As you may have seen, this week’s NME features the 2013 edition of their 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. For this one, they also accepted votes from a bunch of the mag’s alumni, including me, so I thought it’d be an easy, albeit self-indulgent, blog to reproduce my Top 50 albums here.

As you may have seen, this week’s NME features the 2013 edition of their 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. For this one, they also accepted votes from a bunch of the mag’s alumni, including me, so I thought it’d be an easy, albeit self-indulgent, blog to reproduce my Top 50 albums here.



As I’ve said before, I find these lists a lot harder to compile as I get older and, I hope, become a bit less didactic in the way I think about the music I like and the music I dislike. This is what my Top 50 looked like in early September, anyhow: rather canonical, a little nostalgic, no doubt fatally undermined by the absence of records I will soon be mortified to have forgotten, but generally resembling one of those Rock Snob pisstakes from ten or so years back.

I do remember, though, poring over an NME Greatest Albums list that was published in the mid-‘80s, and discovering a horde of extraordinary albums – like “What’s Goin’ On”, for a start – that broadened my perspective way beyond the world of Aztec Camera and Echo & The Bunnymen that I probably lived in at the time. It was a critical tool that allowed me to see the bigger picture, and whenever I see people treating all magazine lists with the same blanket disdain, thinking about it reassures me; at their best, they can have a profound effect.

Be interested, as ever, to hear your thoughts: about the NME list as much as mine, of course.

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1. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

2. Neil Young – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

3. Television – Marquee Moon

4. Fairport Convention – Liege And Lief

5. Terry Riley – A Rainbow In Curved Air

6. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

7. Gil Evans – The Individualism Of Gil Evans

8. Joni Mitchell – Hejira

9. The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street

10. Dexys Midnight Runners – Don’t Stand Me Down

11. The Go Betweens – Spring Hill Fair

12. Neil Young – On The Beach

13. Marvin Gaye – What’s Goin’ On

14. Steely Dan – Countdown To Ecstasy

15. Linda Perhacs – Parallelograms

16. Led Zeppelin – 4

17. Neu! – Neu! 75

18. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited

19. REM – Murmur

20. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead

21. Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

22. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation

23. The Grateful Dead – Europe 72

24. Brightblack Morning Light – Motion To Rejoin

25. Love – Forever Changes

26. Elliott Smith – Either/Or

27. Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel

28. Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom

29. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

30. Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda

31. The Stooges – Funhouse

32. GZA – Liquid Swords

33. Gillian Welch – Time The Revelator

34. Red House Painters – Red House Painters

35. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain

36. Robbie Basho – Venus In Cancer

37. The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues

38. Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers

39. Tim Buckley – Happy Sad

40. The Band – The Band

41. Leonard Cohen – The Songs Of Leonard Cohen

42. MC5 – High Time

43. Slint – Spiderland

44. Prince – Around The World In A Day

45. Kraftwerk – Trans Europe Express

46. Joanna Newsom – Ys

47. White Stripes – White Blood Cells

48. The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace

49. Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

50. Boredoms – Vision Create Newsun

UPDATE 7/11/13: Responding to all your comments and interest, I’ve found the 131-strong longlist that I used to come up with my Top 50 (it mostly involved skimming through my iTunes, plus a cursory look at my shelves). A good few records that some of you have mentioned are in this lot, plus hopefully a few less well-known things that deserve a wider audience.

Let me know what you think, anyhow (they’re not in any order, I should point out):

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

AC/DC – Back In Black

The Beach Boys – Surfs Up

The Beach Boys – Smile

The Beatles – Revolver

Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Volume II

Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda

Archie Shepp – Attica Blues

Gil Evans – The Individualism Of Gil Evans

Pharaoh Sanders – Black Unity

Smog – Knock Knock

Bill Fay – Bill Fay

Neu! – Neu! 75

Bjork – Vespertine

Led Zeppelin – 2

Led Zeppelin – 4

Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy

Boredoms – Vision Create Newsun

Brightblack Morning Light – Motion To Rejoin

Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle

Caetano Veloso – Caetano Veloso (2)

Can – Tago Mago

Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions

GZA – Liquid Swords

Robbie Basho – Venus In Cancer

Boards Of Canada – Geogaddi

Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited

Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding

Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks

Comets On Fire – Avatar

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory

Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray

Rocket From The Crypt – Hot Charity

The Byrds – Younger Than Yesterday

David Bowie – Heroes

David Bowie – Station To Station

Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Don’t Stand Me Down

The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues

Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation

Steely Dan – Countdown To Ecstasy

Funkadelic – Maggot Brain

Duke Ellington – Far East Suite

Patti Smith – Horses

Television – Marquee Moon

Elliott Smith – Either/Or

Os Mutantes – Os Mutantes (1st)

Fairport Convention – Liege And Lief

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbricking

The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace

Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel

Tim Buckley – Blue Afternoon

Tim Buckley – Happy Sad

Linda Perhacs – Parallelograms

Gillian Welch – Time The Revelator

Neil Young – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Neil Young – Ragged Glory

Neil Young – On The Beach

The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street

The Grateful Dead – Europe 72

Nick Cave – The Good Son

The Stooges – Funhouse

MC5 – High Time

LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver

Jim O’Rourke – Eureka

Joanna Newsom – Ys

Joni Mitchell – Hejira

Joni Mitchell – Court & Spark

Red House Painters – Red House Painters

Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts Of The Great Highway

Julian Cope – Peggy Suicide

The Go Betweens – Spring Hill Fair

The Go Betweens – Before Hollywood

Aztec Camera – High Land Hard Rain

Kraftwerk – Trans Europe Express

Richard & Linda Thompson – I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight

Leonard Cohen – The Songs Of Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man

Cluster – Sowiesoso

Love – Forever Changes

Mike Oldfield – Hergest Ridge

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

The Necks – Mosquito/See Through

PJ Harvey – Dry

The Pop Group – Y

Pulp – Different Class

Queens Of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf

REM – Murmur

Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom

Roy Harper – Stormcock

Royal Trux – Accelerator

Sandy Bull – E Pluribus Unum

Scritti Politti – Songs To Remember

Shirley & Dolly Collins – Death And The Lady

Sly & The Family Stone – Fresh

Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

Terry Riley – A Rainbow In Curved Air

Terry Riley – Persian Surgery Dervishes

The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground

Scott Walker – Scott 4

Wilco – A Ghost Is Born

Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left

The Band – The Band

Spiritualized – Lazer Guided Melodies

The Monkees – Head

Jeff Buckley – Grace

Pixies – Surfer Rosa

The Feminine Complex – Livin’ Love

Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate – By The Light Of The Moon

Youssou N’Dour – Immigres

Four Tet – Pause

Fennesz – Endless Summer

Marvin Gaye – What’s Goin’ On

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul

Screaming Trees – Dust

Love As Laughter – Destination 2000

Stereolab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup

The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead

Slint – Spiderland

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

Van Morrison – The Common One

Van Morrison – Into The Music

Husker Du – Candy Apple Grey

Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers

Prince – Around The World In A Day

Van Dyke Parks – Song Cycle

Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill

D’Angelo – Voodoo

Donald Fagen – The Nightfly

White Stripes – White Blood Cells