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ATRL's Essential Albums Thread


Pink Matter

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Hello fellow everyone, and welcome to the first ever ATRL Essential Albums thread!

 

I've noticed during my time on this site, that when met with artists they've never heard of before, members will have almost a sense of pride in being ignorant of said artist. So that gave me the idea to compile a list of albums that were considered the best or most essential from the 60s up until the 2010s, using decade end lists from a number of music publications like Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, RYM, etc. For someone, like myself for instance, who has never been exposed to many artists from the past, having this compilation all in one place makes it easy to search for new music to listen to.

 

Now, I anticipate there will be criticism with regards to the albums that made the list over others; in fact, I'm counting on it! I only compiled around 30-70 albums for every decade, so there's bound to be plenty of important artists/albums that I missed, so I'm counting on members here to help with giving suggestions for new additions. This isn't just for my benefit, but for the people that frequent this site as well. That being said, I'd appreciate it if people didn't unnecessarily trash the lists that I put together. I'm simply going off the information that I was able to find in my own searches.

 

As a note:

This is a very Western-centered/Anglo-centric list, given that I only used US-centric music publications as my source of information.

I also tried hard to find more female albums for the 60s and 70s, so if any of you have suggestions for female artists whose work should be highlighted, please list them!

Also, for the sake of not clogging up a list with one artist, I kept it to one album per one artist per decade. For example, The Beatles have like 5 albums that are considered essential/some of the best albums for the 60s. Aretha Franklin has like 3-4.  For the sake of variety, I chose one album for them so that other artists could be represented as well. This might cause some conflict down the line because stanbases might think otherwise of my choices; again, I welcome the criticisms. Some examples include the Madonna stans (Madonna vs. Like a Prayer for the 80s), the Mariah stans (Daydream vs. Butterfly for the 90s), the Taylor stans (Red vs. 1989 for the 10s), and the Bey stans (S/T vs. Lemonade for the 10s); I've left it down to two choices so that one can be decided later.

 

Essential 50s Albums (Pending):

Spoiler

 

Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers|The Jazz Messengers (Jazz, hard bop)
Charles Mingus|Mingus Ah Um (Post bop, jazz)
Chet Baker|Chet Baker Sings (West Coast jazz, cool jazz, vocal jazz)

The Dave Brubeck Quartet|Time Out (Cool jazz)
Duke Ellington|Ellington at Newport (Jazz)
Frantz Casseus|Haitian Dances (Haitian folk)
Helen Merrill|Helen Merrill (Jazz)

João Gilberto|Chega de saudade (Bossa nova, samba, jazz)
Julie London|Julie Is Her Name (Vocal jazz, traditional pop)

Little Richard|Here's Little Richard (Rock and roll, R&B)
Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs|Foggy Mountain Jamboree (Bluegrass, country)

The Louvin Brothers|Satan Is Real (Country, gospel)

Marty Robbins|Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs (Country, western)
Miles Davis|Kind of Blue (Modal jazz)
New York Philharmonic / Leonard Bernstein|Le sacre du printemps (N/A)
Ornette Coleman|The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Jazz, free jazz, avante-garde jazz)
Ravi Shankar|Three Rāgas (Hinudstani classical music)
Stan Kenton|City of Glass (Avante-garde jazz, third stream, big band)
Tom Dissevelt & Kid Baltan|The Fascinating World of Electronic Music (Electronic)

 

Essential 60s Albums:

Spoiler

Aretha Franklin|I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (Southern Soul)

The Beach Boys|Pet Sounds (Progressive pop, chamber pop, psychedelic pop, art rock)
The Beatles|Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Rock, pop, psychedelia, art rock)

Big Brother and the Holding Company(Janis Joplin)|Cheap Thrills (Blues Rock, acid rock)
Bob Dylan|Highway 61 Revisited (Folk Rock)

Dillard & Clark|The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark (Country rock, progressive bluegrass)

The Dillards|Wheatstraw Suite (Progressive bluegrass)

The Doors|The Doors (Rock)
Dusty Springfield|Dusty in Memphis (Pop, soul, R&B, blue-eyed soul)

Frank Zappa|Hot Rats (Instrumental rock, jazz fusion, progressive rock)
Grateful Dead|Live/Dead (Psychedelic rock, jam rock)

Isaac Hayes|Hot Buttered Soul (Soul)

The Isley Brothers|It's Our Thing (Soul, funk)
James Brown|Live at the Apollo (Soul)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience|Electric Ladyland (Psychedelic rock, hard rock, funk, blues)

Johnny Cash|At Folsom Prison (Outlaw country, rockabilly, folk)
Joni Mitchell|Clouds (Folk)
King Crimson|In the Court of the Crimson King (Progressive rock)
Led Zeppelin|Led Zeppelin (Hard rock, blues rock)
Leonard Cohen|Songs of Leonard Cohen (Contemporary folk)

The Mamas and the Papas|If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears (Pop rock)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers|I'm a Lonesome Fugitive (Country)
Miles Davis|In a Silent Way (Jazz fusion, jazz-rock)

The Mothers of Invention(Frank Zappa)|Freak Out! (Experimental rock)
Nina Simone|Pastel Blues (Blues, vocal jazz, folk)

Nico|Chelsea Girl (Folk pop, chamber folk, baroque pop)

Os Mutantes|Os Mutantes (Psychedelic rock, tropicalia, experimental rock)
Otis Redding|Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (Soul)

Patsy Cline|Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits (Country, traditional pop)
Pharoah Sanders|Karma (Avante-garde jazz, spiritual jazz, free jazz)
Pink Floyd|The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (Psychedelic rock, acid pop, space rock, experimental rock, psychedelic rock)

The Rolling Stones|Let It Bleed (Hard rock, blues, country blues)
The Ronettes|Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica (Pop, R&B)
Sam Cooke|Ain't That Good News (R&B, soul)

