SPECIAL: Classic Albums from Around the World

To celebrate beehype’s 10th birthday, our experts present legendary albums from their countries – and they are amazing!

From classic Argentinian rock to the first Vietnamese concept album, from Belgian electronic body music to South Korean melancholy. Enjoy this special selection of super classic albums from around the world.

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST with singles from all albums + YOUTUBE PLAYLIST

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Gustavo Cerati – “Bocanada” (1999)

By 1999, Gustavo Cerati was already an icon for Argentinian music. He was the singer and guitarist of Soda Stereo, the biggest “Latin rock” act born in our country, with millions of albums sold and shows all around the continent.

Before Soda Stereo split in 1997, Cerati published three albums with other projects: “Colores Santos” (1992, with Daniel Melero aka “the godfather of Argentinian tecno”), “Amor amarillo” (1993, his first proper solo album) and “Plan V” (1996, debut album of same name band).

“Bocanada” was his first solo album since the Soda Stereo split. By the end of the millenium, Cerati released an incredible record which helped to reshape the Argentinian mainstream: his affair with electronic music peaks in Bocanada, even using samples in most of the songs. The beautiful “Puente” and the danceable “Paseo inmoral” were the biggest singles of the album.

Cerati died in 2014 at 55 years old, after 4 years of being in vegetative state since suffering a stroke while touring in Venezuela. His legacy is full of rich works as a solo artist, as well as collaborations. “Bocanada” remains one of the best Argentinian records of all time and a great way to start listening to Cerati’s ouvre. (Rodrigo Piedra)

♪♫ Listen: “Puente” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Pescado Rabioso – “Artaud” (1973)
Virus – “Superficies de placer” (1987)
Juana Molina – “Segundo” (2000)



The Avalanches – “Since I Left You” (2000)

A genuinely groundbreaking release, The Avalanches created a masterpiece with their debut album: the electronic group sampled extensively across myriad genres to create something magical.

Their two subsequent albums – 2016’s “Wildflower” and 2020’s “We Will Always Love You” – may be of equal quality and value, but “Since I Left You” is where it all started: to experience something life-affirming and awe-inspiring for the very first time is a feeling that can’t be beaten.

We still don’t know just how many samples make up The Avalanches’ debut – guesses range from hundreds to thousands – but it’s the density of their woven tapestry that astounds. Simply sit down, listen closely, and be overwhelmed once, twice, as many times as you like.

It’s now over two decades since the album’s release, but “Since I Left You” remains a standout entry in the history of Australian music, its legacy secured. (Conor Lochrie)

♪♫ Listen: “Since I Left You” + album stream

Other classic albums:
The Go-Betweens – “Before Hollywood” (1983)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Murder Ballads” (1996)
Silverchair – “Frogstomp” (1995)



Ulis – “Чужаніца” (1989)

This album is a premonition. It was written and recorded in a decaying and rotting empire and formulated thoughts that were very important for its generation. When the empire ceases to exist, where will you be and with whom? It sounded relevant and fresh. Musicians deny being inspired by U2 while working on this record, but it’s all too obvious.

Another thing is also obvious. Thirty-five years later, “Чужаніца” (“Čužanica”, meaning “Alien”) is still very relevant. The decaying empire once again spreads a foul smell around itself: ignoring this and not asking oneself existential questions is simply impossible. This is the scale of great records – to formulate meanings and foresee global changes.

Moreover, “Чужаніца” is a collection of beautiful melodies packaged in inventive arrangements. Even if you don’t know the Belarusian language, you can still enjoy the songs from this album. (Aliaksandr Charnukha)

♪♫ Listen: “Калі імпэрыя зьнікне” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Троіца – “Зімачка” (2011)
Песняры – “Гусляр” (1979)
Gods Tower – “The Turns” (1997)



Front 242 – “Geography” (1982)

Whoever says Belgium says beer, fries, chocolate, comic book heroes, political compromises and cycling. Whoever says cycling sometimes says photo finish. Music is not a contest, although there had to be a record on the top step of the podium and it was thrilling until the finish line.

In the end, what was decisive was, among other things, that Front 242 played a true pioneering role for Belgian music and was one of the first alternative bands to give the country a prominent place on the global stage.

“Geography” is a memorable album for more than one reason. First and foremost, it is a benchmark record in the EBM (electronic body music) genre, which Front 242 took to the next level in the early 1980s along with bands like DAF and Die Krupps.

In addition, the record was a great inspiration for many producers within the New Beat, a Belgian dance genre that emerged by spinning EBM records at 33 rpm instead of 45. Together with acts like A Split-Second, The Neon Judgement and Signal Aout 42, Front 242 inadvertently stood at the cradle of a new genre that conquered clubs all over Western Europe in the late 1980s.

Finally, 2024 is also an emotional year for Front 242 fans from all over the world. Indeed, the group recently announced its farewell tour, which will take the band once more through a whole host of European and North American venues. The first place in our list of best Belgian albums of all time is therefore a nice tribute to a legendary band. (Brett Summers)

♪♫ Listen: “U Men” + album stream

Other classic albums:
dEUS – “In a Bar, Under the Sea” (1996)
Millionaire – “Outside the Simian Flock” (2001)
TC Matic – “TC Matic” (1981)



Llegas – “El pesanervios” (2000)

In what could be dubbed as a modern classic, “El pesanervios” stands out as the best Bolivian rock album of this millennium, and one of the best Bolivian albums of all time.

Recorded in Fito Paez’s now-defunct Circo Beat Studios in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2000, Llegas’ third album (the name of the band stands as part of the leader Grillo Villegas’ last name) was recorded with high profile musicians, mostly from Paez’s band: bassist Guillermo Vadalá (Luis Alberto Spinetta, David Lebón, Marc Anthony), keyboard player Claudio Cardone (Spinetta, Juan Carlos Baglietto, Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas), drummer Emmanuel Cauvet (Stanley Clarke, Shakira, Gustavo Cerati), and singer Claudia Puyó, and also featured some guests like guitarists Ulisés Butrón (Spinetta, Miguel Mateos) and Ricardo Mollo (Divididos), and Villegas’ former bandmate, singer Christian Krauss.

Regarded as Llegas most ambitious full length LP, among its 10 songs we find “Subterránea”, their best-known song (with more than 1.3 million plays according to Spotify), the radio hit “Huesos”, and fan favorite “Alas”, also one of Villegas favorite song of his entire career. 24 years after its release, “El pesenervios” remains Grillo Villegas’s creative peak, and it is pretty unlikely that that we’ll have another album – of any artists – with the musicianship and excitement that “El pesanervios” conveyed at that time. (Pato Peters)

♪♫ Listen: “Subterranea” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Wara – “El Inca” (1973)
Matilde Casazola – “Una revelación” (1975)
Octavia – “Aura” (1996)



Indexi – “Indexi” (1974)

Indexi, one of historically most significant bands from Bosnia and Herzegovina, left their mark and influence and enjoyed popularity across generations of popular and rock music lovers that grew up in the former Yugoslavia.

The band was founded in 1962 and initially played instrumental covers of popular hits, but in 1968, they started to write their own music. Considered both pioneers of progressive rock and authors of many great pop songs as well throughout almost 40 years of their career, they released only two long play albums. But there were so many singles and EPs, and the album that is presented here, “Indexi” (1974), is a compilation of singles – collection of probably most memorable songs from the 1971-1973 period, published by the then major Yugoslavian publisher, Jugoton.

All those songs are often airplayed even nowadays and represent some of the brightest spots of the musical heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Samir Čulić)

♪♫ Listen: “Plima” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Bijelo Dugme – “Bitanga i princeza” (1979)
Zdravko Čolić – “Ako priđeš bliže” (1977)
Zabranjeno Pušenje – “Das ist Walter” (1984)



Jorge Ben Jor – “A Tábua de Esmeralda” (1974)

Released in 1974, “A Tábua de Esmeralda” by Jorge Ben Jor is a landmark in Brazilian music. Mixing samba, acoustic guitars, hermetic and almost surrealist lyrics, psychedelic rock, soul and many other influences, the work is not just an album but an immersive experience that invites you to dance, celebrate life and reflect on the universe.

“A Tábua de Esmeralda” was inspired by Jorge Ben Jor’s studies (and fascination) with alchemy, a philosophical movement from the Middle Ages. So much so that the name “A Tábua de Esmeralda” is based on “Tabula Smaragdina”, a text with aphorisms that the mythical figure Hermes Trismegistus would have written and gave rise to Alchemy. The cover of Jorge Ben Jor’s album is based on the book “Livre Des Figures Hiéroglyphiques” by Nicolas Flamel, another name linked to the universe of alchemy.

This entire universe is present in Jorge Ben Jor’s album in a way that, it is no exaggeration to say, is perfection in the form of these songs. The artist’s interpretation and his uncompromising, captivating, reflective, cozy melodies, combined with the acoustic guitar that drives the entire album in arrangements that are sometimes simple and sometimes grand, still sound beautiful today, 50 years after its release.

