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My Top 20 Essential Albums (Pt. 2)

Part Two: 21 to 40

By Annie KapurPublished 5 years ago 12 min read
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This is the second part to my top 20 essential albums and I'm making this because I really just couldn't fit all my favourites into the first part. If you haven't read Part One, then you can read it here. It may help when it comes to understanding this second part.

I love music and if you know me then you probably know how much range my music taste has—I like quite a range of different types of music. These lists are not really based much off personal taste, though they must subconsciously be, since I'm the one who made the list. However, this list is based off how well I think the albums have been put together and how good the album is overall.

So now, we're going to get into the list. I'll be sharing my favourite song from the album, as well and a link to Spotify in order for you to listen to the album. Oh, and just like the first part, this will count back from 40 to 21.

40. 'Rhythm Nation 1814' by Janet Jackson

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Commonly referred to as Rhythm Nation, Janet Jackson's New Jack Swing album paved the way for social activism in new music. The themes of this album are strong and powerful and deal with social issues involving people of colour including racism, poverty, violence, etc. This album has since become one of Janet Jackson's most well-known albums and has become influential in the world of music. Released in 1989, it won Janet Jackson the MTV Vanguard Award and one could even say that her brother may have taken some inspiration from this album when writing his own—Dangerous by Michael Jackson. I am absolutely sure that you will enjoy this album.

My favourite song on the album: "State of the World"

39. 'Appetite for Destruction' by Guns N' Roses

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the July of 1987, this album not only went on to be the band's most well-known album, but it also went on to be one of the best selling albums of all time. With unforgettable songs and an incredible talent of songwriting, this album made rock relevant after the progressive rock period of the 70s and early 80s. In 1989, Rolling Stone Magazine rated this album as the 27th Best Album of the 1980s, and in 2012, it was rated as the 62nd greatest album of all time.

My favourite song on the album: "Paradise City"

38. 'Blonde on Blonde' by Bob Dylan

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the summer of 1966, Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde is, to this day, considered his magnum opus. Most critics state that Blonde on Blonde is one of the greatest albums of all time and, because of its incredible songwriting—they cite it as one of Bob Dylan's greatest efforts. The Rolling Stone Magazine album guide gave this album five stars and it has been well received ever since its release. This includes the Magazine NME placing it at the second greatest album of all time, it was also put on TIME Magazine's Top 100 Albums of All Time, the songs Visions of Johanna and Just Like A Woman were featured on Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 Songs of All Time, and finally, the album was ranked number nine on the magazine's 500 greatest albums.

My favourite song from the album: "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands"

37. 'Abbey Road' by The Beatles

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the autumn of 1969, this album is considered to be one of The Beatles' best recording efforts and one of the greatest albums ever recorded. It was included in TIME Magazines 100 Greatest Albums of All Time and the readers' poll of Rolling Stone Magazine named Abbey Road as the greatest album by The Beatles. Since then, Rolling Stone Magazine have ranked Abbey Road at number 19 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and it is also included in the "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" book. The legacy of this album is pretty hard to beat in music as we all know that the album cover is one of the most imitated images in pop culture history.

My favourite song from the album: "Come Together"

36. 'Love And Theft' by Bob Dylan

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the autumn of 2001, this is Bob Dylan returning to form once again with an album considered to be one of his best outputs since Oh Mercy and Time Out of Mind. Q Magazine listed "Love And Theft" as one of the greatest albums of 2001 and in 2012, it was ranked on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of 500 greatest album at number 385. Newsweek stated that the album was the second greatest album of its decade whilst Glide Magazine said it was in fact, the greatest album of the decade. The cultural importance of this album is unrivalled by most albums in 2001 with it even winning the Grammy for the best folk album and being nominated for Album of the Year. My personal favourite song of all time is also featured on this album.

My favourite song on the album (and my favourite song of all time): "Mississippi"

35. 'Hunky Dory' by David Bowie

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in 1971, this is considered to be one of David Bowie's greatest albums. Critics absolutely loved it when it came out with Q Magazine rating it at number 43 on their list of the greatest albums of all time and placing it at number 16 on the greatest British albums ever. In Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 Albums of all time, it is currently ranked at number 107 and VH1 placed it at number 47 with Virgin's Top 1000 Albums placing it at number 16. It was 80th on Pitchfork Media's Top 100 Albums of the 1970s and is currently one of TIME Magazine's 100 greatest albums of all time.

My favourite song on the album: "Song for Bob Dylan"

34. 'The Dark Side of the Moon' by Pink Floyd

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

From its release in the Spring of 1973, Dark Side of the Moon has become an icon of rock history. In 1987, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it as one of the greatest albums of the last 20 years and later they put it at number 43 on their Top 500 Greatest Albums of all time. NME Magazine put it in the top ten of their Greatest Albums of All Time Poll in 2006. Planet Rock's Reader's Poll voted it the greatest album of all time and it has been entered in the Recording Registry as being culturally important and relevant in music history. It has been on a number of other lists, often cited as one of the greatest albums ever recorded.

My favourite song on the album: "Money"

33. 'Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band' by The Beatles

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the late Spring of 1967, Sgt. Pepper is one of The Beatles' most beloved albums, often being cited as one of the greatest albums ever made—it has a number of accolades, hits and amazingly memorable tunes. It is clear to say that this album changed music history forever and solidified The Beatles' place in music history. It has since been entered into the Library of Congress Recording Register as being culturally significant to music and it is listed on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of Top 500 Albums of all time at number one. In the Encyclopedia of British Literature, it has also been listed as the most important album ever made.

My favourite song on the album: "With a Little Help From My Friends"

32. '1999' by Prince

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the October of 1982, this album is one of the greatest funk albums I have personally ever heard. It is often cited as Prince's most influential album as it sparked the 80s funk regime and it is ranked at number 163 on Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 Albums of all time list. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008 and was a part of Slant Magazine's Top 50 Essential Pop Albums. Needless to say, there are many more pieces of the legacy to this album but, there is no doubt that this album continues to influence artists today. It is brilliant after all.

My favourite song on the album: "Little Red Corvette"

31. 'Exodus' by Bob Marley and the Wailers

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

The album was released in 1977 and has since become one of the most respected albums by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It followed an assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976 and stands as a fusion of reggae, funk and 70s R&B. In 1999, TIME Magazine named "Exodus" the greatest album of the 20th Century and it has since been listed at number 169 on Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 Albums of all time. In 2001, VH1 named "Exodus" the 26th greatest album of all time and it continues to sell very well today.

My favourite song on the album: "One Love/People Get Ready"

30. 'Out of Our Heads' by The Rolling Stones

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

There is no doubt about this album being on this list because not only is it considered one of the greatest Rolling Stones albums, but it's also considered to be one of the greatest rock albums ever recorded. Released in 1965, this album contains some pretty classic Rolling Stones songs. It has since been listed as number 116 on Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 albums of all time. This album is actually my personal favourite Rolling Stones album ever as well and even though I may not listen to them all the time, there are many great classics on the album that are very much enjoyable. You all know what my favourite song is going to be...

My favourite song on the album: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

29. 'Elvis Presley' by Elvis Presley

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in 1956, it was the first rock and roll album to make it to the top of the charts and has sold millions since its release. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it at number 56 on its Top 500 greatest albums of all time. It has also been ranked in the "1001 albums to hear to before you die" and AllMusic gave it five stars. Rolling Stone Magazine's Album Guide also gave it five stars and, seeing as it's also a personal addition to the list I would say it is one of the greatest albums ever recorded for Elvis's incredible vocal ability at such a young age.

My favourite song on the album: "Tutti Frutti"

28. 'Bat Out of Hell' by Meat Loaf

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Possibly one of the greatest rock albums ever (and one of the most respected in my own household), this is definitely both a personal and impersonal addition because of its standing in the rock world. The album was first released in 1977 and has since become one of the most influential albums ever. It is currently one of best selling albums of all time and is ranked on Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 greatest albums of all time at number 343. The album has received many mentions on the greatest of all time lists of various magazines and has also been featured in the book of "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die."

27. 'Bringing It All Back Home' by Bob Dylan

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the March of 1965, Bringing It all Back Home is one of Bob Dylan's "Holy Trinity" Albums (Bringing It all Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde), and has since been revered as one of the first albums where we hear "electric Dylan" and has been praised by critics as being one of his greatest albums. It is currently ranked on Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 albums of all time at number 31 and has also been called one of the most influential rock albums of all time by numerous sources. It has also been featured in the book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die." Oh, and I may add that this is definitely a personal addition as well—being one of the best Dylan albums out there.

My favourite song on the album: "Outlaw Blues"

26. 'Desire' by Bob Dylan

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the early days of 1976, this Mexican-Inspired album by Bob Dylan was marking the wake of the Rolling Thunder Revue—featuring the same vocalists such as: Emmylou Harris, Scarlet Rivera and many, many more. It was one of Bob Dylan's best-selling studio albums and has since gained critical acclaim after the overturned conviction of Rubin Carter. It has also been ranked at number 174 on Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 albums of all time. With some very controversial songs and one of Bob Dylan's most excessive collaborative efforts—there is no doubt as to why this album is so respected. (Totally a personal addition to this list!)

My favourite song on the album: "Joey"

25. 'Bad' by Michael Jackson

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released a few days after the King of Pop's birthday in 1987, this album is considered to be one of Michael Jackson's best efforts in the style of funk and soul. It contains a range of song styles including social justice anthems, political statements, personal statements, hard rock anthems, criminally-themed music, and much more. Spike Lee's documentary of Bad 25, released in 2012, explored the album in massive detail. It is not only one of the greatest selling albums of all time, but it is also on Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 greatest albums of all time, ranking in at number 202. And obviously, this is a personal addition because if you did not know—my name is Annie.

My favourite song on the album: "Smooth Criminal"

24. 'Highway 61 Revisited' by Bob Dylan

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the summer of 1965, this album is the second in Bob Dylan's three great albums (I think I once referred to it as the holy trinity). It is ranked at number four on Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 greatest albums of all time and Like a Rolling Stone from the album was ranked in Rolling Stone Magazine as the greatest song of all time. The album has a unique and incredible rock sound, when Dylan is mixing up his music and experimenting with a completely new style. It has been listed in many magazines as if not the greatest, one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Thus, our king invented the genre he is most well-known for: Folk Rock.

My favourite song on the album: "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"

23. 'Nina Simone Sings Billie Holiday' by Nina Simone

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Possibly one of Nina Simone's greatest albums, I have to say she sings Billie Holiday's songs very, very well. Billie Holiday is my favourite female singer of all time and, you might have guessed, this is definitely a personal and sentimental addition to the album. There are certain singers who can sing songs that were once sung by Billie Holiday. One of those people is Nina Simone. Her voice as the High Priestess of Soul, is one of the most powerful voices you'll ever hear. You must listen to her, and definitely start with this album.

My favourite song on the album: "Strange Fruit"

22. 'The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan' by Bob Dylan

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Apart from being featured on the film Vanilla Sky, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is quite possibly one of the greatest folk albums ever recorded. Released a few days after the King of Folk Rock's birthday in 1963, it has since sold millions and been ranked in Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 albums of all time at number 97. It was one of the very first recordings ever chosen for the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry when it opened in 2002 and is respected as being Bob Dylan's magnum opus protest album. It is also featured in the "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" book. As a personal note, this is one of my favourite albums ever—it's so well built and at such as young age, Bob Dylan really does set himself up quite nicely for an unstoppable career.

My favourite song on the album: "Masters of War"

21. 'HIStory' by Michael Jackson

Listen to the album on Spotify here.

Released in the June of 1995, Michael Jackson's most underrated album after Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix is a very controversial album since the King of Pop himself addresses salacious and false claims and accusations made against him. In only a year it was certified six times platinum and has since become one of the best selling albums of all time. It has also since become the greatest selling multiple disc album ever recorded. But what do you expect? He's Michael Jackson.

My favourite song on the album: "D.S"

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About the Creator

Annie Kapur

200K+ Reads on Vocal.

English Lecturer

🎓Literature & Writing (B.A)

🎓Film & Writing (M.A)

🎓Secondary English Education (PgDipEd) (QTS)

📍Birmingham, UK

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