If you asked me what my three favourite musical artists are, I would most likely say The Beatles, David Bowie and Muse. I love them all for wildly different reasons, and they’ve been the subject of many a list on my blog for the past two years.
Since it’s been over two years since I ranked their albums, I thought it was about time for an update … So I might as well do them all at once! On top of that, Muse released their new album “Will Of The People”, so now seems as good a time as any. How would I rank all 48 albums?
You can check out some of my related blog posts below:
48 – David Bowie (1967)
- BEST – We Are Hungry Men
- WORST – Please Mr. Gravedigger
- UNDERRATED – We Are Hungry Men
One of these 48 albums had to come last, and I think it’s an easy pick. David Bowie’s 1967 debut is terrible in every sense of the word – it’s more of a David Jones record than a Bowie one.
The Vaudevillian style doesn’t suit him at all, and the only song I’d choose to listen to is “We Are Hungry Men”. A poor showing, and I’m not surprised Bowie himself considers “Space Oddity” to be his true debut.
47 – Yellow Submarine
- BEST – Hey Bulldog
- WORST – The Entire Second Half
- UNDERRATED – It’s All Too Much
Much like with Bowie’s 1967 debut, there’s an argument to be made that this isn’t an official Beatles release at all. There are hardly any new tracks, and the second half is purely made up of George Martin’s orchestral pieces.
Some of the unique songs like “Hey Bulldog” and “It’s All Too Much” barely justify this album’s existence, but they really should’ve just been singles.
46 – Never Let Me Down
- BEST – Shining Star (Makin’ My Love)
- WORST – Bang Bang
- UNDERRATED – Shining Star (Makin’ My Love)
It’s the cheesy production that lets “Never Let Me Down” down, as songs like “Time Will Crawl” and “Day-In Day-Out” would’ve probably been good if handled with more care.
The clear stand-out for me is “Shining Star (Makin’ My Love)”, a quintessentially 80’s cheese-fest that acts as a sort of guilty pleasure.
45 – PinUps
- BEST – Sorrow
- WORST – Shapes Of Things
- UNDERRATED – Where Have All The Good Times Gone
An album that shouldn’t exist, Bowie was forced to make a quick covers album in the 70’s and I hate nearly every song.
Some of the individual covers like “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” and “Sorrow” make it listenable, but it’s the general premise of the album that I despise.
44 – Beatles For Sale
- BEST – Eight Days A Week
- WORST – Mr. Moonlight
- UNDERRATED – Every Little Thing
The Beatles made “Beatles For Sale” because they were tired of selling out and were just fatigued in general, so it’s no surprise that this is the most boring of all their records.
Some individual songs like “Eight Days a Week”, “I’ll Follow The Sun” and “Every Little Thing” are pretty good, but on the whole it’s such a drab listening experience.
43 – With The Beatles
- BEST – All My Loving
- WORST – Little Child
- UNDERRATED – Till There Was You
Pretty much just as boring as “Beatles For Sale”, except I think this album has more extreme highs and lows.
Songs like “All My Loving” and “Till There Was You” are absolutely gorgeous, but then abominations like “Little Child” and “Not A Second Time” ruin it.
42 – The Buddha of Suburbia
- BEST – Untitled No. 1
- WORST – Sex and the Church
- UNDERRATED – Untitled No. 1
I’m not sure if “The Buddha of Suburbia” is a proper album or not, as it was just for use in a TV show. The general consensus is that it counts, so who am I to disagree?
This album is full of either really boring songs like “Ian Fish UK Heir” or utterly awful ones like “Sex and the Church”, but then gems like “Untitled No. 1” remind me that there was a creative genius behind it all.
41 – Hours…
- BEST – Thursday’s Child
- WORST – Brilliant Adventure
- UNDERRATED – Thursday’s Child
“Hours…” is Bowie at his most easy-listening, but it’s also Bowie at his most forgettable.
There are no stinkers per se, but the only properly good track here is “Thursday’s Child”. On the whole, an album you should probably skip.
40 – Reality
- BEST – Bring Me The Disco King
- WORST – Try Some, Buy Some
- UNDERRATED – Looking For Water
Some people call “Reality” an underrated gem, but I’d just call it forgettable.
Some of the songs like “New Killer Star”, “Days” and “Bring Me The Disco King” are phenomenal, but most of the others fail to capture my imagination.
39 – Showbiz
- BEST – Sunburn
- WORST – Hate This And I’ll Love You
- UNDERRATED – Spiral Static
A very decent debut album, but I’ve always maintained that “Showbiz” is Muse’s weakest effort.
