Apple Music Reveals 100 Best Albums List

May 22, 2024
Apple Music Reveals 100 Best Albums List

Image via Apple Music

Apple Music lit up feeds around the world today with the final dispatch from its unexpected and quietly launched “100 best albums” series, revealing the recipients of the coveted top 10 spots. While its defining criteria and intentions remain unclear, the list’s ambiguity has not mitigated the explosive discourse around it, with fans rallying for their favorites and against others. As always, best-of lists inspire a surge in attention–and clicks–and the scale and sweeping authority of Apple Music’s offering have made it rife territory for heated debate, especially concerning those highest-ranked selections.

In its assessment of all recorded music, Apple Music has awarded the highest spot to neo-soul pioneer Ms. Lauryn Hill’s massively influential 1998 entry The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. As the only solo release from legendary singer-songwriter and MC, renowned for her part in the Fugees, the landmark release features such indelible hits as “Ex-Factor,” “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” which broke records upon its release and have continually earned it placements among greatest-of-all-time lists by Rolling Stone, the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. Last night, the album was among those iconic releases inducted into the 50th anniversary class of the Grammy Hall of Fame

The top 10 is filled out by Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Nirvana’s Nevermind, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city (Deluxe Edition), Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, Frank Ocean’s Blonde, Prince & The Revolution’s Purple Rain, The Beatles’ Abbey Road and finally Michael Jackson’s Thriller at number two. This relatively tame selection has inspired less controversy than entries 20-11; the inclusion of Taylor Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version) at 18 over The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds at 20 and Adele’s 21 at 15 over Joni Mitchell’s Blue at 16 were particularly hot spots, spurring a wave of objection and counterargument–which was nearly unavoidable in this endeavor.

Relix readers will be pleased to note the inclusion of Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, Steely Dan’s Aja, De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising, The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Are You Experienced?, The Velvet Underground and Nico’s self-titled, The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street (2010 Remaster), Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Exodus (2013 Remaster), Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin II, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Jam fans will note a lack of any scene favorites, including releases from the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band and Phish. Other conspicuous absences include The Band, James Brown, The Stooges, The Doors, Ray Charles, Parliament-Funkadelic, Al Green, The Byrds, Sly and the Family Stone, Otis Redding and Elvis Presley, as well as neglected genres like punk, jazz, funk, global music and the blues. In lieu, the list favors current favorites, such as Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey and Bad Bunny.

In a release, Apple attributed the list to “a team of experts alongside a select group of artists, including Maren Morris, Pharrell Williams, J Balvin, Charli XCX, Mark Hoppus, Honey Dijon, and Nia Archives, as well as songwriters, producers, and industry professionals. The list is an editorial statement, fully independent of any streaming numbers on Apple Music — a love letter to the records that have shaped the world we live and listen in.”

Read on for the complete list of Apple Music’s picks for the 100 best albums of all time, and learn more about the list at

Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums

100. Body Talk – Robyn
99. Hotel California – The Eagles
98. ASTROWORLD – Travis Scott
97. Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine
96. Pure Heroine – Lorde
95. Confessions – USHER
94. Untrue – Burial
93. A Seat at the Table – Solange
92. Flower Boy – Tyler, The Creator
91. Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 – George Michael
90. Back in Black – AC/DC
89. The Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) – Lady Gaga
88. I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone
87. Blue Lines – Massive Attack
86. My Life – Mary J Blige
85. Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves
84. Doggystyle – Snoop Dogg
83. Horses – Patti Smith
82. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – 50 Cent
81. After the Gold Rush – Neil Young
80. The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem
79. Norman F****** Rockwell! – Lana Del Rey
78. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
77. Like A Prayer – Madonna
76. Un Verano Sin Ti – Bad Bunny
75. Supa Dupa Fly – Missy Eliott
74. Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails
73. Aja – Steely Dan
72. SOS – SZA
71. Trans-Europe Express – Kraftwerk
70. Straight Outta Compton – N.W.A
69. Master of Puppets (Remastered) – Metallica
68. Is This It – The Strokes
67. Dummy – Portishead
66. The Queen Is Dead – The Smiths
65. 3 Feet High and Rising – De La Soul
64. Baduizm – Erykah Badu
63. Are You Experienced? – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
62. All Eyez on Me – 2Pac
61. Love Deluxe – Sade
60. The Velvet Underground and Nico (45th Anniversary Edition) – Velvet Underground & Nico
59. AM – Arctic Monkeys
58. (What’s The Story) Morning Glory – Oasis
57. Voodoo – D’Angelo
56. Disintegration (Remastered) – The Cure
55. ANTI – Rihanna
54. A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
53. Exile on Main Street (2010 Remaster) – The Rolling Stones
52. Appetite for Destruction – Guns ‘N Roses
51. Sign O’The Times – Prince
50. Hounds of Love (2018 Remaster) – Kate Bush
49. The Joshua Tree – U2
48. Paul’s Boutique – Beastie Boys
47. Take Care (Deluxe Version) – Drake
46. Exodus (2013 Remaster) – Bob Marley & The Wailers
45. Homogenic – Björk
44. Innervisions – Stevie Wonder
43. Remain in Light – Talking Heads
42. Control – Janet Jackson
41. Aquemini – OutKast
40. I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You – Aretha Franklin
39. Illmatic – Nas
38. Tapestry – Carole King
37. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) [Expanded Edition] – Wu-Tang Clan
36. BEYONCÉ – Beyoncé
35. London Calling – The Clash
34. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back – Public Enemy
33. Kid A – Radiohead
32. Ready to Die (The Remaster) – Notorious B.I.G.
31. Jagged Little Pill (Remastered) – Alanis Morissette
29. The Low End Theory – A Tribe Called Quest
28. The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
27. Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin
26. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
25. Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
24. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (2012 Remaster) – David Bowie
23. Discovery – Daft Punk
22. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
21. Revolver – The Beatles
20. Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys
19. The Chronic – Dr. Dre
18. 1989 (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift
17. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
16. Blue – Joni Mitchell
15. 21 – Adele
14. Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan
13. The Blueprint – Jay-Z
12. OK Computer – Radiohead
11. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
10. Lemonade – Beyoncé
09. Nevermind – Nirvana
08. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
07. good kid, m.A.A.d city (Deluxe Version) – Kendrick Lamar
06. Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder
05. Blonde – Frank Ocean
04. Purple Rain – Prince & The Revolution
03. Abbey Road – The Beatles
02. Thriller – Michael Jackson
01. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill