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. Albion Band: Rise Up Like the Sun
  3. Arab Strap: As Days Get Dark
  4. Asian Dub Foundation: Rafi’s Revenge
  5. Bauhaus: The Sky’s Gone Out
  6. Bee Gees: Main Course
  7. Birthday Party: Mutiny/The Bad Seed
  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. Clash: Combat Rock
  26. Clash: London Calling
  27. Clean: Mister Pop
  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. Dunnery, Francis: Tall Blonde Helicopter
  51. Eagles: Desperado
  52. Einstürzende Neubauten: Haus der Lüge
  53. Einstürzende Neubauten: Halber Mensch
  54. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Tarkus
  55. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery
  56. Eno, Brian: Here Come the Warm Jets
  57. Eno, Brian: Another Green World
  58. Eno, Brian: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
  59. Fairport Convention: Unhalfbricking
  60. Fairport Convention: What We Did On Our Holidays
  61. Fall: Hex Enduction Hour
  62. Fall: Slates (EP)
  63. Fall: The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click)
  64. Fall: Imperial Wax Solvent
  65. Family: Bandstand
  66. Family: Fearless
  67. First Aid Kit: Stay Gold
  68. First Aid Kit: Ruins
  69. Fleetwood Mac: Future Games
  70. Fleetwood Mac: Bare Trees
  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. Genesis: Duke
  78. Genesis: Abacab
  79. Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  80. Genesis: Wind and Wuthering
  81. Good Rats: Tasty
  82. Grateful Dead: American Beauty
  83. Grateful Dead: Workingman’s Dead
  84. Hall, Daryl: Sacred Songs
  85. Hanslick Rebellion: The Rebellion is Here
  86. Hitchcock, Robyn and the Egyptians: Element of Light
  87. Hogg: Solar Phallic Lion
  88. Hogg: Self-Extinguishing Emission
  89. Human Sexual Response: Fig. 14
  90. Human Sexual Response: In a Roman Mood
  91. Hüsker Dü: Zen Arcade
  92. Jarre, Jean-Michel: Equinoxe
  93. Jesu/Sun Kil Moon: Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
  94. Jethro Tull: Songs From the Wood
  95. Jethro Tull: Heavy Horses
  96. Jethro Tull: Thick as a Brick
  97. Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures
  98. Joy Division: Closer
  99. Juluka: Scatterlings
  100. Kamikaze Hearts: Oneida Road
  101. Kaukonen, Jorma: Quah
  102. Keineg, Katell: Jet
  103. Killdozer: Twelve Point Buck
  104. Killers: Imploding the Mirage
  105. Killers: Pressure Machine
  106. King Crimson: Starless and Bible Black
  107. King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King
  108. Kraftwerk: Minimum-Maximum
  109. Kurki-Suonio, Sanna: Musta
  110. Lateef, Yusef: Eastern Sounds
  111. Lateef, Yusef: The Complete Yusef Lateef
  112. Laurels, L
  113. London, Theophilus: Bebey
  114. Magma: Üdü Ẁüdü
  115. McCartney, Paul: McCartney II
  116. McCartney, Paul: McCartney III
  117. Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell
  118. Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime
  119. Mitchel, Joni: For the Roses
  120. Mitchell, John Cameron and Stephen Trask: Hedwig And The Angry Inch
  121. Mos Def: The Ecstatic
  122. Mould, Bob: District Line
  123. Napalm Death: Time Waits For No Slave
  124. Napalm Death: Utilitarian
  125. Napalm Death: Apex Predator — Easy Meat
  126. Napalm Death: Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
  127. New Order: Movement
  128. New Order: Power, Corruption and Lies
  129. Nyman, Michael: A Zed and Two Noughts (Original Soundtrack)
  130. Palmer, Robert: Pride
  131. Phair, Liz: Exile in Guyville
  132. Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon
  133. Pink Floyd: Animals
  134. Pink Floyd: The Wall
  135. Presley, Elvis: Peace In The Valley: The Complete Gospel Recordings
  136. Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet
  137. Public Enemy: Apocalypse ’91 . . . The Enemy Strikes Black
  138. Public Enemy: What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?
  139. R.E.M.: Life’s Rich Pageant
  140. Renaldo and the Loaf: Songs for Swinging Larvae
  141. Replacements: Let It Be
  142. Residents: Animal Lover
  143. Residents: Demons Dance Alone
  144. Residents: Wormwood
  145. Richman, Jonathan: It’s Time For . . .
  146. Richman, Jonathan: Ishkode! Ishkode!
  147. Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St.
  148. Rolling Stones: Tattoo You
  149. Rundgren, Todd: Healing
  150. Run The Jewels: RTJ4
  151. Sepultura: Roots
  152. Simon & Garfunkel: Sounds of Silence
  153. Simple Minds: Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call
  154. Snog: Last of the Great Romantics
  155. Snog: Lullabies for the Lithium Age
  156. Sparks: A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
  157. Special A.K.A.: In the Studio
  158. Steely Dan: Aja
  159. Steely Dan: The Royal Scam
  160. Steppenwolf: Gold
  161. Swans: Filth
  162. Swans: Holy Money
  163. Talking Heads: Fear of Music
  164. Tastee, Gay: Songs for the Sodomites
  165. Television Personalities: Closer to God
  166. Ten Years After: Cricklewood Green
  167. The The: Soul Mining
  168. This Heat: Deceit
  169. Tosh, Peter: Mama Africa
  170. Tosh, Peter: Equal Rights
  171. Tracey, Stan Quartet: Under Milk Wood: Jazz Suite
  172. Tragic Mulatto: Italians Fall Down and Look Up Your Dress
  173. Tsukerman, Slava et. al.: Liquid Sky (Original Soundtrack)
  174. Utopia: Utopia
  175. Utopia: Swing to the Right
  176. Various Artists: If You Can’t Please Yourself You Can’t, Please Your Soul
  177. Various Artists: The Harder They Come (Original Soundtrack Recording)
  178. Wailer, Bunny: Blackheart Man
  179. Wall of Voodoo: Happy Planet
  180. Wall of Voodoo: Seven Days in Sammystown
  181. Wasted: We Are Already in Hell
  182. Weasels: Uranus or Bust
  183. Weasels: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
  184. Wet Leg: Wet Leg
  185. Who: Who’s Next
  186. Who: Tommy
  187. Wings: Band on the Run
  188. Wings: Venus and Mars
  189. Wire: The Ideal Copy/Snakedrill
  190. Wire: It’s Beginning To And Back Again
  191. Wishbone Ash: Argus
  192. Woods Band: The Woods Band
  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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