Ten Flawless Pop Albums

6. Sleeping In The Nothing by Kelly Osbourne

Which brings us to our next record, the Linda Perry-produced second album of Kelly Osbourne called Sleeping In The Nothing. No, you’re not hallucinating, that is Kelly Osbourne’s name on a top ten music list. So here’s the scoop, remember when Kelly tried to do a bratty rock record and failed miserably? Well, she got the memo that she couldn’t sing and decided to turn to the one musical genre that required little singing talent: Electronica! Fresh out of rehab, Kelly Osbourne enlisted the help of Perry to make a collection of songs that sounded straight out of the eighties. Think of it as sounding like Missing Persons but with a lot more Vicodin. Shockingly, the synths and retro guitars worked perfectly for Osbourne. The songs were super catchy—even the one about date rape—and her vocals were bearable. Yay!

7. Blackout by Britney Spears

If Blackout is what happens when you lose your damn mind, maybe Britney Spears should have nervous breakdowns more often! The record was released during a time in which the troubled pop star was shaving her head, wearing pink wings, and getting carried out in a stretcher. You would think that all of these distractions and chemical imbalances would’ve prevented her making a fantastic dance record, but you’d be wrong! Blackout is, in my opinion, the best Britney record of all. Maybe it’s because she was so hands-off during the recording process that the producers were really able to stretch their creative wings. Whatever the reason, I’m happy the record exists. There’s not a bad track on it; the songs all flow together in one giant melting pot of pop and psychosis.

8. Back To Black by Amy Winehouse

Speaking of trainwrecks, do you ever wonder why people ever gave a shit about Amy Winehouse? It’s because of her throwback soul record, Back To Black. It’s basically a work of retro pop art with Mark Ronson’s production sparkling over her lovely vocals. The whole thing just feels like a joyous ride through the 70s. Her downfall happened almost immediately though so the record often got overshadowed by her crack addiction. It’s a shame too because she’s actually really talented. Not in the way people say Lindsay Lohan was talented either. I mean, like, actually talented.

9. Ray Of Light by Madonna

This is my favorite Madonna record mainly because she took a genre of music that was considered unemotional and gave it some feeling. Granted, nothing on the record resembles legit techno but producers William Orbit and Mirwais borrow generously from the sound and expertly lay it over poppy hooks. Songs like “Ray Of Light”, “Swim” and “Frozen” don’t follow the usual framework of pop music but still manage to kill it with the melodies. Plus, Madonna was just in a really good place then, you know? She just had Lourdes with her hot personal trainer and was behaving like Buddha. I was really into that phase of Madonna’s life.

10. Rock Steady by No Doubt

I know. You’re pissed because I didn’t say Tragic Kingdom and I get that “Hey Baby” is super annoying. But Tragic Kingdom is too obvious of a choice. Everyone knows it’s brilliant. I’m more interested in the pop sheen of their last record, Rock Steady. To me, it’s a strong record because the band crosses multiple genres all while maintaining that No Doubt sound. They recorded with a bunch of producers, went to weird places like Jamaica for inspiration, and still managed to make something that didn’t sound completely schizo. Songs like “Detective” and “Don’t Let Me Down” were irresistible power pop, “Underneath It All” was a sweet ballad spiked with reggae and “Waiting Room” paired the insane Prince with Gwen Stefani’s vocals. It’s so good. And just try not to get misty when listening to “Running”, okay? TC mark

image – Aaliyah


Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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  • Megan

    *commercial pop albums. It should really say that in the title

    • notmarykate

      Yes, because only indie acts can produce good music worth of being listened to (the irony of using those words in such a sentence is not lost on me). Seriously, this sort of counter-culture hubris is every bit as bad as the mainstream trash it seeks to discredit. Get over yourself already.

      • Megan

         I was not saying this list is commercial therefore is bad, I’m just saying that if you were including both mainstream and independent “pop” albums then this list would look a lot differently. Stop trying to find an excuse to point and yell hipster

      • http://www.facebook.com/iamahmad Ahmad Radheyyan

        Everyone chill out and listen to some Ashlee Simpson. 

        I’m glad this article was posted, so I could finally get over her SNL fuck-up and actually appreciate her music.

    • your cousin

      “commercial pop”? Isn’t that a bit redundant? I feel like you don’t know what “pop” means.

      • Megan

        oh my goodness that is very, very silly

  • http://facebook.com/sdouglas Scott

    *from the 90’s and early 2000’s

  • Bernard

    I prefer ‘Bittersweet World’ over ‘Autobiography’.

    John Shanks has the tendency to layer everything over and over and over until it sounds like one big mush of sound.

    SO happy Kelly made the list though.
    (And ‘Blackout’ is indeed the best Britney-album EVAH, but that’s a given.)

  • Josh

    Rhythm Nation 1814.

  • Shanayay343

    As opposed to “indie” pop albums, which, of course are inherently better because they inevitably sell less, giving the 15 hipsters who purchase them +39427 hipster points. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=746120455 Chantelle Gates

    kind of a shit list, but whatever. To each their own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer


  • BONT

    These are seriously all classics, cool or not.

  • Ro

    I love all of these albums… my favorite part of The Writing’s on the Wall was the commandments at the end of each song. “Thou shall not bug… Thou shall not think you got it like that.” I wonder what LeToya and LaTavia are up to now.

  • Ro

    I love all of these albums… my favorite part of The Writing’s on the Wall was the commandments at the end of each song. “Thou shall not bug… Thou shall not think you got it like that.” I wonder what LeToya and LaTavia are up to now.

  • http://twitter.com/iamdanluke Dan

    Britney “The Blackout Years” were so #dark

  • Dan

    I really like this list.  For my two cents, I would sub in 
    – Impossible Princess – Kylie Minogue  (This is to Kylie’s career what Blackout is to Britney’s). 
    – Different Class – Pulp (This album is just perfect- every track is amazing)

  • Arthur

    Where’s “Robyn,” by Robyn?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Javannie-Owen/727585903 Javannie Owen

    I love all the albums on the list! Still play them non-stop

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    Played guitar hero today. Spiderwebs by No doubt anyone?

  • michael kramer

    ‘9 albums that remind me of my childhood (and amy winehouse cuz she’s a diva lol)’

    • michael kramer

      also i feel like a really passionate argument could be made on my part for love angel music baby

      that album was sick

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathon-Ferrari/100001319787228 Jonathon Ferrari

    I would like to point out that all of Third Eye Blind’s albums are awesome.

    • Annie

      except for ursa major :/

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathon-Ferrari/100001319787228 Jonathon Ferrari

        except for ursa major…

      • http://twitter.com/790FM Frank

        really? i loved ursa major…

    • Annie

      except for ursa major :/

    • Annie

      except for ursa major :/

    • Annie

      except for ursa major :/

  • kristinjames

    blackout is by far the best britney album. circus and whatever her new one is don’t even compare

  • http://paopucake.tumblr.com rina

    omfg running! thanks for the reminder

  • Poonam

    No Jay-Z if Beyonce didn’t make it on her own after Destiny’s Child? That’s the most ridiculous statement in this piece. Come on, Ryan!

  • Austin

    agree with all of these, but one of them needs to be kicked out for S Club 7’s truly perfect “S Club.”
    that is all.
    also, marry me ryan.


    Love the first Third Eye Blind album.

  • http://twitter.com/hellllnawww annisah

    aaliyah is king!

  • Lou

    Frank beats Back to Black in EVERY way

  • microfiche


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