Apple Music's best 100 albums list is done, and it's controversial

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Apple Music has revealed its entire list of what its staff, music experts, and stars, say are the top 100 albums of all time -- and like all best album lists, it's controversial.

Wooden tablet carved with a woman's face and hair, titled 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.'
"The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" is the best album ever made -- says Apple

Even as the list was announced on
May 13, 2024, Apple acknowledged -- and even welcomed -- the inevitably controversy it was going to cause.

"Putting this list together was a true labor of love, both in that it was incredibly difficult to do and in that we are all so passionate about it," said Zane Lowe, Apple Music's global creative director and lead anchor for Apple Music 1 at the time . "We were tasked with selecting the 100 best -- that's practically mission impossible."

Following the unveiling of the list ten albums at a time, this is the complete 100 best:

  1. "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" by Lauryn Hill

  2. "Thriller" by Michael Jackson

  3. "Abbey Road" by The Beatles

  4. "Purple Rain" by Prince and The Revolution

  5. "Blonde" by Frank Ocean

  6. "Songs in the Key of Life" by Stevie Wonder

  7. "good kid, m.A.A.d city (Deluxe Version)" by Kendrick Lamar

  8. "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse

  9. "Nevermind" by Nirvana

  10. "Lemonade" by Beyonce

  11. "Rumors" by Fleetwood Mac

  12. "OK Computer" by Radiohead

  13. "The Blueprint" by JAY-Z

  14. "Highway 61 Revisited" by Bob Dylan

  15. "21" by Adele

  16. "Blue" by Joni Mitchell

  17. "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye

  18. "1989 (Taylor's Version)" by Taylor Swift

  19. "The Chronic" by Dr. Dre

  20. "Pet Sounds" by The Beach Boys

  21. "Revolver" by The Beatles

  22. "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen

  23. "Discovery" by Daft Punk

  24. "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" by David Bowie

  25. "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis

  26. "My Beautify Dark Twisted Fantasy" by Kanye West

  27. "Led Zeppelin II" by Led Zeppelin

  28. "The Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd

  29. "The Low End Theory" by A Tribe Called Quest

  30. "WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?" Billie Elish

  31. "Jagged Little Pill" by Alanis Morissette

  32. "Ready to Die" by The Notorious B.I.G.

  33. "Kid A" by Radiohead

  34. "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" by Public Enemy

  35. "London Calling" by The Clash

  36. "BEYONCE" by Beyonce

  37. "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" by Wu-Tang Clan

  38. "Tapestry" by Carole King

  39. "Illmatic" by Nas

  40. "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You" by Aretha Franklin

  41. "Aquemini" by Outkast

  42. "Control" by Janet Jackson

  43. "Remain in Light" by Talking Heads

  44. "Innervisions" by Stevie Wonder

  45. "Homogenic" by Bjork

  46. "Exodus" by Bob Marley & The Wailers

  47. "Take Care" by Drake

  48. "Paul's Boutique" by Beastie Boys

  49. "The Joshua Tree" by U2

  50. "Hounds of Love" by Kate Bush

  51. "Sign O'the Times" by Prince

  52. "Appetite for Destruction" by Guns N' Roses

  53. "Exile on Main St." by The Rolling Stones

  54. "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane

  55. "ANTI" by Rihanna

  56. "Disintegration (Remastered)" by The Cure

  57. "Voodoo" by D'Angelo

  58. "(What's The Story) Morning Glory" by Oasis

  59. "AM" by Arctic Monkeys

  60. "The Velvet Underground and Nico (45th Anniversary Edition)" by Velvet Underground & Nico

