The Music Fix Top 100 Albums of All Time - The Music Fix 100 Albums of All Time
There are few surprises in the TMF Top 100 Albums list, a list that bears an uncanny resemblance to similar exercises carried out over the past five years or so. Compiled from votes cast by members of sister site The DVD Forums, the results suggest that "Yeah ... we pretty much like the stuff that everyone else likes. Go us!"
Radiohead walk away with top slot. The passing of a decade seemingly failing to blunt the power of "OK Computer", its melding of prog-rock excess and indie sensibility still proving to be an irresistable mix. It's an album that looks both back and forward, uniting floppy-haired indie kids, Bowie fans, Deadheads, freaks and geeks and pretty much anyone who has ever loved that winning blend of the human voice and amplified instrumentation.
This is a trait that many of the Top Ten share: an ability to crossover and reach different demographics whilst defining a moment. "The Stone Roses" combined classic 60s songwriting with a trippier edge that caught the ears of football hoolies, ravers and long-time Byrds listeners alike. Nirvana fans may have sneered at the dated antics of G n' R, but secretly acknowledged both bands' punk/classic rock heritage. Marrying a catchy tune with a kicking riff will still get you a long way in this game.
If, as some argue, the era of the global band is behind us and that no other act will ever quite have the reach of a U2 or REM as the market continues to splinter, Radiohead may be the last of a kind: a band able to balance artistic freedom and integrity with popular appeal on a worldwide scale. The anticipation for - and successful experimental distribution of - "In Rainbows" will be a benchmark against which future efforts are measured.
A truly great album then - and a bunch of artists still pushing at the definition of how a successful band should operate.
This is a poll that suggests that the ownership of music plays a large part of what defines our favourites: the bands we grew up with are the ones we love. Many of the heavyweights fare badly and many influential artists don't even feature at all: no Velvets, Who, Hendrix or Neil Young? And did anyone ever really like "Astral Weeks" in the first place?
As 20 and 30-somethings we can appreciate "Horses" but it will never weasle its way into our affections in the way that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" did the first time we heard it down the student union. This will, of course, change over time and one imagines that future generations may find an act like Rage Against The Machine quaint and very of the time.
Nevertheless, this is a snapshot of the music that still matters to a certain demographic. If we enjoy the Chili Peppers or INXS rather than Can or Marvin Gaye then fair enough. We like what we like, so just let it be.
For a few years anyway, we are the taste makers.
1 Radiohead - OK Computer
2 The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
3 Nirvana - Nevermind
4 Radiohead - The Bends
5 Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon
6 The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
7 R.E.M. - Automatic for the People
8 Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
9 Oasis - Definitely Maybe
10 Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible
Mothers clutch their little children to their bosoms and small empires crumble as Metallica elbow their way past The Fab Four. With three entries in the Top 20, Pink Floyd stake their claim as being one of the most consistent acts of all time.
11 Metallica - Master of Puppets
12 The Beatles - Revolver
13 U2 - Achtung Baby
14 Pink Floyd - The Wall
15 Jeff Buckley - Grace
16 The Beatles - Abbey Road
17 Pixies - Doolittle
18 Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
19 Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
20 U2 - The Joshua Tree
Kim Deal aside, Tori Amos claims the top album by a female artist. Highest 'new entry' goes to Arctic Monkeys. This may inspire some beard-stroking, but then imagine the guffaws that would've greeted the suggestion that Oasis would still be hanging on to a top ten place after 14 years.
21 Queen - A Night at the Opera
22 Depeche Mode - Violator
23 Nirvana - In Utero
24 Pulp - Different Class
25 Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
26 Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
27 The Clash - London Calling
28 Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run
29 Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
30 Radiohead - Kid A
Previously a poll topper, the shine on "Sgt Pepper" began to fade in the mid-80s when CDs allowed listeners to quickly skip over "Within You Without You". We've now realised it wasn't even the best album the band made and hence its slow slip down the polls ever since. Same with "Pet Sounds": when pressed we confirm that we adore its rainbow flavours but in private we actually like Pearl Jam's grunge/classic rock a little bit more. High entries from Air and - a few places higher up - Portishead show the influence of a generation who grew up on electronic music.
