Most Emotionally Moving Albums (Rock/Jazz) [in progress]

  1. Note: Incomplete ... Mid-Revision
  2. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
  3. Astral Weeks - Van Morrison (1968)
  4. Geek the Girl - Lisa Germano (1994)
  5. You Are Free - Cat Power (2003)
  6. What Would the Community Think? - Cat Power (1996)
  7. Rock Bottom - Robert Wyatt (1974)
  8. Desertshore - Nico (1970)
  9. Spirit of Eden - Talk Talk (1988)
  10. Tonight's the Night - Neil Young (1975)
  11. Blue - Joni Mitchell (1971)
  12. Pink Moon - Nick Drake (1972)
  13. The Complete Guide to Insufficiency - David Thomas Broughton (2005)
  14. On the Way Down From Moon Palace - Lisa Germano (1991)
  15. Passion - Peter Gabriel (1989)
  16. Pavilion of Dreams - Harold Budd (1978)
  17. Miss America - Mary Margaret O'Hara (1988)
  18. Songs of Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen (1968)
  19. Trust - Low (2002)
  20. Happy Sad - Tim Buckley (1968)
  21. Laughing Stock - Talk Talk (1991)
  22. I Could Live in Hope - Low (1994)
  23. Closer - Joy Division (1980)
  24. Dolmen Music - Meredith Monk (1981)
  25. Have One On Me - Joanna Newsom (2011)
  26. Long Division - Low (1995)
  27. Desire - Bob Dylan (1975)
  28. Sticky Fingers - Rolling Stones (1971)
  29. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - Wilco (2002)
  30. Illinois - Sufjan Stevens (2005)
  31. Ritual of Hearts - Maquiladora (2002)
Author Comments: 

Definition of "Moving" being applied: "Producing strong emotion, especially sadness or sympathy".

Interesting list after the top few choices which were fairly predictable.

Yes, the first 15 are probably VERY accurate down to the smallest differences (doesn't mean they can't change). After that, I'm not quite as certain, though one can't go wrong with any of them anyway so it shouldn't matter much.

No Trout Mask Replica?

It's a possible inclusion. But I am uncertain of where it ranks right now and need to re-listen to it.

Not the complete album, but if Side 1 of Meet the Residents was an EP it would neatly fit here.

Thanks, I'm only including whole albums but I'd still agree that that one should probably go on here, or at least not much farther down than the current list goes. Just not quite sure yet though...

Good call on ITAOTS. It's the rockers, oddly enough, that may be the most moving tracks on the album.

Thanks :) those too. The feeling of life-threatening urgency, running out of time, unwittingly dying/transforming through ripples of time... Though I'd say that nothing on the album out-devastates Oh Comely.

Yeah, it gets me every time how their upbeat nature expresses the transformation of the singer's grief into an intense and beautiful feeling of being alive, effectively turning the songs into celebrations of humanity.

Oh Comely is great in its own way of course.

Me too! Love how the album is both "exuberant and alive" and "emotionally devastating". And it's at or near the peak of both in all of rock. Quite a combination!

Yo Afterhours, I know that this list is still in progress, and I'mma let you finish, but Yeezus is one of the most emotionally moving albums of all time! One of the most emotionally moving albums of all time!

And I couldn't possibly agree more with putting In the Aeroplane over the Sea in the top 3. It completely overwhelms me after 30-40 seconds tops. Every single time. The Fool is probably the most bittersweet instrumental I've ever heard, and it's not even the best song. "But don't hate her when she gets up to leave" is as emotional as a final line can get. It's weird that it has a reputation of being just another overrated pop classic.

Thanks! I still haven't heard Yeezus but Ill give it a shot. Ive seen you discuss it with a lot of admiration and its piqued my interest to see if Scaruffi underrated it.

Re: Aeroplane ... I agree with everything you're saying. Like many albums that become legendary solely based on its quality and word of mouth (VU and Nico, Spiderland...), it has its set of detractors. These must be people that aren't looking for an emotionally naked experience the likes of which they've never heard -- or something. I think Aeroplane is just too much to take for some people. Its perhaps the ultimate example of "expressed emotional conviction".

My guess is that time will fix that just like VU and Nico. I can't blame the detractors: "guy with limited vocal range and an acoustic guitar" doesn't give the impression of "ultimate emotional experience" at first, despite the fact that he actually intended for it to be one. My own first impression of it was that it has a lot of filler. It was even worse with VU and Nico, actually. Pop music is easy to wrongly dismiss.

Yeezus has a good chance of sounding ridiculous to you like it did to me for about 2 years. But "emotionally moving" is the category where it scores the most. It's also very avant-garde once you get down to listening to it.

While I instantly fell in love with In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (extra gratifying at the time because it was before it became so well known and I became an unabashed promoter of the album among my friends/internet contacts), I was in a similar boat as you with VU and Nico, which I attempted to tackle not long after love affairs with the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Radiohead and so forth. I remember thinking it sounded pretty dull and unexciting (not realizing its general pessimistic mood and its "deaf noise" were important components to its evocation). Fortunately, as with many incredible albums, I didn't give up on it.

Thanks for the recommendation for Yeezus. I'm intrigued to see what I think of it.