  61. "Love Deluxe" by Sade

  62. "All Eyez on Me" by 2Pac

  63. "Are You Experienced?" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

  64. "Baduizm" by Erykah Badu

  65. "3 Feet High and Rising" by De La Soul

  66. "The Queen Is Dead" by The Smiths

  67. "Dummy" by Portishead

  68. "Is This It" by The Strokes

  69. "Master of Puppets (Remastered)" by Metallica

  70. "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A

  71. "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk

  72. "SOS" by SZA

  73. "Aja" by Steely Dan

  74. "The Downward Spiral" by Nine Inch Nails

  75. "Supa Dupa Fly" by Missy Elliott

  76. "Un Verano Sin Ti" by Bad Bunny

  77. "Like A Prayer" by Madonna

  78. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John

  79. "Norman F****** Rockwell!" by Lana Del Rey

  80. "The Marshall Mathers LP" by Eminem

  81. "After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young

  82. "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" by 50 Cent

  83. "Horses" by Patti Smith

  84. "Doggystyle" by Snoop Dogg

  85. "Golden Hour" by Kacey Musgraves

  86. "My Life" by Mary J. Blige

  87. "Blue Lines" by Massive Attack

  88. "I Put a Spell on You" by Nina Simone

  89. "The Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition)" by Lady Gaga

  90. "Back in Black" by AC/DC

  91. "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" by George Michael

  92. "Flower Boy" by Tyler, The Creator

  93. "A Seat at the Table" by Solange

  94. "Untrue" by Burial

  95. "Confessions" by Usher

  96. "Pure Heroine" by Lorde

  97. "Rage Against the Machine" by Rage Against the Machine

  98. "ASTROWORLD" by Travis Scott

  99. "Hotel California" by The Eagles

  100. "Body Talk" by Robyn



It is at least a comprehensive list spanning decades, many musical genres, and it will prompt more people to listen to these significant albums. Each of the 100 is of course available to stream on Apple Music, plus Apple has created a mini site that gives biographical details about the albums and the bands that made them.




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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    It’s a good laugh.  :D
    retrogustobeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 2 of 27
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,313member
    Yeah, because everyone listens to every genre.
    At least it will get people arguing. Just what we need.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,770member
    It’s hard to find controversy in something that was quite obviously meant as comedy. Thanks for the laugh!
  • Reply 4 of 27
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 906member
    Amy Winehouse at #8, but Nina Simone at #88 and Billie Holiday--arguably the greatest jazz vocalist ever--doesn't even make the list?! Was the voting limited to people with frontal lobotomies? Nina and Billie albums will still be selling and still be of consequence long after Amy Winehouse is Amy Who?

    It's also stupid to put any album on this list that's less than a decade old -- not enough time has passed to determine how influential and consequential a given album will prove to be. I own both albums that SZA has released, but to rank SOS--released only and exactly one year ago!--as one of the greatest 100 albums ever recorded is just stupid. 

    Yeah, these lists are always controversial, and that's fine, but THIS list is the most embarrassingly dumbass one I've ever read. 
    RonnyDaddyronnAlex1Nbeowulfschmidtdanoxargonaut
  • Reply 5 of 27
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,770member
    charlesn said:
    Amy Winehouse at #8, but Nina Simone at #88 and Billie Holiday--arguably the greatest jazz vocalist ever--doesn't even make the list?! Was the voting limited to people with frontal lobotomies? Nina and Billie albums will still be selling and still be of consequence long after Amy Winehouse is Amy Who?

    It's also stupid to put any album on this list that's less than a decade old -- not enough time has passed to determine how influential and consequential a given album will prove to be. I own both albums that SZA has released, but to rank SOS--released only and exactly one year ago!--as one of the greatest 100 albums ever recorded is just stupid. 

    Yeah, these lists are always controversial, and that's fine, but THIS list is the most embarrassingly dumbass one I've ever read. 
    Couldn’t agree more. Here’s another good comparison…Frank Ocean is at #5, but Bob Marley’s Exodus comes in at #46? For real? That can’t possibly be meant to be taken seriously. 
    I like your 10 year cutoff suggestion…the recency bias of this list seems more aimed at generational inclusion rather than accuracy. 
    RonnyDaddyAlex1Nbyronlargonautelijahg
  • Reply 6 of 27
    kmareikmarei Posts: 193member
    another list not based on facts, but based on inclusiveness
    gotta check those boxes!

    lauryn hill at #1?
    seriously?

