List

NME‘s Top 500 Albums Of All Time

By Michael Nelson / October 25, 2013 - 1:14 pm

Doing a list of the best albums “of all time” is bound to be a disaster — EW tried it this past summer and not surprisingly the thing was a shitshow. But ranking the Top 500 Albums Of All Time is exactly the type of feature NME runs out there every few years, and they’ve done just that again in this week’s issue. It is, they promise, “the final, definitive, definitely last of its kind, never to be repeated” version of this list we will see from the British publication, which means we can expect them to deliver a list of the Top 1000 Albums Of All Time at some point in 2015 or so.

But enough fun-making; let’s get on to nitpicking a clearly arbitrary list primarily meant to inspire SMDH-ing and abject fury! No. 1 is a pretty solid choice IMO — The Queen Is Dead — and I guess you can’t go wrong with Revolver at 2 or Hunky Dory at 3, but after that, it’s a waking nightmare. Some notes:

  • Nobody believes the Strokes made the 4th best album of all time or that Pulp’s Different Class is the 6th best.
  • Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue is probably too low at 79 but honestly it shouldn’t be on this utterly jazz-averse list in the first place (unless I’m missing anything, jazz represents exactly 1 percent of the Top 500 Albums Of All Time).
  • In all the infinite alternate realities occurring at this moment, is there any besides this one that has Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave (349) and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s BRMC (350) ranked higher than the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat (351)?
  • When we’re throwing around terms like “All Time,” can we really say Expecting To Fly (290) — the flavorless 1996 debut from third-tier Britpop hacks the Bluetones — should be ranked 84 spots higher than Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours (374)?
  • And finally, I gotta know: What sort of office politicking was necessary to guarantee Belly’s Star a spot on the list — at 499, tastefully — between Lou Reed’s Berlin and OutKast’s Stankonia, no less?

We’ve got 20 – 1 for you to scope out below and you can see the full list right here. Then, I think we should talk about all this in the comments. Don’t you?

20. Radiohead – OK Computer
19. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
18. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
17. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
16. Joy Division – Closer
15. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
14. David Bowie – Low
13. Arcade Fire – Funeral
12. Patti Smith – Horses
11. Nirvana – Nevermind
10. Oasis – Definitely Maybe
09. The Beatles – The Beatles
08. Pixies – Doolittle
07. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
06. Pulp – Different Class
05. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
04. The Strokes – Is This It
03. David Bowie – Hunky Dory
02. The Beatles – Revolver
01. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead