Interestment’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time
Sweet sweet records. And someone’s kid
With Interestment turning TEN this year (yeah man, a whole fucking decade of this bullshit!), we thought it high time to compile lists of the 100 greatest things. Already you’ve had TV shows, now it’s great LPs in no particular order… but do you agree? (of course not)
The Beatles – Rubber Soul
The one that bridged the gap between mop top popsters and druggy studio weirdos, getting high off of drugs and hallucinating Yoko. Also the one with their best songs.
Listen to: If I Needed Someone
New York Dolls – New York Dolls
The whole albums paints a picture of NYC as a place that stinks to high heaven of dashed hope and unwashed genitals.
Listen to: Trash
The Stooges – The Stooges
Years before he pretended to fuck a teddy bear on Number 73, Iggy Pop was recording really groundbreaking albums with his mates.
Listen to: I Wanna Be Your Dog
Buckingham Nicks – Buckingham Nicks
Legend has it that Mac from Fleetwood Mac was trying on chinos at his local mall when he heard this record being piped into the changing rooms. They basically made Rumours that day.
Listen to: Frozen Love
Leroy Hutson – Hutson
The 70’s soul album that should really sit alongside Inner Visions and What’s Going On. Never got its props though. The world’s weird, man.
Listen to: All Because of You
Leroy Hutson – Hutson II
An album of cast-offs that didn’t make it onto the first Hutson album, yet the coolest contrarians out there will tell you it’s even better.
Listen to: I Think I’m Falling in Love
The Byrds – The Notorious Byrd Brothers
We don’t say this lightly, but The Byrds were the best band of the whole 1960s. This was the last decent album to feature David Crosby before he went off to marginally less exciting things.
Listen to: Draft Morning
Gregory Isaacs – In Person
He’s best remembered for Night Nurse, which was later entirely aped by Simply Red, only made much much Night Worse. This album thankfully remains unsmeared by the hand of Hucknall.
Listen to: Financial Endorsement
The Style Council – Introducing
Not considered to be a “full length studio album” this was more of an EP, released just a few months after Paul Weller had jacked in The Jam. And, whisper it, good for him.
Listen to: Long Hot Summer
ESG – Come Away with ESG
Back when Interestment launched a whole decade ago, we declared The Scroggins Sisters to be the best girl band of all time. We weren’t wrong.
Listen to: Dance
Cymande – Cymande
The greatest UK funk group ever, and that’s really saying something (you’ve heard of Jamiroquai, right?). Features brilliant tracks like Dove, Bra, and The Message.
Listen to: Bra
Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas
Forget Phil Spector, this is the definitive Christmas album, made up of melancholic jazz, uplifting jazz, and straight up jazz jazz. The accompanying cartoon is utterly miserable.
Listen to: Christmas Time is Here
Aretha Franklin – Aretha Now
It tells you just how prolific ole Aretha was that this was her fifteenth album, recorded just seven years after her first. Features at least two of the greatest songs ever.
Listen to: Say a Little Prayer
Kraftwerk – Autobahn
Like all the best German things, Karaftwerk found beauty in functionality. This robotronic ode to motorways is both haunting and beautiful. And also haunting. Hang on, we already said haunting.
Listen to: Autobahn
Chuck Berry – After School Session
You can draw a line from Chuck Berry, through Elvis, The Beatles, Hendrix, then Prince, and even then you probably haven’t done his genius justice. This is his best record.
Listen to: Too Much Monkey Business
Alice Clark – Alice Clark
A barely known, but powerful and emotive soul album, this would be one of Interestment’s Desert Island Albums, should such a groundbreaking programme ever exist.
Listen to: I Keep it Hid
Milton Wright – Spaced
Brother of Betty Wright, Spaced was the second of two great disco soul records Milton recorded in the mid-70s before disappearing from showbiz altogether to become a JUDGE. What a waste.
Listen To: All I Know is I Have You
LTJ Bukem – Journey Inwards
One for the more cerebral ravers, keen to find something a little more melodic to soundtrack their incredibly long dancing sessions. Where did they get all that energy from? Was it in the aspirins?
Listen to: Journey Inwards
Stevie Wonder – Music of My Mind
His faultless run of albums in the 1970s produced a handful of masterpieces, but this was the best masterpiece of the lot. It’s like Michelangelo doing The Sunflowers.