Scott Walker|Scott 4 (Baroque pop, avante-garde)
Simon & Garfunkel|Bookends (Folk rock)
Sly and the Family Stone|Stand! (Funk, psychedelic soul, psychedelic funk, funk rock)
The Stooges|The Stooges (Proto-punk, garage rock)
The Supremes|Where Did Our Love Go (Pop-soul, doo-wop, R&B)
The Temptations|Cloud Nine (Soul, psychedelic soul)

Townes Van Zandt|Townes Van Zandt (Country, folk)

Van Morrison|Astral Weeks (Folk rock, folk jazz, blue-eyed soul)
The Velvet Underground|The Velvet Underground & Nico (Art rock, proto-punk, psychedelic rock, avant-pop, experimental rock)
The Who|The Who Sell Out (Psychedelic pop, power pop, art pop)

 

Essential 70s Albums:

Spoiler

ABBA|Arrival (Pop, euro disco)

Al Green|I'm Still in Love With You (Soul)
Alice Coltrane|Journey in Satchindanda (Avant-garde jazz)
Aretha Franklin|Young, Gifted & Black (Soul)

The B-52's|The B-52's (Punk, new wave)
Baby Huey|The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (Psychedelic soul, funk, rock)

Betty Davis|They Say I'm Different (Funk rock)

Bill Withers|Still Bill (Soul, R&B, funk, blues)

Black Sabbath|Paranoid (Heavy metal)
Blondie|Parallel Lines (Pop rock, power pop, new wave)
Bob Dylan|Blood on the Tracks (Folk rock)
Bob Marley & The Wailers|Catch a Fire (Reggae)
Brian Eno|Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (Art rock, experimental rock, art pop, avant-pop)
Bruce Springsteen|Born to Run (Rock and roll, pop rock, heartland rock)
Carole King|Tapestry (Soft rock, pop)

The Clash|London Calling (Post-punk, punk rock)

The Cure|Three Imaginary Boys (Post-punk, new wave, pop punk, power pop)
David Bowie|The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (Glam rock, proto-punk)

Dolly Parton|Coat of Many Colors (Country)
Donna Summer|Bad Girls (Disco, Hi-NRG, R&B)

Earth, Wind & Fire|Spirit (Funk)
Elton John|Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Rock, pop rock, glam rock)
Elvis Costello|My Aim is True (New wave, pub rock, punk rock, power pop)
Fela Kuti|Zombie (Afrobeat)
Fern Kinney|Groove Me (R&B, disco)
Fleetwood Mac|Rumours (Pop rock, soft rock, folk rock)
Funkadelic|Maggot Brain (Psychedelic funk, fuk rock, black rock, R&B, acid rock)

Hank Williams|40 Greatest Hits (Country, honky-tonk, blues)
Joni Mitchell|Blue (Folk, soft rock)
Jorge Ben|África Brasil (Musica popular brasileira, funk, samba soul)
Joy Division|Unknown Pleasures (Post-punk)
Kate Bush|The Kick Inside (Art rock, art pop, baroque pop)

Kim Carnes|Kim Carnes (Country)

Kraftwerk|Trans-Europe Express (Electronic pop, synth-pop, experimental pop)

Kris Kristofferson|Kristofferson (Country)
Led Zeppelin|Led Zeppelin IV (Hard rock, heavy metal)

Lee Hazlewood|Cowboy in Sweden (Country)

Leonard Cohen|Songs of Love and Hate (Contemporary folk)

Marianne Faithfull|Broken English (New wave)
Marvin Gaye|What's Going On (Soul, R&B, symphonic pop, psychedelic soul)
Michael Jackson|Off the Wall (Disco, funk, pop, R&B)
Miles Davis|B*tches Brew (Jazz fusion, experimental jazz, avant-funk, jazz-rock, psychedelia)

Minnie Riperton|Perfect Angel (Soul, R&B)
Neil Young|After the Gold Rush (Folk rock, country rock)
Nick Drake|Pink Moon (Folk)
Patti Smith|Horses (Punk rock, art punk, garage rock)
Parliament|Mothership Connection (Funk, funk rock)

Paul and Linda McCartney|Ram (Indie pop)
Pink Floyd|The Dark Side of the Moon (Progressive rock)
Prince|Prince (R&B, funk, pop rock)
Queen|A Night at the Opera (Progressive rock, pop, heavy metal, hard rock, avant-pop)

The Ramones|Ramones (Punk rock, pop punk)
The Rolling Stones|Sticky Fingers (Hard rock, roots rock, rock 'n' roll)
Roxy Music|For Your Pleasure (Art rock, glam rock, art pop)
Sex Pistols|Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols (Punk rock)
Sly & The Family Stone|There's a Riot Goin' On (Funk, psychedelic funk, avant-pop, avant-soul)

Smokey Robinson|A Quiet Storm (Soul, smooth jazz)
Stevie Wonder|Songs in the Key of Life (Soul, funk, R&B, avant-pop)
Talking Heads|Fear of Music (New wave, psychedelic funk)

Waylon Jennings|Honky Tonk Heroes (Country, outlaw country)

Willie Nelson|Red Headed Stranger (Country)
Various Artists|Saturday Night Fever (Disco)

 

Essential 80s Albums:

Spoiler

AC/DC|Back in Black (Hard rock, heavy metal, arena rock)
Anita Baker|Rapture (Quiet storm, soul, R&B)
Beastie Boys|Licensed to Ill (Rap rock, hip hop)

Billy Idol|Rebel Yell (Hard rock, new wave)

Bobby Brown|Don't Be Cruel (New jack swing, R&B)
Bruce Springsteen|Born in the U.S.A. (Rock and roll, heartland rock, pop)
Cocteau Twins|Treasure (Ethereal wave, dream pop)

The Cure|P*rnograpy (DGothic rock, post-punk)
Cyndi Lauper|She's So Unusual (Pop, new wave)
David Bowie|Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (Art rock, new wave, experimental rock, post-punk)
De La Soul|3 Feet High and Rising (Alternative hip hop, sampledelia, psychedelic hip hop)
Depeche Mode|Music for the Masses (Synth-pop, new wave)
Diana Ross|Diana (R&B, disco, pop, soul)

