Sunday, November 22, 2020

Pop: Top 100 Albums

First posted 11/22/2020.

Pop:

The Top 100 Albums

There are no inarguable terms to define rock music – or R&B, or country, or dance, or any other genre. Perhaps the most baffling, though, is pop music. Why? Because it’s an amalgam of all other genres. Just a glance at the top ten on this list. Michael Jackson shows up with a couple of R&B/dance-oriented albums. Fleetwood Mac makes an appearance with classic rock. The Bee Gees and others give us their spin on disco. Carole King shows why she reigned supreme at the forefront of the singer/songwriter movement of the ‘70s. Alanis Morissette serves up a slice the kind of alternative rock which became mainstream in the ‘90s while Adele gives us a dose of blue-eyed British soul.

About the only rules for the albums that make this top 100 pop list are that the album be big. Maybe it was a monster on the album chart, racking up weeks and weeks at #1, like Thriller or Adele’s 21. Maybe it never topped the chart, like Shania Twain’s Come on Over, but sold tens of millions of copies. Maybe it did like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and stayed on the charts for hundreds of weeks.

Some of these albums, like George Michael’s Faith or Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, threw multiple songs to the top of the pop charts. Others never landed a #1 song, but landed song after song in the top 10 (Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A.. In some cases, an album didn’t chart any songs at all (The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s), but were still blockbusters.

It is worth noting that more than a third of these albums were released in the ‘80s and then another 41 since the ‘80s, leaving only 23 pre-‘80s albums (10 in the ‘60s and 13 in the ‘70s). Why so many in the ‘80s? Thriller. Michael Jackson showed the world that an album could be milked for hits for a year or more and dozens of artists followed in that trajectory before the trend slowed in the 21st century.

Welcome to the world of pop music. All the different ingredients described above have been factored in – as well as an aggregate of a handful of lists focused on the best pop albums of all time (see sources at bottom of page) – to create the list you have before you. Hopefully there’s something here to fit your tastes. After all, pop is the great equalizer. It can bring disparate groups together because of a shared love of a particular album. Without further ado, here’s the top 100 pop albums of all time, as determined by Dave’s Music Database.

Check out other best-of-genre/category lists here.

1. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982)
2. George Michael Faith (1987)
3. Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
4. Various artists (Bee Gees et al) Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack, 1977)
5. Whitney Houston Whitney Houston (1985)
6. Prince & the Revolution Purple Rain (1984)
7. Carole King Tapestry (1971)
8. Michael Jackson Off the Wall (1979)
9. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995)
10. Adele 21 (2011)

11. Shania Twain Come on Over (1997)
12. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
13. Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
14. Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
15. Various artists (Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta et al) Grease (1978)
16. Def Leppard Hysteria (1987)
17. Taylor Swift 1989 (2014)
18. Taylor Swift Fearless (2008)
19. Usher Confessions (2004)
20. Madonna Like a Virgin (1984)

21. Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006)
22. Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
23. Various artists (Whitney Houston et al) The Bodyguard (soundtrack, 1992)
24. Michael Jackson Bad (1987)
25. Various artists Dirty Dancing (soundtrack, 1987)
26. Michael Jackson Dangerous (1991)
27. Phil Collins No Jacket Required (1985)
28. Lady Gaga The Fame (2008)
29. Whitney Houston Whitney (1987)
30. Mariah Carey Mariah Carey (1990)

31. Boyz II Men II (1994)
32. Mariah Carey Daydream (1995)
33. Janet Jackson janet. (1993)
34. Janet Jackson Control (1986)
35. Lionel Richie Can’t Slow Down (1983)
36. Spice Girls Spice (1996)
37. Madonna Like a Prayer (1989)
38. Tina Turner Private Dancer (1984)
39. Madonna True Blue (1986)
40. Katy Perry Teenage Dream (2010)

41. TLC Crazy Sexy Cool (1994)
42. Paula Abdul Forever Your Girl (1988)
43. Bruno Mars Unorthodox Jukebox (2012)
44. Rihanna Loud (2010)
45. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (1966)
46. Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
47. Blondie Parallel Lines (1978)
48. Santana Supernatural (1999)
49. Mariah Carey Music Box (1993)
50. Celine Dion Falling into You (1996)

51. Taylor Swift Red (2012)
52. Beyoncé Dangerously in Love (2003)
53. Backstreet Boys Millennium (1999)
54. Ace of Base The Sign (1993)
55. Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) (2009)
56. Kelly Clarkson Breakaway (2004)
57. Lady Gaga Born This Way (2011)
58. INXS Kick (1987)
59. Destiny’s Child Survivor (2001)
60. Milli Vanilli Girl You Know It’s True (aka All or Nothing) (1989)

61. New Kids on the Block Hangin’ Tough (1988)
62. Wham! Make It Big (1984)
63. Fergie The Dutchess (2006)
64. Wilson Phillips Wilson Phillips (1990)
65. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
66. The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)
67. The Beatles The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) (1968)
68. U2 The Joshua Tree (1987)
69. Dire Straits Brothers in Arms (1985)
70. The Police Synchronicity (1983)

71. Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet (1986)
72. The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
73. Billy Joel The Stranger (1977)
74. Britney Spears …Baby One More Time (1999)
75. Phil Collins …But Seriously (1989)
76. Cyndi Lauper She’s So Unusual (1983)
77. Foreigner 4 (1981)
78. Bobby Brown Don’t Be Cruel (1988)
79. Huey Lewis & the News Sports (1983)
80. Bon Jovi New Jersey (1988)

81. Christina Aguilera Christina Aguilera (1999)
82. Huey Lewis & the News Fore! (1986)
83. T.I. Paper Trail (2008)
84. Ke$ha Animal (2010)
85. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
86. Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987)
87. The Beatles Rubber Soul (1965)
88. Pink Floyd The Wall (1979)
89. Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
90. Paul Simon Graceland (1986)

91. The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
92. Adele 25 (2015)
93. M.C. Hammer Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (1990)
94. Madonna Ray of Light (1998)
95. The Beatles Please Please Me (1963)
96. Drake Views (2016)
97. Tears for Fears Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
98. Michael Jackson HIStory: Past, Present & Future – Book I (1995)
99. Bee Gees Spirits Having Flown (1979)
100. Various Artists (Whitney Houston et al) Waiting to Exhale (soundtrack, 1995)


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