As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of RateYourMusic.com and I thought it would be interesting to look at what their users #1 album is for each year starting in 1964 through today (as of right now, the rankings are fluid of course because new ones are always being added.)
Just to be clear these rankings are based on what the users of the Rate Your Music website rated the albums. If you want to effect these rankings in some way you can join the site and start rating your own albums. (Don’t rate albums you haven’t heard though, that would be very unsportsmanlike.)
1964 – Eric Dolphy – Out to Lunch
I must admit, I have never heard this album. My pick for 1964 would probably be A Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles (which is currently #16) but since I haven’t heard this album I can’t really say much about it. Except for maybe I should give it a spin?
1965 – Bob Dylan – Highway 65 Revisited
I make no arguments with this choice. A great Dylan album. Being the complete Beatles freak that I am I probably prefer Rubber Soul but I do think the Dylan album is more consistent and I can see why it’s ranked #1.
1966 – The Beatles – Revolver
1966 was a great year. The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde were also released that year.
1967 – The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
Personally I’d go with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at #1 (it’s ranked #3 on their charts.) A look over the charts from ’67 show that it was a very impressive year. There were a ton of great albums released that year, among the best in my mind is Pink Floyd’s first album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
1968 – The Beatles – The Beatles (“The White Album”)
Considering this is my favorite album of all time you can guess that I’m definitely with the users of RYM on this one.
1969 – The Beatles – Abbey Road
As you might have guessed, I don’t have any arguments with this choice.
1970 – The Stooges – Fun House
The Who’s Live at Leeds is ranked #3. I consider it to be the greatest live album of all time. Possibly the two greatest solo Beatles albums came out in 1970 as well. John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band & George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. I’m also a big fan of McCartney’s solo debut (self titled) although it was a bit more slight. Van Morrison’s Moondance is another one of my favorites from ’70.
1971 – Led Zeppelin – IV
I prefer The Who’s Who’s Next.
1972 – David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
I prefer The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street among others. I like David Bowie but this isn’t one of my favorites of his.
1973 – Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
There were a lot of great albums released in ’73 but this would definitely be my choice as well. For all of the praise it gets, I do not think it is overrated. I think it deserves all of it. It’s a perfect album.
1974 – King Crimson – Red
I don’t think I’ve actually heard this one. I only have one King Crimson album and it’s not this one. I should check it out, eh?
1975 – Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
I actually don’t like this album as much as most Dylan fans do. It’s good, no doubt. But it’s not among my favorites. I prefer Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here (#2 on RYM.)
1976 – Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
This is a great album. Plus, without it we never would have heard of Coolio. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a listen to Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” (taken from this album) below.
1977 – Television – Marquee Moon
This will certainly put me in the minority, but I don’t really get what’s so special about this album. Maybe it’ll hit me one day in the future. Interestingly the Ramones have the #2 spot again (they had it in ’76 as well.)
1978 – Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians
This is the 3rd #1 I haven’t heard so far. I plan on check this one out as well.
1979 – The Clash – London Calling
I don’t really care for The Clash all that much.
1980 – John Williams – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
No, I’m not joking.
1981 – Johannes Brahms – Symphonie No. 4
Huh? The rankings are getting quite weird during the early 80s. #2 in ’81? John Williams with the Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack.
1982 – Glenn Gould – Bach: The Goldberg Variations
I’m sure a dude releases an album Bach biz every year? It seems strange to me that this is #1. Did he rock the Bach like no other? #2? The Conan the Barbarian soundtrack.
1983 – Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones
OK, that’s a bit more like it. Return of the Jedi is only at #7.
1984 – Arvo Part – Tabula Rasa
I have no idea what this is. Excuse my ignorance.
1985 – Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
Waits is dominatin’ the ’80s!
1986 – The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
I haven’t heard this one either. But I’ve heard enough of The Smiths to know I don’t really care that I haven’t heard it.
1987 – Prince – Sign o’ the Times
Guns N’ Roses’ Appetitie for Destruction is at #10.
1988 – Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
They were #3 the year before with Sister.
1989 – Pixies – Doolittle
They were #5 the year before with Surfer Rosa. Other notables from ’89 include The Stone Roses’ self titled album at #3 and Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys at #5.
1990 – Megadeth – Rust in Peace
I’m not much of a metal guy, so I’m more into Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet which is at #4 and is one of my favorite rap albums ever.
1991 – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Nirvana’s Nevermind is at #9.
1992 – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – Mecca and the Soul Brother
I’ve never even heard of these guys before. Have you? I’m curious. Pavement’s Slanted & Enchanted is #2.
1993 – Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
The Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream is at #8. Nirvana’s In Utero is at #21.
1994 – Nas – Illmatic
The hip hop guys are really dominating the early ’90s. No? I’m somewhat surprised by these rankings. Notables in the top 10 include Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain at #4, Jeff Buckley’s Grace at #6, and Portishead’s Dummy at #7. Guided By Voices’ Bee Thousand is #10. Among the albums released ‘in 94 were Nine Inch Nails’ Downward Spiral, and the debut albums of Weezer (The Blue Album) & Oasis (Definitely Maybe.)
1995 – Genius/GZA – Liquid Swords
Radiohead’s The Bends is at #6. Other notable releases from ’95 include the Smashing Pumpkins double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (ranked #23) & Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? (ranked #56.)
1996 – Tool – Aenima
I’m not a big Tool fan although I do like that they’ve helped get Bill Hicks’ name out there. So I think I like them more than their music. My favorite album from 1996 is probably The Olivia Tremor Control’s Music From the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle (ranked #31.) Other good albums from ’96 include Beck’s Odelay & Aphex Twin’s Richard D James Album (ranked #66.)
1997 – Radiohead – OK Computer
As I wrote the other day, ’97 was a great year for music. Almost definitely my favorite year of the ’90s and of course OK Computer has a lot to do with that (although there are many other albums I love from ’97 as well.)
1998 – Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane over the Sea
This is also my #1 album of ’98. Finally me and RYM are starting to come back in sync. It was rough going there for awhile. I wrote about ’98 the other day.
1999 – Ice Earth – Alive in Athens
Alright, what the hell is this? In a year when The Flaming Lips released The Soft Bulletin, Sigur Ros released Agaetis byrjun, and the Olivia Tremor Control released Black Foliage, Ice Earth is #1? Who the hell is Ice Earth?!
2000 – Radiohead – Kid A
OK, that’s more like it. Kid A is one of my top albums of all time, so I’m definitely good with this choice. Another from 2000 that I really dig is Primal Scream’s Xtrmntr. Primal Scream is ridiculously underrated. I advise you to pick up ’91′s Screamdelica, ’97′s Vanishing Point, and 2000′s Xtrmntr. Those three are their best three albums and really stand out a bit from their other stuff.
2001 – Opeth – Blackwater Park
Nah (See rant about prog metal BS below.) I’ll take Amnesiac instead. Thanks. Also the Super Furry Animal’s Rings Around the World is a great album from ’01.
2002 – Agalloch – The Mantle
Seriously fuck off with this bullshit. WTF is Agalloch? There’s a bunch of these sort of prog metal bands that fill up the charts in the early 2000s that I don’t think anyone (with any taste) gives a shit about. Wilco is at #2 with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot which is an excellent album. The Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is another good one from ’02.
2003 – Mitch Hedberg – Mitch All Together
I love Mitch Hedberg, he was one of my favorite comedians ever. But uh, yes, this is a comedy album, not music.
2004 – Arcade Fire – Funeral
I’m not a fan.
2005 – Electric Masada – At the Mountains of Madness
2006 – Tom Waits – Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Waits’ third #1 (also #1 in ’83 and ’85.)
2007 – Radiohead – In Rainbows
Yes. My #1 as well. I could tell on the first listen that this is a special album. I still feel just as positive about it today, actually even more positive after hearing Disc 2.
2008 – Sun Kil Moon – April
It’s only April of course (lots of albums & ratings to come) and I haven’t heard uh… April. I’ve actually never even heard of Sun Kil Moon. Should I check it out? Eh?