I’mma Let You Finish, But These Are My Top 35 Albums of ALL TIME! (Part 3)

Note: i went home recently, and after looking at some CD cases on my CD rack (talk about something of the past), I realized I had forgotten a few. I’ve added them to this list, designated as X.5.

Here’s part 3 of my Top 35 Albums of all time (Click HERE for Part 1 and HERE for Part 2). As a refresher, this is a PERSONAL list, and essentially spans the time from 1993-2009, and I speak only for myself.


  • 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.


Late Add-Ons to Numbers 11-36

28.5 Green Day – DookieGreen Day - Dookie
This might be the earliest CD i remember hearing of, as a whole. I remember being in 5th or 6th grade and hearing people talk about this awesome album in the St. Mark’s (my private school) library. Btw, if you haven’t noticed already, I associate a lot of my memories with music. I never owned the album because it was fairly naughty at the time (profanity), and that’s why it’s probably not higher on my list. That and I don’t necessarily agree with their political leanings.

Notable Singles

1. When I Come Around 3. Longview
2. Basket Case

19.5 No Doubt – Tragic KingdomNo Doubt - Tragic Kingdom
Runner-Up Albums: Rock Steady
This was also a huge album that is among the earliest I remember, although I don’t think I owned it (which probably explains it’s lower ranking). Remember that 6th graders don’t have a whole ton of disposable income. Not much to say about this, except for the fact that pop-punk with female vocals are pretty awesome. And these three singles are pretty epic. AND i think Gwen Stefani is one of the most attractive people I was never attracted to. (Uma Thurman is also on that list, somewhere).

Notable Singles:

1. Just a Girl 3. Spiderwebs
2. Don’t Speak

14.5 Jennifer Love Hewitt – Jennifer Love HewittJLH - JLH
Haha, so a random fact about me that many people don’t happen to know about (by design) is that I ran a fan website for Jennifer Love Hewitt for parts of high school, and it was fairly popular (i think the second biggest). It’s difficult to explain, and it wasn’t a huge part of my life (i rarely mentioned it in the real life world). And…. it was cool because she had a signing career that no one seemed to know about. (This was before her horrible mainstream single, “Barenaked”) So it was kind of nice having a crush that had a decent album that I could kinda enjoy as my own. If you bug me hard enough, maybe i’ll let you see what the site used to look like. Oh, and time for another story: one of my saddest waking up from a dream moments was on a Christmas day back in junior high… I had a dream that I met JLH and that we became best friends. You know a dream was good when you don’t even want to wake up for Christmas.

For whole songs, you’ll have to scour youtube.

Notable Singles:

1. Cool With You 4. It’s Good To Know I’m Alive
2. No Ordinary Love 5. (Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away
3. Never A Day Goes By 6. I Believe In

The Original Top 10 List (With One New Addition)

10. Backstreet Boys – MillenniumBSB - Millenium
Runner-Up Albums: Backstreet Boys, Black & Blue
You knew that BSB would be on this list, somewhere.  Disappointed that they didn’t make the top 5?  Let me explain: their awesome singles are evenly distributed across several albums, and so it makes it hard to pick one that really stands out from the rest.  I think this album really defined the era, though, because “I Want it That Way” is probably their biggest single.  (My favorites, “All I Have to Give” and “Shape of My Heart” were on different albums though).  I did really like “I Want It That Way” and “The One” off this album though.  Man… BSB was quality.

Notable Singles:

1. I Want It That Way 4. Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely
2. The One 5. Larger Than Life
3. It’s Gotta Be You 6. I Need You Tonight

9. Yellowcard – Ocean AvenueYellowcard - Ocean Avenue
Another one-album wonder band, Yellowcard rocked my world with Ocean Avenue, and then quickly left my life entirely. One reason this album impacted my life so much is it was one of the first songs I bought through a young music service store called iTunes. Also, I just loved the fact that the music that sounded like it was played by an electric guitar was actually played by a violin. How awesome! Man, i listened to this album all the way through quite often. Also, “Believe” was written in dedication to the firefighters of 9/11. Bonus points!

