500. Outkast, ‘Stankonia’ (2000) LaFace Records.
Canadian electro producer Grimes comments ”I really enjoyed Outkast as a kid, I don’t know why. Obviously back then I wasn’t like, ‘Oh the production’s amazing’ or anything; it’s just that the whole record is totally solid. ‘Bombs over Baghdad’ is pretty sweet; it’s like a rap/drum&bass sound.”
499. Belly, ‘Star’ (1993) Sire/Reprise.
Signalling a change from the grunge-rock dominated airwaves in the early 90s, Tanya Donelly’s band took a more pop-stylised sound in the alternative scene. The lyrics aren’t easy to swallow, but merged with their pop sensibilities leave ‘Star’ a timeless classic.
Lou Reed, ‘Berlin’
498. Lou Reed, ‘Berlin’ (1973) RCA.
Few albums manage to envisage the languish and pain that the artist struggle to express, but ex-Velvet Underground member executes it strikingly. Although Reed isn’t a paramount vocalist, his abrasive delivery works wonderfully with the tone of the record.
The Killers, ‘Hot Fuss’
495. The Killers, ‘Hot Fuss’ (2004) Lizard King/Vertigo.
The Las Vegas stadium fillers broke onto the scene with this massively successful debut album. It brought us the indie-essential tracks ‘Mr Brightside’ and ‘Somebody Told me’ which remain to be some their best work to date.
The Cure, ‘The Head On The Door’
494. The Cure, ‘The Head On The Door’ (1985) Fiction.
One of the more accessible albums from The Cure, the alternative band reached a point in the career where their sound was evolving. ‘Inbetween Days’ shows this awareness of maturing, “Yesterday I got so old, I felt like I could die, yesterday I got so old, it made me want to cry”.
This Mortal Coil, ‘Blood’
493. This Mortal Coil, ‘Blood’ (1991) 4AD.
Blood is the final LP from the dream-pop collective of artists, headed by it’s creator Ivo Watts-Russell. Featuring newcomers to the project such as Caroline Crawley and Kim Deal, the album is a rare glimpse into the artists performances outside of their expected realms.
Pet Shop Boys, ‘Actually’
491. Pet Shop Boys, ‘Actually’ (1987) Parlophone.
Over 4 million copies sold, the title comes from the fact they use that word a lot. Chris said at the time “We were thinking of calling it ‘Jollysight’, actually.” It contains one of the greatest pop songs of all time, ‘What Have I Done To Deserve This’ featuring Dusty Springfield.
MC5, ‘Back In The USA
490. MC5, ‘Back In The USA (1970) Atlantic.
The lo-fi garage rocker’s studio debut album is all about noise, which seems obvious but MC5’s sound pushes the boundary of what music can be. It’s volatile, angry and so so appealing. How can you not like the coarse protopunk cover of Little Richard’s ‘Tutti Frutti’?
Kendrick Lamar, ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D City’
485. Kendrick Lamar, ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D City’ (2012) Top Dawg Entertainmen/Aftermath Entertainment.
The East Coast rapper’s first big budget album, but importantly doesn’t forget his roots. ‘Backseat Freestyle’ sets the standard for an incredibly well-produced beat, matched only by Kendrick’s unstoppable flow.
Bruce Springsteen, ‘The River’
484. Bruce Springsteen, ‘The River’ (1980) Columbia.
The River is the peaking moment of the rock and roll legend’s stretching career. The double album allows Springsteen to exert the array of his eclectic sounds, with highlight such as ‘Cadillac Ranch’ and ‘Point Blank’.
Crystal Castles, ‘Crystal Castles’
477. Crystal Castles, ‘Crystal Castles’ (2008) Lies Records.
The experimental electric duo took dance music from a euphoric genre, and twisted it in their own unique way to create a nihilistic encounter. The album peaks at ‘Courtship Dating’ a song about human taxidermy.
The Verve, ‘A Storm In Heaven’
473. The Verve, ‘A Storm In Heaven’ (1993) Hut Records.
The skillful guitarist Nick McCabe ties this album together with his masterful fretwork, and Verve push boundaries of sound, demonstrating mind-bending audio techniques without being pushed into a box of shoegazing knockoffs.
Smashing Pumpkins, ‘Melon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’
472. Smashing Pumpkins, ‘Melon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’ (1995) Virgin.
Michael Angaelakos, Passion Pit: “It’s one of the few double albums that actually worked – that’s one of the most incredible achievements, I think. I’m very Billy Corgan inspired; I covered ‘Tonight, Tonight’ a while ago.”
MGMT, ‘Oracular Spectacular’
471. MGMT, ‘Oracular Spectacular’ (2007) Columbia.
Psychedelic, prog-rock, delicious melodies are throughout MGMT’s debut album. Take a trip (as band surely did so too) along the flowing soundscapes of stunningly crafted tracks such as ‘Time To Pretend’ and ‘Electric Feel’.
Kanye West, ‘Graduation’
470. Kanye West, ‘Graduation’ (2007) Roc-A-Fella Records.
Dizzee Rascal: ”To me this is the pinnacle of music. I listened to it and thought ‘fucking hell man, that’s the one’. It’s like an electronic-bass-hip-hop album. It’s still sample-based but Kanye’s got really electric. It’s different to normal hip-hop. It changed my world.”
