400. The Fall, ‘This Nation’s Saving Grace’ (1985) Beggars Banquet.
Album number nine for the Prestwich punk merchants, ‘This Nation’ sees Mark E Smith at his surly best.
399. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, ‘The Lyre Of Orpheus/Abattoir Blues’ (2004) Mute.
A blockbuster double album steeped in Greek mythology and gothic rock dirge.
398. Neil Young With Crazy Horse, ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere’ (1969) Reprise. Young first collaboration with Crazy Horse is full of energy.
397. Jay-Z, ‘Reasonable Doubt’ (1996) Rc-A-Fella/Priority.
Before the fame and fortune, ‘Reasonable Doubt’ is Hov at his hungriest, snapping rhymes with ferocity.
396. Heartbreakers, ‘LAMF’ (1977) Track.
Made up of former New York Dolls and Television members, the fuzz-drenched ‘LAMF’ is one of the greatest ‘super-group’ albums.
395. The White Stripes, ‘De Stijl’ (2000) Sympathy For The Record Industry.
Jack and Meg made cult names of themselves with the no-fi blues-punk of ‘You’re Pretty Good Looking…’.
394. Wire, ‘Chairs Missing’ (1978) EMI.
Abandoning the crunchy sound of their debut, ‘Chairs Missing’ took aim at Brian Eno ambient weirdness.
393. Prince, ‘Dirty Mind’ (1980) Warner Bros.
Robyn: “It’s one of his first albums, and one that people don’t talk about a lot. For me it’s really special because it’s from before the point where we had a lot of money so it’s still kind of rough and almost punky, about when he started listening to New Wave.”
392. Edan, ‘Beauty and the Beat’ (2005) Lewis Recordings
The most ruthless, raucous, gloriously off-piste rap record of the ‘00s.
391. Burial, ‘Burial’ (2006) Hyperdub.
Full of steely 2-step beats, Burial’s 2006 debut remains an enigmatic electronic tour-de-force.
390. Verve, ‘A Northern Soul’ (1995) Hut.
An intimate follow-up to 1993’s ‘A Storm In Heaven’ that expanded their grand rock magic.
389. Le Tigre, ‘Le Tigre’ (1999) Mr Lady.
Bikini Kill alumnus Kathleen Hanna creates a memorable electroclash ruckus.
388. Tim Buckley, ‘Happy Sad’ (1969) Elektra.
A daring venture into jazz at the beginning of a rich experimental period for the English songwriting icon.
387. The Clash, ‘Combat Rock’ (1982) CBS
Angry at the press after a critical fall from grace, Strummer and co hit back in vitriolic punk fashion.
386. Gillian Welch, ‘Revival’ (1996) Almo Sounds.
Appalachian guitars and rustic vibes make Welch’s bare, sorrowful debut a gem.
385. The White Stripes, ‘Get Behind Me Satan’ (2005) V2.
The bluesy garage inferno that earned the duo Top Three chart berths on both sides of the Atlantic.
384. Elvis Presley, ‘Elvis Presley’ (1956) RCA Victor.
James Allen, Glasvegas: “The woman who used to live upstairs from me had every Elvis LP and every piece of Elvis tat you could get. I thought it was strange that anyone could be that fanatical, but in terms of somebody taking you to a difference place, Elvis does that better than anybody.”
383. The Long Blondes, ‘Someone To Drive You Home’ (2006) Rough Trade.
Sheffield janglers provide a glossy guitar-pop fantasy alternative to Alex Turner’s grey depiction of life oop t’north.
382. Simon and Garfunkel, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ (1970) Columbia.
Full of poetic storytelling, this was the folk pair at their plaintive best.
381. David Bowie, ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’ (1980) RCA.
Carl Barat: “This used to scare the shit out of me when I was about three, strapped into the back seat of our car. I used to get the heebie-jeebies then but I’m getting a bit better now. We had a hire car and my mum told me this song was about scary monsters. It was on repeat and I remember clutching the car door in fright.”
380. Bloc Party, ‘Silent Alarm’ (2005) Wichita.
From ‘Banquet’ to the stirring ‘She’s Hearing Voices’, one of the debuts of the decade.
379. Belle & Sebastian, ‘The Boy With The Arab Strap’ (1998) Jeepster. Scottish indie favourites serve up a host of glistening melodies with bon-homie on their third album.
378. Wire, ‘Pink Flag’ (1977) Harvest.
British punk harbingers shout, scream and snarl their way to infamy on their exhilarating debut.
377. Roy Harper, ‘Stormcock’ (1971) Harvest.
One of Johnny Marr’s favourite albums, this is the cult English folkie’s finest work.
376. Sam Cooke, ‘Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963’ (1985) RCA.
Fifty years ago in January, R&B artist Sam Cooke performed at the Harlem Square Club in Miami. The recording of that legendary show is now considered one of the greatest live albums ever, a long-buried treasure.
375. Morrissey, ‘Vauxhall and I’ (1994) Parlophone.
His starkest ever solo material, the Smiths man made a surprise, consummate venture into bombastic rock.
374. Frank Sinatra, ‘In The Wee Small Hours’ (1955) Capitol.
The Rat Pack crooner confronts loneliness and depression on his ninth album.
373. Curtis Mayfield, ‘There’s No Place Like America Today’ (1975) Curtom.
The Chicago soul man at his most affectionate and striking.
372. Big Black, ‘Atomizer’ (1986) Homestead.
A take-no-prisoners noise rock epic typical of frontman Steve Albini’s abrasiveness.
371. Beck, ‘Odelay’ (1996) Geffen.
A fun, funk frolic that made Beck the bounciest, most Satanically hairdressed ‘Loser’ on the block.
370. The Cribs, ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ (2007) Wichita.
The sweat-soaked triumph that established the Leeds trio as bona fide indie marvels.
369. St Vincent, ‘Strange Mercy’ (2011) 4AD.
Equal parts punk, prog and pop, Annie Clark’s 2011 opus was beguiling and brilliant.
368. Radiohead, ‘Hail To The Thief’ (2003) Parlophone.
A sprawling return to art-rock after the cold electronics of ‘Amnesiac’, albeit with a rootsy twist.
367. Metronomy, ‘Nights Out’ (2008) Because Music.
An album about drinking and disillusion, this ”half-arsed concept album” ended up as the electro ‘Whatever You Say I Am…’.
366. Leonard Cohen, ‘Songs Of Love and Hate’ (1971) Columbia.
Bleak and nihilistic it may be, but songs like ‘Dress Rehearsal Rag’ find the Canadian at his most poetic.
365. Dead Kennedys, ‘Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables’ (1980) Cherry Red/Alternative Tentacles.
San Fran hardcore punkers go for the jugular on breathless debut album.
364. Bon Iver, ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ (2008) 4AD/Jagjaguwar.
Recorded in a woodland cabin in a fit of heartbroken despair, Justin Vernon’s debut remains unmatched in terms of arresting emotion.
363. Black Flag, ‘Damaged’ (1981) SST.
Caustic hardcore punk, with Henry Rollins’ famous howl at its epicentre.
362. Beastie Boys, ‘Hello Nasty’ (1998) Capitol
Funk-punk eclecticism from the New York emcees that saw them rapping giant robots out of Tokyo.
361. Faces, ‘A Nod Is As Good As A Wink… To A Blind Horse’ (1971) Warner Bros.
Rod Stewart and Ronnie Woods’ third chronicle on hedonism and life in the fast lane.
360. The Strokes, ‘Room On Fire’ (2003) Rough Trade.
The NY group’s second album introduced an electronic edge to the good-time vibes of their debut.
359. The Mothers Of Invention, ‘We’re Only In It For The Money’ (1968) Verve.
Frank Zappa’s surrealist rock opus riffed on the Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s..’ to create a masterstroke of his own.
358. Robert Wyatt, ‘Rock Bottom’ (1974) Virgin.
After breaking his spine in an accident, Wyatt wrote his sparkling debut across an eight-month hospital stay.
357. Sugar, ‘Copper Blue’ (1992) Creation. Husker Du’s Bob Mould discovered a post-Nirvana spurt of accessibility and cracked out the breeziest record of the grunge era, making us all dance to the drownings.
356. Pixies, ‘Bossanova’ (1990) 4AD.
Ditching the Biblical bloodshed, it was all aliens, UFOs and surf-rock on Pixies’ sparkling third.
355. New York Dolls, ‘New York Dolls’ (1973) Mercury.
Scorching punk underpinned by Vietnam war-era notions of dread and despair.
354. Isaac Hayes, ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ (1969) Enterprise.
A revolution in soul music, Hayes’ second album snubbed three-minute radio-friendly cuts for 12-minute grooves.
353. Mclusky, ‘Mclusky Do Dallas’ (2002) Too Pure.
A white-knuckle ride through clattering post-punk guitars from the cult Cardiff crew.
352. The Velvet Underground, ‘White Light/White Heat’ (1968) Verve.
The band’s second LP honed the wasted avant-noisepop of their debut into something more challenging.
