Timeless Masterpieces: 20 Albums Everyone Should Listen to at Least Once

Grayson Larkspur

Updated Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 5:42 PM CDT

Timeless Masterpieces: 20 Albums Everyone Should Listen to at Least Once

Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon": A Timeless Masterpiece

Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" has been recommended by multiple music enthusiasts as a timeless masterpiece that everyone should listen to at least once in their life. This iconic album, released in 1973, continues to captivate audiences with its mesmerizing blend of progressive rock, psychedelic elements, and thought-provoking lyrics. From the haunting opening heartbeat in "Speak to Me" to the ethereal closing notes of "Eclipse," "Dark Side of the Moon" takes listeners on an introspective journey that explores themes of time, madness, and the human experience.

Another album that often finds its way onto must-listen lists is The Beatles' "Abbey Road." Praised for its perfect blend of musical genius and harmonies, this 1969 release showcases the band's evolution and experimentation. From the iconic medley on Side 2, seamlessly connecting various songs, to the timeless tracks like "Here Comes the Sun" and "Come Together," "Abbey Road" remains a testament to The Beatles' unparalleled creativity and influence on popular music.

Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" is another album that has stood the test of time. Released in 1977, this emotionally charged masterpiece features heartfelt lyrics and infectious melodies that have resonated with generations of listeners. Songs like "Go Your Own Way," "Dreams," and "The Chain" showcase the band's raw talent and capture the complexities of love, heartbreak, and interpersonal relationships.

Moving on to Pink Floyd once again, "The Wall" is an album that cannot be ignored. This 1979 release is a concept album that delves deep into themes of isolation, personal struggles, and societal pressures. With tracks like "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)" and "Comfortably Numb," Pink Floyd's "The Wall" takes listeners on a sonic and emotional journey that continues to captivate audiences to this day.

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is a groundbreaking album that has left an indelible mark on popular culture. Released in 1982, it revolutionized the music industry with its innovative production, memorable songs, and cultural impact. From the infectious beats of "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" to the iconic title track "Thriller," this album solidified Michael Jackson's status as the King of Pop and remains the best-selling album of all time.

Radiohead's "OK Computer" is often hailed as a groundbreaking album that pushed the boundaries of alternative rock. Released in 1997, it captivated audiences with its thought-provoking lyrics, experimental soundscapes, and introspective themes. Tracks like "Paranoid Android" and "Karma Police" showcase the band's ability to create intricate sonic landscapes that challenge conventional song structures.

Nirvana's "Nevermind" is a timeless rock album that embodies the raw energy and spirit of the grunge movement. Released in 1991, it catapulted Nirvana to international fame and influenced a generation of musicians. With iconic tracks like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Come as You Are," "Nevermind" continues to resonate with listeners, capturing the angst and disillusionment of the era.

U2's "The Joshua Tree" is an album that explores American themes and showcases the band's poetic lyrics and anthemic sound. Released in 1987, it features iconic tracks like "With or Without You" and "Where the Streets Have No Name." "The Joshua Tree" solidified U2's status as one of the biggest rock bands in the world and remains a testament to their musical prowess and ability to create powerful, socially conscious music.

"The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is often regarded as a game-changer in the world of music. Released in 1967, it revolutionized the concept of the album as a cohesive piece of art rather than a collection of individual songs. With its innovative production techniques, diverse range of songs, and iconic tracks like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "A Day in the Life," Sgt. Pepper's continues to inspire and influence musicians to this day.

"The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds" is a masterpiece that showcases intricate harmonies and Brian Wilson's genius songwriting. Released in 1966, it pushed the boundaries of what was possible in popular music at the time. With tracks like "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "God Only Knows," Pet Sounds is often considered one of the best albums of all time and a landmark in the evolution of the concept album.

"The Velvet Underground & Nico" by The Velvet Underground is an album that embraced experimentation and avant-garde sounds. Released in 1967, it challenged the conventions of popular music and influenced countless artists in the future. With tracks like "Heroin" and "Sunday Morning," this album remains a testament to the band's willingness to push boundaries and explore new sonic territories.

Led Zeppelin's "Led Zeppelin IV" is an iconic rock album that features some of the band's most recognizable songs. Released in 1971, it showcases their virtuosic musicianship and includes anthems like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Black Dog." This album solidified Led Zeppelin's status as one of the greatest rock bands of all time and continues to inspire generations of musicians.

"The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St." is a raw and gritty album that showcases the band's versatility and songwriting skills. Released in 1972, it features a blend of rock, blues, and soul, capturing the essence of The Rolling Stones' sound. Tracks like "Tumbling Dice" and "Rocks Off" exemplify the band's ability to create infectious and timeless rock 'n' roll.

John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" is a masterpiece of ja** music. Released in 1965, it is a spiritual and improvisational journey that showcases Coltrane's virtuosity and his quest for musical transcendence. With its four-part suite and Coltrane's passionate saxophone playing, "A Love Supreme" remains a landmark in the history of ja**.

"The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" by Lauryn Hill is a powerful album that fuses genres like R&B, hip-hop, and soul. Released in 1998, it features Hill's soulful vocals and poignant lyrics that touch upon themes of love, identity, and social issues. Tracks like "Doo W** (That Thing)" and "Ex-Factor" showcase Hill's immense talent and make this album a must-listen.

Radiohead's "In Rainbows" is an album that not only captivated listeners with its beautiful blend of electronic and organic elements but also revolutionized the music industry with its innovative "pay-what-you-want" release model. Released in 2007, it showcases Radiohead's ability to create atmospheric soundscapes and thought-provoking lyrics that resonate with audiences.

Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" is a seminal album in the world of ja**. Released in 1959, it is often regarded as one of the greatest ja** albums of all time. Featuring Davis' iconic trumpet playing and a stellar lineup of musicians, "Kind of Blue" embodies the essence of improvisation and showcases the beauty of the genre.

Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" is an album that embodies the spirit of anthemic rock songs, storytelling lyrics, and Springsteen's passionate delivery. Released in 1975, it solidified Springsteen's status as a rock 'n' roll icon and features timeless tracks like the title track "Born to Run" and "Thunder Road."

Kanye West's "The College Dropout" is a game-changing hip-hop album that showcases West's introspective lyrics, innovative production, and genre-bending sound. Released in 2004, it challenged the conventions of mainstream rap and paved the way for a new wave of artists. Tracks like "Through the Wire" and "Jesus Walks" exemplify West's ability to blend personal experiences with social commentary.

Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" is a soulful and heartfelt album that showcases Winehouse's immense talent. Released in 2006, it draws inspiration from retro sounds and features Winehouse's powerful vocals and deeply personal lyrics. Tracks like "Rehab" and "Back to Black" have solidified this album as a modern classic.

These 20 albums represent a diverse range of genres and eras, but they all share one thing in common - their ability to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impact. Whether you're a fan of rock, ja**, pop, or hip-hop, these albums are essential listens that have shaped the course of music history. So, take some time to explore these timeless masterpieces and discover the magic that lies within each note and lyric.

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