Updated: Jan 27, 2021
Why Should Rolling Stone have all of the fun?
In the day and age of listicles and amid the controversy surrounding major music publications 'best albums' list, well, frankly, we felt left out. You didn't ask for it, so here it is: Inhailer Radio's totally objective, completely undisputed, most-correct list of the 500 best albums of all-time. You'll see a few records we all know and love, and hey, maybe a few surprises too. We did our music research, utilized additive weighting for our rankings, and oh, we had a lot of fun.
Despite the sarcasm, the Inhailer staff really did put a lot of time and thought into this list. The ask was simple: excluding compilation albums, what are the 500 best albums of all-time, ranked? Nobody has the energy in their thumbs to scroll through 500 albums in one sitting. So, every Friday, Inhailer is counting down our Top 500 albums of all time in bite-size chunks of 25 albums. Here's the first list in the countdown:
500. Elliott Smith - XO (1998)
A rare major label debut with increased production costs that did nothing but shine a light on a brilliant indie artist.
499. Muse - Absolution (2003)
This sounds like how the apocalypse (in stereo) would sound. And we're okay with that.
498. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals (2008)
Although Gregg Gillis is certainly not the first mashup artist, he may be the best. Mashups aren't traditionally critically acclaimed, but we're not caught up in that sort of stuff.
497. Don McLean - American Pie (1971)
Take out the title track and it's still on this list. See: "Vincent," "Winterwood," "Empty Chairs" and basically every other track.
496. Wolf Parade - Apologies To Queen Mary (2005)
Way more influential than you think. File under: lying in your childhood twin bed with headphones on.
495. Weezer - Weezer (1994)
Irreverent and smartass-y in the best way, the Blue Album is like a doodle in the margins of a teenager's math textbook.
494. Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow (2005)
An essential blend of neo-psychedelia, folk, and Latin beats.
493. RJD2 - Deadringer (2002)
There's no other vocal-less hour-long record without a skippable track out there.
492. John Coltrane - A Love Supreme (1965)
The world's astounding introduction to post-bop jazz.
491. Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis (1969)
Among all of the bravado of '60s/'70s rock and roll, here came Dusty.
490. Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
A punk pastiche of jazz poetry too cool to see Compact Disc release.
489. Camille Yarbrough - The Iron Pot Cooker (1975)
The cult-iest of cult albums, without this, there would be no Lauryn Hill or Erykah Badu.
488. Emitt Rhodes - Emitt Rhodes (1970)
Rhodes plays all instruments and sings like an American Paul McCartney to his four-track recorder in his "home studio" aka his kitchen.
487. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand (2004)
Arguably the coolest tempo change of all time. The rest of the album is good too.
486. Karen Dalton - In My Own Time (1971)
An eccentric outsider tries her hand at folksy versions of pop and R&B hits that she made her own.
485. Blitzen Trapper - Furr (2008)
Eric Earley and the band did proper folktronica years before Bon Iver.
484. Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal (2014)
Indie band records a post-punk record in the middle of Brooklyn. What could go wrong?
483. Beck - Midnite Vultures (1999)
This genre-bender has been called both one of the worst albums ever and one of the best. We'll let you decide.
482. The Police - Reggatta de Blanc (1979)
Rock and roll for those who actually prefer reggae. The height of new wave music?
481. Todd Rundgren - Something/Anything? (1972)
An immense, influential double album born out of isolation. Fun fact: Guns 'N Roses' Axl Rose once said this was his all-time favorite record.
480. Tears For Fears - Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
An album so immensely entrenched in '80s synth production that yet sounds surprisingly fresh today.
479. Songs of Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen (1967)
Simply Haunting. Leonard Cohen has his own canon, and this is the keystone of his output.
478. Neil Young with Crazy Horse - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
Raw and urgent, Young's sophomore effort would lay the blueprint for spontaneous, thumping country-tinged rock.
477. Link Wray - Link Wray (1971)
The king of the power chord headed for an abandoned chicken shack in rural Maryland to downsize his sound into a "humble, back porch stomp."
476. Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso (2014)
This on-the-rise electropop duo remind us that music can be fun and carefree and still have substance.
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: #475-#451.