Monday Music List - EW's 100 best albums of the last 25 years

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Entertainment Weekly has recently come out with its list of 1000 best of the last 25 years (1983-2008). Basically it’s a list of the top 100 music, movies, TV shows, books, etc over the last 25 years. Of course the top 100 albums is a just a mess. Now I understand the reason for these lists: they generate discussion. And by being controversial, the list is discussed, linked to, and argued over. If EW’s list made any sense, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it. Furthermore, I understand that EW has to have a much broader range of musical types than what interests me.

But given those caveats, come on EW, your list is just mind blowingly bad. For instance there is no Nirvana Nevermind on the list. Let me repeat, Nevermind wasn’t even considered the 100th best album of the last 25 years. The album that basically ended the popularity of hair metal bands, the album that practically generated a new genre of popular music, that created a whole new way of dressing. An album that doesn’t have a bad track on the and a few classics that will be played 50 years from now.

But it’s not just a lack of Nevermind that makes the list suspect. How about the fact that Radiohead’s OK Computer is listed at #62 while Sheryl Crow’s debut is listed at #39? Achtung Baby listed at #3 but Joshua Tree at #63? In Rainbows at #10? Mariah Carey at #21 while Replacements Let It Be at #89 (I guess we should be thankful EW even know it exits!)

According to EW, 2007 was a banner year for popular music as five albums from that year were the best of the last 25 years. The early 1990s (1990-1993) had some of the driest years (which again makes the case for Nevermind). For what it’s worth I have 29 of the albums on my I-Pod. Plus I think a couple more are bouncing around our house on other I-Pod’s. Below is the top 20 but check out the entire list here. What do you think of the list?

1. Purple Rain Prince and the Revolution (1984)
2. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill (1998)
3. Achtung Baby U2 (1991)
4. The College Dropout Kanye West (2004)
5. Madonna Madonna (1983)
6. American Idiot Green Day (2004)
7. The Blueprint Jay-Z (2001)
8. Graceland Paul Simon (1986)
9. Back to Black Amy Winehouse (2007)
10. In Rainbows Radiohead (2007)
11. MTV Unplugged in New York Nirvana (1994)
12. Stankonia OutKast (2000)
13. You Are Free Cat Power (2003)
14. Disintegration The Cure (1989)
15. The Marshall Mathers LP Eminem (2000)
16. Rain Dogs Tom Waits (1985)
17. Odelay Beck (1996)
18. People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm A Tribe Called Quest (1990)
19. Dangerously in Love Beyoncé (2003)
20. Tidal Fiona Apple (1996)

13 Comments

Ah, these lists are always silly. Music is personal, so trying to please everyone with one of these is impossible.

Plus no Mekons, Yo La Tengo, or Magnetic Fields? But Mariah Carey makes the list?

I hear you George. Now I get that that Lauryn Hill album is pretty good, but #2 good? I'm not sure, but even though it's not my cup of java I get that it should probably be listed in the top 10.

Also missing: Zen Arcade by Husker Du, and Bandwagonesqe by Teenage Fanclub,

I also forgot to point out that to have "Graceland" on the list and leave off "The Indestructible Beat of Soweto" shows both bad taste and politics.

I don't agree with a lot of things on that list. Green Day a better band than The Police or Coldplay?? Mmmm no. Also, I think Nine Inch Nails is top 25.
Madonna's music videos were the bomb, but her music, not so much. Top 100, not top 10.
I would also put U2 and Nirvana ahead of Prince, but that's just me.

I think Purple Rain is right where it deserves to be, but no Nevermind is completely absurd.

Glad to see the props for The Cure, as well as the overall love for hip hop in the Top 100.

I am particularly bothered by Amy Winehouse's "Back in Black" and Radiohead's "In Rainbows"in the top 10. Don't get me wrong, they are good albums, but I think they need to prove their longevity a little more before they reach classic status.

I hear you Shane. Methinks that Amy Winehouse album will be looked upon in the future as a cute nostalgilistic curiosity and not a great album.

Oh btw, again regarding the lack of Nevermind... Hole's Live Through this is rated 98th (I think, or 99th). If it wasn't for Nevermind, no one would have cared about or listend to Live Through This.

Yeah, Yo La Tengo's I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One and Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs are much more worthy than Ms. Spears' Britney and Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds. And why is Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway on the list at #29 while Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville is all the way down at #47? Yeah, that list sucks in more ways than you can imagine. Others that are missing: R.E.M.'s Automatic For the People, Beck's Sea Change, XTC's Skylarking, Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, The Pixies' Doolittle, Air's Moon Safari, and Milla Jovovich's The Divine Comedy. (Well, that last one's a classic as far as I'm concerned.)

Chapman, nice catch on Kelly Clarkson, I forgot to mention that one. The rest of your selections are top notch and should have been included. In fact I am listening to Skylarking right now!

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