The Complete Catastrophe

There’s no arguing this one. Quite what [artist/band] was thinking when [pronoun] recorded this travesty is a mystery for the ages, but no matter who you are, we can agree this album is shit. It features the most embarrassing tracks of [artist/band]’s career, hopelessly dated production values, and a truly baffling emphasis on [now-cringey political belief]. [Pronoun] even went on talk shows back in the [decade it was released] to disown it, saying the original vision was hopelessly muddled by executives. Please take a moment to appreciate how much we agree on this before you spend the rest of this list getting mad at me.

The Album That Just Came Out

It’s too soon to say where [name of album] will rank within [artist/band]’s catalog. For now, though, it pales in comparison to the glory days of [year artist/band topped the charts every week]. There’s a glimmer of hope in the lone charting single, “[lone charting single],” a surprisingly personal moment for [artist/band] that combines [one thing you like] with [another thing you like] to masterful effect.

The Rough Demo That Barely Counts as an Album

This rough demo barely counts as an album. It was released when [artist/band] was still a teenager and recorded on [laughably dated technology] in between shifts at [undignified day job]. There’s a rawness to [main songwriter]’s songwriting that draws from Americana, personal trauma, and the works of [cool-sounding writer you will Google in another tab]. If you can get past the rough production, there’s quite a few gems here worth listening to, including “[decent track],” “[decent track],” and especially[decent track released in a much better version way later].”

The Album Everyone Likes Except Me

I’m sure I’ll get some flak for this, but this album tends to be overrated. Sure, it contains classics like “[song you sing to in the shower],” “[song you slow-danced to],” and “[heart-meltingly beautiful song you want played at your funeral],” all of which are just fine. However, things falter on “[magnificent work-of-genius song that deserves to put this album in the top five alone],” an empty confection that is too slick and lyrically vacuous to really soar. I’m putting this at just below halfway, which seems about right to me, a random guy on the internet with no music journalism experience.

The Breakout Hit

It’s hard to imagine now, but this album was a massive shock on its first release. [Shitty dead politician] tried to get the album banned, resulting in record-breaking sales and a legendary performance at [music festival you know of only because of artist/band]. This one is justly deserving of the hype and demonstrates [artist/band] at the peak of [artist/band]’s powers. Plus, I will probably get doxxed if this is ranked any lower than #5.

The Album No One Likes Except Me

Look, who cares if it only consists of two twenty-two-minute-long tracks with long stretches of spoken word poetry, ominous slurping noises, and screaming? It’s not my fault I’m the only one blessed with the intelligence and masochism to appreciate it. [Band/artist] was both ahead of [artist/band]’s time and very much of it, which is a fancy way of saying, “Neener, neener, I’m ranking this higher than it deserves and you can’t stop me.”

The Album You Know Only Because of the Cover Art

I can’t name a single song off of this album and you can’t either, but the cover is so iconic it’s been my girlfriend’s Halloween costume every year since college. The image of [artist/band] dressed in [weird clothes] and gazing defiantly to the [direction] is enough to ensure its place in history. Chances are you have it on your pillow, coffee mug, phone case, and/or tattooed on your body. However, you still have to listen to the actual album or else you’re a poser.

The Undeniable Masterpiece

[Valuable metal]-certified sales, [impressive number] Grammy wins, [slightly less impressive number] hit singles, and a historic world tour: this is a crowning achievement. The fact that it also played a key role in the downfall of the [fascist government you vaguely remember from the news] regime just cements its power. And on top of all that, you can, in fact, dance to it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling people this is your favorite album, and the fact that it’s not at the top is really bothering you, isn’t it? I bet you’re considering leaving this page right now. Go on. I dare you. Click away and save yourself from my final pick.

The Third Album

Did it chart the highest? No. Did it sell the most copies? Definitely not. So why is it #1? Because it’s the only one that’s well-known enough to not get me in trouble but also cool enough to help me retain cred. The first album [thing first album did], the second album [thing second album did], but it was here that [artist/band] finally managed to [thing third album did]. It proves once and for all the unique and completely inimitable talent of [artist/band].