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. Bauhaus: The Sky’s Gone Out
  7. Bee Gees: Main Course
  8. Beefheart, Captain and the Magic Band: The Dust Blows Forward
  9. Birthday Party: Mutiny/The Bad Seed
  10. Blacc, Aloe: All Love Everything
  11. Bogmen: Life Begins at 40 Million
  12. Bongwater: The Power of Pussy
  13. Bonzo Dog Band: Keynsham
  14. Bonzo Dog Band: The Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse
  15. Bowie, David: Low
  16. Bowie, David: “Heroes”
  17. Bowie, David: Lodger
  18. Buggy Jive: The Buggy Jive Mix Tape
  19. Buggy Jive: The B-Side
  20. Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey
  21. Bush, Kate: Hounds of Love
  22. Butthole Surfers: Hairway to Steven
  23. Butthole Surfers: Locust Abortion Technician
  24. Camberwell Now: All’s Well
  25. Cave, Nick and the Bad Seeds: Henry’s Dream
  26. Chance The Rapper: Coloring Book
  27. Chap: Mega Breakfast
  28. Christian Death: Catastrophe Ballet
  29. Chrome Hoof: Pre-Emptive False Rapture
  30. Clash: Combat Rock
  31. Clash: London Calling
  32. Cleveland, Reverend James: Sings Songs of Dedication
  33. Clutch: Book of Bad Decisions
  34. Clutch: Elephant Riders
  35. Clutch: Robot Hive/Exodus
  36. Coil: Horse Rotorvator
  37. Coil: The Ape of Naples
  38. Collins, Phil: Face Value
  39. Coup: Sorry to Bother You
  40. Coup: Sorry to Bother You: The Soundtrack
  41. Cramps: Bad Music for Bad People
  42. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: Déjà Vu
  43. Culture: Two Sevens Clash
  44. Dälek: Absence
  45. Dälek: Gutter Tactics
  46. Death Grips: Ex-Military
  47. Death Grips: Government Plates
  48. Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo
  49. Dogbowl: Flan
  50. Dogg, Snoop: BUSH
  51. Dolenz, Micky: Dolenz Sings Nesmith
  52. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment: Surf
  53. Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg
  54. Dunnery, Francis: Tall Blonde Helicopter
  55. Eagles: Desperado
  56. Einstürzende Neubauten: Haus der Luge
  57. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Tarkus
  58. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Trilogy
  59. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery
  60. Eno, Brian: Here Come the Warm Jets
  61. Eno, Brian: Another Green World
  62. Eno, Brian: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
  63. Eno, Brian: Before And After Science
  64. Fairport Convention: Unhalfbricking
  65. Fairport Convention: What We Did On Our Holidays
  66. Fall: Hex Enduction Hour
  67. Fall: The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click)
  68. Fall: Imperial Wax Solvent
  69. Family: Bandstand
  70. Family: Fearless
  71. First Aid Kit: Stay Gold
  72. First Aid Kit: Ruins
  73. Fleetwood Mac: Future Games
  74. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
  75. Focus: Live At The Rainbow
  76. Funkadelic: Maggotbrain
  77. Gabriel, Peter: Peter Gabriel (III/Melt)
  78. Gang of Four: Entertainment!
  79. Gang of Four: Songs of the Free
  80. Gay Tastee: Songs for the Sodomites
  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. 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. Shah, Nadine: Kitchen Sink
  155. Shriekback: Some Kinds of Light
  156. Simon & Garfunkel: Sounds of Silence
  157. Snog: Last of the Great Romantics
  158. Snog: Lullabies for the Lithium Age
  159. Sparks: A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
  160. Special A.K.A.: In the Studio
  161. Steely Dan: Aja
  162. Steely Dan: The Royal Scam
  163. Steely Dan: Can’t Buy A Thrill
  164. Steppenwolf: Gold
  165. Stevens, Cat: Buddha And The Chocolate Box
  166. Swans: Filth
  167. Swans: Holy Money
  168. Talking Heads: Fear of Music
  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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