The best multi-disc albums

By necessity a short list, cuz few albums deserve to go over fifty minutes: not in the CD era, even less in the streaming era. What counts as a a double album thereafter gets vague: does anyone consider Michael Jackson’s Dangerous a double? It was on vinyl. The contemporaneous Blood Sugar Sex Magik would be. Most new rap albums from Drake to A$AP Rocky , notwithstanding efforts by ambitious triple album releasers like Rae Sremmurd, would’ve counted as doubles in another era.

Anyway, I’ve whittled down the list to the even fifteen. If Miranda Lambert’s presence shocks my readers, they (a) haven’t heard the album (b) don’t know my ass. Don’t ask me why Electric Ladyland ain’t here despite a recent acclamation of Jimi Hendrix’s powers, or why Blonde on Blonde is so low other than overplay and, well, “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” is a leap into heterosexual fan fic too far even for a twenty-year-old.

Meanwhile Miles Davis’ cobbled-together (thanks, Ted Macero!) seminal 1974 album is an immersive experience out of which I don’t want to crawl; at different times in the last fifteen years “He Loved Him Madly” has been the most beautiful played and/or programmed noise I’ve ever heard, the kind of ominous serenity and anxious contemplation, paradoxes intended, that other artists never achieve. When “Maiysha” and “Calypso Frelimo” aren’t shaking my spine, the organ in “Rated X” is clearing my sinuses. One can pitch a tent in Get Up With It for life.

1. Miles Davis – Get Up With It
2. Fleetwood Mac – Tusk
3. Prince – Sign o’ the Times
4. Miranda Lambert – The Weight of These Wings
5. The Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime
6. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
7. The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death
8. The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
9. Donna Summer – Once Upon a Time
10. The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St.
11. Can – Tago Mago
12. Ray Charles & Quincy Jones – Genius + Soul = Jazz
13. Public Image Ltd – Second Edition
14. The Clash – London Calling
15. Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
16. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
17. The Beatles – The Beatles
18. Michael Jackson – HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
19. Kate Bush – Aerial
20. Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade

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