Top 100 Rock Albums of All Time - 20-11
Last year, I released a list of my top 40 favorite rock bands/artists before I turned 40 (which happened in November), but NOW I took on an even tougher challenge of putting together my favorite 100 Rock Albums of All Time.
These are not inspired by other people’s lists or what people consider “great or influential music” - though a lot of it absolutely will be. These are just flat out my favorite 100 albums of all-time.
You are SURELY not going to agree with most of this list, and that’s okay.
Let's continue on with the next 10 in the list and discover what's my 20-11 favorite albums of all time!
20 - In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 - This Coheed and Cambria album was a damn masterpiece, and it was just the right amount of comic book canon for my taste. It wasn’t as confusing as the next few albums, and it really meant that the subject matter was easily digestible. While I do think that Good Apollo Part 1 had the best individual songs on the album, I believe that this album was the best overall album, and it was done so perfectly without over-producing every piece of the album. “Blood Red Summer” and “A Favor House Atlantic” will always have a special place in rock song history for me. Also, the slow song “The Light & The Glass” is a huge fan favorite, and one of mine as well. There is a good mix of songs on this album, and it’s a great intro album into the band if you have yet to hear any of their music.
19 - Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd collectively melted the rock world’s brains when they released this album. Centered around the idea that they wanted to pay some respect and tribute to their former lead singer, Syd Barrett, this album got wild with spatial sounds, high production levels, dramatic effects, and ethereal subject matter. Everything that rock bands had been trying to accomplish with psychedelic rock to this point instantly became meaningless, and Pink Floyd became internationally recognized as one of the best bands of all time after songs like “Money” and “Time” came crashing through the airwaves in 1973. “Us and Them” became an instant classic as well. This album was on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 for 736 consecutive weeks (which is about 15 years). By 2006, it had appeared on the Top 200 albums for 1,716 weeks overall. That just shows how long and how widely appreciated this album is when it comes to rock music.
18 - Nevermind - I would be lying if I didn’t say that this was probably THE album that changed me from a radio-listening, pop-liking pre-teen into a music-loving, under-the-radar-seeking fan that wanted to become a rock star. Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic simply put together an album that became a musical bible for a generation. That is something almost no one can say (except a few bands on this list). This album had songs like “Lithium” (my favorite track), “Come As You Are,” and the smash hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” “Teen Spirit” became one of the most popular and influential rock songs of all time regardless of genre, and it is still one of the highest-rated songs on any Top 100 list that includes rock music. Without this album, the seedy underbelly of Seattle’s music world would likely never come to full light, and a lot of punk bands that came up in the 90’s would likely not have had as much success without Nirvana paving the way for anti-social bands to become rich and famous.
17 - Rage Against the Machine - The self-titled album by Rage Against the Machine became the most politically charged album of any rock band in the 1990’s, in my opinion. Even the cover of the album showed just how far Rage was willing to go to fight the oppressors. Every song had a message that dug deep into the corruption, lies and criminal activity that corporations and the U.S. government perpetrate on citizens of the world and the U.S. every single day. From genocide to mass incareceration to foreign wars in the name of greed and more. Without this album, I probably would not have learned about the geo-political nightmare that the world knows as the United States of America until much later in life. I was about 10 (about to turn 11) years old when this album came out, and it blew my mind. I didn’t even fully understand everything for years which means it is as good now as it was back then, and it STILL continues to open my eyes to things I may have not known or even forgotten over time. “Bombtrack,” “Killing In The Name Of,” “Know Your Enemy” and “Bullet In The Head” are just some of the examples of why Rage Against the Machine is a timeless rock act, and why this album is so damn good.
16 - Bleed American - This one is a bit higher than I thought it might come in at, but it definitely deserves its position as Jimmy Eat World created a damn masterful album with this release. Songs like “The Middle” and “Sweetness” are international hit songs with the latter being a song I can say is chronically stuck in my head even if I don’t listen to it for months or years. The opening line of “If you’re listening…whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh…” will be burned in my brain forever. Another one of my favorites songs is on this album in “Authority Song.” It’s a great example of how Jimmy Eat World can transition from soulful songs that tug at your heart strings (like “Hear You Me”) to making a dancehall classic at the drop of a hat. There isn’t a single second of this album that isn’t a must listen. “Get It Faster” is also probably one of my darkhorse favorite songs by the band. This is American rock music at its most tangible and fresh, and time has not made this album any less of a classic.
