What Apple Music got right (and wrong) in top 100 albums of all time list

Apple Music created a list of the 100 greatest albums of all time. What did the platform get right and what did it get wrong?
Scott Dudelson/GettyImages

On Wednesday, Apple Music completed its "100 Best Albums" of all time list. Throughout the past week, the streaming platform has been announcing which albums made the list, starting at 100 and counting all the way down to number one.

The platform has sparked some controversy, as fans of all different backgrounds have spoken up about which albums should have made the cut, and which albums should not be on the list at all. On Wednesday, Apple Music revealed its top ten list, which finished off with Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill sitting at the number one overall spot.

The list contains many classic albums ranging from hip-hop to rock and roll to modern-day pop. But with anything that is filled with opinions, there are bound to be rights and wrongs within the list.

What did Apple Music get wrong in its list?

Overall, Apple Music found itself the main topic of conversation over the past week. Many fans have been up in arms about the list the platform produced. And one of the leading issues within the list is the lack of diversity outside of America.

Music is a global production and, obviously, has been around for tens of thousands of years. In order to create a list of the greatest albums of all time, one would think every country, every genre, and every language would be represented. That is not what happened.

Instead, Apple Music produced a list primarily of English-speaking artists/albums, but then still included albums such as Un Verano Sin Ti by Bad Bunny in the 76th spot and Homogenic by Björk in the 45th slot. Including these albums is not inherently wrong, but making the claim these are the two greatest non-English albums of all time is fairly controversial.

Another mistake Apple Music made was its lack of alternative rock. Over the past 30 years, alternative/emo rock has found its way into the mainstream. Ranging from modern-day artists like Machine Gun Kelly to his influences like Blink-182, emo rock has stapled itself as a representative of today's youth.

Unfortunately, the genre found itself missing out on Apple Music's list. Albums such as My Chemical Romance's Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary did not manage to make the cut. Emo-rock has had great influence over the course of modern-day music, and that genre went unrepresented in Apple Music's list.

For the list specifically, there were many albums that found themselves on it but sparking a lot of controversy. Travis Scott's Astroworld was placed in the 98th overall slot. Not only is this not Scott's best album, but it is also not even one of the most influential hip-hop albums of the 2010s. If any Scott album were to make the list, it should have been Rodeo, as Rodeo contains tracks like "3500" and "Antidote," two of the most well-recognized trap songs of the 2010s. But even then, claiming any Travis Scott album as one of the greatest albums of all time is a bit of a stretch.

Another failure on Apple Music's part comes in the form of The Strokes' Is This It. The album was placed in the 68th overall spot and should have been ranked much higher. This album helped make alternative rock "cool" and was a leading factor for alternative rock to reach the mainstream in the early 2000s.

Lastly, Apple Music had another mishap when it came to placing Beyoncé on the list. Beyoncé found herself being placed in two different spots, number 10 with Lemonade and number 36 with her self-titled album, Beyoncé. Lemonade is in an almost perfect place, but the self-titled is where an issue comes about.

In July of 2022, Beyoncé released a near masterpiece with her dance album Renaissance. The album circulated all across social media, with tracks like "Break My Soul" being dance floor anthems and "Alien Superstar" going viral all over TikTok. The album was so popular that Compton rapper, Kendrick Lamar, collaborated with Beyoncé to make a remix of the song "America Has A Problem". Overall, Apple Music should have replaced her self-titled project with Renaissance.

What did Apple Music get right?

To begin, the top 10 of Apple Music's list is nearly perfect. The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill placed in the top spot and anyone who has heard that album could understand the precedent of placing the album in the number one overall spot.

In the following spot, we find Michael Jackson's Thriller in the number two spot. The album contains hits like "Thriller," "Billie Jean," and even "Beat It," so it is perfectly understandable why the album places so high up.

The biggest flaw in the top ten comes from the aforementioned Kendrick Lamar. Lamar has helped bring west-coast rap back into the spotlight with records like "Humble," M.A.A.D City," and "Alright." He is frequently referred to as the greatest rapper of the 2010s. Unfortunately, Apple Music placed good kid, m.A.A.d city in the number seven slot, when it easily should have been his 2015 project, To Pimp A Butterfly. But overall, putting Kendrick Lamar in the top 10 is undoubtedly a great decision by Apple Music.

Another win by the streaming platform comes in the 20-30s range. At slot number 23 we find Daft Punk's Discovery, a monumental electronic album that opened the door for electronic music to become what it is today.

And then, in slot number 30, Billie Eilish's WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? is placed. This album did spark a lot of controversy being placed here; however, not only is it Eilish's best project, but it also put a very interesting twist onto pop music as it proved pop music can be dark and sinister, but still be great.

Next. Overlooked 1980s. Overlooked albums from the 1980s. dark

Lastly, the most important thing Apple Music got right was its ability to be unapologetic. Music is subjective and when creating any list that is full of opinions, there is going to be backlash. Apple Music's Zane Lowe, amongst artists such as Maggie Rogers, Pharrell Williams, and more, helped create this list. Apple Music was forced to defend itself and its list but refused to apologize for its opinion. When creating a list of this magnitude, it is important to stand by what you believe and not give into the mainstream.

Overall, Apple Music spent countless hours curating this list. It had some bad opinions, but it also had some very good opinions. Any list of this sort is going to be subject to criticism. Despite that, Apple Music did a terrific job curating a list that not only they believe in, but displays a wide range of albums that represent numerous different eras and demographics.

More music news and analysis: