apple music best 100 albums list lauryn hill miseducation amy winehouse back to black oasis british artists kendrick lamar beyonce frank ocean sade madonna elton John
apple music best 100 albums list lauryn hill miseducation amy winehouse back to black oasis british artists kendrick lamar beyonce frank ocean sade madonna elton John
Apple Music Curates Ultimate List of Best 100 Albums Ever Released
Did your favorite make the cut?
Presented by Apple Music

With curated playlists, and music compendiums growing to be an integral part of the music listening experience, Apple Music has revealed its ultimate list of best 100 albums. The definitive compilation focuses on music from the past century, highlighting contemporary favorites released in the past few years and classic records that have transcended the decades including a notable selection of albums by British artists.

Diverting from AI-generated curation or statistic-driven results, the platform took a more human approach to developing the line-up. Enlisting a team of music experts and artists including the likes of Pharrell, J Balvin, and Nia Archives, participants were invited to submit their favorite albums, ensuring a diverse mix of submissions representing their specific genres. Following this phase, Apple Music gathered the favorites on an online voting page to determine the final cut of 100 albums.

“Putting this list together was a true labor of love, both in that it was incredibly difficult to do and that we are all so passionate about it. We were tasked with selecting the 100 best — that’s practically mission impossible,” shares Apple Music radio host and member of the music expert team Zane Lowe, reflecting on the meticulous process.

Aside from considering the albums that have influenced him, Lowe looked beyond his professional circle and to the wider public to inform his decision. Explaining how he accounted for the growing population of music lovers, he adds, “As music fans, it was also amazing to take a minute and think about the music, albums and artists that we love so much in this context. If this list sparks more debate among fans outside of Apple Music and gets people talking passionately about the music they love, then we’ve done what we set out to do.”

At first look at the best 100 albums list, an overwhelming number of spots are dedicated to the UK’s cross-section of artists. One of the most eclectic music scenes in the world, the UK has produced a number of iconic albums that have paved the way for the formation of new genres. Take Radiohead’s OK Computer, David Bowie’s zeitgeist-y The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars or, most recently, Burial’s Hyperdub album Untrue.

However, coming in at number eight with her album Back to Black, it’s the late queen of contemporary jazz Amy Winehouse who epitomizes the UK’s hotbed of alternative music. Her blend of Jazz with RnB, Soul, and even Reggae, exudes an unmistakable fusion of sounds that is abundant with an old-age feel but balanced with raw and unfiltered lyrics. Encapsulating all of the above, the Back to Black album — which titles the singer’s recently released biopic – marks a true once-in-a-generation release, certified by several prizes including Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2008 Grammys.

Indie superfans will be relieved to find Manchester band Oasis also featuring in the list – however, not for their influential studio album Definitely, Maybe. Instead, the 1995 project (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? marks their most iconic work. Released at a high time during their rivalry with Blur, the album – compiling singles “Wonderwall”, “Champagne Supernova” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” – cemented the group’s status as heroes of the Britpop movement and their indelible legacy across the UK. Leading to the question: Will the band ever reunite on the world’s stage?

More than a hot topic in the realms of rap, Kendrick Lamar lands at number seven with good kid, m.A.A.d city. Released in 2012, the certified triple platinum album became a seminal to his evolution as a rapper, showcasing his ability to perfectly narrate his life through catchy hooks. As well as Kendrick Lamar’s iconic record, the top 10 is also punctuated with albums from popular modern artists Frank Ocean and Beyoncé, a statement that shows newly released tracks continue to serve as a source of musical inspiration.

Topping off the list, though, is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. While the record is the only solo studio album released by the eponymous artist, it presents a paradigm for Lauryn Hill as a singer-songwriter and rapper after her Fugees era. Featuring her widely-loved single “Doo Wap” and a cover of Frankie Valli’s “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, the album also defines the heart and soul of RnB music heightened by the artist’s unique sound, and as a result has become an entry point for listeners to explore the genre further. Her timeless record is joined by other easy-listening titles by British artists Sade, Madonna, and Elton John.

Apple Music’s defining curated compilation comes as a showcase of music’s diversity and its ability to connect different music lovers across the globe. Through publishing the list, the hope is that listeners will rediscover a library of classic albums as well as the celebrated legacies of the artists who put their names to them. And, for those discovering these records for the first time, an opportunity to enjoy timeless music as if it was created today.

To discover the full list of best 100 albums, head to Apple Music’s app or dedicated site now.

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