30. Bob Marley and the Wailers: Catch a Fire
This is the best album that Robert Nesta did with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. "Concrete Jungle" is one of his best songs, too.
29. Nirvana: Nevermind
Every song on this album is overplayed, but that doesn't make it any less brilliant. It will ever stand as Kurt Cobain's masterpiece.
28. Simon and Garfunkel: Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits
If not for the fact that this was forced to endure a greatest hits penalty, it would have easily been in the top ten. Simon and Garfunkel had some incredible songs in their day, and I grew up with my dad listening to this album in the car all the time. The only song I feel lukewarm about is "Feelin' Groovy." Otherwise, it's a model compilation of brilliant songs.
27. NOFX: White Trash, Two Heebs, and a Bean
Nearly every song on this disc is a gem. No joke. There's not much more to say.
26. The Beatles: The White Album
The Beatles' insistence that several sub-par songs go on this album keeps it from possibly being the best album of all time. George Harrison's crowning achievement, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," is brilliant, but my personal favorite of his is here as well: "Long, Long, Long." Of course, he also wrote the horrendous "Piggies." Paul McCartney was responsible for the brilliant songs "Blackbird" and "Rocky Racoon," but then recorded the vomit-inducing "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." And don't even get me started on John Lennon. This album includes some of his best work, one of my favorites being "Cry, Baby, Cry," but then comes track 29, "Revolution 9." Easily the worst thing The Beatles ever recorded, this single-handedly keeps The White Album out of the top twenty.
25. Elliott Smith: From a Basement on the Hill
Elliott Smith's posthumous album is one of the few albums I have purchased on its release date. I listened to it nonstop for quite a while, but I'm amazed at how poorly it holds up after time. Don't get me wrong—it's a great album. But I can't help but think it would have been better if he had been around to complete it. Then again, word is that he was intending this to be his White Album, and I just got finished ranting about that one. It would have been worth a few junk tracks for him to still be around, though.
24. Slightly Stoopid: Live & Direct: Acoustic Roots
This album is fantastic. If there's one thing you don't often hear, it's two-person, acoustic reggae. This suffers from a live album penalty (although I'm not sure what the story is here—there's absolutely no applause or crowd noise of any kind), but is probably my favorite non-Marley reggae album. This might be a blasphemous thing to say, but I stand by it. I don't even know why they bother with electric guitars and drums. They should just do things like this forever.
23. Rancid: …And Out Come The Wolves
I've heard Rancid where they play what is essentially hardcore screamo, and I've heard Rancid where they mix in some more groovy, ska-like elements. I definitely prefer the latter. This is an album where there is absolutely no song that you need to skip. "Ruby Soho" was my favorite in high school, but picking out a favorite of an album that churns out good song after good song seems a bit pointless.
22. Crosby, Stills, & Nash: Crosby, Stills, & Nash
I'm pretty sure that CSN don't include the comma after "Stills," but it hurts my heart to not place it there, so there it is. I like Neil Young, don't get me wrong, but the group should have stayed CSN instead of CSNY, because this album is a masterpiece. The first time I heard a song by CSN was in a rock and roll history class, where the teacher played "Helplessly Hoping." Those vocal harmonies blew my mind, and I checked this record out of the music library that same day.
21. NOFX: Punk in Drublic
This was my first NOFX album, and I would have a hard time finding a punk song that I like better than "Linoleum." The mixture of styles and the classic tracks on this album make it the best NOFX album ever recorded, hands down. All hail Fat Mike.