I’mma Let You Finish, But These Are MY Top 35 Albums of ALL TIME! (Part I)

wow, so i came back to this blog to start working on this post, and I didn’t remember most of these posts (i thought i had just written once about the iPad and Japan). in fact, i actually enjoyed reading through my posts again!  I should probably write a bit more.  if you particularly love my tech writing (eg. nobody), I have been writing regularly for iMedicalApps.com.

anyways, this is part one of a list of my Top Music Albums of ALL TIME.  I will post parts 2 and 3 in a few days.  Don’t worry, I’ve actually completed the entire post, but it’s way too long to post as one).  As if it needs to be said, this is a PERSONAL list, and essentially spans the time from 1993-2009, and I speak only for myself.  It initially started off as a top 25, but I didn’t want to leave out albums.


  • Ranked by the impact/significance they had on me, and NOT by what I like the best. (This is hard to differentiate, at times)
  • Note: since this list is ranked by impact, they do skew towards albums from my younger, formative years. (sorry, Taylor Swift)
  • Must be from ONE SINGLE album.  (Some albums suffered from this: Dave Matthews Band, BSB, Britney, Relient K, etc)
  • Can only choose ONE album per artist. (Runner-Up Albums Will Be Listed)
  • Can not be from the last 2 years.  (You need some time to properly process music, and give appropriate perspective)
  • Must have at least 3 meaningful singles.  (Just because you REALLY love one song on the album doesn’t count).
  • No greatest hits albums, and no album soundtracks (unless the soundtrack has original songs).
  • Note: singles do not have to be RADIO singles. They can be single songs that you enjoyed a lot.

So here goes the list.  I’ve put a lot of thought into this list, and Spotify helps a lot by allowing you to essentially listen to ANY album at ANY time. (If you would like a Spotify invite, let me know in the comments).

For those of you who have Spotify and want to enjoy this list with me, here’s a link. (I’ll add the songs from parts 2 and 3 when I upload them).

35. Evanescence – FallenEvanescence - Fallen
Not only did “Bring Me to Life” dominate the radio and charts in 2003, it also appealed to me in that Evanescence was (briefly) marketed as a Christian/rock crossover band. I still remember reading reviews of this album on Christian sites and seeing it at Christian stores before they completely changed the way they marketed themselves.  In my opinion, “Tourniquet” was their most lyrically Christian song.  Either way, still a pretty powerful album.

Notable Singles:

1. Bring Me to Life 6. Haunted
2. Tourniquet 7. Imaginary
3. Going Under 8. Hello
4. My Immortal 9. Taking Over Me
5. Everybody’s Fool 10. Whisper

34. Rebecca St. James – TransformEvanescence - Fallen
Another Christian album, this album came out while I was in High School, and I was immediately struck by her cool Australian accent and weird techno-ey sound (esp in “Universe” and “Stand”). At the time (second half of High School), I was primarily listening to only Christian music, and something different was nice. Also, “Wait for Me” was a pretty powerful song about waiting for marriage.

Notable Singles:

1. Wait for Me 4. Stand
2. Reborn 6. Universe
3. Don’t Worry

33. Will Smith – Big Willie StyleEvanescence - Fallen
“Bien Venido A Miami” Will Smith has had an illustrious career, dominating TV, Music, and the Movies.  I don’t really have much to say about this album, except giving it proper for having several radio-crushing singles back to back.  And “Men in Black” and “Wild Wild West” were two back to back awesome movie music singles.  (Wild Wild West was not on this album) On a side note, Jaden Smith is in “Just the Two of Us”!

Notable Singles:

1. Miami 4. Just the Two Of Us
2. Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It 5. Yes Yes Y’all
3. Men in Black

32. Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and DreamingEvanescence - Fallen
Runner-Up Albums: Crash, Before These Crowded Streets
So the era of DMB brings me back to my junior high years, when I would go every summer to a nerd camp at Johns Hopkins on the East Coast.  (The camp was called CTY, standing for Center for Talented Youth, and despite its cool name, we were not mutants with special powers).  I remember all the people on the east coast loved DMB, so I got into them, too.  Their drummer is absolutely amazing and probably contributed much to my love for the drums. Also, having a fiddle and harmonica just rocks.