Jorge Ben Jor found his own sonic alchemy and produced the masterpiece “A Tábua de Esmeralda”. Lucky for Planet Earth. (Lafaiete Júnior)

♪♫ Listen: “Os Alquimistas Estão Chegando os Alquimistas” + album stream

Other classic albums:
V/A – “Tropicália ou Panis et Circencis” (1968)
Novos Baianos – “Acabou Chorare” (1972)
Cartola – “Cartola” (1976)



Nova Generacia – “Forever” (1991)

Subcultural aesthetics, synth-led music and goth fashion came late for communist Bulgaria – when some of the momentum was fading in the West, in the East it peaked in the late 80s, early 90s, as the perfect soundtrack to the political earthquakes of the era and Bulgaria’s efforts to distance itself from Moscow’s grip amid economic crackdowns.

Nova Generacia (New Generation) were one of the major players of Bulgaria’s burgeoning dissident music scene, with the poetical lyrics of frontman Dimitar Voev making their major songs timeless outsider hymns. His untimely cancer-related death in 1992 turned him into an adored icon of the era, similar to Kino’s Viktor Tsoi further East.

New Generation eventually reformed in the mid-2000s and even supported Depeche Mode in Sofia. It remains a fixture in the local scene, despite a changed line-up. (Svetoslav Todorov)

♪♫ Listen: “Тъмна земя” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Nasekomix – “Adam’s Bushes Eva’s Deep” (2009)
KPD-0 – “KPD-0” (2016)
Klas – “Gospoja Emilia” (1991)



Harmonium – “Harmonium” (1974)

Fifty years ago, without knowing they would change Quebec’s music forever, Harmonium released their eponymous album, a unique blend of progressive folk that most music labels, at the time, passed on because in their view, “the songs were too long and devoid of any commercial interest”.

Released by Quality Records, a small label from Ontario, the album would rapidly prove to be a best-seller in Quebec. The band’s mystical aura, helped by their carelessness, their fashion style and the inclusion of medieval instruments in their timeless compositions, was cemented by the album’s cover, a carving by French artist Nicolas II de Larmessin called “Habit de musicien”, a striking image that would become the band’s logo.

Serge Fiori, the singer, has a knack for long-lasting and impressive harmonies, and his vocal signature is immediately recognisable. Contrary to the moment’s trends, the band didn’t use electric guitars or keyboards, using solely acoustic guitars, and discreet percussions. Recorded in six days with a budget of 6000$, “Harmonium” left a definitive impression, a huge footprint. It drove the band to open for Supertramp, to play all over the province to sold out venues for years.

But more importantly, it made being from Quebec cool, and it contributed to French language’s emancipation in a cultural landscape historically dominated by American and English art. (Pierre-Alexandre Buisson, Jean-Simon Fabien)

♪♫ Listen: “Pour Un Instant” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Daniel Bélanger – “Rêver Mieux” (2001)
Jean Leloup – “Le dôme” (1996)
Malajube – “Trompe-L’œil” (2006)



Violeta Parra – “Las Últimas Composiciones” (1966)

“Las Últimas Composiciones” by singer-songwriter Violeta Parra is considered the most important album in Chile since it contains songs that have become universal, such as “Gracias a la Vida”, covered by the most important Spanish-speaking singer-songwriters and bands as well as English-speaking artists.

It is Violeta Parra’s last album before she died in 1967, in the age of 49, so it is her last testimony with songs that have transcended time. (Marcelo Millavil M.)

♪♫ Listen: “Gracias a la vida” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Los Prisioneros – “La voz de los 80” (1984)
Los Jaivas – “Alturas de Macchu Picchu” (1981)
Victor Jara – “Pongo en Tus Manos Abiertas” (1969)



Cui Jian 崔健 – “Rock ‘n’ Roll on the New Long March” (1989)

You can’t talk about Chinese rock without mentioning Cui Jian, often dubbed the godfather of Mainland rock.

Released in 1989, the album, which features the singer’s most famous and notorious single ‘Nothing To My Name’, “Rock ‘n’ Roll on the New Long March” (新长征路上的摇滚) has had an influence on countless bands that followed – kick starting an era of yaogun.

Considering it’s a product of the late 80s — one can expect plenty of big ballads, funk-laced rock, and a more classic sound – but there’s no denying Cui Jian’s powerful lyrics and energetic conviction. (Will Griffith)

♪♫ Listen: “Nothing to My Name” + album stream

Other classic albums:
New Pants 新裤子 – s/t (1998)
P.K.14 – “Whoever and Whoever” 谁谁谁和谁谁谁 (2004)
Omnipotent Youth Society 万能青年旅店 – s/t (2010)



Pips Chips & Videoclips – “Bog” (1999)

If you were to ask someone else which is the best Croatian album of all time, I believe most of them would choose an album from the ’80s and the famous “Novi val” (“New Wave”). For me, the best album is a decade younger, coming from the end of 1999, and it is the culmination of excellence and genius by Pips Chips & Videoclips. After the playful “Shimpoo Pimpoo” (1993), followed by the very good “Dernjava” (1995), and the excellent “Fred Astaire” (1997), then came “Bog” (“God”), which is truly divine.

From the opening instrumental “Vidaj”, the band plays with everything they had learned up to that point. The base would certainly be indie rock and Britpop, but it was elevated to a completely new dimension. Beautiful melodies, growing atmosphere, memorable choruses, and some of the best lyrics in their long career. You put on that album and enjoy it without thinking on anything else.

There were many singles but if you ask me, other songs could have their videos as well because of their quality. I mainly refer to the song “Bolje” (“Better”), which is one of the biggest hidden gems of the band for me.

If someone wants to quickly listen to the band’s greatest classics, we must certainly highlight the beautiful ballad “Narko” (in my opinion, it’s also the best song ever released in Croatia), and the eponymous “Bog”, which they used to close their concerts for a long time with because it is powerful and memorable. But of course, for the best impression of this album one should listen to everything from start to finish because such perfection can only be experienced that way. (Siniša Miklaužić)

♪♫ Listen: “Bog” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Haustor – “Bolero” (1985)
Arsen Dedić – “Čovjek kao ja” (1969)
Josipa Lisac – “Dnevnik jedne ljubavi” (1973)



Kliché – “Supertanker” (1980)

Legendary Danish postpunk group Kliché faced the music with a sense of artistery and a vivid inspiration from bands like Kraftwerk and Devo, but actually seems more in line with Brian Enos early works and the Berlin recods he did with David Bowie.

“Supertanker” marries the new sound of the 1980s with an archetypical Danish sensibility, and a nack for provoking. It happens when the classic single “Millitskvinder” has lyrics written by Mao Zedong. At the same time singer Lars HUG (now H.U.G.) has one of Denmark’s most memorable voices, and with songs like the epic “Masselinjen”, the introspective “Aldrig Mere” and the majestic song “Havets blå”, you are in for a treat.

“Supertanker” is probably not the most important Danish rock record ever, but it might be the most influental to the alternative scene. (Simon Heggum)

♪♫ Listen: “Militskvinder” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Love Shop – “Go!” (1997)
Baal – “Karaoke” (1998)
Sort Sol – “Everything that Rises Must Converge!” (1987)



Reda Folklore Band – “Gharam in Karnak” (1965)

The best Egyptian music album is not actually an album, but a musical. One of the very few Egyptian musicals ever made.

We might directly link Egypt today to its Pharaonic past, but the connection was not that obvious or intuitive back in the mid 20th century. Many artists at one point had to think it through, and look for an Egyptian unique and secular identity in all sorts of art forms.

In the film “Love in Karnak” from 1965, we find their take on music and choreography, made by Reda Folklore Band and composer Ali Ismail. He has mixed jazz, cabaret, comedy monologues on one side, and orchestral, classical and national anthems on the other side. He was then the best candidate to cooperate with Reda Folklore Band to develop the sound of a new Egyptian music, and “Gharam in Karnak” (“Love in Karnak”) was the pinnacle of this collaboration.

If I have to commit the crime of reducing Egyptian modern music in the last 100 years to one music piece, I wouldn’t find a more beautiful example. As kitsch as it might sound today, it has truly given people something to reminisce about. (Charles Akl)

♪♫ Listen: “Halawet Shamsena” + film stream

Other classic albums:
Mohammed Mounir – “Shababeek” (1981)
Ahmed Beren – “Elbet el Sabr” (1991)
Ahmed Adaweyya – “Zahma” (1980)



Mahmoud Ahmed – “Erè mèla mèla” (1986)

Long before Mahmoud Ahmed gained international fame thanks to the “Éthiopiques” CD series in the late 1990s, he won substantial recognition outside of Ethiopia thanks to “Erè mèla mèla”, which was Crammed Discs’ compilation of works from the first years of his music career, mostly from mid-70s, recorded together with the Ibex band.

