The Top 25 Album List Project

About this section

Like so many music fans, I have a thing about lists. Anyone who’s ever read High Fidelity will know exactly the kind of sickness I’m talking about. I thought I was a bit strange until I got online and discovered that music fans of all types have a mania about lists of all kinds, and no list was more ubiquitous or irresistible than the veritable torrent of end of year lists, specifically the lists of people’s favourite albums released that year. Naturally, I joined in the fun. And so, every year since I got online in 1997, towards the end of each year, I’ve posted a list of my favourite albums released in the previous 12 months.

At first they were top tens. Ten, it’s a nice round figure, isn’t it? Everyone understands a top ten. And yet as time passed, and I became exposed to more and more great new music, I found it increasingly difficult to stick to ten. At first I resisted adding any more albums to the list, electing to add a mention for a few albums that nearly made it. Each year, this list of great albums that didn’t quite make it grew longer, so I finally caved in and made it a top 15. Which, naturally, became a top 20, and finally a top 25. And yes, I still had a list of albums that almost made it into the actual list proper.

Last year, when I was thinking about what I’d like to put up on my website, I had the idea of posting the lists of my favourite albums that I had posted online (which, naturally, I had kept). My first thought was, “Well, some of these are going to have to change. I didn’t know about band_a back then. And I’d never put that one so high now. And what’s that doing so far down the list? Yeesh.” Stuff of that nature. My second thought was, “I’m going to have to make all the lists the same length. This is triggering my OCD something cruel.” Hot on the heels of those first two thoughts was another: “Hmmm. What about all the amazing records released before 1997?”

So I finally settled on a format for this Great List Of Lists. I’m going to post a top 25 list – no albums-that-nearly-made-it, a top 25 and a top 25 only – of my favourite albums released each year since the year of my birth. At the end of this grand endeavour, I’ll have a list of 25 great albums released for every year that I’ve been alive. Ultimately, I thought it’d be nice if I wrote a little bit about each record and why it means so much to me.

As you can imagine, even if I’ve got a good idea about which albums are likely to feature – and believe me, some years are a lot easier to deal with than others – this is going to take me some time. At the time of writing this, I’m 46, which means I’m already talking about 46 x 25 = 1,150 albums. I hope to catch up with myself sometime in the 2020s.

The years I’ll be posting lists for are listed below, divided into decades. As the lists are completed, each year will become a link. That link will open the top 25 list for that year, and each album listed on that page will ultimately become a clickable link itself, which you can follow to read more of my fanboy raving about my favourite records.

Click and enjoy!