Dwight Yoakam|Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc. (Country)
Elvis Costello & The Attractions|Imperial Bedroom (New wave, baroque pop)
Eric B. & Rakim|Paid in Full (Hip hop)
Eurythmics|Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (Synth-pop, new wave)
Fleetwood Mac|Tango in the Night (Pop rock)

George Jones|I Am What I Am (Country)
George Michael|Faith (Pop, funk, R&B, synth-pop, soul, rock, blue-eyed soul)
Grace Jones|Nightclubbing (Pop, sophisti-pop, art pop, synth-pop, post-disco, reggae)

The Go-Go's|Beauty and the Beat (New wave, pop rock, post-punk)

Guns N' Roses|Appetite for Destruction (Hard rock, heavy metal, hair metal)

Human League|Dare (Synth-pop)
Janet Jackson|Control (Pop, R&B, new jack swing)

John Carpenter|Halloween (Electronic, film score)
Joy Division|Closer (Post-punk, gothic rock)
Kate Bush|Hounds of Love (Art pop, progressive pop, art rock, progressive rock)

Kim Carnes|Café Racers (Pop rock)

Kraftwerk|Computer World (Electronic, synth-pop, electro)

Leonard Cohen|I'm Your Man (Soft rock, contemporary folk)
Madonna|Madonna (Dance-pop, post-disco)

Michael Jackson|Thriller (Pop, post-disco, rock, funk)
My Bloody Valentine|Isn't Anything (Shoegaze, avant-rock, dream pop, lo-fi, noise pop, experimental pop)
N.W.A.|Straight Outta Compton (West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap, hardcore hip hop)
Neneh Cherry|Raw Like Sushi (Dance-pop, freesyle, funk, new jack swing)
New Order|Power, Corruption & Lies (Synth-pop, new wave, post-punk, synth-rock, dance-rock)
Paul Simon|Graceland (Worldbeat, pop, rock, folk)

Paula Abdul|Forever Your Girl (Dance-pop, new jack swing, R&B)
Pet Shop Boys|Actually (Synth-pop, dance-pop, disco)
Peter Gabriel|Peter Gabriel (Art rock, pop)
Pixies|Doolittle (Alternative rock, noise pop)

The Police|Synchronicity (New wave, post-punk)
Prince and the Revolution|Purple Rain (Pop, rock, R&B, psychedelia)
Public Enemy|It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (PHardcore hip hop, political rap, East Coast hip hop, sampledelia)
Queen Latifah|All Hail the Queen (Hip hop)

R.E.M.|Murmur (Alternative rock, post-punk, folk rock, garage rock)
Run DMC|Run DMC (East Coast hip hop, hardcore hip hop, rap rock)
Sade|Diamond Life (Smooth soul, sophisti-pop)
Salt-N-Pepa|Hot, Cool, & Vicious (Hip hop)

Siouxsie and The Banshees|Kaleidoscope (Post punk)
Slick Rick|The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (Golden age hip hop)

The Smiths|The Queen Is Dead (Alternative rock, indie rock, post-punk, new wave)
Sonic Youth|Daydream Nation (Avant-rock, alternative rock, indie rock, art punk, post-punk)

Stevie Nicks|Bella Donna (Rock, country rock)

Stevie Wonder|Hotter Than July (Pop, funk, R&B)
Talking Heads|Remain in Light (New wave, post-punk, worldbeat, funk, dance-rock, art pop)
Tina Turner|Private Dancer (Pop, rock, R&B)
Tom Waits|Rain Dogs (Experimental rock)
Tracy Chapman|Tracy Chapman (Contemporary folk)
U2|The Joshua Tree (Rock)
Whitney Houston|Whitney Houston (Pop, pop-soul, R&B)

XTC|Skylarking (Pop, rock, psychedelic)

 

Essential 90s Albums:

Spoiler

Aaliyah|One in a Million (not available on Itunes or streaming services; R&B, hip hop soul, pop)

Ace of Base|Happy Nation (Pop,europop, reggae fusion)

Air|Moon Safari (Electronica, chill-out, downtempo, space pop)

Alanis Morrissette|Jagged Little Pill (Alternative rock, pop rock, post-grunge)

American Football|American Football (Emo, indie rock, math rock, post-rock)
Aphex Twin|Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (Ambient techno, IDM, electronica, ambient)

A Tribe Called Quest|Low End Theory (East Coast hip hop, alternative hip hop, jazz rap)

Basement Jaxx|Remedy (House)

Black Box|Dreamland (Italo house, eurodance, disco)
Beck|Odelay (Alternative rock, folk rock, rap rock, neo-psychedelia, alternative hip hop, sampledelia, garage rock)
Bjork|Post (Art pop, electronica, trip hop)
Blur|Parklife (Britpop)

Boards of Canada|Music Has the Right to Children (Electronica, IDM, ambient, downtempo, trip hop, psychedelia)

The Cardigans|Gran Turismo (Alternative rock, electronic rock, post-rock)

Cat Power|Moon Pix (Slowcore, indie rock)

Celine Dion|Falling Into You (Pop)

Daft Punk|Homework (French house, techno, house)
Destiny's Child|The Writings on the Wall (Pop, R&B)

Dido|No Angel (Folktronica, dream pop)
DJ Shadow|...Endtroducing... (Instrumental hip hop, trip hop, sampledelia)

DJ Quik|Quik Is the Name (Hip hop, funk, dirty rap)
Dr. Dre|The Chronic (West Coast hip hop, G-funk, gangsta rap)

Dwight Yoakam|This Time (Country, honky-tonk)

Elliott Smith|Either/Or (Indie folk)
Eminem|The Slim Shady LP (Hip hop, horrorcore)

Emmylou Harris|Wrecking Ball (Country rock, folk rock, alternative country, country folk)
Erykah Badu|Baduizm (R&B, neo soul)

Everything But The Girl|Amplified Heart (Folk-pop)
Fiona Apple|Tidal (Pop, alternative rock)

The Fugees|The Score (Alternative hip hop)

Garbage|Garbage (Alternative rock, dance-rock, power pop)

Ginuwine|Ginuwine... The Bachelor (R&B, hip hop soul)
Green Day|Dookie (Pop punk, punk rock, alternative rock)

Hole|Live Through This (Alternative rock, grunge)
Janet Jackson|The Velvet Rope (R&B, trip hop, pop)
Jay-Z|Reasonable Doubt (Mafioso rap, East Coast hip hop)
Jeff Buckley|Grace (Alternative rock, folk rock, art rock)

Jodeci|Forevery My Lady (R&B, hip hop soul, new jack swing)
Kylie Minogue|Impossible Princess (Dance-pop, techno, trip hop)
Lauryn Hill|The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Neo soul, R&B, hip hop, hip hop soul)
Lil' Kim|Hardcore (Hip hop)
Liz Phair|Exile in Guyville (Indie rock, lo-fi)
Madonna|Ray of Light (Electronica, trip hop, techno-pop, dance)
Mariah Carey|Daydream (R&B)
Mary J. Blige|My Life (R&B)

Mase|Harlem World (East Coast hip hop)

Massive Attack|Mezzanine (Trip hop, electronica)
Maxwell|Embrya (Neo soul, alternative R&B)

Mazzy Star|So Tonight That I Might See (Dream pop)
Missy Elliott|Supa Dupa Fly (Hip hop, avant-funk, R&B)
My Bloody Valentine|Loveless (Shoegaze, dream pop, noise rock, avant-rock)

Mobb Deep|The Infamous (East Coast hip hop, hardcore hip, gangsta rap)
Nas|Illmatic (East Coast hip hop, jazz rap)
Neutral Milk Hotel|In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Indie rock, psychedelic folk, lo-fi)

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds|Let Love In (Post-punk, gothic rock)
Nirvana|Nevermind (Grunge, alternative rock, punk rock)
No Doubt|Tragic Kingdom (Ska, ska punk, pop, rock)

The Notorious B.I.G.|Ready to Die (East Coat hip hop, gangsta rap, hardcore hip hop)
Oasis|(What's the Story) Morning Glory? (Rock, britpop)
OutKast|Aquemini (Hip hop)
Pearl Jam|Ten (Grunge, alternative rock, hard rock)
PJ Harvey|Rid of Me (Alterantive rock, indie rock, punk blues)
Portishead|Dummy (Trip hop)
Radiohead|OK Computer (Alternative rock, art rock, progressive rock)

The Roots|Things Fall Apart (Hip hop, alternative hip hop)

Sade|Love Deluxe (Ambient, cool jazz, trip hop)
Shakira|Donde Estan los Ladrones (Pop, Latin pop, rock 'n' roll)

Shania Twain|The Woman In Me (Country, pop)
Smashing Pumpkins|Siamese Dream (Alternative rock, grunge, alternative metal, psychedelic rock, indie rock)
Snoop Dog|Doggystyle (West Coast hip hop, G-funk, gangsta rap)
TLC|CrazySexyCool (Hip hop, hip hop soul, R&B)
Tori Amos|Little Earthquakes (Alternative rock, chamber pop)

UGK|Ridin' Dirty (Southern hip hop)

The Verve|Urban Hymns (Britpop)
Weezer|Pinkerton (Alternative rock, power pop, emo, pop punk)
Wu-Tang Clan|Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop)

2Pac|All Eyez on Me (West Coast hip hop, G-funk, gangsta rap, conscious rap, political rap)

 

Essential 00s Albums:

Spoiler

Aaliyah|Aaliyah (not available on Itunes or streaming services; R&B, neo soul, pop, dance-pop)
Alicia Keys|Songs in a Minor (Neo soul, R&B)

Aly & AJ|Into the Rush (Pop rock, alternative rock)

Amy Winehouse|Back to Black (Soul, R&B, contemporary R&B, neo soul)

Andy Stochansky|Five Star Motel (Rock)

Animal Collective|Merriweather Post Pavilion (Psychedelic pop, electronica, synth-pop, neo-psychedelia, avant-garde pop, art rock)

Annie|Anniemal (Synth-pop)
Arcade Fire|Funeral (Indie rock, chamber pop, art rock)
Arctic Monkeys|Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (Indie rock, post-punk revival, garage rock revival, punk rock)

The Avalanches|Since I Left You (Plunderphonics, dance, disco)

Avril Lavigne|Let Go (Pop, pop punk, alternative rock, post grunge)

Beyonce|Dangerously in Love (R&B)
Bjork|Vespertine (Electronica, art pop, glitch pop, ambient, folktronica, minimal techno, psychedelia)

Blaze Foley|Live at the Austin Outhouse (Country, folk)
Brandy|Afrodisiac (R&B, pop, alternative hip hop)
Britney Spears|In the Zone (Pop, dance, hip hop, R&B)
Burial|Untrue (Dubstep, UK garage, ambient)

The Cardigans|Long Gone Before Daylight (Alternative rock)

Cat Power|The Greatest (Indie rock, R&B, soul)

Cake|Comfort Eagle (Alternative rock, experimental rock, experimental pop, funk rock)

The Chemical Brothers|Come With Us (Big beat, electronica, house, progressive house, trip hop)
Christina Aguilera|Stripped (Pop, R&B)

Cyndi Lauper|Bring Ya to the Brick (Pop rock, dance-pop, electronic, house)
Clipse|Hell Hath No Fury (Hip hop, urban)
Coldplay|A Rush of Blood to the Head (Alternative rock, post-Britpop)
Common|Be (Hip hop, neo soul, jazz rap)

