My Top 200 Albums Of All Time (2021 Update)

Having completed my Best Albums of 2021 report earlier this week, I am reminded that it has been awhile since I’ve updated my running list of most-loved albums, so I’m going to 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 a whole lot 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 via “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. Arab Strap: As Days Get Dark
  3. Asian Dub Foundation: Rafi’s Revenge
  4. Bauhaus: The Sky’s Gone Out
  5. Bee Gees: Main Course
  6. Birthday Party: Mutiny/The Bad Seed
  7. Blacc, Aloe: All Love Everything
  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. Buggy Jive: The Buggy Jive Mix Tape
  16. Buggy Jive: The B-Side
  17. Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey
  18. Bush, Kate: Hounds of Love
  19. Butthole Surfers: Hairway to Steven
  20. Butthole Surfers: Locust Abortion Technician
  21. Camberwell Now: All’s Well
  22. Cave, Nick and the Bad Seeds: Henry’s Dream
  23. Chap: Mega Breakfast
  24. Christian Death: Catastrophe Ballet
  25. Chrome Hoof: Pre-Emptive False Rapture
  26. Clash: Combat Rock
  27. Clash: London Calling
  28. Cleveland, Reverend James: Sings Songs of Dedication
  29. Clutch: Book of Bad Decisions
  30. Clutch: Elephant Riders
  31. Clutch: Robot Hive/Exodus
  32. Coil: Horse Rotorvator
  33. Coil: The Ape of Naples
  34. Collins, Phil: Face Value
  35. Coup: Sorry to Bother You
  36. Coup: Sorry to Bother You: The Soundtrack
  37. Cramps: Bad Music for Bad People
  38. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: Déjà Vu
  39. Culture: Two Sevens Clash
  40. Cup and Ring: Cup and Ring
  41. Dälek: Absence
  42. Dälek: Gutter Tactics
  43. Death Grips: Ex-Military
  44. Death Grips: Government Plates
  45. Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo
  46. Dogbowl: Flan
  47. Dogg, Snoop: BUSH
  48. Dolenz, Micky: Dolenz Sings Nesmith
  49. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment: Surf
  50. Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg
  51. Dunnery, Francis: Tall Blonde Helicopter
  52. Eagles: Desperado
  53. Einstürzende Neubauten: Haus der Lüge
  54. Einstürzende Neubauten: Halber Mensch
  55. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Tarkus
  56. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery
  57. Eno, Brian: Here Come the Warm Jets
  58. Eno, Brian: Another Green World
  59. Eno, Brian: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
  60. Fairport Convention: Unhalfbricking
  61. Fairport Convention: What We Did On Our Holidays
  62. Fall: Hex Enduction Hour
  63. Fall: Slates (EP)
  64. Fall: The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click)
  65. Fall: Imperial Wax Solvent
  66. Family: Bandstand
  67. Family: Fearless
  68. First Aid Kit: Stay Gold
  69. First Aid Kit: Ruins
  70. Fleetwood Mac: Future Games
  71. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
  72. Focus: Live At The Rainbow
  73. Funkadelic: Maggotbrain
  74. Gabriel, Peter: Peter Gabriel (III/Melt)
  75. Gang of Four: Entertainment!
  76. Gang of Four: Songs of the Free
  77. Geils, J. Band: Freeze Frame
  78. Genesis: Duke
  79. Genesis: Abacab
  80. Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  81. Genesis: Wind and Wuthering
  82. Good Rats: Tasty
  83. Grateful Dead: American Beauty
  84. Grateful Dead: Workingman’s Dead
  85. Hall, Daryl: Sacred Songs
  86. Hanslick Rebellion: The Rebellion is Here
  87. Hitchcock, Robyn and the Egyptians: Element of Light
  88. Hogg: Solar Phallic Lion
  89. Hogg: Self-Extinguishing Emission
  90. Human Sexual Response: Fig. 14
  91. Human Sexual Response: In a Roman Mood
  92. Hüsker Dü: Zen Arcade
  93. Jarre, Jean-Michel: Equinoxe
  94. Jesu/Sun Kil Moon: Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
  95. Jethro Tull: Songs From the Wood
  96. Jethro Tull: Heavy Horses
  97. Jethro Tull: Thick as a Brick
  98. Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures
  99. Joy Division: Closer
  100. Juluka: Scatterlings
  101. Kamikaze Hearts: Oneida Road
  102. Kaukonen, Jorma: Quah
  103. Keineg, Katell: Jet
  104. Killdozer: Twelve Point Buck
  105. Killers: Imploding the Mirage
  106. Killers: Pressure Machine
  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. Laurels, L
  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. Palmer, Robert: Pride
  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. Simon & Garfunkel: Sounds of Silence
  155. Simple Minds: Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call
  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. Steppenwolf: Gold
  163. Swans: Filth
  164. Swans: Holy Money
  165. Talking Heads: Fear of Music
  166. Tastee, Gay: Songs for the Sodomites
  167. Television Personalities: Closer to God
  168. Ten Years After: Cricklewood Green
  169. The The: Soul Mining
  170. This Heat: Deceit
  171. Tosh, Peter: Mama Africa
  172. Tosh, Peter: Equal Rights
  173. Tracey, Stan Quartet: Under Milk Wood: Jazz Suite
  174. Tragic Mulatto: Italians Fall Down and Look Up Your Dress
  175. Tsukerman, Slava et. al.: Liquid Sky (Original Soundtrack)
  176. Utopia: Utopia
  177. Utopia: Swing to the Right
  178. Various Artists: If You Can’t Please Yourself You Can’t, Please Your Soul
  179. Various Artists: The Harder They Come (Original Soundtrack Recording)
  180. Wailer, Bunny: Blackheart Man
  181. Wall of Voodoo: Happy Planet
  182. Wall of Voodoo: Seven Days in Sammystown
  183. Wasted: We Are Already in Hell
  184. Weasels: Uranus or Bust
  185. Weasels: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
  186. Who: Who’s Next
  187. Who: Tommy
  188. Wings: Band on the Run
  189. Wings: Venus and Mars
  190. Wire: The Ideal Copy/Snakedrill
  191. Wire: It’s Beginning To And Back Again
  192. Wishbone Ash: Argus
  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

A very early favorite album, still on the big list, half-a-century later.

6 thoughts on “My Top 200 Albums Of All Time (2021 Update)

  1. I did make an Island records thing in 2005! In two parts because I had to describe them all. 53 albums because I was born in ’53. I picked no compilation albums (so no The Harder They Come) and
    Four albums in common with your list. Deja Vu-CSNY; Gabriel 3; Band on the Run; and Royal Scam, which I own on, of all things, cassette. Some common artists: REM, Talking Heads, and King Crimson. Discipline beat out Court because the song Indiscipline was the unofficial song of FantaCo.


  2. I might have to try this, but it’d be damn hard. There are some I haven’t played in years because they’re only on vinyl, re-ac-tor for one. Face Value for another. Aja, Swing To The Right, The Wall.

    One that would ABSOLUTELY be on mine is Peter Gabriel’s third album. I have it on vinyl in German.


    • I think if I tried it from scratch right now, it would be really, really hard indeed. But having first started doing this on a typewriter when I was a kid and only owned maybe 25 albums or so, each iteration over the past half-century has essentially been looking at a prior list and editing . . . so that helps!


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