Rolling Stone courts controversy with ‘30 Greatest EDM Albums Of All Time’ list

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If there’s a surefire way to raise the ire of music fans, presenting a list of the ‘Greatest’ anything is it. Long-standing U.S. magazine Rolling Stone has waded into the deep end with its 30 Greatest EDM Albums Of All Time list this week, and the stream of comments suggest not everyone is on the same page. “Superstars like Skrillex and Deadmau5 have helped make electronic dance music bigger than ever this year,” reads the list’s opening salvo, “but party people around the world have been getting down to programmed beats for decades before those guys showed up.” The countdown has inspired some furious keyboard-bashing for including a host of compilations, best-of collections and LPs considered to be ‘lesser’ achievements that ‘X’ or ‘Y’. Then there’s the guaranteed pot-stirrer: Madonna’s 1998 effort Ray Of Light higher than The Orb, Orbital or LCD Soundsystem.

Earlier this year, U.K. impresario Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs mused to FACT Mag, “It seems that there have been very few albums in dance music history that have stood the test of any time at all. It’s always been about individual tracks.” For its top ten, Rolling Stone has given the nod to three enduring acts who have proven they know how to make a complete LP: The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and The Prodigy. While an excellent compilation of his production work, eyebrows have been raised at Carl Craig’s Sessions at #4 and a Trax Records 20th Anniversary Collection in the #7 spot. But that’s just minor quibbling compared to the firestorm you inspire when you award 14th place to a Skrillex EP comprising just seven tracks. You can see the countdown, from #30 to #1, below, or head to the Rolling Stone site to see the full story.

Rolling Stone’s Greatest EDM Albums Of All Time:

30. Various Artists, ‘Make ‘Em Mokum Crazy’ (Mokum, 1996)
29. Deadmau5, ‘4×4=12’ (Ultra Math, 2011)
28. The Orb, ‘The BBC Sessions 1991-2001’ (Island, 2008)
27. Orbital, ‘20’ (Rhino, 2009)
26. 4 Hero & DJ Marky, ‘Kings of Drum + Bass’ (BBE, 2010)
25. Sasha & John Digweed, ‘Northern Exposure’ (Ultra, 1997)
24. Justice, ‘†’ (Ed Banger, 2007)
23. Paul Oakenfold, ‘Tranceport’ (Kinetic, 1998)
22. LCD Soundsystem, ‘Sound of Silver’ (Capitol/EMI, 2007)
21. Madonna, ‘Ray of Light’ (Maverick, 1998)
20. The Avalanches, ‘Since I Left You’ (Modular, 2001)
19. Underworld, ‘Anthology, 1992-2002’ (JBO/V2, 2003)
18. Michael Mayer, ‘Immer’ (Kompakt, 2002)
17. Aphex Twin, ‘The Richard D. James Album’ (Warp, 1996)
16. Various Artists, ‘Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story’ (2006)
15. Fatboy Slim, ‘You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby’ (Astralwerks, 1998)
14. Skrillex, ‘Bangarang’ EP (Big Beat/Atlantic, 2011)
13. Basement Jaxx, ‘Remedy’ (Astralwerks, 1999)
12. Various Artists, ‘True Spirit, Vol. 1’ (Tresor, 2010)
11. Burial, ‘Untrue’ (Hyperdub, 2007)
10. Kraftwerk, ‘Computer World’ (Warner Bros., 1981)
9. The Prodigy, ‘Music for the Jilted Generation’ (XL, 1994)
8. Daft Punk, ‘Discovery’ (Virgin, 2001)
7. Various Artists, ‘Trax Records: The 20th Anniversary Collection’ (Casablanca Trax, 2004)
6. 2 Many DJs, ‘As Heard on Radio Soulwax Vol. 2’ (PIAS, 2002)
5. Moby, ‘Play’ (V2, 1999)
4. Carl Craig – ‘Sessions’ (K7, 2008)
3. Juan Atkins – ‘20 Years Metroplex: 1985-2005’ (Tresor, 2005)
2. The Chemical Brothers – ‘Dig Your Own Hole’ (Astralwerks, 1997)
1. Daft Punk – ‘Homework’ (Virgin, 1997)


Comments arrow left

Road2Recovery said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Underworld Anthology? We're putting best of albums in there? If that's the case, may as well just put Alive 2007 in there


cheechvda said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Not a bad list actually. I am not going on a Skrillex hate tangent at all, but I dont see how an EP with just a couple of tracks can be included here.