Notable Singles:

1. Ants Marching 5. #34
2. Satellite 6. What Would You Say
3. The Best of What’s Around 7. Warehouse

31. Taylor Swift – FearlessEvanescence - Fallen
Looking at the track list on this album is absolutely ridiculous.  I think nearly every song on this album was good, many of them epic, even.  If it came out just a little earlier and I were younger, I think this album would most likely be top 5 or even top 10.  It’s all the more impressive that she wrote most (maybe all, i’m too lazy to check) of these songs by herself! Now that I think about it, maybe I should rank this album higher…

Notable Singles:

1. You Belong With Me 9. Hey Stephen
2. Love Story 10. White horse
3. Fearless 11. Breathe
4. Fifteen 12. The Best Day
5. Our Song 13. The Way I Loved You
7. Teardrops On My Guitar 14. You’re Not Sorry
8. Breathe 15. Tell Me Why

30. Casting Crowns – LifesongEvanescence - Fallen
I still remember first hearing about this song from Pastor John during a sermon where he challenged us to not be like the church described in “Stained Glass Masquerade,” one that gives off an air of perfection and is intolerant of vulnerability and sin. Lyrically, this album is so powerful. “While You Were Sleeping” talks about how great things happen in very common circumstances. “Praise You in This Storm” talks about praising God in trials. “Lifesong” talks about the importance of having a song or theme that embodies our life. Man, just thinking about this album is like a devotional! Note: if this album was more catchy and upbeat, it would be much higher.

Notable Singles:

1. Dive 4. Great Expectations
2. Speechless 5. The Change
3. The Change

29. Relient K – Anatomy of the Tongue In CheekRelient K - Anatomy of the Tongue In Cheek
Runner-Up Albums: MMHMM, Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right But Three Do
When Relient K hit the Christian music scene, it was a breath of fresh air compared to all the other quasi-inferior pop-punk Christian bands. They were the first Christian pop-punk bad that could stand up against the likes of blink 182, etc. Over the years, they’ve had staying power as well, with some pretty awesome singles. In my eyes, though, this album stood tall above the rest in just its shear quantity of excellence.

Notable Singles:

1. Sadie Hawkins Dance 7. Maybe It’s Maybelline
2. Less is More 8. The Rest is Up To You
3. Pressing On 9. My Way or the Highway
4. Those Words Are Not Enough 10. Failure to Excommunicate
5. For the Moments I Feel Faint 11. I’m Lion-O
6. Those Words Are Not Enough 12. Breakdown

28. Vanessa Carlton – HarmoniumBritney Spears - Oops!... I Did It Again
One of the more off the wall albums, I really enjoyed Vanessa Carlton’s short-lived career.  If you don’t remember her, she was the famous singer of “A Thousand Miles,” and came alongside Michelle Branch as the female pop musicians with talent to follow up the pop princesses.  Harmonium was her second album, and had quite a few catchy singles.  I remember listening to this album all the time during my sophomore and junior years of college, and it reminds me of driving around all the underclassmen.

Notable Singles:

1. Who’s to Say 3. San Francisco
2. White Houses 4. Private Radio

27. Britney Spears – Oops!… I Did It AgainBritney Spears - Oops!... I Did It Again
Runner-Up Albums: Baby One More Time, Britney
This album came at the peak of Jive’s dominance of the music industry and the Total Request Live machine was cranking full gear. I think the music video for the title single was one that debuted during a “Brand Spankin’ New” week. Ahh… memories. I do think this album suffered from not having a high number of singles. Most of her memorable singles from this era were spread over several albums (in a perfect money-making grab). I do think my favorite all-time Britney song is “Sometimes.”

Notable Singles:

1. Stronger 4. Oops!… I Did It Again
2. Lucky 5. Don’t Go Knockin’ On My Door
3. Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know 6. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

26. Seven Places – Lonely for the Last TimeSeven Places - Lonely for the Last Time
Ryan Chan was the one who recommended this gem to me, and I don’t think they ever gained a whole lot of mainstream Christian radio airplay. Much like Relient K, I appreciated this album because it was a catchy, poppy alternative band that could actually hold their own against their secular counterparts. It also had quite a few singles that I enjoyed, and was one of those albums I could just listen straight through. My memory associated with this song is Ryan singing the vocals and instrumentals to this song. It also reminds me of his Honda Accord Coupe and its interesting acoustics as we drove to Brea Mall and Rancho Cucamonga 24 Hour Fitness the summer of 2003. If you’ve never listened to this album before, you should check it out.

