First Impressions: Rolling Stone’s New 500 Best Albums of All Time List

So I know you’re probably thinking I’m going to rip this to shreds because of my reputation as the most absolute savage blogger on the internet who never shows any mercy or remorse, but I in fact have quite a lot of respect for the Rolling Stone lists. Do I think they’re perfect? No, definitely not. But as a big list guy I think they provide universal structure for young list-makers everywhere, such was the case with a young Mates, pestering my dad every car ride we went on asking him about music superlatives and to rank songs by different bands. The Rolling Stone top 500 songs of all time list helped shaped me as an impressionable youth (even though Like A Rolling Stone is absolutely not the best song of all time gtfoomf with that. But it is how I discovered some of my favorite songs of all time like Sam Cooke A Change Is Gonna Come, Tracks of My Tears, California Dreamin’, etc.

So let’s dive in. I am blogging this live as I am reading the list. Right off the bat we have Funeral at #500, so pretty strong start. Funeral absolutely belongs on this list, and I’m not going to say it’s too low before I see the rest of the list (yes I am, it’s too low, but let’s see what happens).

Update at #480: I’d be lying if I said I knew all of these albums. Also I noticed Harry Styles is in there and is above Arcade Fire Funeral…

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480 – Miranda Lambert ‘Weight of These Wings’. Love this album dearly. Big Miranda fan and I don’t care who knows.

463 – Laura Nyro ‘Eli & The 13th Confession’. Alright strap in. I am maybe the biggest Laura Nyro fan out there (at least for my age alright, relax, sorry I don’t have every single one of her albums on Vinyl) and I would like to take a moment to pay respects. The First Songs is my favorite, but it’s still Laura and we need we need to respect the soul and songwriting prowess that comes with her name. If you’re not familiar, she wrote Stone Soul Picnic, Stoney End, and a slew of other songs that would go on to find success performed by other artists. If you’re still not familiar, Kanye sampled her song ‘Save The Country’ on ‘Glory’. I named my keyboard after her that I’m sitting next to right now as I write this (Laura). Anyways, check this out and pay your respects as you stroll past:

440 – Loretta Lynn – ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’. Classic.

I think they really shot themselves in the foot by making Funeral #500. Because now every indie guy like me is scrolling through and every single pick is thinking about how Funeral is better than most of these other albums and why. And I know you want the first item on your list to pop (see here) but I still think that created some instant controversy and frankly was a low blow to the indie community.

433 – LCD Soundsystem – ‘Sound of Silver’. Alright so now from this point on RS is saying that every album on the list is better than Sound of Silver. Keep that in mind.

It’s impossible to highlight every single great album (it literally is possible, Rolling Stone just did it) but here are some notable highlights I selected.

432 – Usher – ‘Confessions’
398 – The Raincoats – ‘The Raincoats’
397 – Billie Eilish – ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’
395 – ‘D’Angelo – ‘D’Angelo and the Vanguard’
389 – Mariah Carey – ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’.
387 – Radiohead – ‘In Rainbows’
382 – Tame Impala – ‘Currents’
377 – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Fever To Tell’
376 – Neutral Milk Hotel – ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’
370 – Lil Wayne – ‘Tha Carter II’
365 – Madvillain – ‘Madvillainy’
347 – GZA – Liquid Swords’
341 – The Smashing Pumpkins – ‘Siamese Dream’
340 – Snoop Doggy Dogg – ‘Doggystyle’
328 – Vampire Weekend – ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’
321 – Lana Del Rey – ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell!’
315 – Rosalia – ‘El Mal Querer’
312 – Solange – ‘A Seat At The Table’
295 – Daft Punk – ‘Random Access Memories’
294 – Weezer – ‘Weezer (The Blue Album)’
289 – Bjork – ‘Post’
280 – 50 Cent – ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin”
276 – Radiohead – ‘The Bends’
270 – Kacey Musgraves – ‘Golden Hour’
269 – Kanye West – ‘Yeezus’
260 – The Slits – ‘Cut’. I looked into this one because it looked ahead of it’s time for 1979 and it sure damn was. Cool album.