The Corrs|In Blue (Pop rock, Celtic fusion)
Craig David|Born to Do It (2-step garage, R&B)
D'Angelo|Voodoo (Neo soul, funk, soul, jazz)
Daft Punk|Discovery (Disco, post-disco, French house)
Death Cab For Cutie|Transatlanticism (Indie rock)

DMX|It's Dark and Hell is Hot (East Coast hip hop, horrocore)
Eminem|The Marshall Mathers LP (Horrocore, hardcore hip hop)
Erykah Badu|Mama's Gun (Neo soul)

Evanescence|Fallen (Nu metal, alternative metal, gothic metal)

Fergie|The Dutchess (Hip hop, pop, R&B)

Feist|The Reminder (Indie pop)

The Fray|The Fray (Alternative rock, pop rock)
Godspeed You!Black Emperor|Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (Post-rock, space rock)

Goldfrapp|Black Cherry (Electronica, electroclash, synth-pop, trip hop)
Gorillaz|Gorillaz (Alternative rock, dub, hip hop, trip hop, punk rock)
Green Day|American Idiot (Pop punk, puk rock, alternative rock)
Gwen Stefani|Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (Electropop, dance-rock, new wave, R&B, hip hop, soul, disco)

Imogen Heap|Speak For Yourself (Electronic, pop, alternative rock)
Interpol|Turn On the Bright Lights (Indie rock, post-punk revival)
J Dilla|Donuts (Instrumental hip hop, experimental hip hop, neo soul)

Javiera Mena|Esquemas Juveniles (Electropop, synth-pop)
Jay-Z|The Blueprint (Hip hop)

Jazmine Sullivan|Fearless (R&B, funk, soul)
Jill Scott|Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 (R&B, soul, neo soul, hip hop, jazz)

Joanna Newsom|Ys (Baroque pop, freak folk)

Juana Molina|Un dia (Folktronica, experimental, neofolk, indietronica, lo-fi, psychedelic)
Justice|Cross (Electronic house, French house)
Justin Timberlake|FutureSex/LoveSounds (Pop dance, electro-R&B, art pop, progressive pop)
Kanye West|The College Dropout (Hip hop, chipmunk soul, conscious rap, pop rap)

Kelly Clarkson|Breakaway (Pop rock)

Kid Cudi|Man on the Moon: The End of Days (Alternative hip hop, psychedelia)

The Killers|Hot Fuss (Alternative rock, post-punk revival, new wave, synth-pop)

Kylie Minogue|Fever (Dance-pop, disco, europop, nu-disco)
Lady Gaga|The Fame (Monster) (Electropop)

La Roux|La Roux (Synth-pop)
LCD Soundsystem|Sound of Silver (Dance-punk, electronic rock, electronica, indie rock)

Lifehouse|Lifehouse (Pop rock, alternative rock, post-grunge)

Lil' Wayne|Tha Carter III (PHip hop, pop rap)

Lily Allen|Alright, Still (Pop, reggae, R&B)

Linkin Park|Meteora (Nu metal, rap metal, rap rock, alternative rock)

Loretta Lynn|Van Lear Rose (PCountry, Americana, indie rock, adult contemporary)
M.I.A.|Kala (Dance, world, hip hop)
Madonna|Confessions on a Dance Floor (Dance-pop, electronica, nu-disco, deep house)
Madvillian|Madvillainy (Alternative hip hop, jazz rap, experimental hip hop, underground hip hop)
Mariah Carey|The Emancipation of Mimi (Pop, dance-pop, hip hop, R&B)
Mary J. Blige|No More Drama (R&B)
Missy Elliott|Miss E... So Addictive (PHip hop, club, R&B, dance, soul)

Moby|Play (Electronica, downtempo, techno, ambient, breakbeat, roots, blues)
Modest Mouse|The Moon & Antarctica (Alternative rock, indie rock, space rock, psychedelic rock, experimental rock, art rock, art punk)

Morcheeba|Dive Deep (Trip hop, downtempo, adult contemporary music)

No Doubt|Return to Saturn (Ska punk, alternative rock, new wave)

Neko Case|Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Alternative country)
Nelly Furtado|Loose (Dance-pop, hip hop, R&B)
OutKast|Stankonia (Hip hop, southern hip hop, psychedelic funk)

Paul McCartney|Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (Rock)

Peter Bjorn and John|Writer's Block (Indie pop, indie rock)
P!nk|Missundaztood (Pop, dance, R&B)
PJ Harvey|Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (Alternative rock)

The Postal Service|Give Up (Indietronica, indie pop, synth-pop)
Radiohead|Kid A (Eletronica, experimental rock, post-rock)
Rihanna|Good Girl Gone Bad (Pop, dance-pop, R&B)
Robyn|Robyn (Synth-pop, dance-pop, europop)

Roisin Murphy|Overpowered (Electropop, dance-pop, electro-disco)

Sade|Lovers Rock (Soul, reggae)

Shakira|Laundry Service (Pop rock)

Sigur Ros|Agaetis Byrjun (Post-rock, dream pop, ambient, art rock, shoegazing)
Sleater-Kinney|The Woods (Alternative rock)

The Strokes|Is This It (Indie rock, garage rock revival)

Sufjan Stevens|Illinois (Folk, indie rock, baroque pop, experimental)

t.A.T.u.|200 km/h in the Wrong Lane (Pop rock, electronic, dance-pop)

Taylor Swift|Fearless (Country pop)
Usher|Confessions (Contemporary R&B, crunk)
Vampire Weekend|Vampire Weekend (Indie pop, chamber pop, afropop, worldbeat)

The White Stripes|White Blood Cells (Garage rock revival, blues rock)
Wilco|Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Alternative rock, experimental rock, art rock)

50 Cent|Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (Gangsta rap, East Coast hip hop)

 

Essential 10s Albums:

