|First posted 11/22/2020; updated 11/29/2020.|
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 take 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 put 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)
11. Shania Twain Come on Over (1997)
21. Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006)
31. Boyz II Men II (1994)
41. TLC Crazy Sexy Cool (1994)
51. Taylor Swift Red (2012)
61. New Kids on the Block Hangin’ Tough (1988)
71. Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet (1986)
81. Christina Aguilera Christina Aguilera (1999)
91. The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
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