With Ahmed’s vocals in the center, the album’s atmosphere is both melancholic and aroused, with surprising time signatures and music keys of instruments, and an excellent saxophone play. (T. Mecha)

♪♫ Listen: “Erè mèla mèla” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Mulatu Astatke – “Yekatit Ethio-Jazz” (1974)
Aster Aweke – “Hagerae” (1983)
Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument – “Shemonmuanaye” (1985)



Clickhaze – “EP” (2002)

Clickhaze played a pivotal role in shaping the Faroese music scene, leaving a lasting impact on its members and the industry as a whole.

Eivør’s career kickstarted with the band, while drummer Høgni Lisberg achieved international fame with his solo project, Hogni. Bassist Jens L. Thomsen’s journey led him to study sound engineering and later form the acclaimed band Orka.

Frontman Petur Pólson, a talented poet, not only led the band but also released solo albums. Guitarist Bogi á Lakjuni’s raw and heartfelt style demonstrated that simplicity can be powerful, while guitarist Jón Tyril’s involvement led to the creation of the renowned G! Festival.

Additionally, Clickhaze revitalized old kingo psalms, giving them a modern twist and contributing to the band’s unique sound. Their EP and its members undoubtedly left an indelible mark on Faroese music history. (Hergeir Staksberg)

♪♫ Listen: “Daylight” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Annika Hoydal – “Harkaliðið” (1971)
Swangah Dangah – “Belials synir” (2011)
Teitur – “Poetry & Airplanes” (2003)



Pekka Streng & Tasavallan Presidentti – “Magneettimiehen kuolema” (1970)

A cult figure in Finnish rock music, Pekka Streng’s stature has grown since his untimely passing at 26. The singer-songwriter, who rejected publicity and only ever gave one interview, was set up with the leading progressive rock band, Tasavallan Presidentti, to work on his debut album.

Terminally ill with cancer, Streng expected it to be his only one, engaging with themes of mortality and spirituality. In fact, he went into remission and managed to record another album two years later. Nonetheless, “Magneettimiehen kuolema” (“Death of the magnet man”) is an enduring classic and a perfect encapsulation of the time.

With its mysticism and eastern flourishes, it is undoubtedly psychedelic, yet its quest for transcendence runs deeper, as evidenced on the sublime closer “Sisältäni portin löysin”. (Erkko Lehtinen)

♪♫ Listen: “Sisältäni portin löysin” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Musta Paraati – “Peilitalossa” (1983)
Panasonic – “Vakio” (1995)
Paavoharju – “Yhä hämärää” (2005)



Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg – “Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg” (1969)

Composed by Serge Gainsbourg, this 1969 album, performed as a duet with his partner Jane Birkin, has established itself as one of the classics of French pop.

Its release year lent its name to one of its biggest hits: “69 année érotique” (“69 erotic year”). Other famous and often equally controversial pieces – “Les sucettes,” originally performed by France Gall, “Elisa,” “Je t’aime… moi non plus” – complete this collection alternating between re-recordings and new songs.

The unique duet track, “Je t’aime… moi non plus,” which was originally sung with Brigitte Bardot, caused a scandal upon its release. Deemed obscene by the Vatican due to its moans and explicit lyrics, the single was banned from radio in Italy, Sweden, Spain or Brazil.

Nonetheless, propelled by its sublime melodies and orchestrations, it became a massive commercial success in Europe, notably in the United Kingdom where it reached the top spot on the charts. Love always triumphs! (Gil Colimaire)

♪♫ Listen: “Je t’aime… moi non plus” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Daft Punk – “Discovery” (2001)
Air – “Moon Safari” (1998)
Phoenix – “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” (2009)



Irakli Charkviani – “Svan Songs” (1993)

As much as Georgia may be rich in fantastic popular music, choosing an album everybody considers a downright classic is exceptionally tricky. For all the vast pop legacy of Soviet Georgia, the industry back then wasn’t really album-oriented, so the LPs back then were instead considered as compilations of songs rather than standalone, singular work; that led to inconsistency and missteps even in albums that were otherwise full of stellar tunes. Also, since the official recordings were heavily censored in those times, much of today’s audience may consider them somewhat edgeless, further harming those outstanding records’ universal credibility.

However, in independent Georgia, the music industry had little backbone, so even the most modern and forward-thinking music struggled to reach a broad audience and wide acclaim. Even though there are many great post-independence albums that I would freely consider “cult,” it is again not easy to find an outright, universal classic.

Yet there is a unique character in independent Georgian music that the alternative crowd has adored and yet is still acclaimed by the most conservative listeners. Although, besides music, many components went into building Irakli Charkviani’s fame, including his avant-garde poetry, wit, charismatic persona, and well-timed mainstream TV exposure, nobody can deny his enduring influence almost two decades after his untimely passing in 2006. His legacy is still all-encompassing today, being widely considered virtually synonymous with Georgian “alternative” and having whole Georgian Idol episodes dedicated to his songs.

His debut album, titled “Svan Songs” (the title is a wordplay – Charkviani came from Georgia’s mountainous region called Svaneti, inhabitants of which are called Svans) and recorded in Germany during much political turmoil in Georgia, best represents this paradoxical confluence of values that endeared his music to almost everybody in the country. The album’s music is often raw, sometimes even underarranged, yet it never omits a solid groove and is full of catchy melodies. Lyrics are often edgy but don’t get vulgar, thanks to his prior experience as a wordsmith. Stylistically, there’s post-punk, new wave, early Georgian hip-hop, but most importantly, a couple of gorgeously tuneful ballads that have been covered countless times by everybody from rock, pop, urban folk crowds, or even retro crooners.

So even if this album is nothing close to perfect, I like his other recordings more, and he is even far from being among my favorite songwriters, I must fully admit that this record has a special place in the Georgian musical canon. It started a musical path that perhaps came the closest to being “universally acclaimed” in Georgia. But put more simply, this is the place where, no matter their aesthetic, generational, or ideologic differences, everybody can find something they will love and cling to for decades. (Sandro Tskitishvili)

♪♫ Listen: “Wooden Monkey” + album stream

Other classic albums:
69 – “ტრიუმფალური სვლა მზისკენ” (Triumfaluri Svla Mzisken) (1998)
ინოლა გურგულია (Inola Gurgulia) – “პირველად იყო სიმღერა” (In The Beginning Was The Song) (rec.1977/rel.1999)
ვაკის პარკი (Vakis Parki) – “ახალი დღე” (Akhali Dge) (2003)



Kraftwerk – “Autobahn” (1974)

Who dreams of driving on the highway? Monotonous and varied at the same time. There isn’t even a speed limit on German highways. And the German band Kraftwerk also freed themselves from all limits when they broke away from conventional guitars in 1974 and roared off into electronic realms.

Their famous record “Autobahn” (German for “highway”) was already a masterpiece at the time – and in retrospect, a true pioneering work for ambient and techno right up to the present day. (Stefan Hochgesand)

♪♫ Listen: “Autobahn” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Alphaville – “Forever Young” (1984)
Nina Hagen – “Nunsexmonkrock” (1982)
Nico – “Chelsea Girl” (1967)



Manos Hadjidakis – “Ο Μεγάλος Ερωτικός” (1972)

Naming and writing down the best classic albums of all time originating from Greece is a task nearly impossible. Spanning from the historic rebetiko movement to contemporary beats of hip-hop, from the folk-pop tunes of the ‘70s to the fusion of “entechno” that blends Greek folk, rock, jazz and classical influences, and encompassing diverse genres like ‘80s dark wave and ‘90s alternative rock, the spectrum is endless.

Manos Hadjidakis (Μάνος Χατζιδάκις) stands as one of Greece’s most significant composers and songwriters, alongside luminaries like Mikis Theodorakis and Vangelis Papathanasiou. Especially Hadjidakis, he managed to blend traditional Greek music with classical elements, and balanced harmonically between the most high art side of music and popular culture. He was also know for his many film scores as well as his sharp mind, having always a forward-thinking approach throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s.

“O Megalos Erotikos”, translated to English as “The Great Romantic”, includes some of the most iconic pieces of music, featuring the ethereal voice of Hadjidakis’ muse, Flery Dadonaki, as well as Dimitris Psarianos, who discreetly sings with his lovely voice. The lyrics of the songs come from some of the greatest poets, from the archaic years to the modern Greek history. Odysseas Elytis, Myrtiotissa, Konstantinos Kavafis, Giorgos Sarantares, Nikos Gatsos, Dionysios Solomos, Sappho, Pandelis Prevelakis, Georgios Chortatzis and Solomon, are all present here, deifying love.

Written in both New York and Athens in 1972, “O Megalos Erotikos” has lush orchestral arrangements serving as the backdrop to Hadjidakis’ touching compositions, and encapsulates the essence of his musical vision. A journey through the myriad facets of love and its timeless allure. (Ares Buras)

♪♫ Listen: “Ta Lianotragouda” + album stream

Other classic albums:
En Plo – “Εν Πλω” (1989)
Stereo Nova – “Στέρεο Νόβα” (1992)
Thanasis Papakonstantinou – “Βραχνός Προφήτης” (2000)



Hiperkarma – “Hiperkarma” (2000)

Hiperkarma is a band that is not only important because they set the tone of alternative music in Hungary for years, but also because they captured the confusion and identity crisis of a whole generation. The youth growing up right after the fall of the Iron Curtain found themselves in the self-titled album of the band. The songs spoke to those who had more questions than answers: either by resonating with those feelings, by showing that they are not alone, or by providing distraction.

Iconic songs have been introduced to the pop music world, that are still referenced and played today: “Lidocain”, “Felejtő” or “Dob+Basszus’ all belong to the Hungarian Hall of Fame when it comes to alternative music. Robi Bérczesi recorded the album alone so it can be considered as his personal project that found its band after recording. He created a recognisable sound, a rhythmic, sometimes spoken-word-like, speed singing style, that heavily relies on the text.

The lyrics of heavy music became popular at that time and created a tradition that still has its mark on today’s music trends in Hungary. It is partially thanks to Bérczesi and Hiperkarma, and their most iconic Hungarian pop albums. (Márton Biró)

♪♫ Listen: “Dob Meg Basszus” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Omega – “10000 lépés” (1969)
Kispál és a Borz – “Naphoz Holddal” (1991)
Locomotiv GT – “Bummm!” (1973)



A R Rahman – “Delhi 6” OST (2009)

It’s been a bit nerve wracking to identify one particular classic album that’s older than beehype alone. Sitting in at the 15 year mark now, “Delhi 6” was a breath of fresh air as a piece of cinema and its accompanying soundtrack.

While the movie didn’t perform as well when it did play in theatres, I find myself looking back at the time, the story and the impact quite profoundly. The movie, coming hot off composer A R Rahman’s Oscar win for the “Slumdog Millionaire” OST, released two days after the Academy Awards, to much fanfare in India.

Rahman, often cited as the Mozart of Madras, is amongst the most prolific composers, musicians, and singers in this part of the world having collaborated with literally anyone and everyone you can think of. On “Delhi 6”, he reunited with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and wove together what is perhaps one of most diverse, wide-ranging Bollywood OSTs in recent times.

The lyricism and hip-hop beat on ‘Genda Phool’, or my personal favourite ballad of ‘Rehna Tu’ or the sufi-tinged, haunting ‘Arziyaan’ or fan-favourite and widely popular ‘Masakali’, the OST travels across genres with much ease, soundtracking the film beyond the usual Bollywood song-and-dance. The other songs all weave together for a perfect listen!

“Delhi 6” also feels like a final departure, personally, from the Bollywood music landscape for me (barring the exclusion of a handful of albums that followed), and picking an album as mainstream as this one was a hard decision, but perhaps the only right one at this point. (Naman Saraiya)

♪♫ Listen: “Rehna Tu” + album stream

Other classic albums:
The Supersonics – “Maby Baking” (2009)
Amit Trivedi – “Dev D” OST (2009)
Shakti – “Shakti w/ John McLaughlin” (1976)



Faramarz Aslani – “Occupation of The Heart” (1977)

A month ago a friend told me that someone that she knows, a Dutch guy who studied Persian studies, some times ago bought an old Iranian record on a flea market for a few euros and then later he posted about it on a Persian groups on social media and some Iranians proposed really high prices for the vinyl – and he was so curious to know that why this LP is so valuable. This album was called “Occupation of the Heart” (“Delmashghooliha”, later renamed to “Age ye rooz”) by Faramarz Aslani, one of the most iconic Iranian albums of all time in pop music.

Why is this record so iconic? It is one of the first Iranian album in its real meaning as a consistent set of songs or pieces written by a group or a musician with the purpose of being gathered in an album. Up until mid 1970s, almost all music albums were actually collections of already released singles by a singer, written and composed by different people, without necessarily a consistent mood.

In addition to this, “Occupation of the Heart”, if not the first, is probably a very early example of a singer-songwriter album. As said above, the usual production process of pop songs in Iran was and still is that a composer makes a song over the texts of a lyricist or a poet for a singer, often arranged by someone else. But Faramarz Aslani, who was coming from a different musical background, produced an entire singer-songwriter album. Except for the lyrics of one song, which is by Hafiz, he wrote all songs and played the guitars.

From the genre perspective, unlike the majority of 1970s Iranian pop music scene that was influenced by soul, R’nB, funk, Latin and rock styles with large orchestral arrangements, Faramarz Aslani’s style is distinctively different with Latin/neoflamenco-influenced guitar lines, minimalist arrangements and a lyrical vocal, probably influenced by musicians like Leonard Cohen or Nick Drake.

“Occupation of the Heart” has an interesting story as well. Young Faramarz Aslani (b. 1954), who was a college student in London, went to L.A. in 1972 and stayed there for 4 years. During that time he wrote a few songs, including some of the hit tracks of this album like “Age Ye Rooz” and “Del Asire”, and decided to come back to Iran to record them with the help of Armik, the well-known Armenian-Iranian flamenco guitar player and collaboration with CBS Records (the international arm of Columbia Records).

The album was published in 1977 and briefly was successful. But 1977-78 was a time of political unrest in Iran, which led to the 1979 revolution. The LP mentioned in the beginning found in a Dutch flea market was probably one of the unlucky LPs pressed in the Netherlands that never had the chance to arrive at the destination because of the revolution.

After the revolution, Faramarz Aslan, like many other fellow musicians, left the country and for almost two decades there was a pause in the Iranian music scene. While old cassettes of this album were spreading hand to hand, in 1992 this album was republished on CD in L.A. For a new generation of young people thirsty for music, this album is a very influential.

The songs “Age Ye Rooz” (“If One Day”) and “Del Asire” (“Chained Heart”) became massive hits up and remain until today. During the closed musical scene, these songs were the first that songs young people would learn to play with a guitar and they could be heard in every home party and around the bonfires. The influence of this album with its flamenco/Latin guitar style was so deep that gave birth to a new style of Iranian pop music that even can be heard up to this day.

Sad fact: when I decided to write about this album, Faramarz Aslani officially announced that he has cancer and needs to cancel his tour for his treatments. On March 20, just before we published this article, he died. (Ali Eshqi)

♪♫ Listen: “Ageh Ye Rooz” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Samin Baghcheban – “Rangin Kamoun” (1979)
Mohammad-Reza Shajarian & Parviz Meshkatian – “Bidad” (1985)
O-hum – “Nahal-e Heyrat” (1999)



The Friends of Natasha – “Shinuyim behergeley hatzricha” (1991)

Formed in 1987, The Friends of Natasha (החברים של נטאשה) is somehow still active in the Israeli scene, but they’ve only released three studio albums in late 1980s and early 1990s.

The one titled “Shinuyim behergeley hatzricha” (“שינויים בהרגלי הצריחה”) from 1991 was their second record, brought them mainstream recognition and made one of the biggest Israeli rock groups of the decade.

Every song is catchy and radio-ready but ambitious at the same time, with that classic sound of the unforgettable era. (David Michaelov)

♪♫ Listen: “אני אוהב אותך” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Berry Sakharof – “Negiot” (1998)
HaYehudim – “Metzi’ut Nifredet” (1995)
Meir Ariel – “Shirey chag umoed v’nofel” (1978)



Lucio Battisti – “Emozioni” (1970)

Lucio Battisti is one of the cornerstones of the whole Italian popular music, and his secondo album, “Emozioni” is the main reason for his long lasting popularity. In fact, almost all of its songs are timeless hits, and a huge chunk of the Italian population is definitely able to sing them by heart. This doesn’t only mean that these songs are catchy and easy to like, but there’s a lot of quality in them.

This is Italian pop music at its finest because, first and foremost, it’s able to get inspired by the Tricolore musical roots and throw a bridge towards the modern times and international trends. The melodic style is 100% Italian, but the singing voice is sharper and more straight and the musical arrangements are layered and detailed. You can easily get caught by the melodic, vocal and lyrical brilliance, but if you pay maximum attention and dig deep, you can hear an amazingly wide range of musical ideas, at any level: rhythm, harmonies, textures, intensity swings.

Because I mentioned the lyrical brilliance, I can’t avoid to pay a tribute to the lyricist too. His moniker is Mogol and his real name is Giulio Rapetti. Lucio Battisti and Mogolo are the most iconic composer-lyricist duo of all times in Italy, and their collaboration produced tons of memorable songs. Their main lyrical theme is love, and it might seem too predictable and easy, but we all know love can be declined in a lot of different ways. Mogol is a fine narrator of all the meanings and nuances of love, and his words are just a perfect match with Lucio Battisti’s musical genius and vocale style.

