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Top 50 albums of all time
(limit one album per artist)    (updated January 2013) 
1.  Desire       Bob Dylan  
Scarlet Rivera's violin and some of Dylan's most affecting tunes create a haunting, mystical album. Dylan throws himself into the various biographical eulogies with abandon and sincerity. Bar Nashville Skyline, his sweetest vocals. Best songs: "Sara", "One More Cup of Coffee", "Hurricane".

2.  The River       Bruce Springsteen  
Springsteen has written better songs elsewhere, but the sheer breadth of this album makes it stand out. It veers wildly from feel-good '60s pop to some dark and despairing ballads - testing, but not overpowering, Springsteen's all-encompassing life vision. Best songs: "Jackson Cage", "The Ties That Bind", "The River".

3.  Rubber Soul         The Beatles  
The mid-point of the Fab Four's artistry and career, just before the ambitious flourishes began. Their most modest, consistent, timeless and satisfying release. Disciplined, rhythmic pop overlayed with emotion (and some irony), punctuated by sublime ballads. Best songs: "In My Life", "Michelle", "Norwegian Wood". 

4.  Thirteen          Teenage Fanclub  
The defining moment of Fanclub's extraordinary career - the day their grunge met their joy. So, prior to their signature "summer" style kicking in, this album has a heavy backdrop that perfectly complements the bliss that's obviously come to them. Best songs: "Norman 3", "Commercial Alternative", "Radio".

5.  Sticky Fingers       The Rolling Stones  
Two straight-out rockers, some fucked-up blues, some country, and a couple of slices of "moonlight crawl" - fully-formed songs effortlessly played by the world's best rock band at their peak. Not as unique as Exile on Main Street, but better. Best songs: "Sway", "Wild Horses", "Bitch".

6.  Inflammable Material     Stiff Little Fingers  
A miracle. Abrasive yet melodic guitars and vocals contribute to the most searing, powerful punk music ever recorded. Such intensity could only come from a debut - Stiff Little Fingers would never again match this effort. Best songs: "White Noise", "Suspect Device", "State of Emergency".

7.  Pinkerton       Weezer  
Rivers Cuomo's pained scream to the world, a half-hour burst of emotion and confession. The band supports him with inspired arrangements and explosive playing. A bruising experience, physically and emotionally, for both Cuomo and the listener. Best songs: "The Good Life", "Pink Triangle", "Across the Sea".

8.  Ennia Pliromena Tragoudia        Trypes  
The crowning glory of Greece's premiere alternative rock act. Smart lyrics, a political stance, charismatic rock music, plaintive ballads, this album's sheer majesty is there to wonder any ears, Greek or not. Best songs: "Den Horas Pouthena", "I Maska pou kryveis", "Amnisia".

9.  Life's Rich Pageant       R.E.M.  
As the drums and guitars crash the opening track in, the production is apparent: rock-hard, with a metallic tinge. Combine that with some typically inscrutable R.E.M. musings (before they started churning out the hits), and you have an awesome album. Best songs: "Begin the Begin", "I Believe", "Fall on Me".

10.  The Clash         The Clash  
Before the polemics, before the success, this is The Clash in all their original garage rock glory. Even now, this album sounds unique - the gnarled vocals, the primitive playing, the basic production all create a feeling of genuine unrest. Best songs: "Deny", "White Riot", "I'm So Bored With the U.S.A.".

11.  Rehearsing My Choir       The Fiery Furnaces
12.  Abba        Abba
13.  Third / Sister Lovers         Big Star
14.  The Boatman's Call        Nick Cave
15.  Horses        Patti Smith
16.  Entertainment!         Gang of Four
17.  Setting Sons        The Jam
18.  Unknown Pleasures        Joy Division
19.  Heart Part of Your Mind          The Underminers
20.  Rid of Me        P J Harvey
21.  Surfer Rosa         The Pixies
22.  The Queen is Dead          The Smiths
23.  Harvest        Neil Young
24.  Ram          Paul and Linda McCartney
25.  Janis Ian         Janis Ian
26.  Album II          Loudon Wainwright III
27.  A Different Kind of Tension         The Buzzcocks
28.  Joan          Joan Baez
29.  Pink Moon        Nick Drake
30.  The Pretenders           The Pretenders
31.  The Specials           The Specials
32.  Turn! Turn! Turn!         The Byrds
33.  The Ramones       The Ramones
34.  Bakesale           Sebadoh
35.  Goo         Sonic Youth
36.  Bug          Dinosaur Jr
37.  Forever Changes        Love
38.  Get the Knack          The Knack
39.  Parallel Lines         Blondie
40.  Cut          The Slits
41.  Alien Lanes         Guided by Voices
42.  Stands for Decibels        The dB's
43.  The Stone Roses         The Stone Roses
44.  It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back        Public Enemy
45.  Nah = Poo - The Art of Bluff          Wah!
46.  Zen Arcade      Husker Du
47.  The Woods       Sleater-Kinney
48.  Mummy Your Not Watching Me         Television Personalities 
49.  Pearl        Janis Joplin
50.  Plastic Ono Band          John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

See also
Top 50 songs of all time
Top 50 artists of all time