Saliki said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Not gonna lie, this looks more like the 30 EDM albums owned by the magazine's alternative music editor.


daverh said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Simply: so out of touch.

Dr Bones

Dr Bones said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Regardless of whether you love or hate them, Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Justice have no place on that list, especially when Leftfield aren't mentioned. In addition, is putting a compilation of the best-of tunes from an artist really a good idea? Why not just do that with every list Rolling Stone has ever made, then you could just put the Bob Dylan Greatest Hits, and ignore Blonde on Blonde.


chocstclair said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Nice seeing the Avalanches get the nod


jamwildway said on the 8th Aug, 2012

How can various artist compilations or mix CD's make the list??? Needs more Basement Jaxx albums. New Order, Michael Jackson, Faithless and David Guetta have to be on the list as well.


newitt said on the 8th Aug, 2012

No fat of the land?!


JamRock said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Why are there mix CDs listed if this is a greatest ALBUMs list? (e.g. Tranceport / Northern Exposure etc)

Dr Bones

Dr Bones said on the 8th Aug, 2012

No fat of the land?!


mlirosi said on the 8th Aug, 2012

no faithless??..i mean fat of the land


Digitalgrub said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Can't believe they chose 'jilted' over 'fat of the land'! Not to mention no leftfield, faithless, goldie, shpongle, pendulum...

It would always be a contensious list, but complilations and a madonna record? If we're going for comps, why not Mushoom Jazz?

Dr Bones

Dr Bones said on the 8th Aug, 2012

ITM did a list like this a while back, except it was, IMO, ridiculously more respectable. I didn't even like half the artists on it, but I appreciated the fact that they truly are great/influential in their fields.

Also it included Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives, and that album seriously kicks fucking arse.


theHordern said on the 8th Aug, 2012

sound of silver higher.


Wowk said on the 8th Aug, 2012

There are selections on there that definitely belong there, but then there are others that are best summed up as "WTF?!"


DHindahouse said on the 8th Aug, 2012

MADONNA? WHAT???????? I feel sick.


JackT said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Dr Bones....did we? I can't tell if you're joking, haha. Ah that's right, we did the best 30 albums of the '90s. What pleasant feedback. It was actually a Contributor's Poll if I recall correctly.


tribalchris said on the 8th Aug, 2012

um, Leftism? c'mon Rolling Stone, at least have a look at what more clueful media have rated...


dazza_b said on the 8th Aug, 2012

"30. Various Artists, %u2018Make %u2018Em Mokum Crazy%u2019 (Mokum, 1996)"

I am ok with this list.


Conor- said on the 8th Aug, 2012

I thought it was from the top down - thinking they put Homwork and DYOH last and 4x4=12 top. Nearly had a heart attack


fivegrand said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Too many compilations. I see why they did it - because certain electronic artists haven't really made one great album. But still, why not assess albums as works of art, the way they would for other genres? It's especially crazy to have compilations for The Orb and Orbital, who are album artists in the first place. Anyway, it's a total joke if it doesn't have anything by 808 State, Massive Attack, Nightmares on Wax or Boards of Canada (!!), all of whom made absolutely seminal albums you can't seriously ignore. I'll forgive them for skipping personal faves The Field, Crazy Penis, Casino Versus Japan, Wamdue Kids, Herbert, Triola, Ultramarine, Rhythm & Sound and Ulf Lohmann. Since they allowed compilations, it's stupid they skipped Derrick May, and anything to do with Chicago house. Not enough black music here. Actually there's hardly any. What about Larry Heard, Lil' Louis, Theo Parrish, Glenn Underground?? Where do you draw the line? Doesn't OutKast qualify as EDM if you think about it? Or De La Soul? King Tubby? Herbie Hancock? Does New Order? (Since LCD is here, shouldn't any electronic new wave or postpunk count?) Brian Eno? A Certain Ratio? Manuel Gttsching? (Even though it's just one song?) Actually, you're right, this list sucks.


bonfiglio said on the 8th Aug, 2012

What a laughable hot mess! So much love for Larry Levan/the Garage... but that ain't EDM. Dubnobasswithmyheadman > everything else. Madonna's pop, end of, no matter who produced it. As for the likes of Grillex and Deadhors3, I guess "great" is a loose term now...

