I started crying multiple times while writing his list. This isn't a joke list! Don't expect it to set a precedent.
  1. IN RAINBOWS - Radiohead
    When I was in college (ugh, I know.) I got into Radiohead by devoting a full two days to listening to each then-released album of theirs, for two weeks total. When I got to In Rainbows, I remember going "holy shit" in the laundry room of my dorm. There's not a single song on here that I didn't think "okay maybe THIS one is my favorite" about and I'm still entranced when I listen to it, five years later. (I eventually settled on Reckoner being my all-time favorite song.... I think.)
  2. TEEN DREAM - Beach House
    I have no idea where I was when I heard this first time. Ever since I first heard of BH I've listened to Teen Dream in full every time I fly. It's a sprawling but peaceful, exciting but relaxing, incredibly emotional but wildly uplifting album, and it makes me feel wonderful every time I hear it. (The first time I heard it was via a pirated version that didn't have "Take Care" on it. I lost my mind when I learned about that song. It's a best-of.)
    Remember when MBDTF came out and Pitchfork gave it a perfect 10? The music world shook. Every community I was part of was ready to overcorrect, going into the album with the mindset that it had to be way worse than we thought. But they were damn right. A bit overzealous MAYBE, but it's the most revolutionary and important hip-hop album of the era. It feels like there's an era of before MBDTF and after, where the aim of big hip-hop skews more towards emotional storytelling. And I love it.
    This list is starting to sound like I heard about music for the first time in college. I haven't listened to this one in a while because Wayne Coyne feels like bad news, but Yoshimi is still a terrific album with a terrific story. And Fight Test (Cat Stevens ripoff or not) is a perfect album opener. You can catch me in my car air-celebrating to "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt. 2" on almost any given morning.
  5. ST. VINCENT - St. Vincent
    Every time St. Vincent puts out an album I think "there's no way it can be as good as the last one" and three times in a row now I've been proven wrong. Everything she does is better than the last, and that last is still REALLY GOOD. God bless Annie Clark and God bless pedal boards.
  6. EVERYTHING - LCD Soundsystem
    I had so much trouble picking my favorite LCD album. How do you choose between Dance Yrself Clean, All My Friends, and Daft Punk Is Playing At My House? Every album has five solid songs that I could put on a best of playlist without haste, so I'm just not gonna pick. Yes, this is a cop out. But it's my list. Who cares.
  7. TREATS - Sleigh Bells
    I've never heard an album so wildly incomparable than Treats. It's like a chainsaw running through a guitar. This was high school senior year for me, like a strange musical awakening that made me realize I fucking loved loud noise rock.
  8. ABBEY ROAD - The Beatles
    "What the hell Demi? How is an all-time classic so low on your list?" I don't know. It's very good. "Something" is probably the song I'd choose to play at my wedding.
  9. THE RHUMB LINE - Ra Ra Riot
    This was an album that came to me in the transitional period between high school and college. It's what would play in the movie about my life when my parents help unpack my bags from their SUV into my shitty college dorm and I meet my weird cast of character friends that are there until the end of the movie. And it still holds up! I used to bike around campus screaming the lyrics to "Dying Is Fine" and now I miss that so much.
    I know! The THIRD Strokes album? What the fuck, dude? This isn't even in the top three of "best" Strokes albums probably, but it's a personal favorite. It got me through high school and helped me form my most important college friendships. It defined the Strokes for me as I was getting into their music, and "You Only Live Once" feels like the type of giant hug where you start just screaming the lyrics upwards to the sky and dance around with your friends.
  11. THE TOP PART - John Mulaney
    That's right folks, it's not just music! John Mulaney is my favorite comedian of all time, but he wouldn't be if I hadn't heard and repeated The Top Part ad infinity my sometime in 2011. Then I learned he wrote all of my favorite SNL sketches (like ROCKET DOG) and I fell in love further. I feel like I listened to The Top Part so frequently his mannerisms and quotes slowly seeped into my every day life.
  12. KING TUFF - King Tuff
    Another college anthem album! It reminds me of crowd surfing and denim-clad punks pushing around a dark, dingy bar venue. They make me miss Austin and college and my OT20 friends more than anything else.
  13. BEYONCÉ - Beyoncé
    I fell in love with this album as it soundtracked my early 2014 unemployment so to a degree, it reminds me of that. But I'll be damned if it isn't just a righteous example of a perfect pop album. All those nerds who dismissed it against Beck for not being entirely written and performed by one person are insane. A lot of work went into BEYONCÉ and it absolutely shows. This is a banger for the ages.
  14. BLACK MESSIAH - D'Angelo and the Vanguard
    It's the most perfect R&B record I've ever heard. It switches from sexy to political on the drop of a dime and it doesn't feel hasty at any point. It's so weird to see D'Angelo come out of a fourteen year hiatus with something so perfectly constructed, but it also feels right. Like we know exactly how that time was spent. And every inch of the record feels like that fourteen years.
  15. SAM'S TOWN - The Killers
    The Killers is a band that made me really appreciate production over lyrics in a song, and Sam's Town is the height of that. Such ritzy, strong music that really sounds like the best things of Vegas. Read My Mind is the best thing the band has ever done, and most songs on this album come close to dethroning it.
  16. VAMPIRE WEEKEND - Vampire Weekend
    Weirdly, the only memory of this album I see clearly is running around a track to M79, pacing myself to hit laps at a certain verse. But it's an incredible, almost-unenviably good debut album. VW has an incredible batting average with their albums and they started off in the most wonderful way.
  17. FUNERAL - Arcade Fire
    It's no wonder we get so many videos of Arcade Fire members playing basketball because their albums are like half court jump shots. Each one I go "they won't do it again, no way." But they do! At a certain point we realize it's not luck- their first jump shot was pure skill and every shot thereafter was an exercise in that same damn skill. Funeral is one of the most important albums of the 2000s.
  18. THE SOCIAL NETWORK - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
    I've never been into movie scores until this movie came out. I was obsessed with The Social Network, and I still kind of am. It's a wonderful movie and the soundtrack blows me away. It's so exciting and perfectly mood-setting.
  19. EYELID MOVIES - Phantogram
    This is one of those albums where I try to choose one song to suggest to friends and I end up going "no no wait this one" eleven times. It's such an incredible debut album.
  20. JAYDIOHEAD - Max Tannone
    You know what's insane? This album both ruined and made me. It's a mashup album of Radiohead and Jay-Z, and it's solely responsible for my interest in Jay-Z (and therefore, likely hip hop) my interest in Radiohead (before my college marathon, it was the inciting incident for ever hearing a Radiohead song) and my interest in mashups. It was the first mashup album I heard, and even though I didn't know the tracks, every album made me grin like a child hearing for the first time. So thank you, Max.