Lucio Battisti released 20 albums in total, and never stopped pushing his creative boundaries. But “Emozioni” still boasts the best balance between creativity and popularity, not only in Lucio’s career, but in the whole history of Italian music. (Stefano Bartolotta)

♪♫ Listen: “Emozioni” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Franco Battiato – “La Voce Del Padrone” (1981)
Afterhours – “Hai Paura Del Buio?” (1997)
Baustelle – “Sussidiario Illustrato Della Giovinezza” (2000)



RC Succession – “Single Man” (1976)

RC Succession’s “Single Man” is an eclectic mix of rock, soul, funk, jazz and psychedelic folk with the one and only voice of Kiyoshiro Imawano, who is a very much loved icon in the Japanese rock history.

The band influenced groups like The Blue Hearts, Fishmans and Yurayura Teikoku. These bands had different musical styles, but each one is among Japan’s most important rock bands.

RC Succession, like Happy End, was also an important pioneer of J-POP. (Toyokazu Mori)

♪♫ Listen: “Slow Ballad” + album stream

Other classic albums:
The Blue Hearts – “The Blue Hearts” (1987)
Fishmans – “Uchū Nippon Setagaya” (1997)
Yura Yura Teikoku – “Kūdōdesu” (“Hollow Me”) (2007)

Also check out our special feature: 30 Best Japanese Albums



Pērkons – “Mākslas darbi” & “Zibens pa dibenu” (1983)

Pērkons (Thunder) is recorded in the history of Latvian music as one of the most influential and revolutionary rock music groups, which is still actively performing in the 21st century. Unfortunately, the group’s leader, composer and keyboardist Juris Kulakovs passed away this year.

Due to the provocative concert activity in the early 1980s, the Soviet occupation authorities banned Pērkons concerts, and during the period of silence, the group recorded their first albums – “Mākslas darbi” (“Works of Art”) and “Zibens pa dibenu” (“Lightning Strikes the Bottom”), both in 1983 – which are considered as one record.

Pērkons compositions vary from energetically powerful to lyrically gentle, Latvian poetry used in songs are sometimes witty, sometimes full of subtexts. In 1980s, it is a protest music which serves as a strong impulse on the way to the restoration of Latvia’s independence in the early 1990s.

This music still reminds of the times when there was something important to fight for and why Latvians fought for it. (Raivis Spalvēns)

♪♫ Listen: “Pie baltas lapas” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Zodiac – “Disco Alliance” (1981)
Yaputhma Sound System – “Rigas Disco” (1996)
Gunārs Rozenbergs – “Laura” (1979)



Ziad Rahbani – “Abu Ali” (1979)

Lebanese composer, pianist, playwright and political commentator Ziad Rahbani is known for rewriting the book on modern jazz, pop and folk music from Lebanon throughout the seventies, eighties, and nineties.

“Abu Ali” is a bit of an anomaly in Rahbani’s sprawling repertoire, a disco gem that was recorded at EMI Studios in Athens, Greece in 1978 and released the following year to modest acclaim, and eventually went on to achieve cult status in following decades.

On the A-side, side-long track “Abu Ali” clocks in at an impressive 13 minutes, plenty of time to seamlessly integrate all the hallmarks of a perfect disco track: strings, horns, and drama, peppered with Arabic percussion and cosmic synthesizer lines.

The B-side includes another side-long track entitled “Prelude (Theme from Mais El Rim)”, a shiny example of Rahbani’s 1970s soundtrack work. “Mais El Rim” is a play by Rahbani’s father and uncle that originally starred his mother, renowned Lebanese folk singer Fairuz.

This short album was remastered and re-released on Record Store Day 2019, thanks to French label Wewantsounds. It is a fantastic record to rediscover some 40 years after its original release, and the orange vinyl is a must for vintage collectors of any kind, provided you manage to get your hands on a copy. (Ziad Nawfal)

♪♫ Listen: “Abu Ali” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Ihsan Al Munzer – “Sonatina for Maria” (1985)
Toufic Farroukh – “Ali On Broadway” (1994)
Soapkills – “Cheftak” (2002)



Teisutis Makačinas – “Disco Muzika” (1982)

Teisutis Makačinas delivered one of the first albums of electronic music in Lithuanian history, also appreciated 30 years later by a new generation of listeners who grew up in an independent country. “Disko Muzika” is now a timeless classic, written by Makačinas, who was an author of popular chamber, symphonic, and vocal works before.

“Disko Muzika” uniquely combines primitive synthesizers with the lively, majestic singing of a quartet. Makačinas was deeply inspired by Western sounds, which were banned in Lithuania at the time (the country was part of the Soviet Union), but still reached the listeners through Radio Luxembourg. In an interview with the Lithuanian National Radio and Television, Makačinas once said: “At that time, there was a need for this kind of music, a need for Lithuanian productions. Russian production was being pushed everywhere, but we wanted to make Lithuanian music. The Latvian company Zodiac set an example. And we wanted to do something similar.”

And he did. Together with the album’s producer, Laimius Vilkončius, they created something Lithuania had never heard before, using a Japanese Yamaha CS15 and an Italian Crumar synthesizer, borrowed from other musicians in Vilnius. The depth of the lyrics has taken the already creative album to another level – it contains the most beautiful poems by Lithuanian poets about our nature, freedom, love, the breadth and horizons of our homeland.

“Disko Muzika” significantly influenced musicians and producers globally, inspiring them to embrace electronic music. Makačinas’s pioneering work paved the way for new genres and trends in the Lithuanian music scene that we have now. (Rūta Giniūnaitė)

♪♫ Listen: “Prie atminimu upės” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Hiperbolė – “Visų laikų topai” (1994)
FOJE – “Kitoks pasaulis” (1992)
Vytautas Kernagis – “Akustinis” (1977)



Oumou Sangaré – “Moussolou” (1989)

Soon after she released her debut album at the age of 21, Oumou Sangaré became West Africa’s music star. “The day the album was released, people were lining up to buy it. And from there, it literally took off,” she remembered years later.

She went global the moment “Moussoulou” got a global distribution, adding Wassoulou to the list of the most beloved African music genres – though the album is a mixture of her own roots and international trends at that time.

Short but beautiful, “Moussoulou” has it’s serious moments when Oumou singed about women’s place in Malian society or freedom of an individual. (Oumar Dembele)

♪♫ Listen: “Ah Ndiya” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Ali Farka Touré – “The Source” (1993)
Amadou & Mariam – “Sou ni tilé” (1998)
 Salif Keita – “Moffou” (2002)



Soyol Erdene – “Soyol Erdene” (1981)

Soyol Erdene, whose name you could translate as cultural gem, is usually called the first real Mongolian rock group though inspired both by local folk and global pop, and it was really something in early 1970s in Mongolia when they formed and got both famous and criticized for their western tendencies.

A huge collective in fact, their arrangments could go from rock to folk to psychedelia prog to Abba-style pop, but it’s hooks that matter and there’s plenty of them on their first and only album. A gem indeed. (A. Bilguun)

♪♫ Listen: “Миний аз жаргалын дуу” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Namdziliin Norovbanzad – “Mongolian Songs” (1999)
Egschiglen – “Zazal” (2002)
The Lemons – “III” (2015)



Nass El Ghiwane – “Nass El Ghiwane” (1973)

When the director Martin Scorsese called them The Rolling Stones of Africa he didn’t only think about their international fame and revolutionary sound, which took Moroccan chaabi to a new level with ultimate trance and some instruments imported from outside of the region.

Nass El Ghiwane (ناس الغيوان), which means People of Song, also conveyed a similar rebellion in their songs to their Western peers of that turbulent era, growing from the frustration of their generation. And this frustration is still there, guaranteeing you an extraordinary and stimulating listen. (Lina Rim)

♪♫ Listen: “Yamina” + album stream

Other classic albums:
The Master Musicians of Joujouka – “Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka” (1971)
Aziza Jalal – “Howh El Hob Leaba” (1982)
Maleem Mahmoud Ghania & Pharoah Sanders – “The Trance of Seven Colors” (1994)



Spinvis – “Spinvis” (2002)

To be honest, it was quite impossible to pick the best Dutch album of all time. Being a millennial, I only started to listen consciously to music in the late nineties and obviously I missed out on a lot of great music by then.

When scrolling through some all time lists on the internet, I noticed there always has been an uneven amount of attention for male musicians. Obviously this is a misrepresentation, having great women like Liesbeth List, Willeke Alberti and Ruth Jacott around in our musical history. Or think about all the great female singers in Dutch Eurodance from the nineties and noughties, like Alice Deejay, 2 Unlimited and SNAP!.

