All-TIME 100 Albums

TIME magazine has chosen its “All-TIME 100 Albums.” Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” doesn’t make the cut. Kanye West’s “The College Dropout” does, along with an inordinate number of anthologies.

I would argue that their methodology is flawed.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Cernig says:

    Hi James,

    I would argue that their methodology is flawed.

    No Floyd, no Cream, only one Zep but two Van Morrison, no Frankie (the guys who killed disco and started dance), no Kraftwerk, no Hawkwind despite their being seminal to both Heavy Metal and techno, no Kate Bush despite the leagues of fem-singer imitators, no Pete Gabriel.

    I would argue their heads are up their asses.

    Regards, Cernig

  2. DaveD says:

    I love Sam Cooke, but 4 anthologies in the 2000 bracket by artists that were not at the height of their popularity at that time is a bit weird.

  3. NoZe says:

    I don’t think of an anthology as fitting a strict definition of album…a collection of songs consciously created and collected by the artist at a particular time. With such a definition, they would have had room for “Dark Side,” “Born in the USA,” etc.

    But, I guess the whole point was to get people talking, right?

  4. Bithead says:

    But therein, NoZe, lies the problem; the concept of what constitutes an album has changed.

    Years ago, an album was taken in its entirety as a concept. “Dark Side” certainly was one of these. A goodly number of the Moody Blues albums also qualified, (Since my player is playing ‘to our Children’s Children’s Children” at the moment)

    At the height of the LP, instead of being just a collection of songs or a collection of recordings, the album was regarded as an entire package intended to convey an idea as a whole not as a series of singles.

    That so many anthologies were listed in this monstrosity, tells me that its authors have completely lost sight of that concept.

    My guess is, that there’s a lot of record executives involved with this thing.

  5. jpe says:

    If Slayer and Guided by Voices didn’t make the list, it was rigged. By anthology makers, it sounds like.

  6. wavemaker says:

    What, no Frank Zappa?!?!? No Commercial Potential?

  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    That list is idiotic. It was composed by someone who did not live during the times listed.

  8. NoZe says:

    I agree, bit, that the definition of what constitutes an album may have changed. But I’m not even arguing that an album must have a coherent theme or message to it, as does “Dark Side,” “The Wall,” “Tommy,” “Red Headed Stranger,” etc…what they used to call “concept albums.”

    Rather, I would opt for a broader definition: a collection of songs recorded in roughly the same time period by the same artist and consciously chosen to be released as a collection. That would include such classics as “Graceland,” “Born in the USA,” “Joshua Tree,” etc.

    But anthologies are neither…they’re generally just “greatest hits” packages, thrown together by record company executives, spanning many years of an artist’s career. Again, I wouldn’t include these under either definition of “album.”

  9. Bithead says:

    You further my point. The albums you chose as examples of a broader definition, still had a uniform feel across the entire album. Graceland’s, for example, was clearly a collection of songs done by Simon, while under the influence of south African music. Joshua Tree, similarly, showed the band in a particular time. And, a particular “feel”. Simialrly, “Born in the USA”, or, for that matter, “Born to Run”, as well.


    And you know, maybe the snapshot in time thing is a little more important than I’d give it credit for. The anthologies while valuable, Tend to take a lot of snippets in time, and the result is somewhat more disjointed than your average album.

    for example, a couple of cuts off of “born to run “, “Born in the USA”, then “Tunel of Love”, and then some of his more recent stuff may cover Springsteen’s single making potential. However, if it doesn’t give a cohesive package. I don’t know how else to say that.

  10. Jay Wills says:

    I suspect that their picks were as reliable as their “news reporting.”

  11. floyd says:

    20% of the list would have legimate military applications.