Listen to: Superwoman
The Meters – Look a Py Py
Every definitive list of BEST ALBUMS worth its salt will always feature this album, at least one by Public Enemy, Forever Changes by Love, and then Marquee Moon by Television. It appears we’re no different.
Listen to: Pungee
Bobbi Humphrey – Satin Doll
A beautiful lady with a name comprising two men’s first names (a trait she held in common with the late George Michael), Bobbi can play the hell out of a jazz flute.
Listen to: New York Times
Dr Dre – The Chronic
Even with the insane workload of medical school on his shoulders, Dre managed to find time to produce one of the truly great hip hop LPs. He also unearthed a strange hound called Snoop Doggy Dogg.
Listen to: Let Me Ride
Bob Marley and the Wailers – Soul Rebels
Reggae’s superstar, there isn’t a student in existence who hasn’t had a whitey soundtracked by Legend. If you’re only going to own one of his records, though, this is the one.
Listen to: Try Me
Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours
Widely considered to be Sinatra’s best, it had it all – introspection, depression, doomed love. No wonder Vegas lapped this guy up.
Listen to: In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
Roy Ayers – Everybody Loves the Sunshine
There was a time back there when this would echo through the streets, heat bubbles tricking your eyes, as another bead of sweat slipped down your back and between your bum cheeks. Lovely times.
Listen to: Everybody Loves the Sunshine
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
Ole hermit Bush lives in a cave, occasionally poking her head out to sell another record or to check on her daughter, Kate W. This is her best album with her best songs.
Listen to: Running Up That Hill
Madonna – True Blue
Controversially named after the virgin who birthed our lord and saviour Jesus Christ, Madonna has proved herself to be even holier than thou with some miraculous records. This is her true legacy.
Listen to: Open your Heart
Nas – Illmatic
Widely, and probably rightly, considered the best rap album ever made, it’s impossible to fault. Unless you hate rap, in which case, it’s very easy to fault. The whole thing’s RAP for Christ’s sake!
Listen to: The World is Yours
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night
An underrated 90s hip hop classic that finds serious flows being spat, with hard-to-decipher Blaxploitation-style raps being the order of the day.
Listen to: Lucini AKA This is It
Blondie – Autoamerican
Blondie made some excellent records, but this one finds them just at the point where they’ve gone all Fab Five Freddy and Andy Warhol. Arty.
Listen to: Rapture
Debbie Harry – KooKoo
About a year after her split from Blondie, ole Debbie teamed up with Chic and this was the result. It’s like John the Baptist to half of the brilliant albums made in the 80s. Without it, no Let’s Dance, no Like a Virgin, probably no Duran Duran.
Listen to: Backfired
The Monkees – Head
The most underrated band of the 1960s, The Monkees used this whole movie soundtrack to lampoon their status as “manufactured”. From the band that gave you Head.
Listen to: As We Go Along
Michael Jackson – Thriller
The Beatles made thirteen albums in seven years, Michael Jackson made ten in twenty-nine. On paper, the man was not what you’d call a workaholic.
Listen to: Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
Rene and Angela – Wall to Wall
Angela Winbush sang with Rene, then upgraded by marrying the great Ron Isley. This album is arguably the greatest he/she duet of early 1980s soul.
Listen to: I Love You More
The Blackbyrds – City Life
After enrolling on Donald Byrd’s course at Howard University, these talented young freshers got way more than they bargained for, including hit records.
Listen to: Rock Creek Park
Gary Bartz – Music is my Sanctuary
He went to Juliard, he played with Miles Davis, he made a weird/excellent album called Harlem Bush Music, but this one is the one – featuring Syreeta on vokes.
Listen to: Music is my Sanctuary
Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue
Famously the only actual surfer in the Beach Boys, Dennis had a clumsy, complicated life, but made one really amazing record all on his own.
Listen to: Thoughts of You
Diana Ross – Diana
Nile Rogers has produced some great albums in his career, but this one might just be his real masterstroke. Easily the best thing Diana Ross ever made.
Listen to: Now That You’re Gone
Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain
Possibly the only true genius on the whole list, it’s almost impossible to pick Miles Davis’s best record. Which makes it just as well that this is his third best.