Notable Singles:

1. Only One 7. One Year, Six Months
2. Believe 8. Life of a Salesman
3. Ocean Avenue 9. Twentythree
4. Miles Apart 10. Empty Apartment
5. Way Away 11. Back Home
6. View From heaven 6. I Need You Tonight

8. John Mayer – Room For SquaresJohn Mayer - Room For Squares
Runner-Up Album: Heavier Things
I was surprised to see how high this album ended up ranking, because I really despise John Mayer as a person. He seems like a complete tool, and has dated quite a few women that I am envious of. However, I can’t deny the fact that some of his music has been iconic in my life. Both this album and Heavier Things had quite a few singles. This one brings me back to my senior year of high school, and reminds me of a girlfriend I had then. And I remember EVERYBODY tried to learn how to play all the songs on the guitar. In that way, it was the “Stairway to Heaven” of its day.

Notable Singles:

1. Your Body Is a Wonderland 4. Why Georgia
2. No Such Thing 5. Neon
3. My Stupid Mouth

7. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LPMarshall Mathers LP
Runner-Up Albums: Curtain Call, The Eminem Show, Chronic 2001 (Dr. Dre)
I might not talk about it too much, but I have a lot of respect for Eminem’s lyrical and musical ability, and have owned pretty much every one of his albums. Like many of my top 10 artists, it is difficult to pick one specific album. I think this album really solidified his standing at the top of the rap music industry for my teenage/college years. “Stan” was probably the standout song on the album (it’s telling that it essentially launched another single and artist’s career: “Thank You” and Dido, respectively).  My favorite Eminem songs are probably “Lose Yourself” and “Forgot About Dre.” Btw, i know Chronic 2001 is a Dr. Dre album, but I primarily only listened to the songs he did with Eminem.

Notable Singles:

1. Stan 5. Kim
2. The Real Slim Shady 6. Marshall Mathers
3. The Way I Am 7. I’m Back
4. B**** Please II 8. Kill You

6.5 The Lion King SoundtrackLion King Soundtrack
Runner-Up Albums: The Tarzan Soundtrack, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Little Mermaid
The renaissance era of the Disney Animated classics (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Best, Aladdin, Lion King, etc) is something that I’m proud to have grown up during. The soundtracks to these musicals were all so epic, but something about Lion King always stood head over shoulders above the rest. Think about it: everybody knows the lyrics to songs that AREN’T EVEN ENGLISH (my version – “maaaaaaah zen kenya!!!! mah mah meetzewahwah”) That’s quite an accomplishment. If you look at the range of emotions covered in the songs, it’s quite impressive: “Circle of Life” captures the majestic scale of life (And the animal kingdom). “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” captures the youthful yet naive enthusiasm of life. “Be Prepared” demonstrates the conniving anthem of the evildoer. “Hakuna Matata” captures the…. hakuna matata lifestyle. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is one of the most romantic songs ever. Quite impressive. On a side note, I also REALLY love the Tarzan soundtrack. Like… really. REALLY

Notable Singles:

1. Circle of Life 4. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King
2. Hakuna Matata 5. Be Prepared
3. Can You Feel the Love Tonight 6. The “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” Song (not on album)

6. Postal Service – Give UpPostal Service - Give Up
A one-time album created by Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie fame) and Jimmy Tamborello, they really captured lighting in a bottle, and it’s magically tragic that there will most likely never be a second album.  “Such Great Heights” introduced most fans to this album, and the record really introduced a whole new type of electronica music that has really never been duplicated, to this day.  Owl City later brought a very similar sound, but in the end lacked the depth and complexity of this album.  And a song titled “Sleeping In” will always be a winner in my book. Also, in a complete side note, Kaba Modern (from Season 1 of America’s Best Dance Crew) later did an awesome live performance to a mix including “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.”

Notable Singles:

1. Such Great Heights 5.. Clark Gable
2. Sleeping In 6. Brand New Colony
3. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight 7. We Will Become Silhouettes
4. Nothing Better

5. Angels and Airwaves – We Don’t Need to WhisperAngels and Airwaves
Runner-Up Albums: I-Empire
When I first heard Angels and Airwaves album, I was instantly in love. It made me realize that I absolutely love the delay pedal and electric guitar combo. Also, I love complex drum beats. If you don’t know who they are, they formed when Blink 182 broke up, and it was started by Tom DeLonge (the tall lanky electric guitarist who had the higher pitched voice). There is just something about the ethereal sound created by his combination of voice, the electric guitar, and drums that gets me every time. I definitely consider Angels and Airwaves one my favorite bands.

