Been a debate raging in my mind the past couple days. And in order to try and give my brain some peace I thought I'd go ahead and make a quick list and point out somethings about each album.
I'd also like to point out that other than the top two, this list is very likely to change and rearrange, and I only included albums I actually own, so "greats" like Paul Simon's Graceland, The Who's Tommy or Who's Next, or Steely Dan's Aja didn't get the chance.
I also choose to ignore incomplete albums I own and greatest hits, because they're, well, not albums. There compilations, and not designed with an album oriented mindset.
Honorable Mentions: The Outsiders- Needtobreathe, Third Eye Blind- Third Eye Blind, Katy Lied- Steely Dan, Royal Scam- Steely Dan, Are You Experience?- Jimi Hendrix Experience
I love all of these albums. The Outsiders doesn't stand out enough in my eyes to make the cut, though. Both Steely Dan Albums are phenomenal and Steely Dan probably is in my top 5 favorite bands, but the songs from each run together and I couldn't tell you which song was where. Third Eye Blind just missed the cut, originally I had them at number 10, but then I realized post-teenage angst and drugs makes for a catchy album, but it still lacks a little substance in my mind, though being a favorite of mind with no weak song. Finally, Hendrix is my boy, and fighting with my other boy Clapton for best guitarist ever. But he suffers from Steely Dan syndrome, I got all his stuff at one time and listen to it on shuffle, the album doesn't shine.
10. The BQE- Sufjan Stevens
A full-length symphony composed by Sufjan who took his motivation from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. It flows together very well, heck its a symphony- it flows perfectly. It also manages to mesh classical music with violins, oboes, horns, and cellos with computer generated synth. And it sounds sooo good. A great album to study too, remarkably well done, done by an extremely talented musician.
9. Abbey Road- The Beatles
A classic. I only own 4 of the Beatles kajillion albums, plus a greatest hits compilation, and this one shines above Revolver, Rubber Soul, and Help!. With its underlying and sometimes abruptly overt psychedelia and less-poppy feel than their earlier stuff, Abbey Road is a great work of art. And the last song stretch from Sun King to The End is wonderful and changed the way music was done for future generations in the ways of flowing one song to the next and more importantly its benefits (along with the rest of the Beatles albums) to stereophonic sound.
8. A Collision (or 3+4=7)- David Crowder Band
A phenomenal album mixing alternative rock, sharp beliefs, and movement. A Collision is an album broken into four parts, each with a distinct feel, each getting a little darker than the last, till the cinematic climax capped after a staged interview about the album. Filled with little interludes and passionate songs, this somewhat concept album conveys more emotion than possibly any other on this list.
7. IV (Untitled)- Led Zeppelin
This Led Zeppelin album is great. Bottom line.
6. Mutemath- Mutemath
My favorite album for a long time, Mutemath's self titled album notches a safe spot at number 6. This album has one of my favorite qualities, it flows from song to song. And in this album the simple lyrics meet complex drumming for an original sound. And the drumming is good, the drumming is soooo good. Stall Out is my personal favorite from the album.
5. Seven Swans- Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens' trek into the rather empty genre of banjo based christian music. A large majority of the songs are based on his spirituality and stories from the bible. But dude, he is innovative, majestic, and captivating in his musicianship and lyrics. The passion he has for the Lord is astounding and the fact that he did everything on the Album blows my mind. This possibly should have been higher, but I was scared he'd crowd the top out. Climatic builds based on vocals and designed simplicity stress just how great he is.
4. Lost and Gone Forever- Guster
Every song on this album is solid gold and catchy. And not the annoying catchy. I always smile when I find out I have one of the eleven songs in my head. A must have. Plus the dude played all of the drums without sticks, come on give them some lovin'.
3. The Dark Side of the Moon- Pink Floyd
Often herald as the best album of all time by many rock fans, Dark Side of the Moon places third on my list. Its got flow, its got a soul filled female vocal solo, its got great lyrics, its got a balling album cover, its got a weird connection to The Wizard of Oz, and it definitely is a great piece of music history, influencing many if not all modern concept artists.
2. Illinois- Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan made a hat trick on the list. This album was fighting hard for the top spot, but had to settle for simply because The Joshua Tree is goodness. But Sufjan does it again with soothing melodies, an eclectic mix of instruments, a wonderful concept, histories mixed with personal experience, and a beautiful, beautiful passion for the lord underlying every song. The album pierces the heart. Not to mention it might be the most original album of all time; in all of my searching I have found nothing that sounds like Sufjan.
1. The Joshua Tree- U2
I listen to this on repeat. Often. It soothes, it moves, it rocks. Bono and the boys haven't done anything near as glorious as this since its release. Every song is solid and every song exemplifies emotion to make you feel how you want to feel. It cuts into you. And dude, it flows so well. Well done, well produced, I applaud U2 for this wonder.