What’s up! So yesterday was the first ever National Album Day. It was set up to celebrate 70 years since the first ever albums were pressed (or something like that). With music being such a huge part of my life, I don’t think I’ve ever set out a definitive list of my all-time favourite albums. I decided to finally sit down and have a think about it. It was so hard to keep this list at 5, I easily could have made a list of 50. I laid down a ground rule that my list can only have one album per artist, otherwise, I could probably fill this with like 2 artists. With that being said, here are my all time top 5 albums.
#5: Legend – Bob Marley & The Wailers
This is my go to feel good album. For me, this album represents chilling the fuck out and just vibing to the music. It’s the album that started my record collection, I’ve had many a hungover Sunday with this on repeat through my big speakers. I had originally planned to exclude compilation or greatest hits albums from the list but this one was just too good to leave out. It has all the classic Marley songs, it’s flawless.
#4: Sam’s Town – The Killers
It was tough to choose between this album and The Killers’ first album, Hot Fuss. Sam’s Town holds so much sentimental value to me so I had to go with it. It’s an album that you’d rarely see in lists of all-time classics but there’s something about it that makes me constantly go back and revisit. It came out when I was 11 and I played it at least twice daily for the first few months I had it.
While this album gave us classics such as ‘When You Were Young’ and ‘Why Do I Keep Counting’, it’s title track ‘Sam’s Town’ is one of my all-time favourite songs (I’ll probably do a separate list with those in the future).
I picked up the 10th anniversary vinyl of this album last year and it’s one of the prized pieces of my collection. When I saw The Killers this Summer, it was my first time seeing them and my only regret was not seeing them closer to the time Sam’s Town was released to hear more of it live!
#3: To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp a Butterfly is an album they need to keep in a museum or something for future generations to listen to. Kendrick Lamar’s politically driven third studio album is a modern classic. Of course, everyone knows ‘King Kunta’ from the album but there’s so much more to it.
Kendrick Lamar is more than just a musician, he’s a storyteller. If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to this album start to finish, do yourself a favour and do it. I feel that this is the album that Kendrick really found his feet in the music world. While his previous album Good Kid Maad City was a hit, this is where he REALLY announced himself on the world stage.
#2: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
This honestly could have been one of a few Kanye albums. Almost every single one of his records has been my favourite at a point in time. I often bounce from one to the other on which is my favourite. While Kanye has questionable political views and life views in general, you can’t deny that he makes amazing music.
I was on the fence between My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation to fill this spot. I decided on MBDTF in the end because while all the other albums are absolute classics, this was when Kanye hit his peak. Coming off the back of so much controversy, Kanye needed to bounce back with something to win the fans back. He went above and beyond and gave us another modern classic.
From the lyricism to the production, this album contains everything right about Kanye West as an artist. There are many themes in the album from romance to money to heartbreak to loneliness. The main theme in the album though, which ties all of the previously mentioned themes together is fame. More-so, the cost of fame.
Kanye went into making this album at a very low point in his life and because of that, the record bleeds emotion. After working so hard to get to where he was while making this album, Kanye questions whether he can handle it all.
The features on this album are insane too, ranging from Jay-Z to Rihanna to Elton John plus so many more. MBDTF also introduced the world to just how good Nicki Minaj is, her verse on ‘Monster’ helped her skyrocket her career.
Another cool thing about this album is that there were multiple covers created for it. Kanye collaborated with artist George Condo on the covers for the album. They met and listened to the album together before Condo went off and made some art based on what he heard. The whole process of creating this album is fascinating.
#1: American Idiot – Green Day
American Idiot. I don’t think I’m ever going to have an album top this one for me personally. It’s a complete masterpiece. This album made me fall in love with music, it’s the first album I ever bought. With American Idiot, Green Day set out to create a rock opera.
It came about after an album they had been previously working on was lost. While it would be cool now to hear the lost album, it being lost at the time was probably the best thing that’s happened to Green Day. That being said, this album shouldn’t have worked. Who wants to hear a rock opera with 9-minute songs? Is anyone interested in an album that tells a story about teen angst for an hour? This should have been a flop.
Thankfully, it was far from a flop. It turned out to be a musical masterpiece. I’ll never forget listening to it as a kid and piecing the story together from the songs. The story follows Jesus of Suburbia, an angsty American teen growing up through the Bush presidency and the Iraq war. It’s politically charged and was a huge F-U to the American government at the time. The title song ‘American Idiot’ and ‘Holiday’ in particular, take aim at the bodies occupying the Oval Office at the time. This could be described as THE album of post 9/11 America.
I listen to this album in its entirety at least once a month, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it. I love every individual song on American Idiot but listening to it as a whole just gives me a different kind of feeling. The two 9-minute songs, ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ and ‘Homecoming’ blew me away the first time I heard them and I still get goosebumps now when I hear them.
Even the album cover, a heart as a hand grenade, is iconic. When you take everything from the story to the music, to the message, to the art. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best albums ever made and why it’s my personal all-time favourite. It’s already been made into a broadway musical and there’s been reports going around about it being made into a movie. This movie needs to actually happen. I also really want to see a follow up album based on the current Trump Presidency!
I got to see Green Day live last year for the first time and I can’t express the joy I felt to hear songs off this album live. I think I’m going to have to write a full post dedicated to this album someday because I could honestly write so much more about why I love it but this post is already getting pretty long.
So there you have it, my personal 5 favourite albums of all time. You have no idea how tough it was to pick some of these. What are your all-time favourites? Let me know over on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram!
As always, thank you for reading and supporting – I seriously appreciate you all!
Until Next Time,