Spoiler

A Tribe Called Quest|We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service (Jazz rap, East Coast hip hop)
A$AP Rocky|Live.Love.A$AP (mixtape) (East Coast hip hop, Southern hip hop, Cloud rap, Chopped & Screwed, psychedelic, alternative hip hop)
Adele|21 (Soul, pop, R&B)
Angel Olsen|My Woman (Indie rock)
Arcade Fire|The Suburbs (Indie rock, art rock, baroque pop)
Arca|Arca (Electronica, experimental)
Ariana Grande|Sweetener (Pop, R&B, trap)

Azealia Banks|Broke With Expensive Taste (Hip hop, dance-pop, hip house)

Bad Bunny (Latin trap, alternative reggaeton, Latin R&B, experimental)

Banks|Goddess (Electronica, R&B)
Beach House|Teen Dream (Dream pop, indie pop)
Beyonce|BEYONCE (Electro-R&B)

Big Thief|U.F.O.F. (Folk rock)

Billie Eilish|When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go (Pop, electropop, avant-pop, art pop)
Blood Orange|Cupid Deluxe (R&B, new wave, funk)
Bon Iver|Bon Iver (Indie rock, chamber pop, folk rock, post-rock, soft rock)
Cardi B|Invasion of Privacy (Hip hop)
Carly Rae Jepsen|Emotion (Pop, dance-pop, synth-pop, disco)
Chance the Rapper|Acid Rap (mixtape) (Hip hop, jazz rap)
Charli XCX|Pop 2 (Dance-pop, experimental pop, synth-pop)
Courtney Barnett|Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit (Indie rock)
D'Angelo and The Vanguard|Black Messiah (Avant-soul, funk, R&B, neo soul, jazz-funk, rock)
Daft Punk|Random Access Memories (Disco, funk, electronic)
Danny Brown|XXX (mixtape) (Alternative hip hop)
David Bowie|Blackstar (Art rock, jazz rock, experimental rock)
Deerhunter|Halcyon Digest (Psychedelic pop, dream pop, indie pop, noise pop)
Destroyer|Kaputt (Soft rock, smooth jazz, pop, electropop, sophisti-pop)
Disclosure|Settle (House, dance)
Drake|Take Care (Hip hop, R&B, pop)

Ellie Goulding|Bright Lights (Synth-pop, dance-pop, folk-pop)
Father John Misty|I Love You, Honeybear (Indie folk, soft rock, baroque pop, folktronica)
Fiona Apple|The Idler Wheel... (Art pop)
FKA twigs|LP1 (R&B, electronic)
Florence + The Machine|Ceremonials (Baroque pop, art pop, indie pop, neo soul, rock)
Flying Lotus|Cosmogramma (Alternative hip hop, electronica, experimental, IDM, nu jazz, psychedelia)
Frank Ocean|Channel Orange (Alternative R&B, neo soul)
Grimes|Art Angels (Synth-pop, art pop, dance)

Half Alive|Now, Not Yet (Pop)

Haim|Days Are Gone (Pop rock, indie pop, indie rock)

J. Cole|2014 Forest Hills Drive (Hip hop, conscious rap)

Jai Paul|Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones) (Electronic, R&B, pop)

James Blake|James Blake (Electronic, post-dubstep, electro-R&B, blue-eyed soul)
Jamie xx|In Colour (Electronica, house, future garage)
Janelle Monae|The ArchAndroid (Neo soul, alternative R&B, psychedelic pop, psychedelic soul)
Joanna Newsom|Have One on Me (Indie folk, avant-garde, baroque pop, jazz, blues)
Kacey Musgraves|Golden Hour (Country pop, country)
Kanye West|My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Hip hop, prog-rap, pop, art pop, rap opera)
Katy Perry|Teenage Dream (Pop, rock)
Kaytranada|99.9% (Electronic, hip hop, alternative R&B)
Kelela|Take Me Apart (Electro-R&B, alternative R&B, electronica)
Kendrick Lamar|Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap)
Lady Gaga|Born This Way (Dance-pop)
Lana Del Rey|Born To Die (Alternative pop, baroque pop, indie pop, sadcore, trip hop)

La Roux|Trouble in Paradise (Synth-pop, new wave, disco)

Leonard Cohen|You Want It Darker (Folk rock)
LCD Soundsystem|This Is Happening (Dance-punk, electronica, art rock)
Lorde|Melodrama (Pop, electropop)

M.I.A.|Matangi (Experimental hip hop, bhangra)
Miguel|Wildheart (R&B, rock, neo soul, new wave, psycchedelic rock)
Mitski|Puberty 2 (Indie rock, punk rock)

|No Mythologies to Follow (Electropop, synth-pop)

The National|Trouble Will Find Me (Indie rock, post-punk revival)

Nao|For All We Know (Alternative R&B, funktronica, neo soul, wonky pop, electropop, pop, funk, R&B, soul)

Nicki Minaj|The Pinkprint (Hip hop)

Norah Jones|Little Broken Hearts (Indie pop)
Oneohtrix Point Never|Replica (PElectronic, sampledelia, ambient, plunderphonics)
Perfume Genius|No Shape (PArt rock, pop)
PJ Harvey|Let England Shake (Folk rock)

Rae Morris|Someone Out There (Art pop, electronica)
Rihanna|Anti (Pop, hip hop soul, R&B)

Rina Sawayama|RINA (Pop, R&B, avant-pop)
Robyn|Body Talk (Dance-pop, electropop, synth-pop, europop, disco-pop)
Rosalia|El Mal Querer (Flamenco pop, experimental pop, Latin R&B)
Run the Jewels|Run the Jewels (Hardcore hip hop)

Shakira|Sale el Sol (Latin pop, merengue, rock, world)

Sky Ferriera|Night Time, My Time (Indie rock, synth-pop)
Solange |A Seat at the Table (Neo soul, funk, R&B)
SOPHIE|Oil of Every Pearl's Uninsides (Avant-pop, electronic, industrial, bubblegum pop, ambient, hyperpop)

Sophie Ellis-Bextor|Make A Scene (Dance-pop, house, nu-disco, synth-pop)

