean-Michel: Equinoxe
  95. Jesu/Sun Kil Moon: Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
  96. Jethro Tull: Songs From the Wood
  97. Jethro Tull: Heavy Horses
  98. Jethro Tull: Thick as a Brick
  99. Jethro Tull: Benefit
  100. Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures
  101. Joy Division: Closer
  102. Juluka: Scatterlings
  103. Kamikaze Hearts: Oneida Road
  104. Kaukonen, Jorma: Quah
  105. Keineg, Katell: Jet
  106. Killdozer: Twelve Point Buck
  107. King Crimson: Starless and Bible Black
  108. King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King
  109. Kraftwerk: Minimum-Maximum
  110. Kurki-Suonio, Sanna: Musta
  111. Lateef, Yusef: Eastern Sounds
  112. Lateef, Yusef: The Complete Yusef Lateef
  113. Lingua Ignota: Caligula
  114. London, Theophilus: Bebey
  115. Magma: Üdü Ẁüdü
  116. McCartney, Paul: McCartney II
  117. McCartney, Paul: McCartney III
  118. Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell
  119. Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime
  120. Mitchel, Joni: For the Roses
  121. Mitchell, John Cameron and Stephen Trask: Hedwig And The Angry Inch
  122. Mos Def: The Ecstatic
  123. Mould, Bob: District Line
  124. Napalm Death: Time Waits For No Slave
  125. Napalm Death: Utilitarian
  126. Napalm Death: Apex Predator — Easy Meat
  127. Napalm Death: Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
  128. New Order: Movement
  129. New Order: Power, Corruption and Lies
  130. Nyman, Michael: A Zed and Two Noughts (Original Soundtrack)
  131. Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance
  132. Phair, Liz: Exile in Guyville
  133. Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon
  134. Pink Floyd: Animals
  135. Pink Floyd: The Wall
  136. Presley, Elvis: Peace In The Valley: The Complete Gospel Recordings
  137. Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet
  138. Public Enemy: Apocalypse ’91 . . . The Enemy Strikes Black
  139. Public Enemy: What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?
  140. R.E.M.: Life’s Rich Pageant
  141. Renaldo and the Loaf: Songs for Swinging Larvae
  142. Replacements: Let It Be
  143. Residents: Animal Lover
  144. Residents: Demons Dance Alone
  145. Residents: Wormwood
  146. Richman, Jonathan: It’s Time For . . .
  147. Richman, Jonathan: Ishkode! Ishkode!
  148. Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St.
  149. Rolling Stones: Tattoo You
  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. 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. Tracey, Stan Quartet: Under Milk Wood: Jazz Suite
  175. Tragic Mulatto: Italians Fall Down and Look Up Your Dress
  176. Tsukerman, Slava et. al.: Liquid Sky (Original Soundtrack)
  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. Who: Who’s Next
  188. Who: Tommy
  189. Wings: Band on the Run
  190. Wings: Venus and Mars
  191. Wire: The Ideal Copy
  192. Xiu Xiu: Angel Guts: Red Classroom
  193. Xiu Xiu: Girl With Basket of Fruit
  194. XTC: Black Sea
  195. XTC: English Settlement
  196. Yes: The Yes Album
  197. Yes: Drama
  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’?”

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