The 20 Absolutely Must-Buy Vinyl Records – 2019 edition

We all know that listening to vinyl records is like CDs, only more expensive and honestly kind of a hassle. Every three or four songs comes time to flip over or change the record, you have to clean the dust off incredibly carefully and if you scratch it, it’s going to skip and the disc is ruined.

It just sounds better though. In the same way, 35mm film looks better than digital, there’s something about the warmth of both of the older technologies that brings something special to your experience. I love my Fluance turntable and speakers, and going through my collection never fails to remind me that I’ve got some gems just waiting to be played.

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Having said that, everyone has to start somewhere and my collection has a lot to be desired. I’ve read a number of this sort of article that seems to copy and paste the same Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, and Beatles albums. Of course, they’re amazing, but there are so many that are missing. These are the kind of albums that a particular kind of song lives on. The tunes that you might hear on a radio station while you’re driving on a road you don’t normally travel. The ones you wish you could remember the title but can almost hum the tune.

In no particular order, here are my top 20 albums that you absolutely must own – on vinyl.

Oasis – Definitely Maybe

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This might be the ultimate Brit Pop genre album

Gorillaz – Demon Days

Another legend of the Brit Pop scene was Blur’s Daman Albarn, who turned himself into a cartoon and launched Gorillaz. This is one of their best.

Elbow – Mirrorball

elbow, mirrorball
It’s starting to look a little bias toward British music, but with fair reason. Ok, I promise to include some more international options.

Frank Sinatra – Ultimate Christmas

christmas music on vinyl
Obviously, you need some Frank, and you need some Christmas. Let’s combine those two.

Barenaked Ladies – Original Hits

This comes with so many memories. One Week, The Old Apartment, If I Had $1,000,000. So good.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack – Delux Vinyl Edition

Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack
This might just be one of the best movie soundtracks, ever. Full of 70s classics, this is a great one to learn about some great bands you might never have heard of.

Arctic Monkeys – AM

AM, Arctic Monkeys,
You can’t really go wrong with any Arctic Monkeys record, but this one is a particularly excellent choice.

Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

Sultry, moody, perfect. I’ve seen Lana live in concert and she’s just got a special kind of voice.

Regina Spektor – Far

Regina Spektor is one of my favourite ever artists. Her songs are so wonderfully poetic.

Kimbra – Vows

Experimental, layered, fun, and joyous. This one is hard to find, maybe on eBay from someone who doesn’t appreciate what they’ve got.

Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You

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Oh Lilly. What an honest, funny, and often scathingly blunt singer. Catchy tunes and no-guff lyrics. Perfect.

Wilco – Ode to Joy (pre-order)

This one is so new it’s not even out yet. I reckon it’s gonna be a good’un though.

Madness – One Step Beyond (1979)

You’re more likely to find this in a thrift store, but it’s an amazing 1970s British ska choice. If you can find it, also pick up any Best of Madness’ you can.

John Coltrane – Blue World

A jazz legend, John Coltrane sets the mood, especially on a quiet, rainy day.

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

This includes some truly spectacular duets with Jazz greats, including John Coltrane.

Sia – Everyday is Christmas

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Look, don’t judge me. Sia brings something new and interesting to all of her albums and this Christmas record is a contender for best festive album of all time. Right behind Bing!

Darkness – Permission to Land

Like Queen, but a bit sillier. Just some good old fashioned rock. These guys were one of my favourite ever live shows.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars 

I mean, obviously.

Beastie Boys – Check Your Head

I’ve got a video of my daughter when she was 18 months old, nodding her head to ‘Funky Boss’. All infants should be indoctrinated into the world of the Beastie Boys. That’s just a fact.

Experience Hendrix – The Best of Jimi Hendrix

Oh sure you’ve heard some of his songs, but have you ruined your speakers from playing them too loud?


I posted this list on Reddit and got absolutely rinsed for being basic. So, they shared their top album recommendations. It looks like I’ve got a lot to listen to.

R/Lanark77 said: 20, some old and some new.

  1. Public Image Ltd – Metal Box
  2. Throbbing Gristle – 20 Jazz Funk Greats
  3. Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
  4. The Durutti Column ‎– The Return Of The Durutti Column
  5. Death in Vegas – Scorpio Rising
  6. The Nectarine Nº9 ‎– A Sea With Three Stars
  7. Idles ‎– Joy As An Act Of Resistance
  8. Coil – Horse Rotovator
  9. Swans ‎– Soundtracks For The Blind
  10. Shannon Shaw ‎– Shannon In Nashville
  11. Massive Attack ‎– Heligoland
  12. Earl Brutus ‎– Tonight You Are The Special One
  13. The Go! Team ‎– Thunder, Lightning, Strike
  14. Sparks ‎– Kimono My House
  15. Leftfield ‎– Leftism
  16. The Residents ‎– The Third Reich ‘N’ Roll
  17. Swell Maps ‎– … In “Jane From Occupied Europe”
  18. Psychic TV – Force the Hand of Chance
  19. Big Black – Atomizer
  20. R. Dean Taylor ‎– Indiana Wants Me

Did I miss any? Add them in the comments below.

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  1. Michael Kwan

    September 20, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Nice list. Totally on board with Frank there, but still a little too early in the year for Christmas tunes. Crank that Beastie Boys and Miles Davis please.

    1. jamesrcsmith

      September 20, 2019 at 9:05 pm

      It’s never too early for Christmas tunes.

  2. Mover

    August 13, 2020 at 2:38 am

    Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life and Talking Book

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