Listen to: Concierto de Aranjuez
Van Morrison – Moondance
Smug musos love telling you that you only get two kinds of people in this world – people who love Van Morrison, and people who have met him. But they can fucking fuck the fuck off, the ugly fucks. And that’s a direct order from Van Morrison himself.
Listen to: Into the Mystic
Moby Grape – Moby Grape
A band famously made up of equally gifted singer/songwriters, all of whom shared the spoils on this, their best album. Also a band that Neil Young very nearly joined, then didn’t at the last second.
Listen to: Lazy Me
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
The band that threw the plank into the middle of the lake that eventually rippled outwards to create Madchester and all the good and bad that came with it. This was part of the good.
Listen to: I Wanna Be Adored
Isaac Hayes – Black Moses
One of soul music’s best crooners and composers, Isaac Hayes’ life ended in comedic fashion with a massive treadmill fail. The end did not befit a spectacular beginning and middle.
Listen to: (They Long to Be) Close to You
Gwen McCrae – Melody of Life
All this Love That I’m Giving is the one that gets everyone pelvic thrusting into mid-air, but the real dudes know it’s all about the 2-stepper I Can Only Think of You.
Listen to: I Can only Think of You
The O’Jays – Ship Ahoy
The Philly Soul giants tackled slavery and social deprivation, and treated the world to For the Love of Money, which was not just their best track, but the entire label’s.
Listen to: For the Love of Money
Dave Brubeck – Jazz Impressions of New York
Ole man Brubeck looked like he’d rent you out books at your local library, but put the nerd in front of a pianah and he could really play. Play the fuck out of the thing.
Listen to: Broadway Bossa Nova
Donny Hathaway – Extensions of a Man
He only made three solo studio albums (and a couple with Roberta Flack) before leaping to a tragic end from a great height, and all three are excellent. Hence why two of them feature on this list (SPOILER ALERT: the next one is in Part Two).
Listen to: Lord Help Me
D’Angelo – Voodoo
His debut, Brown Sugar, was ace but this was his real masterpiece. Like all truly great artists, he then disappeared for nearly twenty years, only emerging from the backwaters to occasionally get arrested for being fat and having weird hair.
Listen to: Devil’s Pie
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy
The soundtrack to awkward teenage romances between self-conscious people in skinny jeans who see their lives as a series of polaroids.
Listen to: Just Like Honey
Wu Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
It’s hard to think of a Hip Hop crew that arrived with such a crash, bang, wallop. But ole Jizza, Rizla, Juggla, Freddie, Meth, Oh God, Ghostbob, Rake One, Rake Two, and the baddass Bastard Muthafucka himself did that and then some.
Listen to: Da Mystery of Chessboxin
Main Source – Breakin Atoms
The album that was not just amazing in its own right, but it also found space to introduce the world to a whippersnapper rapper called Nas.
Listen to: Just Hangin Out
Marvin Gaye – I Want You
The whole album is like one great big sex sesh. Your challenge is to listen to it without automatically taking your underpants off.
Listen to: I Want You
Stephen Stills – Stephen Stills
Stills singing his heart out, Hendrix and Clapton on guitar, Ringo on drums, Mama Cass in the background doing mad vocal runs. NICE.
Listen to: Sit Yourself Down
Laura Nyro – Gonna Take a Miracle
The best blue-eyed soul album ever made, also notable for having Labelle on backing vokes absolutely walloping it out of the park.
Listen to: Nowhere to Run
The Ronettes – Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica
Before he decided to grow mad hair and start murdering people, Phil Spector was creating some dope sounds. This is him at his zenith.
Listen to: Be My Baby
De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
The one that really showed the world that not all rappers were into guns and shit, some liked flowers and peace signs.
Listen to: Eye Know
Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
If you’re only going to make one solo album in your entire career it might as well be this. Shame she never followed it up. YET.
Listen to: Doo-Wop (That Thing)
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
The album title is often misconstrued as a question, but it’s a statement. Gaye took a long look at the world, and critiqued it in the most tuneful way he could. His masterpiece.
Listen to: What’s Happening Brother
Marvin Gaye – Here, My Dear
Famously the record Gaye made during a bitter divorce from Anna Gordy, it’s brimming with spite, anger, venom. Like life really.
Listen to: A Funky Space Reincarnation
Eddie Cochran – Singin’ to My Baby
It’s bonkers to think the lad Cochrane was still a teenager when he made this record, it’s bloody amazing. But for the icy hand of death, he could have been the greatest of the great.
