NME.COM

These days, there's more good music available at your fingertips than you could ever hope to listen to. Confused as to where to begin? We don't blame you. But there are some albums so seminal, so integral to the core of modern sound or just so damned brilliant that you need to get them on your musical bucket list: End. Of. Here are 100 of the finest...

101Clara Rockmore - 'The Art Of The Theremin'

“Concerning death in Japanese Buddhism, it is not the end of life but just a turning point. Life and death is a counterpart. We keep being threatened by the existence of death. Conversely, we keep aiming for future. This album is a requiem for the people who live through the transmigration of the soul to life on the planet, before the soul leaves the body.” - Mon-Chan, Bo Ningen

100Joni Mitchell - 'Blue'

“I love her music but I'm not a freaky fan, I couldn't name all of her songs or anything. I thought she was so good that it put me off writing songs. My favourite song from this album would 'A Case Of You' or 'Little Green'. When you look at lyrics that intensely, every time you listen to it you're trying to work it out and form opinions.” Marika Hackman

99Dandelion Gum - 'Black Moth Super Rainbow'

“Vocoders generally have a rough time, but if you want to listen to it done well you need to hear this album. Melodic, spacey wonderment from a band I don't really know a lot about other than they know how to handle synths. ‘Sun Lips’ uses one of the coolest sounds you can dial up on a keyboard, a Mellotron on flute setting. ‘Forever Heavy’ has a pulse that you just can't deny. It's been on repeat since I stumbled upon it' and it's already one of my favourite albums ever. Listen to it immediately.” Dom Ganderton, Superfood

98Queens Of The Stone Age - 'Songs For The Deaf'

“I was on the train for four hours the other day, missing my husband [Josh Homme], so I started listening to his records. And ‘Songs For The Deaf’ is honestly one of the best rock records ever written. It is mind-blowingly good. You could put it up against anyone else's record and it would blow it away. I don't know how they made it sound like that. It's really impressive and there are so many good solos. People are going to keep discovering that record. It's not going to go away.” Brody Dalle

97Iggy And The Stooges - 'Raw Power'

“I got it when I was 15 and immediately related to it. I was living on a housing estate in Manchester where it seemed like winter lasted forever. But I didn’t mind it being dark when the soundtrack to those days was so beautiful and mysterious. There are plenty of people who think the first Stooges album is the best, or maybe ‘Fun House’. But they’re wrong. ‘Raw Power’ is far superior, not least because it’s got James Williamson on it, who’s my favourite guitar player ever. It’s more lyrical and musically innovative than their other records but without sacrificing and of that purity or primal excitement. I interpreted the lyrics as Iggy’s personal street poetry. The entire atmosphere of ‘Raw Power’ was what I was drawing on for ‘The Queen Is Dead’ – that beautiful gloom.” Johnny Marr

96Life Without Buildings - 'Any Other City'

“When I listen to this album, I know that I am truly alive. My chest swells with excitement, my pulse quickens, and my mind is flooded with different emotions. With a basic rock’n’roll set-up of drums, bass, guitar and vocals, this album has a pleasing simplicity - a light-heartedness coupled with direct and driving melodies. The lightening rod at its centre is Sue Tompkins, whose voice and words are a continual stimulant throughout this album, flitting this way and that, discovering profundity in the commonplace, distorting meaning via repetition. When I first heard the band I was unsure whether I liked the constant, disorienting speak-singing, but I slowly realised how unique it was and how personal and expressive Tompkins was being. In the end, I couldn't stop listening to it and I almost wore out my cassette copy on my daily walk into university - it was, and it remains, my companion. Perhaps because this album came out around the last millennium, before fashion's pendulum had swung back in the direction of 'guitars', it was overlooked by the press and the public. Thankfully, it's just been reissued for Record Store Day allowing a new generation to enjoy the music of these four art school graduates who only made this one record before going their separate ways with no regrets. How could there be regrets after they created this beautiful, timeless document of lives being lived?”

95ESG - 'Come Away With ESG'

"So many things have been influenced by ESG. They later made an EP called 'Sample Credits Don't Pay Our Bills' because so many people, from Kool Moe Dee to Wu-Tang were sampling them, but they weren't making any money! I love drums, I love rhythm and lyrical simplicity – it’s definitely influenced me over the years. It's not just any one thing, it's not just disco, not just funk, not just no-wave, it's its own thing.”

94Smashing Pumpkins - 'Siamese Dream'

“The people I love and fight with the most love 'Siamese Dream’. The first sound you hear – Jimmy Chamberlain’s drum roll start to ‘Cherub Rock’ – it’s as if the band know they are about to join the rock‘n’roll circus. 'Who wants honey? As long as there's some money’. Calling out heartless hipster culture in 1993? A strong opening statement. We decided to use it as a starting point for our own rock record, our own trip to the circus.”

93Oasis - 'Definitely Maybe'

“It doesn't fuck about. It exudes such natural unapologetic brilliance. Noel is the master puppeteer with a tiger on a lead. My appreciation for this album does not necessarily extend to what it is, but what it isn't. It’s not mindless noise trying to be rock‘n’roll by sounding shit on purpose and compromising it’s own sound, it is what it is. And it happens to be a diamond.”

92Lou Reed - 'Berlin'

“I like how claustrophobic and pompous it is. I like to imagine the recording studio. What clothes they were wearing and what kind of foul and paranoid mood they were in. Because the instruments are played with the soulless proficiency of some beardy clock watchers (in a good way) it seems to enhance what Lou Reed is singing about. 'Oh, Jim' is probably my favourite on the album, especially the end section with the Buddy Holly-ish vocals. There are a few early versions of some of the songs that are on ‘Berlin’ as played by The Velvet Underground a few years earlier, if you’re that way inclined.”

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