500 albums the slits cut

244 – Kanye West – ‘808s & Heartbreak’
236 – Daft Punk – ‘Discovery’
230 – Rihanna – ‘Anti’
225 – Wilco – ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’
213 – Fiona Apple – ‘The Idler Wheel…’
208 – Lil Wayne – ‘Tha Carter III’
204 – Kanye West – ‘Graduation’
202 – Bjork – ‘Homogenic’

Okay so we’re through the first 300 albums. I’m not feeling especially hyped yet personally, especially from the indie point of view, but let’s see how it unfolds since Body Talk is coming up. Also for what it’s worth, not mad about this order so far for Kanye albums…

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196 – Robyn – ‘Body Talk’
175 – Kendrick Lamar – ‘Damn’
155 – Jay-Z – ‘The Black Album’
149 – John Prine – ‘John Prine’
148 – Frank Ocean – ‘Channel Orange’
136 – Funkadelic – Maggot Brain

Best guitar solo of all time? Yes or yes?

134 – Fugees – The Score
117 – Kanye West – ‘Late Registration’. So this is imo the best Kanye album. It’s neck and neck with College Dropout and MBDTF is obviously also in the conversation, but to me this is first. Just for the record.

115 – Kendrick Lamar –  ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’
114 – The Strokes – ‘Is This It’
108 – Fiona Apple – ‘When The Pawn…’ – I feel like I can be a little direct here since I’m paying high regards to another of her albums. This is a great album, but higher than Idler Wheel? GTFOH. This album is mozzarella sticks before the half pound burger with all the fixins that is Idler Wheel.

Top 100 coming up. But first I have a public statement I’d like to make:

Sometimes I’m blogging and a clip from a show pops in my head and I use it as a gif, and nothing has been more persistent than the line in Kroll Show-Wheels Ontario where we slow pan in on Canadian Nick Kroll and he goes “Here we gooooo”, and I can’t find a gif of it anywhere. I am pledging to the Indie Pong fan base that I am going to make that gif as a gift to the internet. That is my pledge.

Here it is timestamped (0:32) but nobody do it before me, I want to do it first:

99 – Taylor Swift – ‘Red’ (yeah okay)
95 – Drake – Take Care
81 – Beyoncé – ‘Beyoncé’
79 – Frank Ocean – ‘Blonde’ (woohoo)
74 – Kanye West – ‘The College Dropout’. Damn okay so they really went and put MBDTF ahead of LR and CD… I mean… I guess there are more egregious crimes in the world but still, hmph.
73 – My Bloody Valentine – ‘Loveless’
69 – Alanis Morissette – ‘Jagged Little Pill’ – …nice
68 – Kate Bush – ‘Hounds Of Love’
67 – Jay-Z – ‘Reasonable Doubt’
64 – Outkast – ‘Stankonia’
56 – Liz Phair – ‘Exile In Guyville’
50 – Jay-Z – ‘The Blueprint’
49 – Outkast – Aquenimi
44 – Nas – ‘Illmatic’
43 – A Tribe Called Quest – ‘The Low End Theory’
42 – Radiohead – ‘OK Computer’
37 – Dr. Dre – ‘The Chronic’
33 – Amy Winehouse – ‘Back To Black’
32 – Beyoncé – ‘Lemonade’
27 – Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Enter the Wu-Tang(36 Chambers)’
26 – Patti Smith – ‘Horses’
25 – Carole King – ‘Wrap Around Joy’… just kidding it’s ‘Tapestry’ but we all know about my smoking hot correct take that Wrap Around Joy is better than Tapestry so…
20 – Radiohead – ‘Kid A’
19 – Kendrick Lamar – ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’. Woooowwwwww above GKMC… I don’t agree with this at all, but I know there are TPAB stans out there that absolutely do. But I don’t (love the album though obviously).
17 – Kanye West – ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’
10 – Ms. Lauryn Hill – ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’. Hell yeah.
7 – Fleetwood Mac – ‘Rumours’
6 – Nirvana – ‘Nevermind’

And then the top 5 really surprised me…

5 – The Beatles – ‘Abbey Road’
4 – Stevie Wonder – ‘Songs in the Key of Life’
3 – Playboi Carti – ‘Die Lit’
2 – Death Grips – ‘Ex-Military’
1 – Mac DeMarco – ‘2’

So there you have it, Rolling Stone’s official top 500 albums of all time. Overall I would call this not a smashing success, but educational and fun as per usual.

JK 321 are Joni Mitchell Blue, Pet Sounds, and Marvin Gaye What’s Goin’ On respectively.

Also are we just going to sit on the can and read Rolling Stone magazines and ignore the fact that they completely omitted THE SUBURBS?! You know the arguable greatest indie album of all time that won all of the Grammys? Also, no Gorillaz? We have room here for 4 Radiohead albums and not 1 Gorillaz album?

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