Anyway, I guess this is just a long intro to make up for the fact that I actually picked a male artist to top this list. Well deserved though: Spinvis’ self-titled debut record is probably one of the most iconic Dutch albums of all time. Spinvis is widely known for his clever and poetic Dutch lyrics merged into moody indie pop songs. His debut album kicked off his still flourishing career in 2002 and he paved the way for a lot of (independant) artists to start singing in Dutch again (think Roosbeef and Eefje De Visser).

Album highlight “Voor Ik Vergeet” must be one of the most beautiful and gripping Dutch pop songs ever, dealing with the fear of losing memories when time passes… Also worth a mention is the melancholic opener “Bagagedrager”, which refers to the luggage carrier of a bicycle – does pop music get more Dutch than this? I’m sure that this Spinvis record will put a spell on you, even if you don’t speak Dutch. (Jort Mokum)

♪♫ Listen: “Voor ik Vergeet” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Roosbeef – “Ze Willen Wel Je Hond Aaien Maar Niet Met Je Praten” (2008)
JOHAN – Pergola (2001)
Tiësto – In My Memory (2001)



The Mint Chicks – “Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!” (2006)

The second album from the Auckland noise rocker The Mint Chicks, “Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!” captures the most important band to emerge out of New Zealand in the 2000s at the height of their powers.

From the fuzzy opening notes of “Ockham’s Razor” to the unforgettable pop sensibilities of the title track, the album was a watershed moment for the Nielson brothers, Paul Roper and Michael Logie. In the wake of its release, The Mint Chicks inspire several generations of young New Zealand musicians and score the band a gold sales certification at home and five New Zealand music awards.

Since The Mint Chicks disbanded in the early 2010s, Ruban Nielson has gone on to achieve international success with his US-based Unknown Mortal Orchestra project. In more recent years, Kody Nielson has regularly assisted Ruban on stage and in the studio. Outside of playing with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Kody has also founded the Silicon, and Opossum groups, and recorded two albums under his own name. (Martyn Pepperell)

♪♫ Listen: “Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Che Fu – “2b S.Pacific” (1998)
Bic Runga – “Drive” (1997)
Micronism – “Inside A Quiet Mind” (1998)



Fela Kuti and Afrika 70 – “Zombie” (1976)

Fela Kuti did two things with this uncompromising record. First, he attacked “zombies”, that is Nigerian soldiers, which resulted in their attack on Fela’s commune – he got beaten, and his mother dies after the zombies threw her from the window. His music studio also got burned.

“Zombie” is also one of the most influential African albums of the 1970s, blending afrobeat and funk in the most rebellious and fascinating way. And it was still just the beggining of Fela’s super prolific career that gave us dozens of albums over the next two decades and many of them deserving a spot here. (T. Mecha)

♪♫ Listen: “Zombie” + album stream

Other classic albums:
King Sunny Ade – “Juju Music” (1982)
William Onyeabor – “Good Name” (1983)
Celestine Ukwu – “Ilo Abu Chi” (1974)



Röyksopp – “Melody A.M.” (2001)

Röyksopp’s breakout album debut, “Melody A.M.,” put Tromsø and its vibrant music community on the map. The album stood as a timeless gem in the electronic music landscape, effortlessly blending ambient textures with infectious beats to create an album that transcended trends and generations. From the opening track, “So Easy,” the listener was drawn into Röyksopp’s world, where lush soundscapes intertwined with catchy melodies. Tracks like “Remind Me” and “Eple” showcased the duo’s knack for crafting irresistibly catchy tunes, while “Poor Leno” added a touch of melancholy to the mix with its uncanny vocals and pulsating rhythms.

What set “Melody A.M.” apart was its seamless fusion of electronic and organic elements. Whether it was the shimmering synths of “Sparks” or the ethereal vocals of “In Space,” each track felt meticulously crafted, yet effortlessly spontaneous. Röyksopp explored various sonic territories, from the dreamy vibes of “A Higher Place” to the hypnotic rhythms of “Röyksopp’s Night Out.” Yet, despite the diverse range of sounds and influences, there was a cohesive thread that tied the album together, creating a truly immersive listening experience. Much like Air’s “Moon Safari” (1998), Röyksopp’s album served many occasions – dancing, sleeping, working, living.

Moreover, “Melody A.M.” played a crucial role in popularizing electronic music in mainstream culture. Many producers and artists have since cited “Melody A.M.” as a source of inspiration and a reference point for their own work, ensuring its continued relevance in contemporary electronic music. “Melody A.M.” effortlessly incorporated elements of ambient, downtempo, house, and even pop, demonstrating Röyksopp’s versatility as producers. This eclectic approach paved the way for a new wave of electronic artists who sought to break down genre barriers and explore the possibilities of cross-pollination. (Edvard Granum Dillner)

♪♫ Listen: “Eple” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Susanne Sundfør – The Silicon Veil (2012)
Kings of Convience – “Riot On An Empty Street” (2004)
The National Bank – “The National Bank” (2004)



Junoon – “Azadi” (1997)

Junoon is known in Pakistan as the band that spearheaded the unique genre of “Sufi” rock which took over India and Pakistan by storm. What makes his album “Azadi” stand out more than the rest of the discography is the number of hits the album saw gaining popularity in 90s especially songs like “Sayonee” and “Yaar Bina”.

The rest of the albums that came after this seem like a forced attempt to emulate the legacy that Azaadi created through its pureness of emotions and unique riffs found in each song in the album which was something that was lacking in the mostly-pop music scene of Pakistan. (Zahra Salah Uddin)

♪♫ Listen: “Sayonee” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Entity Paradigm – “Irtiqa” (2003)
//orangenoise – “A Journey to the Heart of Matter” (2012)
Nazia and Zoheb – “Young Tarang “ (1983)



El Polen – “Fuera de la ciudad” (1973)

El Polen, formed by brothers Juan Luis and Raúl Pereira del Mar, distinguished itself as a trailblazer in blending rock with traditional Peruvian folk elements, as exemplified in their album “Fuera de la ciudad” released in 1973, a later product of the cultural shifts of the 1960s left a profound impact on Peruvian youth, shaping their music with new countercultural ideologies and a strong connection to their indigenous roots and the natural world.

Their musical style embodies an elegant fusion of Andean melodies, creating pastoral and enigmatic atmospheres. However, some critics may perceive a disconnect, perhaps stemming from personal musical preferences or the album’s lack of unexpected twists.

Nevertheless, the significance of El Polen’s contributions during their era is widely acknowledged. Their pioneering efforts paved the way for a new genre known as Andean rock, demonstrating that adding psychedelic and progressive elements to traditional Andean music is not only theoretically plausible but also pragmatically successful.

El Polen’s evolution serves as a testament to the viability and richness of this fusion, showcasing how it resonates both intellectually and experientially with audiences. Through their innovative approach, El Polen has not only expanded musical horizons but also deepened the appreciation for Andean cultural heritage in contemporary music scenes. (José Luis Mercado)

♪♫ Listen: “Concordancia” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Los Destellos – “Los Destellos” (1968)
Miki Gonzalez – “Puedes ser tû” (1986)
La Sarita – “Danza La Raza” (2003)



Marek Grechuta & Anawa – “Korowód” (1971)

Jazz fans already know Krzysztof Komeda and Tomasz Stańko. Metal followers have probably seen Vader or Behemoth on one of their global tours. In the world of world music, Warsaw Village Band are similar legends, and their success has been an impulse for dozens of other groups digging in Polish folklore. With a little help of Ninja Tune label, the duo Skalpel have become the face of Polish electronica. But what about singer-songwriters?

It’s probably the most important and fertile genre in the history of Polish music. But for some understandable reasons – lyrics being even more important than music in the times before Google Translate, and a very special feel of Polish language full of crazy consonants – it’s remained completely local love. So there are no Polish partners to Jorge Ben, Jacques Brel or Björk. Or are there?

Marek Grechuta might be the least spectacular among our legends in that space, at least compared to Czesław Niemen or Ewa Demarczyk. But after a half of century you’ll still hear his songs on the mainstream radio, you’ll dance to his songs at weddings, and you’ll find his albums in all serious lists of the greatest Polish albums of all time, most probably the 1971 hit record “Korowód”, or “Procession”.

The reasons for that go beyond superb lyrics, which remind you that “the only important days are those we don’t know yet”. It’s the sound of his super talented collective. It’s the melodies that draw from Polish folk, dance tradition, pop and what we call “sung poetry”. It’s also Grechuta’s calming voice, and a kind of pleasant atmosphere he creates together with his friends.

Ben, Brel and Björk might enjoy it if they had a chance to hear it. (Mariusz Herma & Artur Szarecki)

♪♫ Listen: “Dni, których nie znamy” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Komeda Quintet – “Astigmatic” (1966)
Maanam – “Maanam” (1981)
Warsaw Village Band – “Wiosna Ludu” (2001)



Ednita Nazario – “Corazón” (1999)

Ednita Nazario’s music is synonymous with heartache. One of Puerto Rico’s most esteemed and popular singers to this day, Ednita has soundtracked innumerable hookups and breakups throughout the past fifty years, lending her voice to all who pine, plead, and pang. She is, simply put, our Celine. Perched neatly in the middle of an impressive and-long lasting career is Corazón, an album whose pop balladry remains unmatched within the Puerto Rican canon as we celebrate its 25th Anniversary this month.

