Apple Music: Dive into the 100 Best Albums of All Time

Apple Music: Dive into the 100 Best Albums of All Time
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4 minutes

On May 6, 2024, Apple Music unveiled its first list of the 100 Best Albums of All Time, an initiative that has sparked numerous reactions in the music world. This ranking, developed by a team of experts and renowned artists, highlights a vast range of eras and musical genres. The project was led by Rachel Newman, Senior Director of Content and Editorial, and Zane Lowe, Global Creative Director.

Diversity and Distribution by Era

One of the most remarkable aspects of this list is its balanced distribution of albums across different eras. Contemporary works like Robyn’s “Body Talk” (2010) and Travis Scott’s “ASTROWORLD” (2018) sit alongside timeless classics such as the Eagles’ “Hotel California” (1976) and Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973). This temporal diversity shows Apple Music’s commitment to recognizing the lasting impact of older albums while celebrating modern contributions. Comparatively, Rolling Stone’s ranking, for example, tends to favor albums from previous decades, sometimes lacking recognition for more recent works.

Richness of Musical Genres

Apple Music’s list also stands out for its diversity of genres. From rock to rap, pop, and electro, this selection offers a panoramic view of music. It features iconic albums like AC/DC’s “Back in Black” (1980), Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP” (2000), and Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” (2016). In comparison, rankings like the Billboard 200 focus more on commercial popularity and sales, which can limit the diversity of represented genres. Apple Music’s list reflects an appreciation for cultural influence and artistic innovation beyond mere sales figures.

Artist Involvement

The direct involvement of artists and industry professionals in the selection process brings a unique dimension to this list. Figures like Maren Morris, Pharrell Williams, and J Balvin contributed to the curation of this list, ensuring a varied and expert perspective. This collaborative approach contrasts with the more traditional methods of other rankings, where choices may be dominated by commercial criteria or narrower panels.

Geographical Inequality

However, despite its many merits, Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums list presents some geographical inequality. The majority of selected albums come from the United States and Europe, leaving little room for significant contributions from other regions of the world, such as Africa, Latin America, and Asia. For example, no African album appears in the top 100, highlighting a significant gap. This criticism is not unique to Apple Music; it also applies to other influential rankings like Pitchfork’s.

Other Rankings

Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums list is not the only existing ranking. There are several other renowned rankings offering varied perspectives on the best albums of all time.

Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” is created by a panel of musicians, critics, and industry figures, emphasizing the cultural impact and historical importance of albums. For example, the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” often ranks highly.

  • NME’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” is based on votes from NME editors and contributors, particularly focusing on influential rock and pop albums like The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead.”
  • Pitchfork’s “Top 100 Albums of the 2010s” evaluates the best albums of the decade, concentrating on musical innovation and cultural influence. A notable example is Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
  • BBC’s “100 Greatest Albums of All Time” combines public votes with expert opinions from BBC music critics, reflecting both public preferences and professional critiques. Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” often ranks among the top positions.

Apple Music’s list of the 100 Best Albums is a vibrant celebration of musical diversity and evolution. It offers a rich mosaic of genres and eras while directly involving artists in the selection process. However, better geographical inclusion could further enrich this already impressive initiative. Ultimately, this list stimulates debate and encourages a deeper appreciation of music worldwide. It’s also an ideal opportunity to revisit well-known albums and embark on a musical discovery journey with those you haven’t encountered yet.