PS: it might be a drummer thing, because Cobus (an awesome YouTube drummer) does quite a few awesome covers of Angels and Airwaves songs. They are AMAZING.
Cobus Cover of The Gift
Cobus Cover of Valkyrie Missile
Cobus Cover of Love Like Rockets (from I-Empire album)

Notable Singles:

1. The Adventure 4. The War
2. The Gift 5. Do It For Me Now
3. Valkyrie Missile

4. Linkin Park – Hybrid TheoryHybrid Theory
Runner-Up Albums: Meteora
I realize much of what I said about Postal Service and Angels and Airwaves also applies to Linkin Park. When Hybrid Theory came out, my ears were overwhelmed with the awesome new sound of the rock + digital synth and DJ. It had the mainstream appeal of pop music with the synth and DJ mixing, yet was heavy hitting and had the intensity of rock. Also, add in a touch of rapping, and you had a brand new formula of musical splendor.

Notable Singles:

1. In The End 7. Cure for the Itch
2. One Step Closer 8. With You
3. My December 9. By Myself
4. Crawling In My Skin 10. Runaway
5. Papercut 11. Pushing Me Away
6. Runaway

3. Switchfoot – The Beautiful LetdownSwitchfoot - Beautiful Letdown
Runner-Up Albums: Hello Hurricane, New Way to Be Human, Learning to Breathe
My all-time favorite band, Switchfoot might surprise you by only being number 3 on my top records list, but it has more to do with the fact that albums #1 and #2 were the first CD’s I essentially remember owning. I absolutely LOVE this album, and I don’t think it will ever get old to me. Four little known Switchfoot facts about me:

1) I went to a record release party for Beautiful Letdown at Tower Records in La Jolla (i think it’s closed now), where the entire band signed my guitar (i was first in line!).
2) I bought 10 extra copies of this CD to give out to random people on library walk at UCSD. (i ended up selling them to friends who wanted to buy it)
3) Jon Foreman did my voicemail recording, and I kept it for a year or two.
4) Jon and Chad (drummer) are very close friends with a church member of mine, to the point where Chad was his best man, and Jon sang and wrote a song for him at his wedding. So it’s kind of weird that my musical heroes are friends of my friend.

Notable Singles:

1. Dare You to Move 6. The Beautiful Letdown
2. Twenty Four 7. Meant to Live
3. This is Your Life 8. Gone
4. On Fire 9. Redemption
5. More Than Fine

2. Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little PillJagged Little Pill
Hmm… After writing that glowing bit about Switchfoot above, maybe this album should be #3. Actually, though, this is one of the earliest CD’s I remember listening to over and over again. I still remember programming my Panasonic Discman to play tracks 2,4,5,7,8,10. (I don’t remember the track names off the top of my head though). Who hasn’t listened to the lyrics of “Ironic” and wondered how half the things she says are actually ironic? (Side Note: entertaining Oatmeal comic on Irony)

Notable Singles:

1. Hand in My Pocket 4. You Learn
2. Ironic 5. Head Over Feet
3. You Oughta Know 6. Right Through You

1. Mariah Carey – DaydreamMariah Carey - Daydream
I think this album speaks for itself. To this day, I think “Always Be My Baby” stands out as one of my top 5 songs of all time. Like Alanis Morisette, I distinctly remember programming my Panasonic Discman to play tracks 1,3,5,7,9,10. I can actually name the titles of each of those tracks, to this day. Like a lot of great albums, my favorite single changes from time to time (“Always Be My Baby,” “When I Saw You,” “Melt Away,” or “Forever”). One Sweet Day (duet with Boyz II Men) was an epic single that got overplayed to the point where I still can’t really stand it. With some research, it turns out that my memory is right, as that song single-handedly holds the record for most number of weeks as #1 in the Billboard Hot #1 (16 weeks). Actually, the wikipedia entry for List of Billboard Hot 100 Records is pretty fascinating to read.

Notable Singles:

1. Always Be My Baby 4. Forever
2. When I Saw You 5. One Sweet Day
3. Melt Away