    Alex1Nargonaut
  • Reply 7 of 27
    jeffharrisjeffharris Posts: 801member
    mike1 said:
    Yeah, because everyone listens to every genre.
    At least it will get people arguing. Just what we need.
    That's all pop music, except for a few jazz outliers. 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 8 of 27
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 906member
    Japhey said:
    charlesn said:
    Amy Winehouse at #8, but Nina Simone at #88 and Billie Holiday--arguably the greatest jazz vocalist ever--doesn't even make the list?! Was the voting limited to people with frontal lobotomies? Nina and Billie albums will still be selling and still be of consequence long after Amy Winehouse is Amy Who?

    It's also stupid to put any album on this list that's less than a decade old -- not enough time has passed to determine how influential and consequential a given album will prove to be. I own both albums that SZA has released, but to rank SOS--released only and exactly one year ago!--as one of the greatest 100 albums ever recorded is just stupid. 

    Yeah, these lists are always controversial, and that's fine, but THIS list is the most embarrassingly dumbass one I've ever read. 
    Couldn’t agree more. Here’s another good comparison…Frank Ocean is at #5, but Bob Marley’s Exodus comes in at #46? For real? That can’t possibly be meant to be taken seriously. 
    I like your 10 year cutoff suggestion…the recency bias of this list seems more aimed at generational inclusion rather than accuracy. 
    Even the "safe" choices, like the inclusion of a Beatles album, are weird. Who thinks Abbey Road was the best, most influential Beatles' album? How does no jazz album make it onto the list until #25?! And yeah, I totally think of Ziggy Stardust as just a little better than Kind of Blue. What the actual eff? 
    Alex1Nbyronlargonaut
  • Reply 9 of 27
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,829member
    I find it interesting that there’s almost no attention being paid to this. One article here at the end. One other Mac site had a daily update, but there has been no comments or engagement. I did a general web search for Apple Top 100 Albums, and got a few hits from one news site and a couple of music sites, but no follow up articles. 

    It’s like Apple threw a party and nobody came. 

    As far as me though, my taste has always gone in a different direction. I’ve heard of a lot of these albums, and probably know a lot of the songs. But I’ve never owned any of them. I can’t really comment on how any of them would rank.
    edited May 22 Alex1N
  • Reply 10 of 27
    mikethemartianmikethemartian Posts: 1,408member
    It would have been funny if U2’s Songs of Innocence would have been listed as number one.
    appleinsideruserAlex1Nbyronlargonautmrstepkiltedgreen
  • Reply 11 of 27
    mikethemartianmikethemartian Posts: 1,408member
    Apple could make an ad where they crush all 100 albums or toss them into a wood chipper.
    appleinsideruserAlex1Nargonaut
  • Reply 12 of 27
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,067member
    The Listicle has been the fuel for single-copy sales of magazined for decades, and then was the original click-bait rocket fuel when the internet emerged. Doesn't matter what's in the list. People will come out of the woodwork to agree or disagree with whatever it is. The less quantifiable the thing that's being quantified, the better. 

    Here, we have a boost to promote Apple Music as a service, and a gift to websites everywhere - like this one! - where simply sharing what's on the list generates the clicks and churn. 
    DAalsethAlex1Nbyronlargonaut
  • Reply 13 of 27
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,067member

    To give the list its proper due, please enjoy this (Copilot) AI-generated response to it:

    Apple Music’s “100 Best Albums of All Time” list has recently been unveiled, and as with any such compilation, it has sparked both excitement and controversy. The selection process involved input from Apple Music staff, music experts, and even some well-known artists. While the list is subjective, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the diverse musical landscape that has shaped our culture over the years.

