My Top 20 Favorite and Most Influential Albums Of All Time.

By Adhlc Adhlc
updated over 3 years ago

For me, these 20 recordings are of the most important pieces of music that I own out of a collection of over 450 albums. They not only shaped my current musical interests and had a significant and profound effect on me, but they also blew the doors wide open on what I thought I knew about music prior.

  1. Prodigy* - The Fat Of The Land

    At only 8 years old, this was the very first CD I owned. I remember seeing the music videos for "Breathe" and "Firestarter" and being completely blown away. I had never seen or heard anything remotely like this at the time. While every song has the same big-beat, in-your-face feel to it, they also have a very distinct sound to them that sets them apart from the rest. Whether it's the gritty and bass-charged hip-hop sound of "Diesel Power" or the mysterious and melodic vibes of "Nyana", each song grabs you and then demands your full attention.

  2. Tool (2) - Ænima

    This one should need no introduction; it's a true masterpiece. My absolute favorite album from my absolute favorite band. Songs range from being angry and dark to progressive and melodic, while all sounding completely fresh and unlike anything else out there. Tool's "Ænima" totally changed the way I looked at music from the very first time I heard it.

  3. Aphex Twin - Drukqs

    "Drukqs" was my introduction to Aphex Twin, and in my opinion, this is his best work to date. This album also pushed me in the right direction in regards to exploring good electronic music versus the copious amounts of garbage out there. Richard D James showcases his talents for creating such diverse, unique, and beautiful songs on this two-disc set. This album is all over the place - featuring stunning piano pieces, to haunting ambient works, and face-crushing techno and IDM. It's hard to believe that a single, mortal human being is behind all of this.

  4. Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral

    Another album that was way ahead of it's time that, 20 years later, still sounds fresh. Dark, emotional, and unforgiving - this is Trent Reznor's masterpiece, followed closely by "The Fragile".

  5. Radiohead - Kid A

    Radiohead's "Kid A" was not my introduction to the band, however, the dark, lush, atmospheres comprised of almost entirely electronic elements moved me in a way that none of their other albums have. While many fans completely disregard this album, I believe it to be their magnum opus. This marked a major turning point for the band.

  6. Radiohead - Amnesiac

    I feel obligated to include this album as well since this was essentially "Kid A Part 2" (or Kid B). "Amnesiac" isn't as electronically based as it's predecessor, but every one of the 11 songs manages to paint gorgeously moody and melancholic soundscapes. To me, that is what makes these two albums so memorable.

  7. Stars Of The Lid - The Tired Sounds Of Stars Of The Lid

    While I was no stranger to ambient music before hearing this album, "The Tired Sounds Of Stars Of The Lid" showed me a side of the genre I had never heard. Right from the very first listen I was in awe. Each song, in their multiple parts, drones on like a depressive opiate high underneath a Texas sky. This is pure melancholic bliss. Never has such simplicity been this beautiful.

  8. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

    No list would be complete without at least one Pink Floyd album. This was the first album of theirs I heard and I absolutely love(d) every minute of it - especially "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" in its multiple parts. Hearing the soft and sci-fi-esque synthesizers leading into Rogers' haunting and mesmerizing vocals and one of the best guitar solos I've ever heard made it one of the most memorable listening experiences of my entire lifetime. All of their albums are worth a mention, but alongside this one, "Meddle" and "A Saucerful Of Secrets" will likely always be my top 3.

  9. Mew - No More Stories Are Told Today I'm Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I'm Tired Let's Wash Away

    Unlike many of the other albums on my list, Mew's "No More Stories..." was not my introduction to the band. This album is however, very special to me. The band's creativity and technical skills along with their incredibly unique art-rock sound was perfected with this release. I picked this album up at a point in my life where there was a lot of sadness and so much was changing. Because of that, I found myself able to really appreciate and relate with many of the songs on a very personal level.

  10. James Holden - Balance 005

    This two-disc mix album is absolutely flawless. In addition to producing some of the most solid and progressive dance music time and time again, Holden's talents as a DJ shine just as bright here. The track selection, mood, and mixing are top notch and when combined like this, it's hard not to call it a masterpiece. Both discs take you on journey through hypnotizing techno and progressive house. This compilation showed me that there was so much more out there than the below-average trance and McProg crap I was listening to prior.

  11. Burial - Untrue

    Burial's second LP, "Untrue" is complete and unprecedented perfection. Haunting soundscapes and beautifully dark vocal samples mix with gritty garage beats to create some of the most intricate and intelligent music of this generation.

  12. Rush - Roll The Bones

    Rush - another one of my all-time favorite bands. I was only 3 years old when "Roll The Bones" came out and I first heard it but it immediately stuck. Now, 23 years later, I still love this album just as much as did when I was a child. Every song has a very accessible feel to it while still showcasing the band's technical abilities. Rush is also known for writing songs about a very diverse range of subjects, and that holds true on this album as well. While it is definitely no "2112", "Moving Pictures", or "Signals", it's worth a spot on this list as it was because of this album that I discovered this incredible band.

  13. Tricky - Maxinquaye

    Blowback" was actually the first album I heard and owned of Tricky's and whilehile it's a solid album on it's own, "Maxinquaye", his first album, is arguably his best. Trip-Hop has never sounded as good as it does here. The album as a whole is very moody and showcases a variety of different sounds throughout. For me, it was this release that showed me just how gorgeously soulful music can be.

  14. Lo-Fidelity Allstars - How To Operate With A Blown Mind

    This album seems to be one of those that is either loved or hated. While it is now 16 years old, it still stands as one of the most original and genre-defying records I have ever heard. It's dark, gritty, funky, bass-heavy, and eclectic sounds displayed throughout make it a very memorable and interesting listening experience that definitely warrants repeat listens.

  15. D-Bridge & Instra:mental - FabricLive. 50

    Fabric have put out some outstanding releases, but this FabricLive mix is (to me) without a doubt the most forward-thinking and groundbreaking entry in the entire series. At the time of it's release, I had never heard anything even close to the dark, abstract, and minimal drum & bass that makes up this mix. The combined talents of dBridge & Instra:mental are unmatched. With "FabricLive. 50", they've showcased their beautifully ingenious sound and pushed the boundaries of their respective genres.

  16. Boards Of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children

    It took me quite a while to get into and truly appreciate this album. However, once it got a hold of me, it never let go. Board Of Canada have created and coined a sound that is so interesting and distinct from other artists within the same genre. Each song is characterized by beautiful melodies underneath layers of various sounds and samples that are being driven by fat, chunky, kick drums. This album seems to be made for daydreaming and in my opinion, this is their best - closely followed by "Geogaddi" and their most recent release, "Tomorrow's Harvest".

  17. bvdub - Serenity

    2 For Sale from $24.91

    With over twenty albums under Brock's Bvdub moniker, I can only hope that at some point in the future I can say I've heard everything he has to offer. Unfortunately, I only (currently) own five of his LPs. Of those, "Serenity" was the second album I picked up and also the one that made the strongest impression. Dub techno or ambient, call it whatever you want. Brock produces some of the most gorgeously ethereal and emotionally charged music I've ever heard.

  18. Sigur Rós - ( )

    Sigur Rós' "( )" is hands down one of the most beautiful pieces of music I own and it was also my introduction to the band. Comprised of 8 untitled tracks, each song is sung in a completely made-up language - what the band calls "Hopelandic". I read somewhere that the parentheses represent the two halves of the album: the first four songs being softer while the last four are much heavier. Each song slowly builds to its climax while dreamily painting a picture of an overcast winter landscape. "Ágætis Byrjun" will likely always be my favorite album by them, but this album is outstanding in it's own right as well as being the one that broke the ice for me. (See what I did there?)

  19. Minilogue - Animals

    Minilogue can do no wrong and this double-album proves just that. The first disc takes the listener through a journey of impeccably produced and deep, atmospheric tech-house. However, for me, disc two is where the duo's talents really shine. Blending evocative, swiriling ambient, and trippy, experimental downtempo, with gorgeous neo-jazz elements, it's like a psychedelic exploration through sound that you never want to end.

  20. Richie Hawtin - DE9 | Transitions

    They say the third time's the charm and for Richie Hawtin, that proves true with his third and final installment in his DE9 mix series. Complex minimal, an oxymoron, is the only way to describe this tour de force. Taking over a hundred different minimal techno songs, breaking them down to their most basic elements, and then combining those elements to create brand new songs is something that only a pioneer like Richie could master. The result is absolutely mind-blowing. Some tracks contain parts from as many as ten different songs, all the while sounding completely fluid and as though this is how they were meant to be played. While other artists like Joris Voorn, Magda, Wighnomy Brothers, and Martinez have put out similar releases since Hawtin's effort, "Transitions" will always be the best.