Top 10 Albums of All Time: My Take


Maggie Phelps, Writer

I have always found music to be the most beautiful form of art.  It is creative, raw, emotional, genuine, and it is every emotion that I have ever felt and have not been able to put into words myself.  Music is what connects people together and what holds friendships close.  Music is the movement of the world and the voice of the people.  

The driving force behind music is the artist, the person with the drive and energy to create works of art.  It is only reasonable that some bodys of work stand out more than others, and those works deserve to be commemorated.  Here is my account of my top 10 albums of all time, presented in no particular order. 

  1. Bleachers – Strange Desire (2014) – The creation of the Bleachers comes from the Grammy Award winning producer, Jack Antonoff.  Strange Desire is the debut album from the band and perfectly encapsulates the creativity and individuality of Antonoff.  This album features pop rock hits such as “I Wanna Get Better” and “Rollercoaster.”  The album is one of the strongest debut albums I have heard from any artist and is truly a timeless work of art.  Strange Desire perfectly introduces you to Antnoff’s distinct sound and personality through his experimental work.  If you have enjoyed any project that Antonoff has worked on in conjunction with other artists, then you are destined to like Strange Desire. 
  2. Harry Styles – Fine Line (2019) – Fine Line is an immersive and phenomenal creation in every way possible.  Styles has proven his incredible ability and talent as an artist to create a work of art in the modern decade with continuous flashbacks and hints towards music from decades prior such as the funk sounds of the 70’s featured in songs such as “Canyon Moon” and “To Be So Lonely”  and pop rock ballads from the 90’s displayed in songs like “She” and “Light’s Up.”  Fleetwood Mac star, Stevie Nicks, compares Fine Line to that of Rumors, “Way to go H~ it is your Rumours,” sharing in the love that fans have for Styles’ sophomore album. Styles has created a body of work that I truly will never grow tired of. 
  3. Niall Horan – Flicker (2017) – Flicker is the debut album from Niall Horan after starting his solo career post One Direction.  Flicker is the emotional, powerful ballad-filled album that every artist should have under their discography and Horan was able to effortlessly capture that and create a beautiful work of art. Horan showcases his impeccable voice through songs such as “Too Much Too Ask” and the title track, “Flicker,” while also providing danceable songs such as “On The Loose” and “Seeing Blind ft. Marren Morris.” Horan is able to define his folk and pop- like style and sound through Flicker, making it one my favorite albums. 
  4. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977) – If there is one perfect album in this world, it is RumoursRumours is full of passion and desire, fueling the eccentric and outstanding sound that is on the album.  Rumours solidified Fleetwood Mac’s career and amplified their position in the music industry.  On this album, we get to hear the powerful voice of Stevie Nicks backed by Lindsey Buckingham on some of their most emotional ballads of their career as well as highlighting the voice of Christine McVie, a beautiful voice in the dark. This album will stand the test of time. 
  5. Taylor Swift – reputation (2017) – reputation is what I like to call the fundamental shift in Swift’s music and career.  reputation is the album that allowed Swift to reclaim her identity after disappearing from the social media spotlight for over a year.  reputation contains songs such as “Look What You Made Me Do” and ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” which are direct call-outs to the media industry and how toxic of an environment they create for artists. The album also contains love songs such as “New Year’s Day” and “King Of My Heart” dedicated to Swift’s (at the time) private long term relationship.  reputation encapsulates everything that an album needs to be and acts as a landmark for Swift’s career, making it one of the best and most iconic albums of all time. 
  6. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher (2020) – Phoebe Bridgers is one of the most up-and-coming and influential artists of this generation as she does not produce music similar to anyone else and is constantly bending the boundaries of what women in music need to do in order to be successful.  Punisher, Bridgers’ sophomore album, is a testament to just that.  The skipless album produces songs such as “Moon Songs” and “Kyoto” which keeps her fanbase connected to her music through relatable experiences.  Other tracks such as “Savior Complex” and “I Know The End” showcase the unique sound that Bridgers carries with her music.  Bridgers will not only go down as one of the most loved female artists of our time, but Punisher will have a spot beside her as not only one of the most unique albums of this generation but also an underrated and perfect album of this generation. 
  7. Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977) – It is evident that Billy Joel produced some of the most influential music of his time.  The Stranger contains some of Joel’s most recognizable hits such as “Vienna” and “Only The Good Die Young” which represent his iconic and powerful voice and music style.  The Stranger, the ten track album, has a song for everyone from every music background.  “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” the seven minute ballad, is one of the most creative and imaginative pieces of music I have ever heard and is truly a testament to Joel’s ability.  
  8. Frank Sinatra – Ultimate Sinatra (2015) – While Ultimate Sinatra is not a traditional studio album and is more so a compilation album of Sinatra’s greatest works, it still goes down as one of the best albums of all time.  Sinatra has one of the most recognizable voices and music styles of all time, and his music has moved through generations upon generations.  Ultimate Sinatra contains his best works and is a one stop shop for anyone looking to familiarize themselves with his catalog. 
  9. Taylor Swift – Fearless (2008) (2021) – Swift’s second studio album, Fearless, is a landmark album for her career, landing Swift her first Album Of The Year nomination and award at the Grammys. Fearless defined what it meant to Swift to be a young woman creating music in the country music industry and hints to her growth as an artist who would eventually step into new genres. Fearless was also the first album Swift chose to re-record as she is slowly taking back her rights to her catalog from her current owner Scooter Bruan.  In April of 2021 Swift released Fearless Taylor’s Version serving as a landmark for both Swift and her fans. 
  10. Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York (1994) – MTV Unplugged goes down as one of the best live albums ever recorded.  You can hear the raw and authenticness of Cobain’s voice as he sings songs like “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” and you can capture his connection to the audience through the conversations that he holds in between songs.  The album also features a beautiful cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World,” one of the most iconic and well known covers of all time.  MTV Unplugged captures Nirvana’s well-known sound and perfectly encapsulates the band. 

Music is different for everyone and how it resonates and connects with listeners is personal to every individual, making it one of the best and most unique things in the world. The previously mentioned albums will always be special to me and will connect with me at different moments in my life.  It is music that fuels the world and what will continue to bring people together.