Although some of Ednita’s earlier recordings bore the influence of the hip “La Nueva Ola” singers from the 60s ––I hear some of Lucecita’s masterful “Génesis” in Nazario’s first hit “Te quiero y no me importa”, off her debut Al Fin…Ednita (1973)–– her style had solidified into something saccharine and overwrought by the early 90s. Songs like “Quiero que me hagas el amor” and “Atada a tu volcán” were tired, bawdy affairs, decidedly uncool if extremely popular. This is not a knock on K.C. Porter, who co-produced all of Ednita’s records during the decade while simultaneously working on other massive, international hits and career highlights for artists as disparate as Los Fabulosos Cadillacs (El León, Fabulosos Calavera), Carlos Santana (Supernatural), and Ricky Martin (A Medio Vivir, Vuelve). But if a new generation of listeners was to embrace Ednita Nazario’s music and usher her career into the new millennium, some retooling was in order. Enter Menudo.

Although Ednita had previously crossed paths with the famed prepubescent musical institution before, having guested on the Puerto Rican boy band’s cover of ABBA’s “Chiquitita” back in 1980, she would now enter the orbit of two of the group’s former members who were about to go supernova with a string of world-conquering hits. Robi “Draco” Rosa and Ricky Martin had met as part of the rotating cast of talented kids that made up Menudo, first coinciding on the band’s sixteenth studio album, Evolución (1984), and sharing the spotlight until Rosa aged out of the group some years later. The two friends reunited for Martin’s third studio album as a solo artist, 1995’s smash A medio vivir, once again becoming a powerful team, with Robi taking on production and writing duties for the ballad-heavy record. Also on staff was K.C. Porter, who would reunite with the duo for 1998’s follow-up, Vuelve, another bonafide Puerto Rican classic.

The blueprint for Corazón can be found buried deep inside the latter of these two records ––the one that turned Martin into an international superstar with “La copa de la vida”, the official song of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and set the stage for his inevitable English crossover. Vuelve’s ninth track, “Perdido sin ti”, eschews the vibrancy and bombast that characterizes most of the album, and is instead a soft spoken, unassuming ballad that caresses your feelings like a gentle breeze ––it is also a true gem within Ricky Martin’s discography, second only to Draco Rosa’s own work on his rock opus Vagabundo (“Penélope”, “Blanca mujer”). In my musical mythmaking I picture a teary Ednita listening and internalizing the lessons of “Perdido sin ti”, thinking this is what I want my next album to be.

And so it is. Corazón, Ednita Nazario’s fifteenth album, went quickly platinum a year later on the strength of a trio of Robi Draco-produced ballads: “Tú sabes bien”, “Más grande que grande”, and the achingly beautiful “Pienso en ti”, all three some of the greatest pop ballads Puerto Rico has given the world. There is a newfound restraint and artistry in these tracks that oozes out into most of Corazón, including the K.C. Porter produced “Quien te robó el corazón”, which opens the record. And at a lean ten tracks, it does not overstay its welcome, inviting repeated listens instead.

In spite of its commercial success and artistic merit, Corazón is easy to overlook, perhaps due to Ednita’s cultural ubiquitousness on the Island. 25 years later, she’s still doing what she was already doing 25 years prior to releasing Corazón. But tú sabes bien this is the record we’ll reach for in 25 more, when we are feeling (even more) nostalgic and want to honor one of Puerto Rico’s greatest voices by listening to her songs. (Alfredo Richner)

♪♫ Listen: “Mas Grande Que Grande” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Ricky Martin – “Vuelve” (1998)
Robi Draco Rosa – “Vagabundo” (1996)
Lucecita Benitez – “Génesis” (1969)



Orchestra Baobab – “Specialist in All Style” (2002)

Having debuted in the same year of 1970 when Youssou N’Dour started his career, Orchestra Baobab went on to compete with him in who’s leading the music scene in Dakar.

While Youssou might have won commercialy, Orchestra Baobab left classic albums both from their first period (“Pirate’s Choice”, recorded in 1982) and from after they’ve reformed in early 2000s and soon released “Specialist in All Style”, funnily enough co-produced by Youssou.

Specialists in all styles, Orchestra Baobab fused West African grooves and Wolof music with jazz, Cuban salsa, rock and pop, with uplifting vocals and beautiful sax and guitar work. (Oumar Dembele)

♪♫ Listen: “Bul Ma Miin” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Youssou N’Dour – Immigres” (1984)
Baaba Maal – “Djam Leelii” (1989)
Aby Ngana Diop – “Liital” (1994)



Lasica, Satinský, Filip – “Bolo nás jedenásť” (1981)

Do you want to know Slovaks? Have a listen to this album. Although more than forty years passed since its release, not that much has changed since then.

Recorded by three musicians/actors/stand-up comedians, who became personae non gratae after Prague Spring, “Bolo nás jedenásť” (“There used to be eleven of us”) are brilliant observations of Slovak mentality regardless of time or political regime.

During a communist period, this record was kind of revelation for many people in our country, that you could listen to original music which was easy to singalong, which was not political, burdened with everyday propaganda, neither escapistic, yet thoughtful and witty, full of humour, wordpuns and hidden meanings easy to decode for those who knew.

Musically it was cutting edge jazz-rock of its period. Short songs, uplifiting songs, songs inspired by Slovak folklore as well as typical Slovak tragic fate songs, but always kind and not judging, even if they speak about betrayal and cowardness (the title song).

Without knowledge of Slovak language it may sound funny and old fashioned, but once you dive deep into their lyrics, you’ll find real treasures. Some of the best lyrics and its messages could obviously get lost in translation, so speaking the language definitely helps to enjoy this record fully. (Peter Dolník, Viera Ráczová)

♪♫ Listen: “Spomínam na Paríž” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Jana Kirschner – “Moruša biela” (2013)
Hex – “Ultrapop” (1997)
Bez ladu a skladu – “Bez ladu a skladu” (1990)



Tomaž Pengov – “Odpotovanja” (1973)

“Odpotovanja” is the debut studio album of the Slovenian singer-songwriter Tomaž Pengov (1949-2014), released in 1973 by the student label ŠKUC in the form of a vinyl record with a mono sound recording. The album is considered the first singer-songwriter album in Yugoslavia and the first independently released album in the former Yugoslavia and is without doubt one of the key albums in Slovenian music history.

This acoustic masterpiece that sounds unique and intriguing even after 50 years was recorded in the bathroom of Pengov’s flat on the Prešernova street in Ljubljana. The album title could be translated as “trips” but with different meanings. It is known Pengov was a traveller, he visited all of Europe and stayed abroad for several months.

Pengov played guitar in his own way, said Aco Razbornik, who recorded the album. “Completely in his own tuning, and at the same time he had two different types of strings on the guitar. The thinner strings were metal, while he had nylon bass strings. In this sense, too, he was an innovator.”

The original mono vinyl is today considered one of the most expensive vinyl records from Yugoslavian production, current discogs price starting at 350€. In 1981, a version with a stereo recording on disc and cassette was released, and in 1991 in the form of a CD by ZKP RTV Ljubljana. (Andraž Kajzer)

♪♫ Listen: “Nerodna pesem” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Marko Brecelj – “Cocktail” (1974)
Buldožer – “Pljuni istini u oči” (1975)
Opus Dei – “Laibach” (1987)



Busi Mhlongo – “Urban Zulu” (2000)

Mbaqanga and marabi executed in complex and modern way with impressive group of instrumentalists, with Busi Mhlongo’s unforgettable vocals on top.

“Urban Zulu”, her second album, was what you would now call a viral back then and eventually took Mhlongo to the world music Billboard ranking and secured her a long-lasting acclaim.

There’s just only one thing wrong with this album, and this is the cover that even a mediocre debut mixtape of some wannabe rapper wouldn’t deserve. (Junior Naidoo)

♪♫ Listen: “Yaphel’imali yami” (live) + album stream

Other classic albums:
Hugh Masekela – “Introducing Hedzoleh Soundz” (1973)
Batsumi – “Batsumi” (1974)
Ladysmith Black Mambazzo – “Shaka Zulu” (1987)



Jo Dong Jin – “Jo Dong Jin 1” (1979)

“Crying? Are you crying?” After some starlight-like piano melodies, Jo Dong Jin begins the album in the first track “Happy Person” (행복한 사람) with a question. His deeply tranquil voice embodies some kind of empathy, giving soothe and consolation to the person he’s talking to. Even the person is crying, Jo still finds the reason to feel happiness. “Ah, but you are happy person / Cause there are two beautiful eyes / To find the stars still left”.

