Pitchfork is currently running a poll where readers select their favorite albums since 1996, which was when Pitchfork started. 1996 is also the year I was born, so I’ve always thought about ’96 as the starting place to consider how music in my lifetime has evolved and what represents the best during this period. Pitchfork only lets you vote for 25 albums, but they do say the final list will end up being 200 albums. I wanted to do my own list of 200 albums to both encapsulate the music of my life and to see how I differ from fellow Pitchfork readers on the final list. I’m making it easy and starting with Jan. 1, 1996 rather than my birthday, which would kick out a few of my favorites from the list (Stereolab’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup was released a day before I was born). 200 albums across 25 years is not as much space as one would think — averages out to 8 per year —  but I think these albums best represent the last quarter century of music.

I did not write anything about each album, but ~90% of the albums have been written about in some capacity across the website on other album lists if you want to browse around.


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200. Young Thug – Barter 6 (2015)


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199. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists – The Tyranny of Distance (2001)


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198. Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind (2020)


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197. Danny Brown – XXX (2011)


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196. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)


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195. Life Without Buildings – Any Other City (2001)


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194. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (2010)


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193. PJ Harvey – Is This Desire? (1998)


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192. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)


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191. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (2015)


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190. Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy (2018)


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189. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca (2009)


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188. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)


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187. HAIM – Days Are Gone (2013)


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186. Dr. Dre – 2001 (1999)


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185. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand (2004)


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184. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (2008)


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183. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2000)


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182. Liars – Drum’s Not Dead (2006)


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181. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008)


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180. Beck – Sea Change (2002)


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179. Jay Reatard – Blood Visions (2006)


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178. Silver Jews – American Water (1998)


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177. Tierra Whack – Whack World (2018)


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176. Maxwell – Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite (1996)


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175. King Krule – The OOZ (2017)


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174. Ghostface Killah – Fishscale (2006)


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173. Blur – 13 (1999)


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172. Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud (2020)


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171. TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain (2006)


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170. Bob Dylan – Time Out of Mind (1997)


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169. Taylor Swift – Red (2012)


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168. Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies (2006)


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167. Rosalía – El Mal Querer (2018)


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166. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (2010)


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165. Robyn – Honey (2018)


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164. Mos Def – Black on Both Sides (1999)


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163. Stereolab – Dots and Loops (1997)


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162. Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica (2011)


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161. Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe (2013)


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160. Grouper – Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (2008)


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159. ANOHNI – Hopelessness (2016)


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158. Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG (2020)


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157. Daft Punk – Homework (1997)


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156. Aphex Twin – Richard D. James Album (1996)


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155. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness (2014)


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154. Tame Impala – Lonerism (2012)


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153. Air – Moon Safari (1998)


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152. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods (2005)


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151. Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism (2005)