31 The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
32 Pixies - Surfer Rosa
33 Metallica - The Black Album
34 Queen - Sheer Heart Attack
35 Paul Simon - Graceland
36 Pearl Jam - TEN
37 Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
38 The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
39 Air - Moon Safari
40 Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
It's time to call in Mulder and Scully when Green Day outperform Husker Du but who decided "American Idiot" was really better than "Dookie" anyway? More Sixties icons flounder as voting suggests we're less fussed about Dylan than our parents (or grandparents!) ever were.
41 Portishead - Dummy
42 Joy Division - Closer
43 Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde
44 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
45 Green Day - American Idiot
46 Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
47 My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
48 Unkle - Do Androids Dream of Electric Beats
49 The Beatles - The Beatles
50 Husker Du - Warehouse Songs & Stories
A pretty eclectic Top 50, with two of Prince's finest rubbing shoulders with experimental works from Iceland and Germany.
51 Talking Heads - Remain In Light
52 Prince - Sign O' The Times
53 Sigur Rós - Ágætis byrjun
54 David Bowie - Low
55 Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II
56 Rammstein - Mutter
57 Iron Maiden - Powerslave
58 Prince - Purple Rain
59 Massive Attack - Mezzanine
60 Talk Talk - Spirit of Eden
In a chart of very few totally left-field entries, The Divine Comedy make an appearance suggesting there's still an audience for literate pop music. The Clash secure another appearance with their punky debut, making the absence of the Sex Pistols from the chart utterly baffling. They may remain one of the biggest live bands on the planet, but when it comes to Mick, Keef and co., maybe we prefer to just throw a "Greatest Hits" onto the I-Pod rather than explore their albums. Pop fact: I have never knowingly heard any early Genesis.
61 Genesis - Duke
62 The Divine Comedy - Promenade
63 The Clash - The Clash
64 Genesis - Selling England By The Pound
65 The Beatles - Rubber Soul
66 David Bowie - Hunky Dory
67 Meatloaf - Bat Out of Hell
68 The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street
69 Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory
70 Love - Forever Changes
Leftfield show up to prove the lasting legacy of the second summer of love but where's "Screamadelica" we ask? Nothing could be more underwhelming than a Verve re-union but "Urban Hymns" is to many people what "Stone Roses" was to their older brother: an album that defined a summer. Proving our readers are quite comfortable with a bit of fey indieism, Belle & Sebastian's sophomore effort stakes a claim as Scotland's greatest album of all time.
71 Leftfield - Leftism
72 The Verve - Urban Hymns
73 AC/DC - Back In Black
74 Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
75 Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks
76 Muse - Origin Of Symmetry
77 Massive Attack - Blue Lines
78 Tears for Fears - Songs From the Big Chair
79 Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
80 The Wedding Present - George Best
As the chart's only compilation album, "Hatful of Hollow" proves the sheer perfection of Morrissey and Marr's early output. As one of only a koala's handful of genuine surprises, goth legends The Sisters of Mercy chicken-dance their way into the 100 - although one wonders if "Walk Away" still gets much of a spin at goth discos. An otherwise classic rock-heavy selection, proving the longevity of much of the genre.
81 Def Leppard - Pyromania
82 The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow
83 The Sisters of Mercy - First And Last And Always
84 David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
85 INXS - Kick
86 Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast
87 AC/DC - Powerage
88 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication
89 Blondie - Parallel Lines
90 Björk - Homogenic
A lot of craft about the final ten, from the AOR of Dire Straits and post-Richey Edwards Manics to the finely honed pop of Crowded House. Good old-fashioned wig-outs come courtesy of the Pumpkins and the Youth.
91 Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms
92 Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
93 Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go
94 Crowded House - Woodface
95 Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
96 Arcade Fire - Funeral
97 R.E.M. - Monster
98 Crowded House - Together Alone
99 Patti Smith - Horses
100 British Sea Power - The Decline of British Sea Power
Thanks to everyone who made the effort to vote. Use the comments section below to discuss the winners and losers and maybe use one of our affiliates to acquaint yourself with a classic album or two you've managed to overlook.
OK Computer at Amazon.co.uk
March 2009 - This feature was originally created for our previous site CD Times and has been slightly re-edited to note the switchover to The Music Fix.