  • 100 Body Talk - Robyn (2010)
  • 99 Hotel California - Eagles (1976)
  • 98 ASTROWORLD - Travis Scott (2018)
  • 97 Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine (1992)
  • 96 Pure Heroine - Lorde (2013)
  • 95 Confessions - USHER (2004)
  • 94 Untrue - Burial (2007)
  • 93 A Seat at the Table - Solange (2016)
  • 92 Flower Boy - Tyler, The Creator (2017)
  • 91 Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 - George Michael (1990)
  • 90 Back in Black - AC/DC (1980)
  • 89 The Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) - Lady Gaga (2009)
  • 88 I Put a Spell on You - Nina Simone (1965)
  • 87 Blue Lines - Massive Attack (1991)
  • 86 My Life - Mary J. Blige (1994)
  • 85 Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves (2018)
  • 84 Doggystyle - Snoop Dogg (1993)
  • 83 Horses - Patti Smith (1975)
  • 82 Get Rich or Die Tryin' - 50 Cent (2003)
  • 81 After the Gold Rush - Neil Young (1970)
  • 80 The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem (2000)
  • 79 Norman F*****g Rockwell! - Lana Del Rey (2019)
  • 78 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John (1973)
  • 77 Like a Prayer - Madonna (1989)
  • 76 Un Verano Sin Ti - Bad Bunny (2022)
  • 75 Supa Dupa Fly - Missy Elliott (1997)
  • 74 The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails (1994)
  • 73 Aja - Steely Dan (1977)
  • 72 SOS - SZA (2022)
  • 71 Trans-Europe Express - Kraftwerk (1977)
  • 70 Straight Outta Compton - N.W.A (1988)
  • 69 Master of Puppets - Metallica (1986)
  • 68 Is This It - The Strokes (2001)
  • 67 Dummy - Portishead (1994)
  • 66 The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths (1986)
  • 65 3 Feet High and Rising - De La Soul (1989)
  • 64 Baduizm - Erykah Badu (1997)
  • 63 Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)
  • 62 All Eyez on Me - 2Pac (1996)
  • 61 Love Deluxe - Sade (1992)
  • 60 The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
  • 59 AM - Arctic Monkeys (2013)
  • 58 (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis (1995)
  • 57 Voodoo - D'Angelo (2000)
  • 56 Disintegration - The Cure (1989)
  • 55 ANTI - Rihanna (2016)
  • 54 A Love Supreme - John Coltrane (1965)
  • 53 Exile on Main St. - The Rolling Stones (1972)
  • 52 Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses (1987)
  • 51 Sign O’ the Times - Prince (1987)
  • 50 Hounds of Love - Kate Bush (1985)
  • 49 The Joshua Tree - U2 (1987)
  • 48 Paul’s Boutique - Beastie Boys (1989)
  • 47 Take Care - Drake (2011)
  • 46 Exodus - Bob Marley & The Wailers (1977)
  • 45 Homogenic - Björk (1997)
  • 44 Innervisions - Stevie Wonder (1973)
  • 43 Remain in Light - Talking Heads (1980)
  • 42 Control - Janet Jackson (1986)
  • 41 Aquemini - Outkast (1998)
  • 40 I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You - Aretha Franklin (1967)
  • 39 Illmatic - Nas (1994)
  • 38 Tapestry - Carole King (1971)
  • 37 Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) - Wu-Tang Clan (1993)
  • 36 BEYONCÉ - Beyoncé (2013)
  • 35 London Calling - The Clash (1979)
  • 34 It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy (1988)
  • 33 Kid A - Radiohead (2000)
  • 32 Ready to Die - The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)
  • 31 Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette (1995)
  • 30 WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? - Billie Eilish (2019)
  • 29 The Low End Theory - A Tribe Called Quest (1991)
  • 28 The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd (1973)
  • 27 Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin (1969)
  • 26 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West (2010)
  • 25 Kind of Blue - Miles Davis (1959)
  • 24 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars - David Bowie (1972)
  • 23 Discovery - Daft Punk (2001)
  • 22 Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen (1975)
  • 21 Revolver - The Beatles (1966)
  • 20 Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys (1966)
  • 19 The Chronic - Dr. Dre (1992)
  • 18 1989 (Taylor’s Version) - Taylor Swift (2021)
  • 17 What’s Going On - Marvin Gaye (1971)
  • 16 Blue - Joni Mitchell (1971)
  • 15 21 - Adele (2011)
  • 14 Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan (1965)
  • 13 The Blueprint - JAY-Z (2001)
  • 12 OK Computer - Radiohead (1997)
  • 11 Rumours - Fleetwood Mac (1977)
  • 10 Lemonade - Beyoncé (2016)
  • 9 Nevermind - Nirvana (1991)
  • 8 Back to Black - Amy Winehouse (2006)
  • 7 good kid, m.A.A.d city (Deluxe Version) - Kendrick Lamar (2012)
  • 6 Songs in the Key of Life - Stevie Wonder (1976)
  • 5 Blonde - Frank Ocean (2016)
  • 4 Purple Rain - Prince & The Revolution (1984)
  • 3 Abbey Road - The Beatles (1969)
  • 2 Thriller - Michael Jackson (1982)
  • 1 The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - Lauryn Hill (1998)
Authored by
Simon Adjatan

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