Sturgill Simpson|Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (Outlaw country)
St. Vincent|Strange Mercy (Art pop, post-punk, baroque pop, progressive pop, experimental)
Sufjan Stevens|Carrie & Lowell (Indie folk, lo-fi)
SZA|Ctrl (R&B, alternative R&B, neo soul)
Tame Impala|Currents (Psychedelic pop, disco, R&B, synth-pop)
Taylor Swift|1989 (Synth-pop)

Tinashe|Aquarius (R&B, alternative R&B, pop)
Tyler, the Creator|Flower Boy (Hip hop, jazz rap, neo soul)
Vampire Weekend|Modern Vampires of the City (Indie rock, art pop, chamber pop)
Vince Staples|Summertime '06 (Hip hop)

The War on Drugs|A Deeper Understanding (Heartland rock, synth-pop, Americana, psychedelic rock)

Wallows|Nothing Happens (Indie rock, post-punk, power pop, bedroom pop, alternative rock, surf punk)

The Weeknd|House of Balloons (mixtape) (Alternative R&B)

Youth Lagoon|A Year of Hibernation (Dream pop, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia)

 

I hope some of you are able to find these lists helpful :party:

 

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  • Pink Matter

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Great work here! Just have a a couple possible additions:

 

IMO Mobb Deep’s The Infamous is by all means a 90s essential album but ATRL isn’t too hip hop leaning so I understand. 

 

No Massive Attack for the 90s? Mezzanine pretty worthy imo. 
 

Live through this definitely deserves a 90s spot as well but it’s my fave ever so might be biased Think a lot of people here love it tho.
 

again, this is awesome you put this together. Good **** 

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suburbannature
5 minutes ago, Slamless said:

Great work here! Just have a a couple possible additions:

 

IMO Mobb Deep’s The Infamous is by all means a 90s essential album but ATRL isn’t too hip hop leaning so I understand. 

 

No Massive Attack for the 90s? Mezzanine pretty worthy imo. 
 

Live through this definitely deserves a 90s spot as well but it’s my fave ever so might be biased Think a lot of people here love it tho.
 

again, this is awesome you put this together. Good **** 

Mazzy Star as well, but love this thread idea!

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7 minutes ago, Slamless said:

Great work here! Just have a a couple possible additions:

 

IMO Mobb Deep’s The Infamous is by all means a 90s essential album but ATRL isn’t too hip hop leaning so I understand. 

 

No Massive Attack for the 90s? Mezzanine pretty worthy imo. 
 

Live through this definitely deserves a 90s spot as well but it’s my fave ever so might be biased Think a lot of people here love it tho.
 

again, this is awesome you put this together. Good **** 

Thank you! Unfortunately, many of the 90s lists I saw had very little Rap outside of Nas/Biggie/2Pac/Jay-Z and even those guys were scarce on their lists. I'll make sure to add Mobb Deep, as well as Massive Attack's Mezzanine (I have a feeling I simply forgot to add that one :deadbanana2:) in a moment!

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Just now, Nexto said:

Great list! Both Ultraviolence and NFR deserve a spot imo. Blonde too.

Oh, and the Swiftie in me wants to say Reputation as well.

 

yJVUJr9.gif

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3 minutes ago, suburbannature said:

Mazzy Star as well, but love this thread idea!

Could you give me an album to add specifically? What do you think would be their most representative album from the 90s?

Also as a lamb, where do you stand on Daydream vs. Buttferly?

 

2 minutes ago, Nexto said:

Great list! Both Ultraviolence and NFR deserve a spot imo. Blonde too.

Unfortunately I'm only going for one album per artist so BTD and Channel Orange already snatched their spots. Thoughts on 1989 vs. Red?

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suburbannature

Also, Mamas and Papas for 60s! If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears

 

Minnie Riperton for 70s -  Perfect Angel

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Just now, Pink Matter said:

 

Unfortunately I'm only going for one album per artist so BTD and Channel Orange already snatched their spots. Thoughts on 1989 vs. Red?

Oh sorry I think I missed that part. And 1989 for the win ofc

 

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1 minute ago, Pink Matter said:

Could you give me an album to add specifically? What do you think would be their most representative album from the 90s?

Also as a lamb, where do you stand on Daydream vs. Buttferly?

Definitely So Tonight That I May See. 

 

And that's tough because they are essential for slightly different reasons. Maybe some artists could have two if they ruled a decade in some form or fashion like Mariah in the 90s?

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Spoiler

 

Madonna/Like a Prayer

Mariah Carey/Daydream

Bjork/Homogenic

Taylor Swift/1989

Janet Jackson/The Velvet Rope

Beyoncé/ST

 

 

I think

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Tinashegrande6

Wow thanks so much for putting this together! I've always wanted to listen to a lot of the "classic" albums but never really got round to it. I'm gonna listen to some of these.

 

Is the only way to listen to Aaliyah (legally) by buying her albums?

 

Spoiler

Obviously I'm a stan but I feel like Aquarius by Tinashe deserves a spot on this list

 

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Added all the suggestions so far. Keep em coming!

I'll also add genres to make it easier for people to find albums they might like.

 

35 minutes ago, suburbannature said:

Definitely So Tonight That I May See. 

 

And that's tough because they are essential for slightly different reasons. Maybe some artists could have two if they ruled a decade in some form or fashion like Mariah in the 90s?

I could do that but it would have to be for a few artists like Mimi, Madonna, The Beatles etc. I was also going to wait for more people to weigh in as well :matty: 

1 minute ago, Tinashegrande6 said:

Wow thanks so much for putting this together! I've always wanted to listen to a lot of the "classic" albums but never really got round to it. I'm gonna listen to some of these.

 

Is the only way to listen to Aaliyah (legally) by buying her albums?

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Obviously I'm a stan but I feel like Aquarius by Tinashe deserves a spot on this list

 

You actually can't buy Aaliyah or OIAM :deadbanana2: Neither are on Itunes. You might get lucky if physical copies are floating around but the best way to listen to either album is to illegally download them unfortunately.

