Apple Music, the popular streaming platform, has unveiled its highly anticipated list of the top 100 albums of all time. This modern 21st-century ranking, known as Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums, is a carefully crafted compilation by Apple Music’s team of experts, along with a select group of artists, songwriters, producers, and industry professionals. This list is an editorial statement, independent of any streaming numbers on Apple Music, serving as a love letter to the records that have shaped the world’s music landscape.

In this article, we will explore the top 10 albums from the list, discuss the significance of the rankings, and share opinions from various industry professionals and music enthusiasts.

The Top 10 Albums

1. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998), Lauryn Hill

The top spot on the list goes to Lauryn Hill’s groundbreaking debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Released in 1998, the album showcases Hill’s incredible talent as a singer, rapper, and songwriter, blending elements of R&B, hip-hop, and reggae. The album’s themes of love, heartbreak, and self-realization have resonated with listeners for over two decades, making it a deserving choice for the number one spot.

Nile Rodgers, legendary musician and producer, commented on the album’s impact, stating, “She’s amazing. This record is amazing.”

2. To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed third studio album, To Pimp a Butterfly, takes the second spot on the list. Released in 2015, the album explores themes of racial inequality, depression, and institutional discrimination. Lamar’s powerful lyrics and innovative blend of jazz, funk, and hip-hop have cemented the album’s place as a modern classic.

3. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), Kanye West

Kanye West’s fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is a masterclass in storytelling and production. Released in 2010, the album showcases West’s ability to blend various musical styles, including hip-hop, R&B, and orchestral elements. The album’s themes of fame, excess, and personal redemption have resonated with listeners, earning it the third spot on the list.

4. blond (2016), Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean’s second studio album, blond, takes the fourth spot on the list. Released in 2016, the album is a deeply personal exploration of love, identity, and self-discovery. Ocean’s ethereal vocals and introspective lyrics have made blond a fan favorite and a critical darling.

5. Thriller (1982), Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s iconic sixth studio album, Thriller, comes in at number five on the list. Released in 1982, the album is a genre-defining masterpiece, blending elements of pop, rock, and R&B. With hits like “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and the title track, Thriller remains one of the best-selling albums of all time and a testament to Jackson’s enduring legacy.

6. OK Computer (1997), Radiohead

Radiohead’s third studio album, OK Computer, takes the sixth spot on the list. Released in 1997, the album is a sonic exploration of paranoia, isolation, and the disillusionment of modern life. OK Computer‘s experimental sound and thought-provoking lyrics have cemented its place as a seminal work in the alternative rock genre.

7. The Low End Theory (1991), A Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest’s second studio album, The Low End Theory, is a groundbreaking work in the world of hip-hop. Released in 1991, the album is known for its jazzy production, socially conscious lyrics, and innovative use of basslines. The Low End Theory has influenced countless artists and earned its place as the seventh-best album on the list.

8. Lemonade (2016), Beyoncé

Beyoncé’s sixth studio album, Lemonade, is a powerful exploration of love, betrayal, and Black womanhood. Released in 2016, the album is accompanied by a stunning visual component that enhances its emotional impact. Lemonade‘s blend of genres, including R&B, pop, and rock, showcases Beyoncé’s versatility as an artist and has earned it the eighth spot on the list.

9. Back to Black (2006), Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse’s second and final studio album, Back to Black, takes the ninth spot on the list. Released in 2006, the album is a soulful exploration of love, heartbreak, and addiction. Winehouse’s powerful vocals and raw, honest lyrics have made Back to Black a timeless classic and a testament to her enduring legacy.

10. The Anthology (2023), Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s compilation album, The Anthology, rounds out the top 10. Released in 2023, the album showcases Swift’s evolution as an artist, spanning her entire career. With hits like “Love Story,” “Shake It Off,” and “All Too Well,” The Anthology is a testament to Swift’s songwriting prowess and enduring popularity.

Industry Reactions and Opinions

The release of Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums has sparked discussions and debates among music enthusiasts and industry professionals alike. Here are some of their thoughts on the list:

Maggie Rogers, singer-songwriter: “I’m so happy to see some of my favorite albums on this list. It’s a great reminder of the power of music and the impact these albums have had on all of us.”

Zane Lowe, Apple Music’s global creative director and Beats 1 host: “This list is a reflection of the incredible talent and artistry that has shaped the music industry over the years. It’s a celebration of the albums that have left an indelible mark on our lives.”

Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B: “It’s great to see so many hip-hop and R&B albums on this list. These albums have not only defined their respective genres but have also had a significant impact on popular culture.”

My Opinion

As a music enthusiast, I find Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums to be a thoughtful and well-curated list that celebrates the diversity and richness of the music landscape. While there may be some surprises and omissions, the list serves as a reminder of the incredible albums that have shaped our collective experiences and continue to inspire new generations of artists.

In conclusion, Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums is a testament to the enduring power of music and the artists who create it. As we continue to celebrate these albums and the stories they tell, we can look forward to the new classics that will undoubtedly emerge in the years to come.