Notable Singles:

1. Landslide 6. Into Your Heart
2. Sleepers 7. Stay the Same
3. Everything 8. Yours
4. Thinking it Over 9. Along the Way
5. Like It Never Happened 10. It Might Be Today

25. Audio Adrenaline – UnderdogAudio Adrenaline - Underdog
This album (in combination with SCC’s “Speechless”) really reminds me of the mission trip where I first became a Christian. When I first arrived at the mission trip, I remember being flooded with all this foreign Christian music that I had never heard before. Audio Adrenaline’s Underdog album was pretty big at the time, and it’s heavy hitting music left an impact on me. Overall, not a HUGE fan of AA, but this album has a dear place in my heart.  These songs are good stuff.   And what a cute album cover!

Notable Singles:

1. Underdog
2. Get Down
3. Hands and Feet
4. Good Life

24. David Crowder Band – IlluminateDavid Crowder Band - Illuminate
Whenever I get around to making a list of my top 100 singles of my life (read: never), “O Praise Him (All This for a King)” will DEFINITELY be on the list. This album redefined what a worship album could be, before Lighthouse Bible Church kinda redefined that for me again later. (??) It was catchy, hard-hitting, and powerful. And David Crowder’s voice is cool enough that he can sing any song and make it sound cool.

Notable Singles:

1. O Praise Him (All This For a King) 4. Revolutionary Love
2. All Creatures #2 5. Intoxicating
3. No One Like You 6. Open Skies

23. Plumb – candycoatedwaterdropsPlumb - Candycoatedwaterdrops
Plumb’s voice was the quintessential female voice that I loved in high school. Some people might say Sixpence None the Richer’s Leigh Nash was better, but I disagree. AND… her career arc is quite unusual. She started off as a female lead singer of a Christian rock band, then took a 5 year hiatus. Later, she turned out to be quite a popular focus of dance/techno remixes over the past 2 years, due to her awesome voice. Maybe the Christian Paramore of her time?

Notable Singles:

1. Lie Low 4. Here With Me
2. Phobic 5. Worlds Collide: A Fairy Tale
3. God-Shaped Hole 6. Stranded

22. Kelly Clarkson – BreakawayKelly Clarkson - Breakway
This is one of the few albums on this list that I never owned. I just remember thinking after each #1 single came out on the radio back to back, how in awe I was of how many good songs were on this album. I love Kelly Clarkson’s voice (even though it reminds me of a lighter version of Pink’s voice), and I think she is the true American Idol. (I actually remember what I was doing when I saw her win: i was hanging out with some friends from Upland High, playing Resident Evil, during our senior year!) And I can’t quite describe why, but “Behind These Hazel Eyes” is a song with depth that I really enjoyed.

Notable Singles:

1. Behind These Hazel Eyes 4. Walk Away
2. Since U Been Gone 5. Breakaway
3. Because of You

STAY TUNED FOR PARTS 2 and 3.  Feel Free to leave suggestions or comments below.  I’ve already made my list and the rest of my post, so it shouldn’t be swayed by your thoughts (that much).  

Spotify Link of Part 1 of my Top 35. (I’ll update this playlist with the songs from Parts 2 and 3 as I publish the posts).  


5 Responses to I’mma Let You Finish, But These Are MY Top 35 Albums of ALL TIME! (Part I)

  1. stevenhong says:

    Wow–definitely a stroll down memory lane. Makes me want to bust out all my DMB albums. Surprised you didn’t go with Crash over Under the Table. My all-time favorite song from DMB is Dreaming Tree though.

    • dtahn says:

      funny story actually… my sister and i both had to pick a DMB album to buy, and so i picked Under the Table. So i was biased, although I was jealous of her album.

  2. Pingback: I’mma Let You Finish, But These Are My Top 35 Albums of ALL TIME! (Part II) « Ahn My Mind

  3. Pingback: I’mma Let You Finish, But These Are My Top 35 Albums of ALL TIME! (Part 3) « Ahn My Mind

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