13 Albums You Should Own If You Don’t Already...

Prioleau Alexander

{ Note: My blogs thus far on the mighty Grit have been on politics. Since I no longer follow politics (or the news, for that matter), I decided to venture into some new areas. So, I’m back. You’re welcome. }



Those of us over 35 remember a time when you bought albums—period. There was, for the most part, no such thing as a “single” unless you were a teenage girl scoring David Cassidy’s latest opus.


The problem with buying entire albums back in the Stone Age was that at least half the album sucked. It seemed, in a way, the band wasn’t really even trying… they put the potential radio-play hits in slots 1 and 4, then “whatevered” the rest of the music.


Every now and then, by accident or genius, bands release albums that dwarf the full-album efforts of their peers. Here’s a countdown of the Top 13 of all time.


Please note: Rap and hip-hop aren’t included because I don’t listen to them. You’ll also note The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper’s isn’t included because that’s too easy. Finally, for the really hip audiophiles, there are no indy bands that no one has ever heard of: My hope is to get readers to experience some brilliant music they might not know about. Doing so involves offering up realistic suggestions, because no one is going to buy a record by The #2 Pencils or The Ironic Brain Trust.



{ 13. Alanis Morrisette: Jagged Little Pill } The zenith of raw female emotion, put to music. Alanis is beautiful and talented, but getting involved with her is a place where smart angels should fear to tread.



{ 12. The Police: Synchronicity } Unbelievable. It must’ve taken a lot out of Sting, because he went crazy afterwards and became, well, Sting.




{ 11. Enya: Watermark } Enya defies description. She’s her own genre. I defy anyone (except a heavy metal fan) to listen to this album not enjoy its soothing brilliance. Where she gets her sound, I do not know.




{ 10. Tom Petty: Full Moon Fever } Done as a solo project while The Heartbreakers were on a break, The Heartbreakers suffered some serious heartbreak when they saw what the frontman did solo.



{ 9. Bruce Springsteen: Tunnel of Love } Springsteen reinvents himself in a subtle way. The Boss is the boss for a reason.



{ 8. Andrea Bocelli: Romanzan } Caution: This pop-opera album tends to make women’s clothes fall off. Hide it when you leave home.




{ 7. 10,000 Maniacs: In My Tribe } Brilliant from start to end, this masterpiece hit before Natalie Merchant committed career suicide by ditching the boys who brought her to the dance.




{ 6. Jimmy Buffett: Far Side of the World } It’s easy to be a Buffett hater, because he’s allowed himself to become “Mr. Margaritaville.” He’s not. He’s simply used that ridiculous moniker to become a gazillionaire. The reality is most of his albums in the last 15 years are nothing less than brilliant. He is one of the greatest lyricists ever. 




{ 5. The Who: Who’s Next? } If you listen to it you’ll think it must be The Who’s Greatest Hits. On this album these guys coined the political phrase, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” How incredibly true.




{ 4. The Go-Go’s: Beauty and the Beat } 80s girl band extraordinaire. If you can’t have fun listening to the Go-Go’s, you can’t have fun. Bonus: Not just a girl band, but one with hot chicks.




{ 3. Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run } It is the all-of-history standard of rock ballads.




{ 2. Green Day: Nimrod } An unequaled merger between punk, pop, and rock. It should be noted that American Idiot produced more hits but Nimrod nails every song—not just hits.




{ 1. John Prine: John Prine (self-titled) } Unequivocally the greatest songwriting on an album of all time. You will not believe one man can pour out this level of pain and passion in a lifetime, much less on one album. Chances are about 95% you don’t own this album, but it will be the greatest musical purchase you’ll ever