No matter the year, no matter the decade
Ours is a culture that’s constantly excited to look ahead: to 2021 albums to listen out for and films to see. But if we’re being real, nostalgia hits the spot in ways the new and next cannot. And when it comes to music, there are those albums that transcend time and seem only to get better through the years. Want to talk lasting power? We give you a rundown of 10 memorable, enduring albums from the last half-century.
"21" by Adele
It’s the album that made a sweep at the 2012 Grammy Awards (Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album included). English singer-songwriter had them all in the bag when she put Rolling in the Deep, Someone like You, Set Fire to the Rain, Rumour Has It and Turning Tables, in the same album—all of which became hit singles that we enjoy coming back to today.
"Nevermind" by Nirvana
This studio album by Nirvana gets brought up in pop culture conversation time and again, and with good reason. The band, fronted by the late Kurt Cobain, is practically synonymous with the golden age of alternative music. Just listen to Breed, Smells Like Teen Spirit and Polly. These tracks are still frequently referenced and widely used. (Of course, we cannot discount the famous and controversial cover art either.)
"1989" by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift today is on a roll rerecording her discography (something she kicked off with Fearless). This only goes to show that the American singer-songwriter knows her stuff when it comes to creating music that sticks; she’s still creating demand for tracks already previously released. Should her fifth studio album, 1989, be next in line, fans no doubt will be on standby. This album, famous for being Taylor’s crossover from country to pop, is one of those no-skip albums: From Welcome to New York, Blank Space and Style, down to I Know Places and Clean.
"Come Dance With Me!" by Frank Sinatra
As the face and sound of traditional pop, Frank Sinatra captivated the world well into the 1990s, eventually being considered among the greatest singers of all time. With the swing album Come Dance With Me!, in particular, the American singer spent almost three years on the Billboard charts. This also won him the Album of the Year and Best Vocal Performance (male category) at the 1960 Grammy Awards.
"Pure Heroine" by Lorde
Before Lorde’s Solar Power era came Pure Heroine. It’s the debut full-length release that put the singer-songwriter from New Zealand on the map as a 17-year-old that could wow the world with her superb body of work. The record includes smash hits like Royals, Tennis Court, Team and The Love Club.
"Abbey Road" by The Beatles
Everything about this iconic four-piece band is storied: from its early history to their world-dominating chart-toppers, even down to their breakup. There’s no replacing The Beatles or replicating their winning streak. Case in point: their 11th studio album Abbey Road allowed them to beat their own Guinness World Record for the longest time for an album to return to No.1 in the UK (with a period of 49 years and 252 days). The power and influence of Abbey Road, ladies and gents.
"Thriller" by Michael Jackson
Everything about this music legend’s discography spells iconic, but if we absolutely had to zero in on just one album, it would be Thriller. The masterpiece, produced by Quincy Jones, has sold 105 million copies worldwide and, to this day, continues to delight listeners regardless of generation. Timeless hits from this record include Billie Jean, Beat It, P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) and the title track Thriller. Something else worth noting: this was also the beginning of Jackson exploring darker themes with his music.
"Jagged Little Pill" by Alanis Morissette
When Canadian-American musician Alanis Morissette produced Jagged Little Pill, she didn’t know she would help mold the landscape of alternative rock. And the behind-the-scenes moments of this hit-record-in-the-making only prove her musical genius: According to Entertainment Weekly, songs featured on Jagged Little Pill were recorded in no more than two takes to keep the record as personal and organic as possible. She also wrote her smash hit Hand In My Pocket in just one hour.
"Millennium" by Backstreet Boys
As one of the hottest boy bands of the ‘90s, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson gave audiences swoon-worthy songs for over a decade. Their album Millennium is a perfect snapshot of the height of their success. The 1999 record, which includes their greatest hits still played today like I Want It That Way, Larger Than Life, Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely and The One, dominated upon its release. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts and became the best-selling album of 1999.
"Whitney" by Whitney Houston
The sophomore slump was non-existent in the world of legend and icon Whitney Houston. As proven by her follow-up to her highly-acclaimed debut studio album, Houston only further cemented her place in the world of pop, R&B, and dance pop with Whitney. Who could forget it? I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me), So Emotional, Didn’t We Almost Have It All and Where Do Broken Hearts Go are just some of the singles that frequently crop up in pop culture.
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