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500 Greatest Albums

Here’s our list of seminal international albums including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones among others

Rolling Stone India May 19, 2011
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440. Sea Change ”“ Beck

Breakups are painful, but breakup records are rarely this lovely. Sea Change is the pristine sound of everything falling apart, a glossy take on a bummed-out Sixties folk sound. The music seems to be floating up from the bottom of the ocean; the words were straight from Beck’s broken heart.

439. In Utero ”“ Nirvana

After the success of Nevermind, Nirvana hired the misanthropic Steve Albini to record their new album, and Geffen wanted them to clean up a few of the results. Some of this tension shows in white-noise ruckus such as “Serve the Servants,” but the only thing that can explain the scalding “Rape Me” is inner pain.

438. #1 Record ”“ Big Star

Alex Chilton and Chris Bell were the Memphis whiz kids at the heart of Big Star. They mixed British pop finesse with all-American hard rock, from the surging “Feel” to the acoustic “Thirteen.” Big Star didn’t sell many records at the time, but over the years they inspired artists such as R.E.M. and Jeff Buckley.

437. All Things Must Pass ”“ George Harrison

Harrison had almost enough songs stored up from his Beatles days for a triple LP ”” the gas starts to run out on Side Six jams such as “Thanks for the Pepperoni.” But with Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr on board, spiritual guitar quests such as “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life” became classics.

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436. Here Come the Warm Jets ”“ Brian Eno

The former roxy music keyboardist’s first solo album pioneered a new kind of glammy art rock: jagged, free-form and dreamy. “Baby’s on Fire” and “Needle in the Camel’s Eye” are vicious rockers with detached vocals, and Robert Fripp’s warped guitars swarm and stutter.

435. To Bring You My Love ”“ PJ Harvey

Harvey sings the blues like Nick Cave sings gospel: with more distortion, sex and murder than you remember. Love was a towering goth version of grunge. Harvey’s whisper is even scarier than her scream in morbid rockers such as “Down by the Water” and “Working for the Man.”

434. Outlandos d’Amour – The Police

They would get bigger, but they never sounded fresher. The Police were punks who could play their instruments, absorbing reggae into the spare, bouncy sound of their debut album. “Roxanne,” “Next to You” and “So Lonely” proved that Sting was already a top-notch pop songwriter.

433. Another Green World ”“ Brian Eno

After years as a rock eccentric, Eno was exploring new ideas about ambient music. But he said goodbye to song form with this album of pure synthetic beauty, mixing lush electronics (“Becalmed”) with acoustic instruments (“Everything Merges With the Night”) to cast a truly hypnotic spell.

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432. Sleepless ”“ Peter Wolf

Wolf accomplishes a rare feat on this modern blues album: He sings about adult romance without sounding jaded. The former J. Geils Band singer testifies about true love in his soulful growl, with help from friends such as Mick Jagger (“Nothing But the Wheel”) and Keith Richards (“Too Close Together”).

431. Anthology ”“ Diana Ross and the Supremes

In the genius assembly-line soul of Motown, the Supremes were a hit factory unto themselves. Anthology collects hits and near misses. There may be no more spine-tingling moment in pop than in “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” when Diana Ross sings, “Why don’t you be a man about it/And set me free?”

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