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Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums

Chosen by members of the Apple Music teams and a panel of experts (including Pharrell & Charli XCX), this is their list of the 100 Best Albums of all time (see also a text listing on Wikipedia). It’s an interesting list, worthy of argument and comparison to Rolling Stone’s list. Here’s the top 10:

1. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill
2. Thriller by Michael Jackson
3. Abbey Road by The Beatles
4. Purple Rain by Prince & The Revolution
5. Blonde by Frank Ocean
6. Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder
7. Good Kid, M.A.A.D City by Kendrick Lamar
8. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse
9. Nevermind by Nirvana
10. Lemonade by Beyoncé

You can stream all 100 albums on Apple Music and (unofficially, cheekily) on Spotify.

Discussion  13 comments

Carleton A

A helpful companion might also be this recent visual deep dive by The Pudding into two different iterations of Rolling Stone's list, which really made me reconsider how to interpret these types of lists.

Andrew C.

I loved that analysis. So well done.

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Peter Dean

Apple's list seems to be so diverse that it just doesn't feel right to anyone. It used to be possible to create lists of the 'best albums of all time' back when there was a sense of shared culture and fewer years of pop music to consider. But genres have sub-divided so many times now, that there is an almost infinite number of simultaneous cultures coexisting. Trying to tie that all together in any one meaningful list feels increasingly pointless.

Andrew C.

Imo the benefit I get from these things isn't to codify a "correct" list, or to go "ah, I am validated bc I agree with this list." It's to find new music that I haven't tried yet from a group of enthusiasts who are willing to say "look, if I had to choose just a top few, these 10 albums are frankly incredible." Pitchfork reviewers routinely love a lot of music that doesn't do it for me! But I've gotten a lot of favorite finds from their lists.

Ben Kelley

I think I've listened to every record on this list, so not feeling any discovery here.

Plenty of them I'd never listen to again... like really no way never!

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Micheal Beatty

Whenever I see one of these "best of all time" lists, the first thing I ask is - "based on what criteria?" Obviously, there was no criteria other than personal biases amongst the "judges" and the real intention was merely to get people to talk about and engage with Apple Music (a success it seems)

Andrew C.

As always there's room to debate, but it's nice to see a list that doesn't feel like it was last updated *half a century ago*. All of these albums qualify for this type of consideration - culturally dominant in some way for some amount of time, and still make for incredible listening. A frustrating quality in rock and guitar-type music/culture, imo, is just how pegged everything is to the past. An update and expansion of "best music ever" is absolutely welcome.

Dave Sandell

This is essentially how I felt looking at it. Lots to quibble with, but in the aggregate there's more positive than negative. It's not as haughty as a Pitchfork list, not as stuck in time as a Rolling Stone list.

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The host sure does love talking over the one woman panelist.

Ben Kelley

Wouldn’t it be great to see a top 100 (or 500) albums list chosen only by female artists?

I nominate Diana Ross, Bjork, Belinda Carlisle, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift. Now that would be a list worth poring over.

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So when you get to a list like this, what's the one album you search for to get a sense of it all?

For me it's Tapestry. Or Legend (Bob Marley), but that one didn't make the cut. They probably didn't like compilations, I guess.

Colter Mccorkindale

Even Lauryn Hill was like, "uh, thanks, y'all." The list is definitely specific to their panel of "experts." Also, as much as I like TMOLH, it's a record people vote for to pretend they're in the know and cool. But it had one top-10 single, while Prince and MJ had MULTIPLES on theirs. Why do we even rank these things? Just make a bulleted list.

Jim Renaud

Best of lists are fun, I guess. I much prefer reading about people's favorite things. It shows more about someone's personality if they can drop the facade of trying to quantify best.

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