351. The Byrds, ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ (1968) Columbia.
Collaborating with the gifted Gram Parsons, The Byrds’ sixth LP made country and western hip.
350. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, ‘BRMC’ (2001) Virgin.
The brash guitar scrawl of this debut rejuvenated Mary Chain basement rock for the new century.
349. Alt-J, ‘An Awesome Wave’ (2012) Infectious.
A worthy Mercury Prize winner, ‘An Awesome Wave’’s minimalist electro-folk defined the dark-‘net generation.
348. Whitney Houston, ‘Whitney’ (1987) Arista.
From ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ to ‘So Emotional’, a peppy R&B masterclass.
347. Sonic Youth, ‘Dirty’ (1992) Geffen.
Yannis Philippakis: ”It’s a massive ‘Fuck you!’ to everyone. It was a total cure to things like school and being that age and living in England. You can just destroy stuff to this album.”
346. New Order, ‘Low-Life’ (1985) Factory.
The moment the former Joy Division members left behind their post-punk roots to truly embrace dance.
345. Elvis Costello, ‘Punch The Clock’ (1983) F-Beat.
Taking on the brassy gleam of Langer & Winstanley, Costello produced his brightest, most irresistible pop set.
344. Eels, ‘Beautiful Freak’ (1996) DreamWorks.
Heartache never sounded so sweet as on Eels’ sad, sombre debut.
343. Bob Dylan, ‘John Wesley Harding’ (1967) Columbia.
After a motorbike accident, Dylan turned in a philosophical eighth album tracing America’s history.
342. Spiritualized, ‘Laser Guided Melodies’ (1992) Dedicated.
Jason Pierce and co’s woozy, cosmos-sized debut, a sigh in heaven, inspired a space rock boom.
341. Tom Waits, ‘Closing Time’ (1973) Asylum.
Waits’ debut wowed critics with its bluesy stories of boozing in the city.
340. Sister Sledge, ‘We Are Family’ (1979) Cotillion.
A swathe of wedding disco mainstays written and produced by Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards.
339. Pearl Jam, ‘Ten’ (1991) Epic.
Propelled by Eddie ‘Kurt 2’ Vedder’s famous growl, ‘Ten’ stamped grunge rock’s pass to the mainstream.
338. Notorious BIG, ‘Ready To Die’ (1994) Bad Boy.
The record that made hip-hop fans turn their attention away from Dr Dre and the West Coast and focus, instead, on the bubbling scene in New York City.
337. Danger Mouse, ‘The Grey Album’ (2004) Self-released.
No album better represents the 21st century’s obsession with breaking down genre boundaries.
336. Neneh Cherry, ‘Raw Like Sushi’ (1989) Virgin.
Blending rap and soul, hit single ‘Buffalo Stance’ helped newcomer Neneh stampede to success.
335. Queens Of The Stone Age, ‘…Like Clockwork’ (2013) Matador.
After six years away, Josh Homme and co made a storming return with help from Elton John, Jake Shears and Dave Grohl.
334. The Avalanches, ‘Since I Left You’ (2000) Modular.
A wonderland of eccentric, imaginative scratch sampling that’s had fans pleading for a sequel ever since.
333. Paul McCartney And Wings, ‘Band On The Run (1973) Apple.
Jet! McCartney proves there’s life after the Beatles in emphatic, big-chorused fashion.
332. Shack, ‘HMS Fable’ (1999) London.
Oasis’s Scouse peers channelled the spirit of the Beatles and the druggy euphoria of The Velvet Underground.
331. MC5, ‘Kick Out The Jams’ (1969) Elektra.
Detroit proto-punks revelled in crunching guitar riffs and civil disobedience on debut album.
330. Portishead, ‘Third’ (2008) Island.
A mesmerising trip-hop adventure, noted for Geoff Barrow’s slick, soulful production.
329. David Bowie, ‘ ”Heroes” ‘ (1977) RCA.
The second in Bowie’s Brian Eno-produced Berlin trilogy melded ‘Low”s experimentalism with cloud-scraping pop epics.
328. The Flaming Lips, ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’ (2002) Warner Bros.
Their biggest commercial hit, ‘Yoshimi…’ found ringleader Wayne Coyne confronting mortality, sumptuous melancholy and alien robot invasions.
327. Beck, ‘Mutations’ (1998) Geffen.
Obsessed with death, Beck disguised his Grammy-winning sixth album’s dark subject matter with upbeat Kinks-like jangles.
326. Yo La Tengo, ‘I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One’ (1997) Matador.
Proving themselves masters of jangly indie pop, this eighth album included a cover of Beach Boys’ ‘Little Honda’.
