Top 10 Non-Rock Albums

artist: Misc date: 01/31/2014 category: wtf?
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Top 10 Non-Rock Albums
What are the best albums from the rest of the music world?

This week we asked Ultimate Guitar readers to look outwards, past all the rock and metal that we usually cover, and pick out their favourite albums from the pop, hip-hop, electronic worlds and beyond. 

The resulting list is a refreshing change from our usual output, and better than we ever expected. It's a fantastic playlist to enjoy and discuss over the weekend, so let us know what you love and share other album tips in the comments below. Enjoy!

10. Justice "Cross"

The greatest French dance duo since Daft Punk. It takes a special kind of dance album to impress Ultimate Guitar readers, and this effort to produce an "opera-dance" record is it. Believe it or not, the album is peppered with samples of everything from Slipknot and 50 Cent to Queen.

9. Moby "Play"

Moby started life living in the ghettos and visiting hardcore punk shows alongside the likes of Dave Grohl and the Beastie Boys. So how did he end up making some of the most commercially successful records of all time? Every track on this, his fifth album, was incensed for commercial use. So he's technically a sell out - but perhaps Moby earned it.

8. Massive Attack "Mezzanine"

British music is about more than the Beatles. Massive Attack hail from Bristol, which is the equivalent of a rural dystopia and home to graffiti artists including Banksy. So when you hit play on this absolutely stunning record, you're about to take a trip into the real Britain you never see in the media. Magnificent.

7. Daft Punk "Discovery"

Dance music used to be repetitive in a bad way. It was rarely catchy, it was produced with little intellect, and couldn't muster a beat of emotion. Then Daft Punk came along, and gave the genre a huge dose of credibility which has been emulated thousands of times ever since, making the electronic scene far richer for it. This album marks their tipping point into the mainstream.

6. Wu-Tang Clan "36 Chambers"

Aggressive vocals, drive and distortion on every track, and a lasting influence on decades of music? If that sounds like a classic rock album, you'd be wrong. Wu-Tang Clan's debut emerged with a distinctive sound, where each of their nine rappers literally battled for the right to feature on each song. The resulting determination and attitude helped them crash into the Billboard chart in 1993.

5. The Prodigy "The Fat of the Land"

Rooted in dance but firmly influenced by punk rock ... ah, what's the point in trying to define this beast? It sounds like nothing else, and has never been truly rivalled since - even by the Prodigy, who have struggled to achieve their own lofty heights by this album which broke records as the fastest selling British release of all time.

4. Eminem "The Marshall Mathers LP"

Eminem has become one of the biggest artists of all time (and still battles Rihanna for the record for most Facebook fans in the world). This wasn't his first album, but in many ways his career started here - his quirky singles and refreshing rap style caught the attention of the world, and his ultra-aggressive album content captivated an adolescent generation.

3. Gorillaz "Gorillaz"

A band of cartoon characters? Led by the singer of a defunct 90s Britpop band? Featuring many of the best-loved artists in the world, from a wealth of genres, and the illest production in years? What a formula, and how it worked. Gorillaz were a phenomenon, and Ultimate Guitar readers constantly cite this album as an alternative fave.

2. Michael Jackson "Thriller"

After his previous album "Off the Wall," critics didn't think Jackson would come back with as much style. It was a great record, he did a great job of coming back from years as a child star, and that would be it. But then "Thriller" was released, and he showed up the critics by shaking the foundations of pop for all time. Quincy Jones' recording still sounds as fresh as it did in 1982.

1. Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"

This is so much more than the greatest jazz album. It's a definitive turning point in the history of improvisation, and for musicians, that's a concept that will just never die - and that's why "Kind of Blue" is so influential. When it comes to freeform emotion and performance, musicians in every decade turn to it for inspiration, including Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright who says it influenced the opening chords on "Breathe" from "Dark Side of the Moon."

What a great list! Thanks to everyone who made a nomination and voted for a winner, because we're proud of this playlist.

Enjoy listening to every one of these classics of the weekend, and let us know which ones you love or have newly discovered and why. And if you like the list, hit 'Like' to share to your friends too.
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