Top 100 Albums of All-Time: 30-21

30. Black Sabbath – Master Of Reality (1971)

Master Of Reality was both Sabbath and heavy music’s finest hour. The musicianship, performances and (especially) production are all flawless. Listen to how the band shifts from fast to slow tempos on “Into The Void” – an extremely hard trick and yet they make it sound easy. Best song: “Into The Void”

29. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)

Gaye’s 11th album in as many years dealt with important social issues in a way that never felt heavy-handed or preachy. Amazingly, Motown head Berry Gordy didn’t want to release it at first, thinking it would be a flop! Motown’s greatest achievement. Best song: “Inner City Blues”

28. Love – Forever Changes (1967)

The most accomplished American album from the psychedelic ‘60s. Arthur Lee‘s mercurial lyrics hinted at dark times ahead, but the flamenco, mariachi and orchestral overdubs were elegant enough to make the album seem almost light-hearted if you weren‘t paying close attention. A masterpiece. Best song: “Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark and Hilldale”

27. The Bad Brains – The Bad Brains (1982)

Hardcore punk fury and righteousness, played at blitzkrieg speed. The Bad Brains started out as a fusion band in the mid-‘70s, which explains why they were better musicians than every other hardcore band. The reggae songs that they sprinkled in every few tracks created a perfect balance with the white-hot energy they delivered everywhere else. Best song: “Big Take Over”

26. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989)

This was the album that introduced Brit-rock to the world. By the time Ian Brown sings “I Am The Resurrection” towards the end of the album, you’re so blown away by what you’ve heard for the past 40 minutes that it’s impossible to disagree with him. Best song: “I Wanna Be Adored”

25- Radiohead – The Bends (1995)

It sounds miles away from where Radiohead are at today, but it’s an exhilarating album of British guitar rock, with a lot of acoustic ballads for Thom Yorke’s voice to soar on. Listen closely and you’ll hear them planting the seeds of what was to come (more on this later in the countdown). Best Song: “My Iron Lung”

24. The Wailers – Catch A Fire (1973)

Catch A Fire was The Wailers’ fifth album and their first for Island Records. It proved without doubt that they were capable of growing reggae from a Jamaican music to a worldwide phenomenon. All the studio overdubs label-head Chris Blackwell ordered to make the music more palatable to non-Jamaicans actually enhanced the record (at least in my non-Jamaican opinion). Best song: “Stir It Up”

23. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation (1988)

A lengthy double-album epic that combined punk, free-form noise, beat poetry and the good parts of classic rock. It’s the definitive pre-Nirvana American alt-rock album, and one of the few albums whose lyrics can be appreciated separate from the music as good poetry. Best song: “Teenage Riot”

22. Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (1997)

J. Spacemen was in the middle of a personal low when he made Ladies and Gentlemen… His life was littered with break-ups, depression and addiction, all of which he wisely used to fuel his music. Expansive, spacey music that combined the hedonistic spirit of The Stooges and Velvet Underground with the compositional skills of Miles Davis. Best song: “I Think I‘m In Love”

21. The Kinks – Village Green Preservation Society (1968)

Released at the height of the UK psych, brothers Ray and Dave Davies ignored all LSD-gobbling Sgt. Peppers-influenced music that was going on at the moment and made this tribute to the quaint England of years past. Touching, intelligent, and fun, Village Green only seems to get better with time. Best song: “Do You Remember Walter”


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