Apple Music 100 best albums countdown continues: 51 to 100 [Updated]

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Apple Music 100 Best Albums
Over 10 days, Apple Music reveals its picks for 100 best albums of all time, with plenty of special programming.
Photo: Apple Music

Monday marked the first day in Apple Music’s 10-day countdown revealing its picks for the 100 best albums of all time.

Apple invites you to follow along as it “journeys through the albums that shaped, inspired and fundamentally changed music.” Today we get albums 100 through 91 in the curated list. Seven out of the 10 hail from 2000 to now.

We’ll add to the list below as Apple continues the countdown. (Update: Albums 51 through 100 added.)

Inaugural Apple Music 100 Best Albums countdown launches

Apple Music said Monday it will reveal its picks for its 100 Best Albums list over the next 10 days. The streamer pointed out 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 music lovers live and listen in.”

The service said its experts worked with “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,” to make the selections.

List finds home on new Apple Music microsite

Each day, 10 more albums will join the list on a countdown to No. 1. They’ll appear on a new microsite, 100best.music.apple.com. In addition, special Apple Music Radio episodes will join in the proceedings. On the 10th day, a radio special will air covering the top 10 albums.

“100 Best brings together all the things that make Apple Music the ultimate service for music lovers — human curation at its peak, an appreciation for the art of storytelling, and unparalleled knowledge of music and an even deeper love for it,” said Rachel Newman, Apple Music’s senior director of content and editorial. “We have been working on this for a very long time, and it’s something we are all incredibly proud of and excited to share with the world.”

Video content adds to the fun

Apple Music 100 Best Albums microsite
A microsite features new and exclusive content, dedicated Apple Music Radio episodes and more.
Photo: Apple Music

Press materials included a video in which four tastemakers — Ebro Darden, Maggie Rogers, Zane Lowe and Nile Rodgers — discuss the top 10. But the video is carefully edited to reveal nothing other than how hard it was to choose. The full video broadcasts on Apple Music on Wednesday, May 22, when the top 10 list comes out.

“There are so many fun facts for our listeners to discover about these albums,” said Scott Plagenhoef, Apple Music’s global head of music programming. “For example, two of the records revealed today were promoted without the image of the artist, but for opposite reasons — Burial’s Untrue because the artist was still operating anonymously at the time, and George Michael’s Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 because the artist was actually retreating from fame.”

‘Labor of love’ and ‘mission impossible’

The people making the list appear to be acutely aware of how difficult a task it is.

“Putting this list together was a true labor of love, both in that it was incredibly difficult to do and in that we are all so passionate about it,” said Zane Lowe, Apple Music’s global creative director and lead anchor for Apple Music 1.

“We were tasked with selecting the 100 best — that’s practically mission impossible. But as music fans, it was also amazing to really take a minute and sit and think about the music and albums and artists that we love so much in this context,” he added. “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.”

100 Best Albums: 51 – 100

Seven of the first 10 picks, bringing up the rear of the 100 overall, are from the 21st century. Two come from the 1990s and one from the 1970s. If you need a strong indication that the list will lump in a variety of genres and time periods — apples and oranges, if you will — look no further than No. 99 (Hotel California, the 1976 album from country-flavored rockers The Eagles) versus No. 98 (Astroworld, the 2021 record from rapper Travis Scott).

We’ll keep updating this list as the countdown continues:

100. Body Talk, Robyn
99. Hotel California, 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*****g 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 Elliot
74. The 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, 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 Eyes on Me, Tupac
61. Love Deluxe, Sade

60. The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Velvet Underground & Nico
59. AM, Arctic Monkeys
58. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory, Oasis
57. Voodoo, D’Angelo
56. Disintegration, The Cure
55. ANTI, Rihanna
54. A Love Supreme, John Coltrane
53. Exile on Main St., The Rolling Stones
52. Appetite for Destruction, Guns N’ Roses
51. Sign O’ the Times, Prince

Apple Music Radio coverage

Starting at 9 a.m. Pacific daily during the countdown, 100 Best Albums Radio takes over Apple Music Hits on Apple Music Radio with “round-the-clock” specials. Those continue for a week after the list completes on May 22.

In addition, exclusive on-demand content appears daily on Apple Music and Apple Podcasts.

Awards for artists

In a nice touch, Apple Music said it will hand out awards to the artists behind the 100 best albums:

All 100 Best Albums recipients will be given an award comprised of blasted anodized aluminum, sourced entirely from recycled Apple products, in a unique polished PVD gold. The design on the back of the award takes its cues from a vinyl LP record and is inscribed with the artist’s name, the album title, and the album’s year of release.
Source: Apple Music
We first published this post on Monday, May 13, 2024. We updated it May 14, 2024, May 15, 2024, May 16, 2024 and May 17, 2024, with the next 40 album picks.

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