325. Beck, ‘Sea Change’ (2002) Geffen.
Recording with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Beck toned down the experimentation but kept the vivid colours.
324. REM, ‘Lifes Rich Pageant’ (1986) IRS.
The college rock kings angled slightly towards the country rock mainstream. Rich indeed.
323. Miles Davis, ‘Bitches Brew’ (1970) Columbia.
Rebelling against convention with loose, improvised rhythms, this is the jazz hero at his most punk.
322. LCD Soundsystem, ‘This is Happening’ (2010) DFA/Virgin.
James Murphy’s final outing as electro raconteur LCD Soundsystem, and his most heartfelt.
321. Doves, ‘Lost Souls’ (2000) Heavenly.
The ‘00s indie trio delivered on their dramatic debut the sort of haunted hooks bands spend entire careers sharpening.
320. Tom Waits, ‘Swordfishtrombones’ (1983) Island.
30 years on, Waits’ breakout album is still a junkyard jazz gem.
319. The Who, ‘Who’s Next’ (1971) Track/Decca.
The Londoners’ fifth album was their most intrepid – a daring, thwarted rock opera set to rival ‘Tommy’.
318. Ice T, ‘OG Original Gangster’ (1991) Sire/Warner Bros.
Marking 10 years in the game, ‘OG’ is an East Coast rap classic.
317. Gram Parsons, ‘Grievous Angel’ (1974) Reprise.
Released after his death, Cecil Connor’s country-crossover swansong was a fitting finale.
316. Elvis Costello And The Attractions, ‘Imperial Bedroom’ (1982) F-Beat.
Costello at his most elegant and refined, the sumptuous sonics of ‘Man Out Of Time’, ‘You Little Fool’ and ‘Beyond Belief’ had critics calling it a “masterpiece” and “as great as songwriting ever gets”.
315. Big Brother & The Holding Company, ‘Cheap Thrills’ (1968) Columbia.
Janis Joplin’s final album with the acid-rockers saw her leave on a delirious high.
314. Slint, ‘Spiderland’ (1991) Touch And Go.
Ground-breaking post-rock noise beneath spoken word tales from the brink of madness.
313. Tom Waits, ‘Frank’s Wild Years’ (1987) Island.
Whiskey-stained blues, pointing gravel-throated Californian Waits the way to greatness.
312. The Cocteau Twins, ‘Treasure’ (1984) 4AD.
The warmest, wooziest of the Scottish trailblazers’ nine albums, ‘Treasure’ was an exercise in atmos-pop perfection.
311. Super Furry Animals, ‘Guerrilla’ (1999) Creation.
The Welshmen’s third album fine-tuned their abstract indie-pop to psychedelic wonderment.
310. Steely Dan, ‘Countdown To Ecstasy’ (1973) ABC.
A druggy ballet of Vegas jazz, boogie woogie and experimental guitars, as intoxicating as its title.
309. Metallica, ‘Metallica’ (1991) Elektra/Vertigo/Universal.
Featuring anthem ‘Enter Sandman’, the LA quartet’s eponymous fifth album packed more twisted metal than a motorway pile-up.
308. Lemonheads, ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ (1992) Atlantic.
Massachusetts outfit’s mainstream breakthrough, full of slacker-pop guitars and college rock hooks.
307. Beck, ‘Midnite Vultures’ (1999) Geffen.
A Technicolor pop explosion, pitched somewhere between Prince and ‘Computer World’-era Kraftwerk.
306. Bob Dylan, ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ (1963) Columbia.
Robert Zimmerman spins society’s nuclear anxiety into a paranoid, poignant folk triumph.
305. Rod Stewart, ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ (1971) Mercury.
Ballads, blues and barmy barnets – the album with which Stewart entered his defining era.
304. The Orb, ‘UFOrb’ (1992) Big Life.
A halogen-fuelled ambient techno trip full of wonky synths and sci-fi spookiness.
303. Charles Mingus, ‘Mingus Ah Um’ (1959) Columbia.
Jazz masterwork that, beneath its gossamer surface, rallied against the US government.
302. Daft Punk, ‘Homework’ (1997) Virgin.
Mike Skinner: “Daft Punk manage to sound different from everyone else, but at the same time their music can be played in a club. I don’t think anyone has managed to make such minimal dance music as well as Thomas Bangalter.”
301. Arthur Russell, ‘World Of Echo’ (1986)
Pioneering electronic murmurs that hypnotised NY dance-floors in the mid-’80s and beyond. Continue reading 300 – 201.