As a music fan, I feel obliged to share my picks of the best albums of all time. It was not an easy thing to do!
Before I start, I want to mention a couple of things first. Firstly, this list is totally subjective. I am by no means a music critic nor am I someone who knows that much about music. The main reasons I pick them are mostly 1) because I enjoy them, 2) because of their sentimental value. Secondly, I treat this list like radio charts, e.g. it may be updated from time to time, replacing some albums with another. So with that out of the way, allow me to present a list of My 10 Best Albums of All Time.
- In Motion (2005) by Copeland
Copeland at their most vigorous moment. Their 2005 album In Motion is the album that defines Copeland. From the mellow “Coffee”, to the sentimental piano ballad “Kite”, to the powerful, scream out loud “You Have My Attention”, you’ll have the gist of what (pre-breakup) Copeland sounded like in one album.
Favorite track: “You Have My Attention”
- In Rainbows (2007) by Radiohead
One may argue that In Rainbows is Radiohead’s “safest” album musically, but being safe doesn’t necessarily translate to bad. In fact, there’s not a single track that left me disappointed in In Rainbows. Best listened to as a whole album instead of track-by-track.
Favorite track: “Reckoner”
- Weathervanes (2009) by Freelance Whales
Weathervanes’s innocent atmosphere reminds you of those happy childhood days when you didn’t have to worry about anything in life. The plethora of layers that consist of acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, vocal harmonies, and a bunch of other organic instruments can only be described as messy (you’d be forgiven if you thought that this album was produced by a bunch of precocious school kids), but Freelance Whales manages to turn that mess into an album that’s so pleasant to listen to and fun to revisit time and again.
Favorite track: “Ghosting”
- Rasuk (2009) by The Trees and the Wild
The only album in this list by an Indonesian artist, TTatW’s Rasuk is the one album that made me fall in love with the Indonesian indie music scene. Here, you’ll find dreamy acoustic harmonies that burst into chilling, explosive climaxes, a rarity in Indonesian musical acts. Also, I want more of the track “Our Roots”, which is an amazing homage to Javanese folk music!
Favorite track: “Malino”
- The Bones of What You Believe (2013) by CHVRCHES
Synthesizers galore! The Bones of What You Believe is the album that I put on whenever I feel like dancing (when there’s no one around). In this debut album, CHVRCHES claims the throne as modern kings of synthpop with their delightful synth harmonies and dance-friendly beats.
Favorite track: “Tether”
- ( ) (2002) by Sigur Rós
One word: gorgeous. Need I say more? Sigur Rós’ ( ) is the soundtrack for those impossibly beautiful, ethereal landscapes that only exist in dreams and imagination (and Iceland, probably).
Favorite track: “Untitled #1 (Vaka)”
- The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place (2003) by Explosions in the Sky
Can you tell stories with only guitars and drums? Explosions in the Sky answers that question with a confident “yes” in The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place. You can’t help but picture emotional scenes listening through the whole album.
Favorite track: “The Only Moment We Were Alone”
- Riot on an Empty Street (2004) by Kings of Convenience
I think Kings of Convenience is that one friend who, upon seeing you sad and blue, starts to pick up his guitar and pluck the strings while harmonizing tunes that makes you feel better about yourself in an instant. (Erlend Øye’s super-friendly face just adds to that point.) Riot on an Empty Street’s easy-listening atmosphere makes it the go-to album to calm you down when you come home from a day full of stress.
Favorite track: “Homesick”
- Transatlanticism (2003) by Death Cab for Cutie
This mouthful of an album is more than just the sum of its parts. Listen to it as a whole and you’ll discover brilliantly written stories beneath Ben Gibbard’s masterful songwriting. It’s also the perfect primer for those who want to start listening to DCFC. (Transatlanticism was the album that got me into loving DCFC in the first place.)
Favorite track: “Transatlanticism”
- Give Up (2003) by The Postal Service
The year 2003 must have been Ben Gibbard’s peak in creativity because not only he’s released Transatlanticism with DCFC, he’s also produced another excellent work in the form of the 10-track electronic music masterpiece that is The Postal Service’s Give Up. Gibbard’s prowess in songwriting is exhibited again through the elegantly written lyrics (“A stranger with your door key explaining that I’m just visiting / And I am finally seeing / Why I was the one worth leaving”) on top of brilliant music production courtesy of his partner Jimmy Tamborello.
Favorite track: “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
The albums below are the ones I still totally love but don’t make it into the list.
- Plans (2005) by Death Cab for Cutie
- Alive 2007 (2007) by Daft Punk
- Clinging to a Scheme (2010) by The Radio Dept.
- Illinois (2005) by Sufjan Stevens
- Vampire Weekend (2006) by Vampire Weekend
And that’s it for My 10 Best Albums of All Time. Do you agree with my list? What’s your own pick for the best albums of all time? Let me know in the comments, or even better, share the link to your own picks, as well!
(P.S. I realize that none of the albums were released prior to the millennium! The reason for that is simply I just haven’t heard enough albums from pre-2000 to enjoy them fully and put them on this list. Hopefully that changes in the future so I can update this list with more musical diversity.)