The following is the beginning of a list of the fifty (or so) greatest albums of my generation. It's incomplete, because there are some albums I'm not aware of that should be on this list. There certainly ought to be an early rap album or two on there, but I'm not in on that scene. For an album to be great, it must:
- Be popular. There have been lots of good albums produced in the last twenty years that either lacked large market appeal or distribution. They belong in another list.
- Be great as an album, not just have several hit singles. If every (or nearly) track is a great single, that counts.
- Have staying power. I don't care how many copies of the latest Backstreet Boys album sell, in ten years, nobody will care. Some albums on the list have demonstrated longevity, others probably will.
- Appeal to people who are not explicit fans of the artist. I might think that Troutmask Replica is da bomb, but people who aren't into Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band probably wouldn't enjoy it. One should not be surprised to see a great album in a music collection dominated by another style of music.
Please make suggestions.
In no particular order,
- Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon -- Though not really "of" my generation, it is easily more influential, better, and more widely owned by my generation than most other albums on the list. This is not true of most other albums from before the '80s, unfortunately.
- Pink Floyd - The Wall -- Ditto
- U2 - Joshua Tree
- U2 - War -- maybe?
- R.E.M. - Automatic for the People
- Metallica - Master of Puppets -- perhaps also the black album or ... And Justice for All?
- Nirvana - Whatever
- Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
- Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
- Orbital - In Sides
- Prodigy - Fat of the Land
- Moby - Play
- Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
- Tool - Ænima
- Days of the New - Days of the New (green) -- This may not prove the test of popularity, but it's just too awesome not to include
Some categories that I think should be included, but I'm not familiar enough to claim:
- Rap (early, most likely)
- Tori Amos
- Pearl Jam
- More grunge/early '90s indie
- More late-80s
Is there a soundtrack that makes the cut (especially the critereon of time)? What about a best-of? The Doors' best-of and maybe Hendrix's best-of might qualify. Is there a country, classical, ethnic, or international album that meets the popularity-among-my-generation critereon? A live album?