15 - The New Abnormal - This album by The Strokes may shock a few people by being placed so highly on the list considering it was released in 2020. However, not only was this album one of the best albums by The Strokes, it was our pick for Album of the Year in 2020, AND it won a Grammy for Rock Album of the Year as well. It is an absolutely brilliant album, and at only 9 songs, it is crazy how much I love to listen to this album over and over again. I even told my wife that even though she was pregnant with our son, that this album was the best thing that came out of 2020 (only somewhat kidding). My favorite song on the album is “Eternal Summer,” which I consider to be The Strokes best song that they have probably ever created. The whole album smacks of The Strokes at their creative best.
14 - Pinkerton - This will forever be one of the finest rock albums of all time, and it was the last “great” Weezer album, in my opinion. It was also the last album that saw the creative duo of Rivers Cuomo and Matt Sharp (who left to pursue The Rentals) working together. Now, Weezer has released some GOOD albums after this, but nothing on par with the level of the first two albums. It’s a fact. Even Cuomo himself said (somewhat jokingly, I think), “When we hear fans of the early music getting upset by what we’re doing, we know we’re on the right track.” Because it is his goal to try to create something radically different, new and fresh instead of resting on his laurels. It’s a commendable goal, but unfortunately, it rarely works to work against your own nature. Pinkerton is the most introspective and emotional of all the Weezer albums, and with songs like “Getchoo,” “Butterfly,” “Why Bother,” and “Across the Sea” as well as the single “El Scorcho” this album is absolutely rocking all the way through as well. Probably the heaviest rock parts of any Weezer album lie in this album.
13 - Dude Ranch - While many will say that the best Blink-182 album is Enema of the State, I would disagree wholeheartedly. Dude Ranch while it does have some tasteless humor in the skits (that was part of the charm at the time though), it has some incredibly poignant rock songs that sparked the critical mass behind a growing sentiment of skate-punk music at the time. No longer did everyone just want to bang their head to punk music. The majority of punk fans seemed to want to get deeper in both lyrical subject matter but also sound more polished with harmonizing vocals and a bit more intricate guitar work. This was the foundation that Blink-182 started to put together for all their future releases. I can recite this album word for word even though I haven’t listened to it in probably 15 years (from front to back anyway). “A New Hope,” “Apple Shampoo” and so many of the other songs on this album are absolutely perfect for the time. Combine them with the hit singles “Dammit” and “Josie,” and you got yourself a certified perfect pop-punk album.
12 - Swoon - Silversun Pickups hasn’t made an appearance on this list yet? Well, I guess I know that I can’t put every album by every band that I really like on the list even if they are all spectacular. So, the reason why this band is my second favorite band of all time (in a 3-way coin flip with Portugal. The Man and Cursive) is because they put out albums that drag you into an emotion of despair or macabre or ambiguous sadness while creating rock songs that absolutely string together like a Picasso painting where the whole thing is greater than any one part. Every song is incredible, but then when the album is sitting there as a whole, it is hard to say that there are many albums better. Swoon is the second album by Silversun Pickups, and with songs like “The Royal We,” “Panic Switch,” and “Substitution” it is a fiery album full of visuals that the music itself creates - even if it had no lyrics or vocals. This is 10 songs of pure magic that I can’t even describe accurately. It is one of the most artistic rock albums of all time.
11 - Is This It - The Strokes make another appearance here, this time for the final time, and JUST outside the top 10. While I do think The New Abnormal was probably a more artistically superious album to this one, Is This It has all the bangers on an album that any rock fan can handle. The title track “Is This It” and “Last Night” became international sensations and spun off about 400 rock bands down a new style of rock music where it became cool to look and sound like the band doesn’t care but at the same time create pop-rock songs that stand the test of time and define a new generation’s attitude of post-pop-punk and segueing into more independent and anthemic styles of rock music again. The Strokes somehow have always toed the line of creating an “indie rock sound” while being on a major label for the last 20+ years, and that’s why their music is so damn important. It’s what happens when the artists actually stand up for their own creation and don’t let themselves be molded by corporations.
If you haven't checked out the rest of the list to this point, go to these links: