Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time [2020]

Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time [2020]

Original Source →

50.

Jay-Z - The Blueprint
September 11, 2001
Critic Score
81
8 reviews

Though he's a sharp, detailed writer, a meticulous craftsman and an influential stylist ... Jay-Z is not extremely expressive or innovative, and The Blueprint threatens at times to slide into monotony.

49.

OutKast - Aquemini
September 29, 1998
Critic Score
94
6 reviews

Sporting plenty of live chops (check the Felastyle horns of "Spottie Ottie Dopalicious") and soulful harmonies, Aquemini's fresh, original feel defies rap's coastal clichés.

48.

Bob Marley & The Wailers - Legend
May 8, 1984
Critic Score
100
2 reviews

47.

Ramones - Ramones
April 23, 1976
Critic Score
80
3 reviews

46.

Paul Simon - Graceland
August 12, 1986
Critic Score
100
5 reviews

45.

Prince - Sign
March 31, 1987
Critic Score
100
7 reviews
Both discs are heavy with songs about hot sex ("Slow Love," "Hot Thing"), but those songs are outweighed by the towering ballads about love and commitment. "Adore" remains one of the greatest love songs of all time and continues to make women weak and wet with its opening promise: "Until the end of time, I'll be there for you." Even in a world so hopeless, Prince seems to say, love can conquer all.

44.

Nas - Illmatic
April 19, 1994
Critic Score
92
5 reviews

Illmatic will probably be Broadway's album of the year, not for the real life behind its dedication to 13 dead homies but for the work on the CD.

43.

A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
September 24, 1991
Critic Score
92
3 reviews

42.

Radiohead - OK Computer
May 21, 1997
Critic Score
94
10 reviews

At a time when they could have played it safe, selling their psychedelic souls for more radio-friendly rock & roll, Radio-head have released a concept album whose theme ... unfolds gradually during the course of the album's 12 songs.

41.

The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
December 5, 1969
Critic Score
100
2 reviews

On Let It Bleed, the Stones face up to the end of the Sixties, starting with the dread guitar rumble of "Gimme Shelter."

40.

David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
June 16, 1972
Critic Score
100
6 reviews
The important thing is that despite the formidable nature of the undertaking, he hasn't sacrificed a bit of entertainment value for the sake of message.

39.

Talking Heads - Remain in Light
October 8, 1980
Critic Score
98
8 reviews
The Heads had already mastered minimalist funk, but here they built jams around thick, slurred rhythms, with additional musical contributions from producer Brian Eno.

38.

Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde
May 16, 1966
Critic Score
100
3 reviews

Blonde on Blonde, released just 15 months after Bringing It All Back Home climaxed the amphetamine rush of Dylan´s mid-´60s glory. Wirede, fried, the ghost of electricity howling in the bones of his face, Dylan was caught in the most intense burst of creativity any rock & roller has ever had.

37.

Dr. Dre - The Chronic
December 15, 1992
Critic Score
95
4 reviews

Throughout, The Chronic drops raw realism and pays tribute to hip-hop virtuosity.

36.

Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
August 10, 1979
Critic Score
98
4 reviews

35.

The Beatles - Rubber Soul
December 3, 1965
Critic Score
100
4 reviews
On Rubber Soul, the Beatles grew up with an album of bittersweet romance, singing adult love ballads that feel worldly but not jaded.

34.

Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
August 3, 1973
Critic Score
98
5 reviews

33.

Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
October 27, 2006
Critic Score
81
20 reviews
The tunes don't always hold up. But the best ones are impossible to dislike.

32.

Beyoncé - Lemonade
April 23, 2016
Critic Score
90
38 reviews

Lemonade is an entire album of emotional discord and marital meltdown, from the world's most famous celebrity; it's also a major personal statement from the most respected and creative artist in the pop game.

31.

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
August 17, 1959
Critic Score
100
3 reviews

30.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced
May 12, 1967
Critic Score
100
2 reviews

29.

The Beatles - The Beatles
November 22, 1968
Critic Score
97
6 reviews

28.

D'Angelo - Voodoo
January 25, 2000
Critic Score
84
5 reviews

The problem is, Voodoo sounds so loose and unfinished, it floats right off into the clouds.

27.

Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
November 9, 1993
Critic Score
96
5 reviews

26.

Patti Smith - Horses
December 13, 1975
Critic Score
98
5 reviews

25.

Carole King - Tapestry
February 10, 1971
Critic Score
98
5 reviews
It is an album of surpassing personal-intimacy and musical accomplishment and a work infused with a sense of artistic purpose. It is also easy to listen to and easy to enjoy.

24.

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
June 1, 1967
Critic Score
100
5 reviews

23.

The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico
March 12, 1967
Critic Score
92
5 reviews

22.

The Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
September 13, 1994
Critic Score
95
4 reviews

Ready to Die is the strongest solo rap debut since Ice Cube's Amerikkka's Most Wanted. From the breathtakingly visual moments of his birth to his Cobainesque end in "Suicidal Thoughts," B.I.G. proves a captivating listen.

21.

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
August 25, 1975
Critic Score
96
4 reviews

20.

Radiohead - Kid A
October 2, 2000
Critic Score
85
13 reviews

This is pop, a music of ornery, glistening guile and honest ache, and it will feel good under your skin once you let it get there.

19.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
March 15, 2015
Critic Score
95
44 reviews

If we're talking insurgent content and currency, Lamar straight up owns rap relevancy on Butterfly, whatever challengers to the throne barely visible in his dusty rear-view.

18.

Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
August 30, 1965
Critic Score
90
4 reviews

17.

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
November 22, 2010
Critic Score
92
42 reviews

It’s his best album, but it’s more than that — it’s also a rock-star manifesto for a downsizing world.

16.

The Clash - London Calling
December 14, 1979
Critic Score
100
5 reviews

London Calling is indeed a serious, ridiculously ambitious punk album that resonates within a largely American history of rebellion.

14.

The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St.
May 12, 1972
Critic Score
96
5 reviews

13.

Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
March 10, 1967
Critic Score
97
3 reviews

12.

Michael Jackson - Thriller
November 30, 1982
Critic Score
92
5 reviews

The fiery conviction of Thriller offers hope that Michael is still a long way away from succumbing to the lures of Vegas. Thriller may not be Michael Jackson's 1999, but it's a gorgeous, snappy step in the right direction.

11.

The Beatles - Revolver
August 5, 1966
Critic Score
100
6 reviews

These days, Revolver has earned its reputation as the best albums the Beatles ever made, which means the best album by anybody.

10.

Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
August 25, 1998
Critic Score
91
10 reviews
Lauryn is the sort of young woman whom the old women smile at lovingly, their eyes saying, "With people like you around, this generation, and your music, might just be all right, after all." Maybe it wasn't a deal with the devil. Maybe it was with an angel.

9.

Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks
January 20, 1975
Critic Score
100
6 reviews

8.

Prince & The Revolution - Purple Rain
June 25, 1984
Critic Score
94
9 reviews

7.

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
February 4, 1977
Critic Score
99
8 reviews

Despite the interminable delay in finishing the record, Rumours proves that the success of Fleetwood Mac was no fluke.

6.

Nirvana - Nevermind
September 24, 1991
Critic Score
89
7 reviews

Too often, underground bands squander their spunk on records they're not ready to make, then burn out their energy and inspiration with uphill touring. Nevermind finds Nirvana at the crossroads — scrappy garageland warriors setting their sights on a land of giants.

5.

The Beatles - Abbey Road
September 26, 1969
Critic Score
100
5 reviews

That the Beatles can unify seemingly countless musical fragments and lyrical doodlings into a uniformly wonderful suite, as they've done on side two, seems potent testimony that no, they've far from lost it, and no, they haven't stopped trying.

4.

Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life
September 28, 1976
Critic Score
99
6 reviews

Wonder is clearly at his peak, effortlessly sustaining the focus required of a double album while also demonstrating an almost frightening capacity for hit singles.

3.

Joni Mitchell - Blue
June 22, 1971
Critic Score
100
4 reviews

2.

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
May 16, 1966
Critic Score
100
5 reviews

1.

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
May 21, 1971
Critic Score
97
6 reviews
Original Source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/best-albums-of-all-time-1062063/
Comments
Sign in to comment
4mo
What's Going On deserved the number 1 spot. If you were 5 years old and below in 1971 you'll never get it. You Generation X babies missed out
4mo
This list is pretty damn horrible. Mariah Carey is on the list? This woman's body of work is forgettable, too many 90s and 00s albums on there that aren't classics
6mo
this is a pretty fine list. there are some weird picks here and there (i do not know why por siempre or beauty behind the madness are on here) but overall i wouldn't complain if someone called most of these albums here some of the best of all time.
7mo
I was never sure about whether or not this was just judging the album’s musical quality or also it’s impact and legacy.. cuz if so what was the beef with sgt pepper? U don’t wanna have it 1 ok… top 5? Ok… but Im so confused how this is done by “experts” and they didn’t even like it as the best Beatles album. That’s the most impactful album at the height of the most influential band ever.. strange to be behind Kanye’s dark fantasy (which I love but sgt pepper? Ehhh).. also they never have love for dark side but its aged better than any album in terms of sales and popularity. Every new generation gets into that one. Other than that I could care less. What’s goin on is goosebumps worthy masterpeice.. happy to see rumours as high as it is
10mo
beyonce and d’angelo at 32. & 28. respectively, but pearl jam ten, one of the most defining albums of the 90s clock in @ 160.? I guess black lives matters LMAO this list is a joke
12mo
There are still so many meaningless shades even after Taylor Swift proves her songwriting skill by releasing highly-complimented folk albums.

People just can’t bear her being successful, and all you have is mean in the end.
1y
keeps moving on
1y
Drake and taylor swift lol.
1y
Shit list like Beyonce on it is fucking terrible and rubber soul should be a top 5 just because of the racism in 2020 they made all the black artists who don't deserve it and I'm talking about Jay Z and Beyonce not gods like James Brown and Hendrix as I love them and they are two of my all time favourite artists especially Hendrix. But this is ridiculous Rolling Stone is Dead
1y
No Marvin Gaye did actually earn #1.It is clear you have no idea how hot that album was and still is. It wasn't just BLM. That album was dam smoking hot. Everyone loved that album and it didn't matter if you were black or white. The reason is it was dam good music. As far as I'm concerned,no one will ever touch that man musical genius.
1y
A joke of a Top 500 really, wasted places with compilations when respective albums that have songs on those same compilations are already listed, little genre diversity (if you looked deeper at all in the last 20 years, there have been way better albums than nearly 30 of the ones you listed on the Top 100...Drake, Kanye...Taylor Swift? Maybe in the 500 - 400, not anywhere near top 100 in the slightest.

No mention of Tool, no mention of Deftones, no mention of Linkin Park (Meteora and Hybrid Theory are undeniable in their legacy and influence as well as how strong they are conceptually.) There's more room for more influential artists on this list with some tidying up. A lot of wasted space here and questionable positions, needs re-ordering
1y
Some great new additions, unexpected "outsiders" (e.g. The Raincoats) and necessary corrections ("Sgt. Pepper" isn't the best album ever), but nobody can deny that this updated list was created because of BLM and the fight for diversity. Way more black artists and women on top positions: I am not against it, but it is so obvious. Rolling Stone tries to be more political and modern, but less baby boomer (so... no Deep Purple). Nevertheless, some decisions are really questionable or downright desperate.
1y
Still no Genesis, no King Crimson, and no Deep Purple, not a single album from these bands, what a joke! freaking ridiculous, as if you leave out Bach, or Mozart from a list of classical music.
2y
Nice fresh-eyed multi-genre take on this type of list -- especially for Rolling Stone. I keep poring of the list of survey participants wondering who voted Alanis Morrisette and Missy Elliot in the top 100 though. I actually have a soft spot for both albums, but hardly deserve rankings so high above other albums.
2y
Also... imagine only having four Latin American artists and none of them being in the rock/jazz/folk/electronic genres. It’s like if y’all thought we only do Despacito music🤡
2y
The order itself is a little wack, but there are very few inclusions I would disagree with. 5/6 perfect adored albums on here
2y
wow, talking about inclusion..
but drake? really?
(seriously though, although there are a lot of controversial spots in this list, there is no denying that the 10s was the most tradition-crushing musical decade ever.. i mean, look at elvis lol)
2y
I shouldn’t be so mad because I know most of these rankings are bullshit, but god oh god why Drake and Taylor Swift in the top 100?
Connect with AOTY
Like Us
Follow Us

AOTY July Playlist
Forums