This is the 17th post in this series. Click here to start from the beginning: Inhailer's Top 500 Albums of All-Time: (#500-476)
Every Friday, Inhailer is counting down our totally objective, completely undisputed, most-correct list of the Top 500 albums of all time. We're doing so in bite-size chunks of 25 albums (nobody has the energy in their thumbs to scroll through 500 albums in one sitting). Last week we continued our countdown with the likes of Kraftwerk, Sigur Rós, and Joe Henderson. This week we continue with Nos. 100-76. The ask was simple: excluding compilation albums, what are the 500 best albums of all-time, ranked? Here's the seventeenth list in the countdown:
100. Cocteau Twins - Heaven Or Las Vegas (1990)
Ethereal dream pop is so accessible today thanks to the Scottish trio's most acclaimed work, internal strife, label conflicts, and drug abuse.
99. Van Halen - Van Halen (1978)
If you're gonna do hair metal, do it well. Eddie Van Halen was to the '70s as Jimi Hendrix was to the '60s, innovating the guitar at the end of a decade of music defined by the instrument's evolution.
98. Portishead - Dummy (1994)
Recorded directly onto acetate and then thrown on the studio floor, Portishead took turns using the vinyl like skateboards until the music had its iconic scratchy and distressed trip hop sound.
97. Sugar - Copper Blue (1992)
Bob Mould had already seen through the entire lifecycle of Hüsker Dü before reforming his punchy sound into a more melodic grunge-adjacent style that came to define his second career.
96. The B-52's - The B-52's (1979)
The depth of their catalogue may surprise anybody who only knows "Love Shack," and that shows strongest on their debut LP, a musical treasure trove in the cluttered antique store of new wave.
95. Frank Zappa - Hot Rats (1970)
Zappa's "movie for your ears" is mostly instrumental, yet it draws you in stealthy psychedelic bite, jazzy propulsion, and stream-of-consciousness soloing.
94. Randy Newman - Sail Away (1972)
By his third record, Newman masterminded the refined lyrical quip of a songwriter's vignette, contextualized by crisp baroque pop accompaniment and top session musicians.
93. Scott Walker - Scott 4 (1969)
Speaking of baroque pop, nobody does it better than the brooding American-born Anglophile Scott Engel and his flawless baritone.
92. Suicide - Suicide (1977)
Not all punk is created equal. Upon release, Suicide's eponymous album, an impenetrable blend of synth rock and post-punk felt immediately permanent.
91. Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)
In 1977, while the band was in infancy, David Bowie declared that Devo "is the band of the future, I'm going to produce them." He ended up tag-teaming production duties with Brian Eno for this new wave powerhouse.
90. Grateful Dead - American Beauty (1970)
For their second country rock album of the year, Robert Hunter & Jerry Garcia's songwriting partnership was more fruitful than ever. What resulted was emotive songs reflecting the heart of Americana, wrapped loosely like a folk rock artifact.
89. A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory (1991)
Q-Tip pulled Phife Dawg off the streets for just long enough to record his verses for this socially-conscious, jazzy stockpile of tight criticisms on the hip hop industry and consumerism.
88. Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
Oasis' sophomore album, featuring "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back in Anger," deepened the sweeping artistic statements of their debut, Definitely Maybe, into a more balanced, diverse pop project.
87. David Bowie - Hunky Dory (1971)
Just before Ziggy Stardust, Bowie presented what might be his strongest songwriting portfolio, including odes to Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, and Lou Reed.
86. James Taylor - Sweet Baby James (1970)
At 21, Taylor had already survived drug addiction, homelessness, and being prodigal son of the Beatles. Even then, songs like "Fire and Rain" and "Country" sounded like age-old tune we'd all known forever.
85. Tom Petty - Wildflowers (1994)
Petty was in a bad place mentally, and his struggle showed. There's a stunning emotional complexity to every song in Wildflowers. The album was everything Petty could give emotionally, and it haunted him for years.
84. Gillian Welch - Time (The Revelator) (2001)
Welch's unique strain of country music captured the whimsical, fleeting experience of pain in a fury of spontaneity: "It was a mic test... we played it once and it was great. We got that first-take feeling."
83. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
Going fully electric was Dylan's way of reclaiming his artistic voice. Still, Dylan's complete triumph was both a culmination and an amalgamation of all American music to that point.
82. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - This Year's Model (1979)
Costello's first album with The Attractions was the perfect marriage between the power pop lightness and the snarl of punk. Costello's exacting wit is just icing on the top.
81. The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers (1971)
Look at any greatest hits package of the Rolling Stones 60+ year career, & you'll know that they were at their peak: "Brown Sugar," "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," "Wild Horses," & "Moonlight Mile" deserve the Warhol zipper treatment.
80. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (2006)
Amy's lover left her to pursue his ex. That's about all the material she needed to reinvigorate blue-eyed soul for the mainstream, paving the way for female artists – Adele, Florence & the Machine, Ellie Goulding – to try to fill her tragic void.
79. Radiohead - Kid A (2000)
After becoming the music world's critical darlings for OK Computer, Yorke and Co. took an even sharper left turn toward further experimentation and intentional sonic disorientation.
78. Sex Pistols - Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)
They only released one album and here we are, still talking about them. Maybe it was the disquieting anarchistic schtick or their complete rhythmic sloppiness that keeps us coming back.
77. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (1975)
How in the world do you followup Dark Side? You can't, so instead you write a tribute album to your fallen leader, giving stoners fans a more sinister high.
76. Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You (1967)
Columbia Records didn't know how to market Franklin's music, pigeonholing her into gospel & religious audiences. When she moved to Atlantic, everything changed; she became a symbol of female empowerment & Southern black pride.
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Stay tuned for Inhailer Radio's next installment in the totally objective, completely undisputed, most-correct list of the Top 500 Albums of All-Time. Disagree with our rankings? Definitely don't @ us on our Facebook and Instagram. Next week: #75-51.