Listen to: Sittin’ in the Balcony
Michael Jackson – Bad
At the time, the idea of Michael Jackson being rebranded as a tough guy made us all snort laughter through our noses. But, name another record with as many hits… you can’t can you?
Listen to: Man in the Mirror
Chic – Risqué
On the surface, this is an upbeat disco album, but listen closely and you’ll hear the aching sounds of a whimpering heart that’s struggling to keep it together.
Listen to: A Warm Summer Night
David Bowie – Young Americans
Deified to breaking point, not everything David Bowie did was a work of scripture, but this pastiche of US soul with Luther Vandross on backing vocals comes close.
Listen to: Young Americans
Prince – Purple Rain
His royal Purpliness released something like 40 albums, and apparently there’s a vault somewhere with about 900 more. This is the one, though hardcore fans would almost definitely dispute that.
Listen to: The Beautiful Ones
The Beatles – Revolver
Such a contrarian cliché to rate Revolver over Sergeant Pepper. Thing is though, it’s a better album. Also, what exactly is the “concept” of Sergeant Pepper anyway? That they’re in a band with a different name? Real deep, lads.
Listen to: Here, There and Everywhere
Donald Byrd – Places and Spaces
Jazz funk’s finest trumpeteer, on a record produced by the Mizell Brothers, who, for those who don’t know, were the bomb.
Listen to: You and Music
The Crusaders – The 2nd Crusade
Formerly known as The Swingsters, the Hamsters, the Night Vision Goggles, the Cheeseburglars, The Jazztastics, and the Jazz Crusaders. This is their best incarnation.
Listen to: A Message from the Inner City
James Mason – Rhythm of Life
Not to be confused with the Oscar nominated A Star is Born actor, this James Mason was a much bigger deal, a jazz funk genius, and former guitarist in Roy Ayers’ band. This is the only album he ever recorded, stupidly.
Listen to: Sweet Power Your Embrace
Primal Scream – Screamadelica
The spot on the Venn Diagram where jangly indie music and rave culture overlapped, no album encapsulates how the early 1990s were supposed to feel any better than this. All baggy jumpers and floppy hair.
Listen to: Come Together
Dennis Brown – Super Reggae and Soul Hits
The best voice in Reggae (with the possible exception of Gregory Isaacs), Dennis’s version of Wichita Lineman may be the best cover version of any song ever.
Listen to: Wichita Lineman
The Isley Brothers – Givin’ It Back
Every album the Isley Brothers ever made was wicked, thanks mainly to the syrupy vocals of Ron Isley, which were smoother than a marble erection. Here, doing rockier tracks, he proves he can literally sing anything.
Listen to: Ohio/Machine Gun
MC5 – Back in the USA
The second album from the Motor City Five, many look to it as a precursor to all of that noisy punk rocking that came about five or so years later.
Listen to: Looking at You
Television – Marquee Moon
Unlike UK punk, the US variety was made up of college dorks who looked like they’d do your homework for you. They also made much much better records.
Listen to: Marquee Moon
Neil Young – After the Gold Rush
Proof that your voice doesn’t ever really need to fully break, Neil Young sings like a frightened young lad, but his music is all the better for it.
Listen to: After the Gold Rush
The Byrds – Fifth Dimension
Rumour has it that they were going to be called The Birds, then got swept up in a wave of misspelling rebellion spearheaded by The Beatles and thusly The Byrds were born. Anyway, doesn’t bloody matter really does it? A name’s a name.
Listen to: Eight Miles High
Stevie Wonder – Talking Book
As a nod to his blindness, Steveland named this record Talking Book, and it conveniently spoke to people on many levels. Mainly the level that says “eff me this is some good songs!”
Bill Withers – Still Bill
He famously didn’t make it in the biz until he’d done a tour of duty and was in his ripe mid-30s, hence why Bill Withers failed spectacularly to ever become a dickhead. One of music’s good guys.
Listen to: Use Me
James Brown – Cold Sweat
Finding a James Brown album that isn’t a work of musical genius is impossible, as is finding just a couple for this list. Here, he basically redefines music again.
Listen to: Cold Sweat
James Brown – The Payback
The Payback was a failed attempt at a movie soundtrack, which the film producers didn’t rate. It’s now considered by many as his best work.
Listen to: Stone to the Bone
The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers
A confusing album in that it was released at the height of punk, but recorded about five years previously. So it was proto-punk without anyone realising.
Listen to: Girlfriend
Curtis Mayfield – There’s no Place like America Today
Another soul artist whose legacy seems to grow and grow, his run of albums in the 1970s was pretty much unparalleled, and this is arguably the best of the lot.
Listen to: So In Love
Minnie Riperton – Come to My Garden
Famous for being able to hit notes that only dogs could compute, this album features three things that take it to the next level: Maurice White from Earth Wind and Fire on drums, Phil Upchurch on guitar, and Les Fleur – one of the greatest songs of all time.
Listen to: Les Fleur
Donny Hathaway – Everything is Everything
Ole Donnington Hathaway has already had one album in this 100, and here’s the second one.
Listen to: I Believe to My Soul
Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson – Bridges
A little-known fact is that Gil’s dad, also called Gil, was the first black man ever to play football for Celtic, where he was nicknamed “The Black Arrow”. This album is Gil Jnr’s version of scoring a really amazing goal.
Listen to: We Almost Lost Detroit
The Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet
Occasionally hard to stomach on account of Jagger’s cod-American accent, once in a frequent while The Stones managed to get it exactly right.
Listen to: Sympathy for the Devil
The Rolling Stones – At His Satanic Majesty Request
The cover looks like reluctant toddlers at a fancy dress party, but once you get past that, you realise this might be the best album they made. Though that’s a big MIGHT.
Listen to: She’s a Rainbow
Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information
Talking of The Stones, here’s the guitarist that got away, as Shuggie turned down a spot in the band and disappeared into obscurity instead. But not before releasing one of the truly great records of all time.
Listen to: Inspiration Information
Suicide – Suicide
Made up of a front man and a relatively static backing man on a keyboard, it’s like you’re having a really weird nightmare about Erasure.
Listen to: Cheree
Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
Probably the closest hip hop has come to a Parliament/Funkadelic, this album actually finds Outkast peddling a fairly safe sound early in their career, but doing it really well.
Listen to: Git Up Git Out
Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
The critics will tell you that this was Stevie’s last truly great album, and well, they’re right. Unless you like the one about the plants. Or the one with him on the phone.
Listen to: As
Otis Redding – Otis Blue
Never made the 27 Club, because Otis was 26 when he died, the poor bugger. Before that he’d made some of the greatest soul records of all time, never to be surpassed.
Listen to: Wonderful World
Janis Joplin – Pearl
Poor old Joppers, such a complex character with a voice like a packet of fags (in a good way).
Listen to: Trust Me
Patti Smith – Horses
It’s only when you read her excellent autobiography that you realise ole Patti Smith was a real sweetheart, and next to Just Kids, this is her finest work.
Listen to: Gloria
Antony and the Johnsons – I am a Bird Now
There was a moment when Antony and the Johnsons played at the Mercury Music Awards that the world basically stopped and fell into an awed silence. Antony is now Anohni.
Listen to: Hope there’s Someone
The Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
The album that made everyone realise that The Beastie Boys, though clearly dicking around, weren’t JUST dicking around. They were actually good at this.
Listen to: Hey Ladies
Mary J Blige – My Life
As the rain lashed down at Glasto with Mary J getting close to evangelical with her rendition of No More Drama, it was clear that she’s the soul star of her generation. This is the better record though.
Listen to: I Love You
Nick Drake – Bryter Layter
Another who died a little too soon to make it into the 27 club, Nick Drake was also 26 when the cold hand of death seized him from us. His legacy was three excellent records, of which this was one.
Listen to: Fly
KRS-One – KRS-One
It would be impossible to declare one person the greatest rapper of all time, but let’s be clear about something here – it’s probably KRS-One. Or Rakim. Or Kool G Rap.
Listen to: Health, Wealth, Self
Miles Davis – Big Fun
Really you could go for anything from Miles Davis’s early-mid 70s run, with Bitches Brew, On the Corner, and Big Fun being pretty much interchangeable. Perfect dinner party music for freaks.
Listen to: Great Expectations
Love – Forever Changes
It’s law to include this is any list of the best albums, and very fair-enoughly, because it is really good, and also features an opening line that goes “oh the snot has caked against my pants”
Listen to: Alone Again Or