10 Classic Pop Albums Every Music Lover Should Own

There is a stigma around pop music with music lovers. It’s too popular, it’s too basic, that real music lovers should delve into other genres. But pop music has been running the music world for over 50 years now, and it would be ignorant to think it could be ignored. That Fangirl Life wants to share 10 pop albums that we think every music lover should add to their collection. And you really, really should.

Rumours – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

Starting off with one of the most famous albums of all time, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. This album was written after many of the band’s members were having relationship issues with each other. It won Album of the Year in 1978, it is the ninth best-selling album of all time, and it is regularly ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time. It features hit songs like Go Your Own Way, Dreams, and The Chain. This is truly a classic you need to have in your collection. 

Thriller – Michael Jackson (1982)

Currently, the best-selling album of all time, Thriller by Michael Jackson is another classic you need in your collection. Featuring the songs Thriller, Billie Jean, Beat It and many other classics, this album won eight Grammy Awards. This album broke down racial barriers in the popular music category making it a very culturally significant album. This was also one of the first albums to feature music videos for promotion, which paved the way for the music videos we see today. Michael Jackson is considered the King of Pop for a reason, and this album is a must-have. 

ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits – ABBA (1992)

Released 10 years after ABBA broke up, Abba Gold: Greatest Hits was a compilation album of all their biggest hits from the time they were together. Whether you grew up listening to this album on road trips (like me), or you are a fan of the Mamma Mia movies, this album is a must-have. Featuring the songs Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, Gimme Gimme Gimme, and many other hits, this album does not have a single skip song. ABBA are one of the best-selling music groups in popular music and won Eurovision for Sweden in 1974 for Waterloo, which is also featured on the album. 

…Baby One More Time – Britney Spears (1999)

One of the most influential albums for young girls growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s, …Baby One More Time is another must-have album. The debut album from Britney Spears is the best-selling debut album by a female artist and has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. Britney led the way for the teen pop takeover in the 2000s, becoming a pop culture icon. You can’t think of the pop music landscape in the 2000s without crediting Britney for the impact she had on the music we listened to, she paved the way for Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore. 

The Fame – Lady Gaga (2008)

The Fame by Lady Gaga, her debut album, gave us so many fun hits, such as Just Dance, Poker Face, and Paparazzi. This album was on repeat on my iPod Nano, and it launched Lady Gaga as a household name. Rolling Stone named this album as one of the 100 Greatest Debut Albums of All-Time. The album is considered electropop and dance-pop, and has been credited with bringing electronic dance music back to the top charts. This album led the way for other top hits by Calvin Harris and David Guetta that were in a similar style. 

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry (2010)

Teenage Dream by Katy Perry was the second album in history to have five singles top the Billboard Hot 100, and was the first female artist to achieve this. Featuring California Gurls, Teenage Dream, Firework, Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), and many more, this album kicked off the 2010s in a fantastic way. If you don’t already own this album, it is definitely one to add to your collection. 13 years after the initial release, the songs are just as good as they were back then. 

21 – Adele (2011)

Moving away from bubblegum pop into a more soulful style, 21 by Adele soundtracked our lives when we wanted a sad song to sing along to. Someone Like You and Rolling in the Deep played everywhere in 2011, it was impossible to avoid Adele. And you wouldn’t want to avoid her anyways, this album is so beautiful and her voice is so full of talent that you couldn’t help but immediately be drawn in. This is an album that almost anyone will enjoy, regardless of what their preferred genre is. 

Lemonade – Beyoncé (2016)

It’s impossible to create a list of albums you must add to your collection and not include Lemonade. Beyoncé’s most acclaimed album, although snubbed for Album of the Year, will be talked about for years for the cultural impact it made. This album transcends genres, not only being an art pop album but also R&B, with influences from many other genres. It is a visual album and a concept album, which is refreshing at a time when so many albums are just compilations of songs that don’t necessarily flow together. 

SOUR – Olivia Rodrigo (2021)

After the success of Driver’s License, Olivia Rodrigo released SOUR, which dominated the music scene in 2021. I believe that this album is setting the tone for pop music in the 2020s, bringing back punk influences, emotional lyrics, and fun visuals. This album completely sums up what it feels like to be 17, and brings a new style of teenage pop to the world, much like Britney did 22 years earlier. This is a must-have album, and although it is only two years old, I believe it will stand the test of time and be cited as one of the most influential pop albums in the future. 

1989 (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift (2023)

Finally, a pop album list could not exist without Taylor Swift. 1989, originally released in 2014, marked the shift of Taylor Swift from a country artist to a full-fledged pop singer. Bringing us hits like Shake It Off, Blank Space, and Style, this album soundtracked the mid-2010s. Her rerecorded Taylor’s Version comes out next month, October 2023, and will definitely run the charts like the album did nine years ago. Don’t hesitate to preorder the upcoming album, her five new vault songs will surely have the same impact that the original tracks did. 

Although there are so many more albums that could have been included in this list, these 10 albums impacted the popular music landscape and set records. These are must-have albums for any music lover. 

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