Yet Another Ranking Of Neil Young’s Albums


I follow Jim Connelly’s “Certain Songs” on the Medialoper blog. Jim is close enough in age and musical taste to me that I usually find the posts interesting, and occasionally he points me at something great that I missed back in the day.

Today’s post was yet another ranking of all of Neil Young’s albums. (Others are not hard to find.) I was surprised to find that Jim’s list was pretty bad didn’t come close to mine. (Ragged Glory at #3? Anything from this century in the top 10?)(note: Jim’s revised list now has RG at #5 and the highest ranked 21st century album at #12.)

Anyhow, I decided to make one of my own, using Jim’s criteria for which albums to include (No live albums, unless they’re live recordings of new material, no bootlegs, nothing with Crosby, Stills or Nash, no compilations or film soundtracks), since that meant I could just copy his list of albums.

So here’s my list, broken up into groups of albums of similar quality. The ordering of the groups is for the most part definitive, but specific rankings within those groups might change depending on when you ask. (For example, three weeks after I first posted this, I came back and moved Ragged Glory and Sleeps With Angels up two groups.)

The list:

Best of the Best:

  1. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
  2. Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
  3. Tonight’s The Night (1975)
  4. After The Gold Rush (1970)

Rest of the Best:

  1. Time Fades Away (1973)
  2. Harvest (1972)
  3. On The Beach (1974)
  4. Zuma (1976)
  5. Comes a Time (1978)
  6. Hawks & Doves (1980)
  7. Re*ac*tor (1981)
  8. Trans (1982)
  9. Neil Young (1969)
  10. American Stars ‘n’ Bars (1977)

Best of the Rest:

  1. Sleeps With Angels (1994)
  2. Landing on Water (1986)
  3. Ragged Glory (1990)
  4. Harvest Moon (1992)
  5. Freedom (1989)

Only because it’s Neil: (Gimmicky, but…)

  1. Everybody’s Rockin’ (1983)
  2. A Letter Home (2014)
  3. Americana (2012)

Has its moments:

  1. Life (1987)
  2. Old Ways (1985)
  3. Chrome Dreams II (2007)
  4. Hitchhiker (1976/2017)
  5. Le Noise (2010)
  6. This Note’s For You (1988)
  7. Mirror Ball (1995)

Even though it’s Neil: (aka “Not worth ranking”)

  • Psychedelic Pill (2012)
  • Broken Arrow (1996)
  • Peace Trail (2016)
  • Prairie Wind (2005)
  • Living With War (2006)
  • Fork in the Road (2009)
  • Silver & Gold (2000)
  • Are You Passionate? (2002)
  • The Visitor (2017)
  • Greendale (2003)
  • The Monsanto Years (2015)
  • Storytone (2014)

 


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