Dr Bones

Dr Bones said on the 8th Aug, 2012

I was gonna say, something from May or Pullen might've been nice.

I totally agree though, if you're going to give Skrillex a spot, people like NoW and Massive Attack deserve something.

Dr Bones

Dr Bones said on the 8th Aug, 2012

For the first time ever, I don't take the piss, and no one believes me. :~(

I guess contributor's poll explains it... I was about to say that Rolling Stone ought to have done the same, but it just would've been Deadmau5 and Skrillex and no one else.


LHolland said on the 8th Aug, 2012

Lacks all credibility without Wild 14.


Joffa said on the 9th Aug, 2012

oh my god, fucxking fail. rolling stone pi55 off, this list must have been thrown together by a freshman intern to fill up a blank page or two a day before it went to print.
Its lists like this that stop people from uncovering the best EDM but the same thing keeps the best EDM underground. If your gonna do a list like this you have to dig and dig to find the best.
would love to hear what this list maker thinks of recordings like Holden's Balance 005, Danny Howells GU27:Miami, Sasha's Involver (special edition), get a clue about EDM before you put together an atrocity like this Rolling Stone

Cathy Guetta

Cathy Guetta said on the 9th Aug, 2012

Where is nothing but the beat?


DirtyKnees said on the 9th Aug, 2012

Would help if some of them are albums. and madona, she is a pop idol who floundered when she tried to release a dance album,

Dr Bones

Dr Bones said on the 9th Aug, 2012

I can't remember whether anyone said it yet, but lack of Squarepusher makes for ultimate idiocy.


fivegrand said on the 9th Aug, 2012

If LCD is 'electronic dance music', then why not Larry Levan? Anyway, saying Larry is not EDM is like saying James Brown is not hip hop.
Can't believe I forgot Four Tet on my previous rant.


angy said on the 10th Aug, 2012

Fuck you Rolling Stone. Why don't you hire a few writers who actually have a clue about electronic music? This is a publication that pointedly ignored this side of music culture for 20 years, and is now trying to pass this bullshit off. I'd usually be the last person to rant about this kind of stuff, but seriously, if even Spin could manage a fairly decent "Greatest Dubstep Records" list... This is an embarrassing list compiled by people who clearly never gave a fuck about this kind of music in the first place.


joshforrest said on the 10th Aug, 2012

UNDERWORLD live everything everything best ever IMO. captures the awesome live sound of underworld at theat time.


joshforrest said on the 10th Aug, 2012

MADONNA.... jesus...... what a joke.....

where are the wiseguys.... apollo 440


chrisye said on the 10th Aug, 2012

stopped reading here

29. Deadmau5, %u201844=12%u2019 (Ultra Math, 2011)

His first album was waaaaaay more ground breaking.


chrisye said on the 10th Aug, 2012

I'm not their hugest fan but Justice definitely deserve a spot on that list. If anything they should be higher. Their sound was completely responsible for the popularity of electro between 2007 - 2010


narcism said on the 12th Aug, 2012

What, no Faithless! :(


pemoo said on the 13th Aug, 2012

What are Rolling Stone doing getting involved in EDM anyway?


ianwil1976 said on the 14th Aug, 2012

Proving yet again that old adage: a Rolling Stone blathers some toss.


mickjames said on the 16th Aug, 2012

everytime i have read a greatest something list, the majority of people hate it but this is the first ive seen that everyone hates, it's pretty funny though this is the worst list i have ever seen, im thinking maybe rolling stone wrote it so rock fans wont venture into the electronic world