This is the 19th 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 Otis Redding, Gorillaz, and The Magnetic Fields. This week we continue with Nos. 50-26. The ask was simple: excluding compilation albums, what are the 500 best albums of all-time, ranked? Here's the nineteenth list in the countdown:
50. Cream - Disraeli Gears (1967)
Known for their extended blues soloing onstage, Disraeli Gears showcases the their tighter side: three-minute pop melodies, Clapton's fluent bluesy licks, and psychedelic overdubs, all of which sent Cream into rock stardom.
49. The Strokes - Is This It (2001)
Amidst a record label bidding war and music journalists heralding the band as the saviors of rock 'n roll, Julian Casablancas vowed that The Strokes would be "a band from the past that took a time trip into the future to make their record"
48. Bob Dylan - Blood On the Tracks (1975)
It took Dylan fifteen studio records to perfect the process, even if he had to re-record half of it. His most revealing, poetically-nuanced songs are here, including "Tangled Up in Blue," "Simple Twist in Fate," & "Meet Me in the Morning."
47. Joni Mitchell - Blue (1971)
Her masterpiece came from absolute exposure: "At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world. I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy."
46. Sly and the Family Stone - Stand! (1969)
Released just months before their iconic performance at Woodstock, Stand! is the perfect balance of funk, soul, pop, and psych. Sly Stone set the high-water mark of 1969 with this record.
45. Pavement - Wowee Zowee (1995)
Stephen Malkmus settled down after his most-conventional rock tenure, searching for 'sarcastic sounds.' Although seen as a let-down initially, Wowee Zowee was influential to a generation of slackers who sorta care about music.
44. John Coltrane - Blue Train (1958)
Just a year after being fired from Miles Davis' band for a heroin habit, Coltrane booked his only session as a leader for Blue Note. He learned to play within the lines, ripping into dense and harmonic strains of hard bop.
43. The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)
The Beatles' swan song features one of the greatest run of tracks ever compiled for an album. C'mon, even Octopus' Garden is an absolute romp. Cheers Ringo!
42. Paul Simon - Graceland (1986)
Simon brought world-beat to the pop universe, boldly blending the street music of South Africa with Western pop. In the very act of creating his album with black and white musicians in Johannesburg, he broke the boycott of apartheid.
41. Little Richard - Here's Little Richard (1957)
This is the record that started it all both for Little Richard and for the world of mainstream rock and pop. Without his massively popular rhythm and blues turn of phrase and iconic hooting vocals, music would not pack the same punch today.
40. Lou Reed - Transformer (1972)
Reed's greatest triumph was welding his listless voice and saucy lyrics with hit song material that he never really had with the VU.
39. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
There is a reason for this album's cross-generational appeal and undying ubiquity. Here's three. The commercial appeal of their sleeker sound, the studio experimentation of Alan Parsons, & the singularity of the album's creative vision.
38. Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)
The quintessential indie rock record was a sonic rebirth that shook that genre's limitations. Recorded in an all-analogue format, the albums refined angst was immediately acclaimed by critics and fans alike.
37. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
With the production adroitness of Dr. Dre, Pharrell, & Thundercat, Lamar found a new way to rap about race. His racially-aware lyrics, with the depth of a sociology textbook, are transformed into an existentialist cry for freedom & self-love.
36. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001)
As the story goes, a certain record label refused to release this album. The label then gave Wilco the rights to the album for free. When it did release it to the world, it became an instant victory for alternative rock.
35. The Clash - London Calling (1979)
This double album length is not a detriment, but an asset. Joe Strummer & Mick Jones' songwriting collaboration is given room to grow into other territories than straight-forward punk, featuring fusions with ska, R&B, rockabilly, & roots music.
34. Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti (1975)
John Paul Jones assumed a larger role in the studio process with the band's further incorporation of the keyboard. This of course, only made Page, Plant, and Bonham step up their game. Thus, Zeppelin was firing at all cylinders in their creative peak,
33. The National - Boxer (2007)
Charming the upper-middle class, Matt Berninger's visceral lyrics and thee Dessner's swirling melodies are downtrodden, overtly-moody, and damning. Here, The National master the art of the slow burn.
32. The Stooges - Fun House (1970)
This record is unparalleled anarchy. Wildly loose but intentional, the album splatters jazz fusion, hard rock, proto-punk and clever noise onto an easel of Iggy Pop's expressionistic snarl.
31. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (2005)
An ambitious, lush folk masterpiece built on the most niche idea for a concept album ever: the history, literature, and geography found in the documents of the state of Illinois.
30. Neil Young - After the Gold Rush (1969)
Piano, played by the 17 year-old unknown Nils Lofgren, took an unexpected front seat on Young's third record, and the ruminating ballads remain 'country' in aesthetic, solemn in tone, and bright in texture.
29. Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (1985)
There was symbolism in Bush's progressive, brainy art pop knocking Madonna off of her pedestal, replacing Like A Virgin on the top of the UK charts. They're equally romantic and painstaking.
28. T. Rex - Electric Warrior (1971)
A few seasons before Bowie, T. Rex led the charge toward glam rock with this boundary-setting album that weaves between excessive guitar romping, tender sexual oozing, and orchestral pomp.
27. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
Brian Wilson's opus may sound a bit unimpressive today, but only because it's been the blueprint for every pop record ever since.
26. Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968)
After the excess of his disowned debut, Van the Man vowed to define art completely on his own terms. Never has complete emotive spontaneity worked so well — with a few chords thrown in as afterthought.
Want to listen to our choice cuts from this list? Follow our countdown playlist on Spotify!
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: #25-1.