Korean popular music in 1970s was an age of wounded blooming. Even though the authoritarian military regime suppressed the popular culture as a whole, there were marvelous achievements brought by talented musicians like Shin Joong Hyun, Han Dae Su, Kim Min Ki, Sanulrim, and more. Jo Dong Jin’s first album was also one of the contributions on the verge of 1970s Korean music. Released in 1979, it wasn’t a massive hit at the time of release, but has been slowly recognized as one of the most important and cohesive albums of the Korean contemporary folk music – just like the tunes Jo created.

Concise and poetic lyrics meet introspective soundscape on “Jo Dong Jin 1”. Although there aren’t any striking or exhilarating moment in the album, it doesn’t mean there is no sense of emotional movement in Jo Dong Jin’s music. He meticulously gazes the melancholy and sorrow of internal mind, with some help from atmospheric folk sound and a glimpse of progressive rock’s element. It still gently makes a ripple in our hearts today – the music to cry in stillness. (Jeong Guwon)

♪♫ Listen: “행복한 사람” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Kim Hyun Chul (김현철) – “Kim Hyun Chul Vol. 1” (1989)
Jang Pil Soon (장필순) – “When My Loneliness Calls to You (나의 외로움이 널 부를 때)” (1997)
Rollercoaster (롤러코스터) – In Everyday Matters” (일상다반사) (2000)



Håkan Hellström – “Känn ingen sorg för mig Göteborg” (2000)

It is impossible to fully describe how much this record has meant to Swedish music life and to those of us who grew up with it. During the 1990s, Håkan Hellström was a member of the indie band Broder Daniel but dropped out and wanted to go solo. It is a debut album with 10 perfect songs in Swedish. Some of them overwhelm you both physically and mentally.

The title track “Känn ingen sorg för mig Göteborg” (“Don’t feel sad for Me, Gothenburg”) opens the record and then it runs through eternity. It was a record that broke barriers. It was a record that gave meaning to an entire generation. An album that is the very definition of “larger than life”. Every single step on the Swedish pop/rock scene after the year 2000 is in some way connected to this one. (Fabian Forslund)

♪♫ Listen: “Känn ingen sorg för mig Göteborg” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Abba – “Arrival” (1976)
The Latin Kings – “Välkommen till förorten” (1994)
Lill Lindfors – “Du är den ende” (1967)



The Young Gods- “The Young Gods” (1987)

Anyone who shakes up the international music scene with their debut album has done something right. The trio The Young Gods from French-speaking Switzerland laid the foundations for industrial music with their self-titled first album in 1987, influencing artists such as David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails and Mike Patton.

The songs are dangerous and appealing mixtures of samples, electro and metal. Cold sounds, hard drums and biting voices: The Young Gods were bold right from the start and continue to inspire with their music and experiments to this day. (Michael Bohli, Phosphor Kultur)

♪♫ Listen: “À ciel ouvert” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Mani Matter – “I han es Zündhölzli azündt” (1972)
Züri West – “Züriwest” (1994)
Yello – “Stella” (1985)



Aadia (阿弟仔) – “平衡” (Balance) (2002)

When rap metal became one of the most popular music genres, it was difficult to incorporate Mandarin Chinese rhymes into it. In 2002, Aadia’s album “Balance” completely broke down the boundaries, incorporating DJ scratching and traditional Chinese musical elements such as the erhu, flute, suona, guzheng, pipa, yangqin, and drums into the rock arrangement.

Combined with the unique rapping skills of rapper Jui-Chuan Chang (張睿銓), it created a classic work that infuses rap elements into rock’n’roll. For the Taiwanese music scene of the 21st century, which is full of popular love songs, this album was undoubtedly a breakthrough. Even today, the “Balance” is still full of tension and vitality, and it sounds fresh! (Cheng-Chung Tsai)

♪♫ Listen: “Balance (平衡)” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Black List (黑名單工作室) – Mad Songs (抓狂歌) (1989)
O.S.T.- “Dust of Angels” (少年吔,安啦!) (1998)
Labor Exchange Band (交工樂隊) – “The Night March of the Chrysanthemums” (菊花夜行軍) (2001)



MFÖ – “Ele Güne Karşı Yapayalnız” (1984)

Mazhar Fuat Özkan – MFÖ’s album “Ele Güne Karşı Yapayalnız” was a milestone in the Turkish music scene for several reasons. Here are some reasons why this album was a diamond for Turkish music.

The album adopted a style that was not often seen in Turkish music at the time. They were three men singing and playing as a band in a time and scene where only solo singers were respected and accepted. Plus, it successfully blended rock, pop, and ethnic Turkish music elements, offering listeners a unique music experience.

In an album of eleven songs, there were at least six hits that are still well-known by most of today’s population in Türkiye. The album stood at the top of the charts for 25 weeks, setting another record, and it also gained international recognition for the band.

The musical talents, stage performance, and energy of MFÖ members contributed significantly to the development of Turkish music. Their polyphonic singing style was also something very new for the audience, creating an important influence on many bands and musicians in the following years.

They kept actively playing and producing till 2023. With the sad loss of Özkan last year, the MFÖ era came to an end, but their legendary marks will remain forever in our music scene. Even after 40 years, “Ele Güne Karşı” is still a vibrant album and is accepted as a masterpiece by all music lovers. (Emir Aksoy)

♪♫ Listen: “Güllerin İçinden” + album stream

Other classic albums:
Sezen Aksu – “Sezen Aksu ’88” (1988)
Tarkan – “Aacayipsin” (1994)
Şebnem Ferah – “Kadın” (1996)



Okean Elzy – “Суперсиметрія” (2003)

Okean Elzy stands as an indelible symbol of Ukrainian musical prowess, etching its name into the history of the nation’s culture. Within their illustrious discography, one gem shines particularly bright — the album “Суперсиметрія” (Supersymmetry), released in 2003. As beehype commemorates its decade-long journey, let’s delve into the brilliance of this transformative work.

By 2003, Okean Elzy had already cemented its status as a musical juggernaut in Ukraine. Yet, “Supersymmetry” elevated the band to unprecedented heights. With 11 mesmerising tracks, including seven standout singles, the album captured the hearts and minds of Ukrainians nationwide. Each song became a ubiquitous presence on radio and television screens, ingraining itself into the collective consciousness of a generation.

Fronted by Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, a candidate of physical and mathematical sciences whose doctoral thesis delved into the realm of Supersymmetry, the album bore a title steeped in both scientific intrigue and poetic allure. Just as Supersymmetry posits a complementary partner for every elementary particle, so too did Okean Elzy evoke the quest for one’s soulmate.

The album’s monumental success was unparalleled in Ukrainian music history, achieving double platinum status and setting a new standard for excellence. Yet, with triumph came transition, as key members departed, prompting a period of introspection and reinvention for the band. Despite the upheaval, the legacy of “Supersymmetry” endures as a testament to the profound impact of Okean Elzy’s collective genius.

While subsequent releases would captivate audiences with many more superhits, fans continue to hold the Supersymmetry era in reverent regard. It stands as a beacon of artistic synergy, a moment when the convergence of talent and creativity sparked a cultural revolution in Ukraine’s musical landscape. (Dartsya Tarkovska)

♪♫ Listen: “Холодно” + album stream

Other classic albums:
ТНМК – “Зроби мені хіп-хоп” (1998)
DakhaBrakha – “Yahudky” (2014)
Крихітка – “На першому місці” (2005)



Trần Thu Hà – “Nhật Thực” (2001)

“Nhật thực” can be considered one of the first concept albums in Vietnam. Before this one, Vietnamese artists mostly only released singles, then gathered them into a collection. These collections are called albums, but there is no concept, no unified theme, even one song is performed by many different artists in many different collections.

“Nhật Thực” is one of the first albums to have songs composed specifically for a specific product, a specific concept, with arrangements that are consistent from the first track to the last. This album is methodical from production, release to promotion, and if you fully enjoy the uncut version, it also has a very clear story.

Of course, “Nhật Thực” couldn’t become a classic Vpop album if it lacked excellent quality in both composition, arrangement and performance. Until now, it is still difficult for a Vpop album to reach the peak of unity that “Nhật Thực” has achieved in creating a concept, displaying the clear artistic personalities of the project members, and has a large influence on both the mainstream and indie communities in Vietnamese music.

There are two versions of the album: an uncut version on YouTube and the official version on Spotify, with two first songs cut from it. I strongly recommend the uncut one. (Nam Tran)

♪♫ Listen: “Det Tam Gai” + official album + uncut version

Other classic albums:
V/A – “Saigon Rock & Soul: Vietnamese Classic Tracks 1968​-​1974”
Đại Lâm Linh – “Đại – Lâm – Linh” (2009)
Ngọt – “Ngọt” (2016)


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