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Great list. :clap3:

 

I think Kylie Minogue's Fever deserves a spot too, especially since COADF is there.

Edited by ATWK
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love that you're making this ! these would be my picks

 

Spoiler

Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul (1969) ;

Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Love And Hate (1971) ,

I'm Your Man (1988) ,

You Want It Darker (2016) ;

Paul McCarteney - RAM (1971) ,

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005) ;

The Cure - Three Imaginary Boys (1979) ;

Marianne Faithfull - Broken English (1979) ;

Nico - Chelsea Girl (1969) ;

Cat Power - Moon Pix (1998) ,

The Greatest (2006)

 

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1 hour ago, Tinashegrande6 said:

Wow thanks so much for putting this together! I've always wanted to listen to a lot of the "classic" albums but never really got round to it. I'm gonna listen to some of these.

 

Is the only way to listen to Aaliyah (legally) by buying her albums?

 

  Hide contents

Obviously I'm a stan but I feel like Aquarius by Tinashe deserves a spot on this list

 

Also, for some reason I never saw your spoiler. I honestly am about to add Aquarius because despite it's lack of success, it's a damn good album.

 

1 hour ago, roso said:

love that you're making this ! these would be my picks

 

  Hide contents

Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul (1969) ;

Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Love And Hate (1971) ,

I'm Your Man (1988) ,

You Want It Darker (2016) ;

Paul McCarteney - RAM (1971) ,

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005) ;

The Cure - Three Imaginary Boys (1979) ;

Marianne Faithfull - Broken English (1979) ;

Nico - Chelsea Girl (1969) ;

Cat Power - Moon Pix (1998) ,

The Greatest (2006)

 

Thank you for the suggestions! Just updated the OP.

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17 hours ago, Slate said:

Love this idea! May have to get into some of these albums

 

yJVUJr9.gif

I’m gonna put the genres in later so check back in like a day or two.

 

Also bump cuz this thread is flopping nn

 

yJVUJr9.gif

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StonedSoulPicnic

Good thread. :clap3:

 

My suggestions:

 

1. Make a list for the 1950s.

2. Add more country albums. 

  • Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs - Marty Robbins (1959)
  • I'm a Lonesome Fugitive - Merle Haggard and the Strangers (1967)
  • At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash (1968)
  • Kristofferson - Kris Kristofferson (1970)
  • Coat of Many Colors - Dolly Parton (1971)
  • Honky Tonk Heroes - Waylon Jennings (1973)
  • Red Headed Stranger - Willie Nelson (1975)
  • Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. - Dwight Yoakam (1986)
  • Wrecking Ball - Emmylou Harris (1995)
  • Van Lear Rose - Loretta Lynn (2004)
  • Metamodern Sounds in Country Music - Sturgill Simpson (2014)
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Holy ****, thanks so much for compiling this. I've been slowly making a "classic albums I haven't heard" playlist on Spotify because I really need to get into classic albums pre 2000 because I didn't really get into music until like 2010. 

 

It may be a bit much so you def don't have to do it, but it'd be cool if at least the "non household name" artists had a genre next to them. i.e. of course milennials know who Aaliyah is, but may not know that Kraftwerk is electronic. Again, just a suggestion. And again, this is awesome. :flower:

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13 hours ago, StonedSoulPicnic said:

Good thread. :clap3:

 

My suggestions:

 

1. Make a list for the 1950s.

2. Add more country albums. 

  • Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs - Marty Robbins (1959)
  • I'm a Lonesome Fugitive - Merle Haggard and the Strangers (1967)
  • At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash (1968)
  • Kristofferson - Kris Kristofferson (1970)
  • Coat of Many Colors - Dolly Parton (1971)
  • Honky Tonk Heroes - Waylon Jennings (1973)
  • Red Headed Stranger - Willie Nelson (1975)
  • Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. - Dwight Yoakam (1986)
  • Wrecking Ball - Emmylou Harris (1995)
  • Van Lear Rose - Loretta Lynn (2004)
  • Metamodern Sounds in Country Music - Sturgill Simpson (2014)

Thank you for the recommendations! I was planning on mentioning you for suggestions:celestial:

Edit: Also I wasn't sure if I should go as far back as the 50s but I can look into some lists for sure.

 

11 hours ago, Ewan Chaos said:

Holy ****, thanks so much for compiling this. I've been slowly making a "classic albums I haven't heard" playlist on Spotify because I really need to get into classic albums pre 2000 because I didn't really get into music until like 2010. 

 

It may be a bit much so you def don't have to do it, but it'd be cool if at least the "non household name" artists had a genre next to them. i.e. of course milennials know who Aaliyah is, but may not know that Kraftwerk is electronic. Again, just a suggestion. And again, this is awesome. :flower:

My pleasure! And it's not too much to ask at all. I had planned on adding the genres in at a later point to make it easier for people to find something they might like. I just realized I should've done it halfway into me compiling the lists dd
Also if you have any recommendations, feel free to list them :celestial4:

 

 

OT: @Wicked @Tom Vercetti @Madame X @Ace Reject @supaspaz @keerbyriri @Eeveelution @theblackestday @World Eater @NOW @Lucas32 @JEWRJEWR @jose168 @MP2K

I need some members with tasté for extra suggestions :matty: 

 

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Some suggestions off the top of my head and based on a quick scan:

 

90s

The Verve's Urban Hymns

 

2000s

Moby's Play

Roisin Murphy's Overpowered

Linkin Park's Meteora

Jazmine Sullivan's Fearless

Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism

The Postal Service's Give Up

Peter Bjorn and John's Writer's Block

 

2010s

Youth Lagoon's A Year of Hibernation

 

It's already a solid list you have here though, no surprise lol. And great idea for a possible pinned thread for everyone to use, I feel like I make a variation of it for a random artist I get into every month.

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