It’s an album of highs and lows – “Sunburn” and “Showbiz” are amazing tracks and still some of their best, but others like “Fillip” and “Hate This And I’ll Love You” make me want to puncture my eardrums.
38 – Will Of The People
- BEST – We Are Fucking Fucked
- WORST – Compliance
- UNDERRATED – You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween
I thought “Will Of The People” was pretty good after my first few listens, but its charm is slowly fading.
There just aren’t many true highlights on the album as a whole. “We Are Fucking Fucked” and “Kill Or Be Killed” are pretty great, but the rest is just so passable it’s painful. Nothing terrible, but nothing ground-breaking either.
37 – Tonight
- BEST – Loving the Alien
- WORST – Dancing with the Big Boys
- UNDERRATED – Tonight
People like to point to “Tonight” when they talk of Bowie’s downfall in the eighties, but I don’t think he truly jumped the shark until “Never Let Me Down”.
There are some cracking tunes on here like “Loving the Alien” and “Blue Jean” , and even ones like “Don’t Look Down” have a certain charm. Unfortunately, “Dancing with the Big Boys” is one of the weakest closing tracks on any of his albums.
36 – The Man Who Sold the World
- BEST – The Man Who Sold the World
- WORST – Running Gun Blues
- UNDERRATED – The Width of a Circle
I’ve come around to “The Man Who Sold the World” ever so slightly over the years, but I still think this hard rock Bowie isn’t quite the style that suits him.
The title track is obviously fantastic, but I think it’s the opener “The Width of a Circle” that truly conveys the heavy tone he was going for.
35 – Simulation Theory
- BEST – The Dark Side
- WORST – Get Up and Fight
- UNDERRATED – The Void
Maybe my hottest take, but “Simulation Theory” isn’t a bad album. Sure, it can be a little tacky and cheesy and times, but a lot of the tracks are unabashedly fun.
“The Dark Side” is the power anthem Muse were so desperately looking for, “Pressure” is a banger, “Algorithm” is a great opener, and “The Void” is one of their most understated and brilliant closers. If it wasn’t for generic rubbish like “Dig Down” and “Get Up and Fight”, this could have been a great album.
34 – The Next Day
- BEST – The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
- WORST – You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
- UNDERRATED – Heat
Bowie came out of retirement in 2013 for “The Next Day”, but I think it would be another three years before he found his flow again.
Some of the tracks like “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” and “Where Are We Now?” are Bowie firing at his absolute best, but a lot of the tracks are unremarkable too. I still maintain that “Heat” is a great closer, although I seem to be the only one on the planet to think that!
33 – Please Please Me
- BEST – I Saw Her Standing There
- WORST – Chains
- UNDERRATED – There’s A Place
The Beatles’ debut album, and the strongest first outing of any artist on this list.
The iconic pieces are already in place to begin with – Lennon’s vocals on “Twist and Shout” are electric, McCartney’s bass is majestic on “I Saw Her Standing There”, and the vocal harmonies are on-point in “There’s A Place”.
And then there’s “Chains”, an abomination of a track that makes me want to cut my ears off van Gogh-style. A good start, but the only way was up.
32 – Earthling
- BEST – I’m Afraid of Americans
- WORST – Telling Lies
- UNDERRATED – Seven Years in Tibet
Arguably Bowie’s most experimental and risky album. Some things work like a charm while others crumble and fail, but I respect the bravery to do it in the first place.
“I’m Afraid of Americans”, “Little Wonder” and “Seven Years in Tibet” all slap, but then boring messes like “Telling Lies” ruin the party. Still, it’s worth a listen just for being so out there.
31 – Heathen
- BEST – Heathen (The Rays)
- WORST – Afraid
- UNDERRATED – I Would Be Your Slave
Bowie went a bit weird in the late nineties with albums like “1. Outside” and “Earthling”, so “Heathen” was a sort of return to form.
It’s Bowie at his most vulnerable and introspective, and tracks like “Heathen (The Rays)” almost make me want to cry.
30 – The 2nd Law
- BEST – Madness
- WORST – Save Me
- UNDERRATED – Animals
“The 2nd Law” was absolutely panned on its release, so I guess that makes it the most underrated Muse album of all.
Some of the tracks like “Save Me” and “Big Freeze” leave a lot to be desired, but the synth work on songs like “Madness” and “Follow Me” is out of this world.
29 – Black Tie White Noise
- BEST – Jump They Say
- WORST – Pallas Athena
- UNDERRATED – The Wedding Song
After a long hiatus to pursue other musical projects, Bowie came back with a bang with “Black Tie White Noise” – a wedding present to his new wife.
There’s a distorted saxophone sound that will be off-putting for some, but if you don’t mind it then this album will surprise you. Tracks like “Jump They Say”, “The Wedding Song” and the title track need more recognition.
28 – A Hard Day’s Night
- BEST – And I Love Her
- WORST – When I Get Home
- UNDERRATED – If I Fell
The first proper good Beatles record, “A Hard Day’s Night” has some absolute classics on its tracklist.
“Can’t Buy Me Love” and “And I Love Her” are some bonafide McCartney classics, the title track is a Lennon thumper, and the closer “If I Fell” is a side to the band that we’ve never heard before.
27 – Let’s Dance
- BEST – Let’s Dance
- WORST – Ricochet
- UNDERRATED – Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
People love to complain about “Let’s Dance” nowadays as the album that began Bowie’s downfall, but I think that’s patently untrue.
Almost every track on here slaps, from the iconic title track to the one-two punch of “Modern Love” and “China Girl”. It’s pure dance goodness, and proof that Bowie could do it all.
26 – Drones
- BEST – Reapers
- WORST – Drones
- UNDERRATED – The Globalist
A return to their rock roots, I absolutely love the majority of “Drones”.
Songs like “Reapers”, “The Handler”, “Defector” and “The Globalist” are exactly what I want from heavy Muse, so it’s a shame songs like “Revolt” and the title track hold it back from the highest tiers.
25 – Aladdin Sane
- BEST – Lady Grinning Soul
- WORST – The Prettiest Star
- UNDERRATED – Panic in Detroit
I’ve come around a lot to “Aladdin Sane” over the years, as I think the individual tracks are enough to make it great.
“Jean Genie”, “Panic in Detroit”, “Cracked Actor”, “Drive in Saturday” and the title track have all gone up in my estimations recently, and “Lady Grinning Soul” remains one of Bowie’s greatest songs ever. It’s a shame songs like “The Prettiest Star” get on my nerves too much for me to truly appreciate the album as a whole.
24 – Space Oddity
- BEST – Space Oddity
- WORST – Letter to Hermione
- UNDERRATED – Memory of a Free Festival
People only remember this album for it’s title track, and while that is definitely the best song I think the rest of them are underrated.
This is where David Jones turned into David Bowie for the first time, and you can really hear him starting to experiment. “Wild-Eyed Boy from Freecloud” is Bowie with a full backing orchestra, and “Memory of a Free Festival” remains one of his strongest closers.
23 – Lodger
- BEST – Fantastic Voyage
- WORST – Move On
- UNDERRATED – Red Money
The final instalment of the Berlin trilogy, and the one that people overlook the most. It might not be as awe-inspiring as the other two, but there are still some great tracks throughout.
A lot of the tracks have grown on me, like “Fantastic Voyage” and “Repetition”, and even the worst tracks aren’t abysmal. I think the closer – “Red Money” – is one of Bowie’s most underrated songs.
22 – Help!
- BEST – Yesterday
- WORST – Another Girl
- UNDERRATED – I’ve Just Seen A Face
I consider “Help!” to be the final album of the Beatles’ early stage, and it’s where they perfected that mainstream pop sound.
Any album with “Yesterday” on is probably a belter, and a lot of the others like “I’ve Just Seen A Face” are underrated too. Unfortunately, there are too many meh tracks like “Another Girl” and “I Need You” that hold it back from the highest tiers.
21 – 1. Outside
- BEST – Strangers When We Meet
- WORST – All of the Segues
- UNDERRATED – Thru’ These Architects Eyes
Bowie fans absolutely adore “1. Outside”, and for a while I thought they were crazy. Nowadays, I see it as Bowie’s creative return to form.
His collaborations with Brian Eno are always electric, and this is no exception. “Strangers When We Meet” is phenomenally gorgeous, and there are tons of gems like “Thru’ These Architects Eyes” and “I Have Not Been to Oxford Town”.
The random segues throughout are kinda fun and charming, but they get old fast. Without them, this might have been an all-timer.
20 – The Resistance
- BEST – Undisclosed Desires
- WORST – Guiding Light
- UNDERRATED – I Belong to You
Some point to “The Resistance” as being the album that signified Muse’s downfall, but those people are bonkers.
Every track on here is gorgeous in its own way, and the three-part finale “Exogenesis: Symphony” is the most mesmeric thing they’ve ever done. As for my favourite, “Undisclosed Desire” and its slap bass will always have a special place in my heart.
19 – Young Americans
- BEST – Young Americans / Fame
- WORST – Across The Universe
- UNDERRATED – Somebody up There Likes Me
“Young Americans” is bookended by two of the greatest songs of all time – the title track and “Fame” are both sensational, and I genuinely can’t pick my favourite out of the two.
The first half of the album up until “Somebody up There Likes Me” is underrated as heck, but then the two following tracks “Across The Universe” and “Can You Hear Me” stop this album from being the best of the best.
18 – Magical Mystery Tour
- BEST – Strawberry Fields Forever
- WORST – The Fool On The Hill
- UNDERRATED – Your Mother Should Know
There’s a bit of a debate as to whether “Magical Mystery Tour” should count as a fully-fledged album at all, but I always include it in my rankings.
“Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Penny Lane”, “All You Need Is Love” and “I Am The Walrus” are four of the greatest songs of all time, and it’s unbelievable that they’re all packed onto the same album.
As for the worst song, it’s clearly “The Fool On The Hill” and it’s not even close. Yes, I’ll die on that hill like the fool I am.
17 – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
- BEST – Ashes to Ashes
- WORST – Kingdom Come
- UNDERRATED – Teenage Wildlife
I used to think “Scary Monsters” was Bowie’s most overrated and pretentious album by far, but now I see it for the classic it is.
It has my second favourite Bowie song with “Ashes to Ashes”, and also one of his most underrated – “Teenage Wildlife”. A couple of songs in the middle aren’t to my taste, but the highs massively outweigh the lows.
16 – Diamond Dogs
- BEST – Sweet Thing –> Candidate –> Sweet Thing Reprise
- WORST – Future Legend
- UNDERRATED – Big Brother
I’ve mellowed on “Diamond Dogs” a little over the years, but I still think it’s one of Bowie’s most consistent albums.
The title track and songs like “Big Brother” and “We Are The Dead” are lots of fun, and the Sweet Thing medley is one of the best things he ever put to tape.
15 – Let It Be
- BEST – Let It Be
- WORST – Maggie Mae
- UNDERRATED – Dig A Pony
The Beatles were going through some turbulent times behind the scenes, but you’d never guess from the quality of the album.
The production can sometimes be overblown, but so many tracks like “Dig A Pony” and “I Me Mine” are underrated as heck. Also, any album with “Let It Be” and “Across The Universe” is a certified classic.
14 – “Heroes”
- BEST – “Heroes”
- WORST – Neukoln
- UNDERRATED – The Secret Life of Arabia
The middle child of the Berlin Trilogy, “Heroes” has always been one of my favourites – mainly because the title track is my second favourite song of all time.
A lot of the other tracks, like “Beauty and the Beast” and “V2-Schneider” are pretty underrated, but then the string of instrumental tracks near the end lets the album down. It’s a worse version of “Low”, and “The Secret Life of Arabia” has to come through at the very end to save it.
13 – Rubber Soul
- BEST – Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
- WORST – If I Needed Someone
- UNDERRATED – Run For Your Life
A lot of later Beatles albums get heaps of praise, but it was “Rubber Soul” that began their journey into the mastery of music.
It’s a really solid album (even “If I Needed Someone” is alright) and tracks like “In My Life” and “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” are some of the greatest ever put to tape. Lennon was on fire here!
12 – Absolution
- BEST – Hysteria
- WORST – Falling Away With You
- UNDERRATED – Fury
The first Muse album that I fell in love with, mainly because “Hysteria” is my favourite song of theirs.
The rest of the album is really excellent too – it’s pretty much a 14-track (15 with “Fury”) heavy rock fest with some fascinating lyrical themes and sprawling piano arrangements.
11 – Hunky Dory
- BEST – Life on Mars?
- WORST – Eight Line Poem
- UNDERRATED – The Bewley Brothers
“Space Oddity” was a great debut, and “The Man Who Sold the World” was certainly an interesting album, but it was “Hunky Dory” that made Bowie one of the greatest artists of all time.
It’s just banger after banger, and songs like “Changes” and “Life on Mars?” are still highly praised to this day – even the closer “The Bewley Brothers” is Bowie at his scintillating best.
There are a couple of tracks like “Andy Warhol” and “Eight Line Poem” that disrupt the flow of greatness, so for that it can’t make the highest tier.
10 – The White Album
- BEST – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
- WORST – Revolution 9
- UNDERRATED – Happiness Is A Warm Gun
“The White Album” is a bit of a mess as albums go, but there’s just something about this collection of songs that I adore.
It’s more of a showcase of talent rather than a proper album, as each of the four members get their chance to shine. Any album with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Back in the USSR” and “Blackbird” on it is probably phenomenal.
There’s too much filler for it to be a truly great record (and “Revolution 9” is one of the worst songs ever), so if they’d turned “The White Album” into a single album rather than a double it might have been their very best.
9 – Origin of Symmetry
- BEST – New Born
- WORST – Feeling Good
- UNDERRATED – Megalomania
One of the biggest jumps in quality from first to second albums ever, “Origin of Symmetry” is arguably Muse’s masterpiece.
Matt Bellamy was on songwriting form, and tracks like “New Born” and “Megalomania” sound like they were made by a music maestro. It’s their most consistent album, and even their worst track “Feeling Good” is still a fun cover.
8 – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
- BEST – Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide
- WORST – Star
- UNDERRATED – Soul Love
One of the definitive albums of the 70’s, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” put David Bowie on the map.
It’s an album chalked full of amazing songs like “Suffragette City”, “Starman”, “Five Years” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide”, and it’s only really tracks like “Star” and “Lady Stardust” that hold it back from the top spots.
7 – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- BEST – A Day In The Life
- WORST – Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
- UNDERRATED – She’s Leaving Home
The most revolutionary album of all time, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was when the Beatles went from Avant-Garde rock stars to music gods.
It has one of the best flows from track to track of any album I’ve ever listened to, and whilst the individual tracks aren’t necessarily the strongest they come together to create something magical. Also, “A Day In The Life” is one of the greatest songs ever – I get goosebumps every time I listen to it.
6 – Revolver
- BEST – Eleanor Rigby
- WORST – Good Day Sunshine
- UNDERRATED – Here, There And Everywhere
Sure, “Sgt. Pepper’s” was revolutionary, but it was “Revolver” that paved the way for the Beatles’ exploration of sound.
The tracklist is a lot more consistent across the board (apart from “Good Day Sunshine”), and songs like “Eleanor Rigby”, “Here, There And Everywhere” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” proved the band could do it all.
5 – Blackstar
- BEST – Blackstar
- WORST – Girl Loves Me
- UNDERRATED – Dollar Days
An album that only gets better every time I hear it, David Bowie left us with a real gem with “Blackstar”.
This is Bowie at his most experimental and captivating, and every song is great in its own way. The title track and “Lazarus” still give me chills whenever I put them on.
4 – Black Holes and Revelations
- BEST – Knights of Cydonia
- WORST – Hoodoo
- UNDERRATED – Map of the Problematique
It may not have the exceptional songwriting of “Origin of Symmetry” or the blood-pumping bangers of “Absolution”, but “Black Holes and Revelations” has always been my favourite Muse album.
This is the band at their most experimental, and the opening four tracks – “Take a Bow”, “Starlight”, “Supermassive Black Hole” and “Map of the Problematique” – is probably the strongest opening run on an album ever.
To cap it all off, the album ends with the anthemic “Knights of Cydonia”. It’s the perfect closing track, and one of those songs that I feel genuinely blessed to have heard live in my lifetime.
3 – Low
- BEST – Sound and Vision
- WORST – Weeping Wall
- UNDERRATED – Subterraneans
Bowie wanted to redefine himself near the end of the 70’s, and with Brian Eno’s help he managed to craft one of the finest musical works of the 20th century.
There’s such a unique, universal approach to each song, with tracks like “Sound and Vision” still known the world over. There are some days where the instrumental songs don’t do it for me, but when they do they blow me away.
“Subterraneans” is a finale that always elicits an immense emotional response from me, and that’s solely down to the magnificent performance and arrangement.
2 – Station to Station
- BEST – Golden Years
- WORST – n/a
- UNDERRATED – Word on a Wing
The most perfect album of all time, “Station to Station” is made up of six flawless tracks – I genuinely can’t pick my least favourite!
The title track is a ten minute epic, “Golden Years” is smooth and iconic, “Word on a Wing” is his most underrated love ballad, “TVC-15” and “Stay” keep the energy pumping, and finally “Wild is the Wind” is a perfect closer with a phenomenal vocal performance.
It would easily be my favourite album of all time, but unfortunately the limited tracklist means it can never be the greatest.
1 – Abbey Road
- BEST – Something
- WORST – Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
- UNDERRATED – I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
Ever since I first listened to it, “Abbey Road” has been my favourite album of all time. It’s the Beatles firing on all cylinders, and every band member gives their closing statements on why they’re all musical geniuses.
The one-two punch of “Come Together” and “Something” is the best album opener ever, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is proof that they were still experimenting late into their careers, and the Abbey Road medley on side two is jaw-dropping.
It’s not a flawless album – mainly due to “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” getting on my nerves – but the giddiness that it always gives me means I have to put it at the top spot.
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