The Beach Boys, ‘Holland’
469. The Beach Boys, ‘Holland’ (1973) Brother/Reprise.
The sound of East Coast America ripples through this album of classic Beach Boys sound. The album is centered around a trilogy saga of California themed songs, and credits the band irresistibility to the world of music.
The Wu-Tang Clan, ‘The W’
466. The Wu-Tang Clan, ‘The W’ (2000) Loud Records.
Third album from the talented American MC collection. The talent of the MCs is audibly improved from their first efforts. Tracks such as ‘Gravel Pit’ and ‘Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)’ are forever accoladed in the hip-hop sphere.
Kings Of Leon – ‘Because Of The Times’
464. Kings Of Leon – ‘Because Of The Times’ (2007) RCA.
Sealing KoL as one of the greatest American rock bands of our time, ‘Because Of The Times’ is the epitome of their talent. We can’t get enough of their no-bars-held guitar smashing rock coupled with the howling cries from lead singer Caleb.
Destiny’s Child, ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’
454. Destiny’s Child, ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’ (1999) Columbia.
Kele Okereke (Bloc Party) notes “It’s a really glossy R&B and pop record. Parts of it, primarily the tracks produced by Timbaland, sound like nothing on this planet – they still sound light years ahead of so much music”
The House Of Love, ‘The House Of Love’
453. The House Of Love, ‘The House Of Love’ (1988) Creation.
The House Of Love are a band of potential, some argued never realised but their debut proved that they had the credentials. Terry Bickers tantalising guitar playing on the album is particularly impressive.
PJ Harvey, ‘Rid Of Me’
450. PJ Harvey, ‘Rid Of Me’ (1993) Island.
The intimacy of this album is the key to its integrity. It’s a personal expression of Polly Jean’s life, and makes for a intense and consuming listen. Half-way through find out how we compiled the list.
Suede, ‘Sci-Fi Lullabies’
448. Suede, ‘Sci-Fi Lullabies’ (1997) Nude.
This two disc compilation of classic B-sides from the singles of their first three albums can be argued to be the best of Suede wrapped up into one. The first disc alone could be seen as a definitive fourth album for the alt rockers.
Fleetwood Mac, ‘Tusk’
445. Fleetwood Mac, ‘Tusk’ (1979) Warner Bros.
The follow up to the massively popular ‘Rumours’, Tusk often falls into the trap of the underrated. However this experimental effort embraces punk and new wave auras, and refusal to go with conventions makes it a classic in their discography.
Dr. Dre ‘2001’
433. Dr. Dre ‘2001’ (2001) Aftermath/Interscope.
Matt Helders, Arctic Monkeys: “I loved listening to this, and still do. production-wise, he nailed the beats perfectly – not only on that album but beyond. He’s not best known for his voice, but I like it – it sounds like he’s been arguing! I’ve been messing around with hip-hop stuff myself, I did a Roots Manuva remix.”
Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, ‘Nancy And Lee’
425. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, ‘Nancy And Lee’ (1968) Reprise.
Faris Badwan, The Horrors: “‘Some Velvet Morning’ was one of my favourite songs when I was little, along with Lee Marvin’s ‘Wandering Star’ and Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Boxer’. This original is one of the best songs ever written. Slowdive also did a great shoegaze cover which is on the reissue of their ‘Souvlaki’ album.”
U2, ‘The Joshua Tree’
424. U2, ‘The Joshua Tree’ (1987) Mercury.
Simon Neil, Biffy Clyro: “I know a lot of people hate U2, but you can’t argue with the quality of the songs. This was when Bono was becoming the biggest rock star in the world, but still had the tunes to back it up rather than preaching about how to live your life, or trying to teach America about the blues.”
A Tribe Called Quest, ‘People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm’
420. A Tribe Called Quest, ‘People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm’ (1990) RCA.
Jazzy gem in the crown of hip-hop’s golden age, Tribe’s debut is a feast of Afrocentric knowledge and goofball rhymes (plus bona fide party classic ‘Can You Kick It?’)
Animal Collective, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’
416. Animal Collective, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ (2009) Domino.
James Ford, Simian Mobile Disco: “They have slowly developed their own unique sonic world through their albums, and it really comes together on this record. I think it’s great futuristic psychedelic pop music that sounds like nothing else.”
DJ Shadow, ‘Entroducing’
412. DJ Shadow, ‘Entroducing’ (1996) FFRR.
Serge Pizzorno, Kasabian: “Everything changed for me when I heard that album – it opened my mind to so much more music. I’d go round my mate Dan’s house, he was into Blackalicious and Shadow and he’d play me that, and I was like, ‘Wow’.”
403. Björk, ‘Vespertine’ (2001)
“I love him, I love him!” Björk calls down heavenly choirs, samples cutlery, wears a swan dress and makes the most emotionally resonant music of her career. On Blogs: NME staff choose their favourite Top 10 records of all time.
Mystery Jets, ‘Twenty One’
402. Mystery Jets, ‘Twenty One’ (2008)
Liam Fray, The Courteeners “I heard the single [‘Young Love’] and I absolutely love Laura Marling [who guests on it]. But the best one is ‘Two Doors Down’. I saw it on the NME stereo in the mag stand and I thought, ‘You’ve got to be fucking joking’, but I went out and bought it. It’s never off the tourbus stereo.”
Throbbing Gristle, ’20 Jazz Funk Greats’
401. Throbbing Gristle, ’20 Jazz Funk Greats’ (1979)
Industrial music progenitors soften their seedy churn with exotica, pop & disco. Continue reading numbers 400 – 301.