    At the top of the list, we find Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, and Lauryn Hill, all of whom have made significant contributions to the music industry. Their albums are celebrated for their innovation, lyrical prowess, and cultural impact. However, the absence of certain iconic albums or artists might raise eyebrows among music enthusiasts. For instance, legendary acts like The Beatles and Pink Floyd are represented, but their positions might not align with everyone’s personal rankings. Ultimately, the “100 Best Albums” list serves as a conversation starter, prompting discussions about musical taste, nostalgia, and the ever-evolving definition of greatness in music.

    As listeners, we each have our own cherished albums that resonate with us on a profound level. Whether it’s the raw emotion of Adele’s “21”, the genre-defying brilliance of Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint”, or the infectious beats of Robyn’s “Body Talk”, music is deeply personal. While Apple Music’s list provides a snapshot of influential albums, it’s essential to recognize that musical preferences are as diverse as the artists themselves. So, whether you agree or disagree with the rankings, let’s celebrate the rich tapestry of music that has shaped our lives and continue discovering new favorites along the way.

    Alex1N
  • Reply 14 of 27
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,374moderator
    kmarei said:
    another list not based on facts, but based on inclusiveness
    gotta check those boxes!

    lauryn hill at #1?
    seriously?
    There are always questionable choices in top lists but Lauryn Hill's album is in the best-selling list:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_albums

    A lot of the choices in Apple's list are best-selling albums. Some of the artists are popular on streaming services:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Spotify_streaming_records
    https://kworb.net/charts/apple_s/us.html

    A top 100 list could be generated by taking the top selling albums, albums from top streamed artists and shuffling them around.
    appleinsideruserAlex1Nbyronl
  • Reply 15 of 27
    AfarstarAfarstar Posts: 54member
    What a totally pointless exercise. 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 16 of 27
    I enjoyed the list. 
    I’ve enjoyed many of the albums.
    It’s great to see an emphasis on albums, rather than singles.
    Alex1NbyronlronndanoxAlex_V
  • Reply 17 of 27
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,371member
    I believe I own eight of the albums on this list, but that doesn’t mean that only the ones I own are “good.” LOTS of really great albums on this list, but a dreadful number of omissions, starting with “the Beatles/Prince/Kate Bush/The Clash (et al) only had one truly great album??”

    It does seem to me, looking over the list, that the criteria here was primarily guided by albums that sold super well in the fairly recent past AND had fairly recent cultural impact AND are recognised as that artist’s best record thus far AND are popular on mainstream sources from Apple Music to commercial radio currently.

    I think it is fair to include “cultural impact” as a factor, but again looking over this list it would seem that most of the experts who contributed seem to be under 50, let’s say, so albums older than that score poorly here.

    Of course, that means that great albums from before 1974 are severely underrepresented. But OTOH, if you’re limiting yourself to 100 albums and you try to weight the cultural impact of, let’s say, artists like Elvis Presley or for that matter Robert Johnson (neither of whom are on this list, of course), you’re going to end up with a list that anyone under 30 is unlikely to recognize or be familiar with many of those included.

    I’m very happy that Kraftwerk made the list (an acknowledgement as much of their influence on more modern artists as much as their incredibly innovation and quality), and disappointed Weird Al didn’t (huge cultural impact, and Michael Jackson wouldn’t have done nearly as well without Al’s help IMO). :smile:
    Alex1NbyronlAlex_Vargonaut
  • Reply 18 of 27
    byronlbyronl Posts: 369member
    The Miseducation is an amazing album. Not sure if it deserves number 1 as I haven’t listened to many of the albums of the list but it’s a great one for sure. 
    Alex_V
  • Reply 19 of 27
    No Mothers of Invention (Frank Zappa), Alice Cooper, or Captain Beefheart⁉️ Seriously ⁉️🤨
    argonaut
  • Reply 20 of 27
    csjasonacsjasona Posts: 1member
    Adding all of these to your library, easily?

    Anyone figured out a way to rapidly and easily add all of these albums to your library? Be buggered if I'm scrolling through that website and manually adding every single one...
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