Top 100 Rock Albums of All Time - 30-21
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 30-21 favorite albums of all time!
30 - Trashed - Another Lagwagon album makes it onto this list, and this might be considered the best Lagwagon album by most fans. I actually have a hard time picking my favorite, but this is actually not the highest rated Lagwagon album on my list (see below). It is probably one of the most notable punk albums of all time as well, and it has songs that fans of the band will know every word by heart like “Know It All,” “Stokin’ The Neighbors,” “Goin’ South,” and “Island of Shame.” This album sort of really started a great tradition for Lagwagon of anthemic songs that could be played in any set for the next 30 years (and still appear in their live shows). That’s pretty crazy to think about considering none of the songs really aired on radio at all.
29 - Punk in Drublic - And then there is NOFX who actually signed Lagwagon to their Fat Wreck Chords label early on and distribute their albums. This album is absolutely a punk classic, and with songs like “The Brews,” “Don’t Call Me White,” “Leave It Alone” and one of the all-time most heard songs by NOFX “Linoleum.” My favorite song on the album is the stripped back final song “Scavenger Type” which is a pretty sad song about a homeless musician who dies while playing a brilliant song without anyone around to care. This album is likely going to be considered the greatest punk album of all time by many, many fans and critics.
28 - AM - The Arctic Monkeys went from British Pub Rockers to International Superstar Rockers with the release of this album. The lead song and acclaimed single “Do I Wanna Know?” become a rock anthem almost as soon as it was released and appeared in commercials and soundtracks. Other songs like “R U Mine?” and “No. 1 Party Anthem” showed just how versatile Arctic Monkeys became on this album. It was a huge leap in production and sound for the band, in my opinion. The whole album is good, and there are still a lot of songs that harken the sound the band had grown over the years, but each one has a new added bravado to them. “Knee Socks” and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” are also great songs on the album.
27 - The Ugly Organ - This Cursive album is definitely one of the most revered indie-rock albums of the last 30 years (basically since indie-rock became a thing). It is an utter masterpiece. Songs like “Art Is Hard” and “The Recluse” are some of the most well-known songs by Cursive fans. The song “Staying Alive” is one of the most common songs that Cursive closes their shows with, and is a hugely popular epic song that can tear at your soul. This album came out in 2003, but it feels as fresh and ready for new listeners as the day it came out. The musicianship and lyrical content is top notch.
26 - Let’s Talk About Feelings - Lagwagon has appeared again on the top 100, and this is the last entry on the list for them, but it has been an epic one. In hindsight, I could have easily put their albums Resolve or Railer in the mix as well. This album might not be considered the most revered of the catalog, but it is probably the tightest and most popular album that Lagwagon ever produced. The song “May 16” is still probably the most well-known Lagwagon song of all time, and it is an insanely technical song for a quick, pop-punk tune. Every song on this album is a lot of fun and a rocking tune. My personal favorites are “The Kids Are All Wrong” and my single favorite Lagwagon song “Messengers.” That song is seriously rad.
25 - Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness - Coheed and Cambria never offer bad albums. Sometimes they just don’t hit as well as others, but they are still pretty damn good. This one, however, is an absolute perfect album of face-melting guitars and drums that will make you feel like you are not worthy to live on the same planet as a band this talented. The storyline of the Amory Wars (the comics that the music is based on) is a bit complex and back and forth on this one, but the songs are just 100% incredible rock songs. “Welcome Home” which is the biggest hit that C&C ever made is on this album, and the best song they ever made “The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut” is the final song on the album. There are VERY few songs in the history of rock music that are better than that song. VERY few. It has to be a top 10 (if not top 5) song of all time, in my opinion.
24 - OK Go - A total 180 from #25 on the list, but OK Go’s debut album still holds up as one of the best rock albums of all time. From the first song “Get Over It” to the last song “Bye Bye Baby” it is a rocking rollercoaster ride that always gets me in a good mood and has me singing and bopping my head to every single song. “Return” is one of my favorite OK Go songs ever, and “You’re So Damn Hot” is another great one off the album. Also, for some reason, I get the song “Hello, My Treacherous Friends” stuck in my head a lot. This is one of those albums that is truly infectious…much like all of OK Go’s music.
23 - The Return of the Rentals - If you don’t know who The Rentals are, then you have seriously missed out on one of the greatest albums ever made. Matt Sharp (the founding bassist of Weezer) put out a side project that became his full time thing with this album. He left Weezer to pursue The Rentals endeavors, and while I wish he didn’t, he still put together a masterful album with the help of the rest of the band at the time (including Weezer’s drummer Pat Wilson). The songs flow so perfectly together from one to the next that you feel like you just listened to one of the best things ever heard by human ears by the end of the album..and, in fact, you have. I have listened to this album roughly 1000 times or more. “Sweetness and Tenderness,” “The Love I’m Searching For,” and “Waiting” are some of my favorite tracks. “Friends of P.” was the lead single and how I even heard of the band as the video premiered on MTV when I was in high school.
22 - Censored Colors - Portugal. The Man pumped out some really incredible albums even before they ever got major label distribution. This one was a performance like no other though. Songs on Censored Colors are defined by a more traditional rock sound filled with ambient noise and probably the most clear vocals of any album that PTM has ever put out. Singer John Gourley seemed to be putting his heart on his sleeve in many of these songs, and while that wasn’t uncommon for him at this time, the vocals usually were mixed with effects or heavily put into a falsetto to avoid really being clear. This album is laid bare for everyone to hear every word. Not one bad song on here at all. “1989” is probably the song I go to the most, but damn if this album should just be listened to straight through and no other way. It’s not a single-heavy album. Get stuck in. Listen. Evolve your musical tastes.
21 - OK Computer - This is a no-brainer. Anyone who doesn’t have at least one Radiohead album on their top 100 is a bonehead. And yeah, I have a lot of great bands missing from my list, because I am also a bonehead. But there was no way in hell I was going to leave out one of the most monumental albums of my lifetime. This album is one of the most creepy, unnerving popular rock albums of all time. It’s not something you can really put your finger on, but I still believe that Thom Yorke has figured out a way to use his voice and write lyrics that make a seemingly radio-friendly song become a macabre stroke of genius. “Karma Police” might still be one of the top 2 or 3 songs Radiohead has ever released, and “Paranoid Android” is a killer song too. This album featured the first “non-human voice” that I ever remember as they used a talking text program for the song “Fitter Happier.”
Then there are the two saddest songs you may ever hear in “Exit Music (For a Film)” and “No Surprises” which is incredibly unsettling. If you feel something weird when listening to this album, then you know this is an artistic piece of history just like I do.
If you haven't checked out the rest of the list to this point, go to these links: