High rep albums for me, in order of most listened to:
Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
In my opinion, the best rock album of the last 25 years. They had a great fucking sound on this album that they have yet to duplicate and every song is excellent. It’s also as funky as anything I’ve heard, including James Brown and Parliament/Funkadelic. Plus, Chad Smith on drums brings it fucking harder and funkier than anyone I’ve ever heard, except for some stuff from John Bonham (The Lemon Song and Travelling Riverside Blues come to mind). Easily one of the best rock albums of all-time, with great musicianship from everyone and an album that, even today, still sounds contemporary and relevant. Flea’s toned-down bass playing and Rick Rubin’s minimalist production style show just how good a band that employs the “less is more” strategy can really sound. Most people point to Nevermind from Nirvana as the quintessential album of the last 25 years, but to me it’s THIS album. The sound is more unique and it still scratches me right where I itch.
Led Zeppelin IV
First CD I ever bought. Black Dog still sounds new and relevant even 40 years later, and I still get goose bumps when I hear Bonham’s drumming on When The Levee Breaks between the first and second verses and at the end of the song. Not my favorite Zeppelin album of all-time (I prefer Physical Graffiti or III), but the repeated listening to of Black Dog and When the Levee Breaks brings it into the top three for me.
James Brown, In the Jungle Groove
THE funkiest stuff out there. The remastered version has a killer extended version of Blind Man Can See It, which features Clyde Stubblefield on drums as deep in the pocket as anything you’ll ever hear. I Got To Move also features excellent drumming. This album also features the tighest rhythm section ever as far as I’m concerned with Bootsy Collins on bass and Stubblefield and/or John Starks on drums. It also contains the most-sampled piece of music in the drum break for Funky Drummer. When I bought this album, it was the only thing I listened to for six months. I’ve had the album since it came out in 2003, so only a lack of time has kept this from being the most-listened to album that I have. Anyone who loves funk and doesn’t have this album is woefully depriving themselves of perhaps the best funk album ever.
Enter the Wu-Tang by the Wu-Tang Clan
The first time I heard this album was when it was about a year old and my buddy popped it into his cd player while we were smoking a blunt. I was used to shit like Snoop, Dre, PE and so forth, so when I first heard this album, I was blown away. It sounded so raw and hard-edged compared to most of what was out there. I bought it the next day and still have that same copy. Easily the most frequently-listened to rap album that I have, and other than Only Built 4 Cuban Linx by Raekwon, there isn’t even anything close to it.
Evil Empire by Rage Against the Machine
I know most people think their first album was better, but I prefer this one. Most of my favorite tunes by RATM are on this one (Roll Right, Bulls on Parade, Down Rodeo, People of the Sun). When I first started to play the drums, I tried to learn everything on this album. I still remember when the video for Bulls on Parade came out and people were just blown away by how Tom Morello played that solo. Easily one of the best albums of the last 25 years and one that is seriously underestimated by most. Also, the guitar playing on it is so fucking out there, compared to what everyone else was doing at the time, that I think it is legitimately one of the last albums to really have a unique sound. I don’t think there’s that much stuff out there anymore that sounds as unique as Rage did at the time (despite their poor imitators such as Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit). When it comes down to it, Rage is/was a brutally effective rock band with a guitar player who played totally different than pretty much everyone else out there, and I don’t think that can really be said about anyone today.
Bitches Brew or Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis
I’ve had these albums the same amount of time and I listen to them with roughly equal frequency. I’ve been known to put Sketches of Spain on and just play Solea over and over again. The way Miles plays throughout the song is amazing. Perhaps the most beautiful piece of music I’ve ever heard. And when I heard Bitches Brew for the first time I was equally blown away, but for different reasons. I STILL have not heard anything as original as this album and I’m convinced I never will. Plus, knowing how Miles recorded the album (literally just telling the musicians what to play by giving them purposefully-vague instructions or just the hint of a melody, and then piecing all this together through edits and loops so that what everyone played separately somehow fit) blew me away as well. In the jazz world, this album is a polarizing point for fans of Miles. Many thought he sold out with this one, but if you hear Spanish Key or Pharaoh’s Dance, it’s hard to imagine that Miles sold out; it has traces of influences from Hendrix and James Brown, but the sound is so unique and progressive that “selling out” is just a fallback for people who don’t understand the music. He simply moved in a different direction than anyone was even thinking about going with jazz at the time, and he changed music in general forever as a result. There really aren’t a whole lot of musicians alive today who can say they concretely changed the way music is played, but Miles could legitimately claim that he did so on several occasions, Bitches Brew being perhaps the biggest change.