89.3 the Current wrapped up its 893 Essential Albums tally on Thursday.
The fan-voted sensation was revealed via a week of on-air programming, keeping social-media feeds abuzz with righteous indignation and/or validation regarding the favorite albums of almost 8,000 listeners.
The top prize went to Nirvana's 1991 masterpiece Nevermind, a record that exploded grunge into the mainstream and taught generations of kids how to misspell "never mind." The Clash (London Calling), the Beatles (Abbey Road), Prince (Purple Rain), and Pink Floyd (The Dark Side of the Moon) round out the top five. The late/great David Bowie scored 13 entries onto the list, more than any other artist; the Beatles and R.E.M. each cracked double digits with 10.
Diversity proved to be a major issue. Among the top 50 acts: 41 are led by white men, five are led by people of color, and four are led by women (we're generously counting The Velvet Underground & Nico toward the latter). Among the other, less-egregious sins: Mumford & Sons and Alt-J both reaching the top 250.
More encouraging was the amount of Minnesota love. The highest-charting 200 albums included three from Prince, four from Bob Dylan, three from the Replacements, and one each from Hüsker Dü, Sugar, and the Jayhawks.
You can view all 893 winners here. If you're trying to analyze the bejesus outta this thing, Current listener Todd Simmons created this spectacularly geeky/detailed Google spreadsheet. We've rounded up all the local champions below.
Prince — No. 4, Purple Rain; No. 93, 1999; No. 110, Sign o' the Times; No. 256, Dirty Mind; No 389, Controversy; No. 795, Batman (Original Soundtrack); No. 811, Prince
Bob Dylan — No. 7, Blood on the Tracks; No. 23, Highway 61 Revisited; No. 23, Blonde on Blonde; No 73., The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan; No. 128, Bringing It All Back Home; No. 374, Nashville Skyline; No. 529, Time Out of Mind
The Replacements — No. 20, Let it Be; No. 33, Tim; No. 85, Pleased to Meet Me; No. 323, Hootenanny; No. 330, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take out the Trash
Hüsker Dü — No. 129, Zen Arcade; No. 207, New Day Rising; No. 504, Flip Your Wig; No. 584, Candy Apple Grey; No. 627, Warehouse Songs and Stories
Sugar — No. 135, Copper Blue
The Jayhawks — No. 181, Tomorrow the Green Grass; No. 205, Hollywood Town Hall; No. 676, Rainy Day Music
The Hold Steady (yeah, we're counting 'em) — No. 230, Separation Sunday; No. 302, Boys and Girls in America
Bob Mould — No. 244, Workbook; No. 805, Black Sheets of Rain
Trampled by Turtles — No. 299, Palomino; No. 710, Stars and Satellites
Doomtree — No. 310, No Kings
Cloud Cult — No. 332, Light Chasers; No. 489, Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes); No. 561, The Meaning of 8; No. 666, Love; No. 687, The Seeker
The Suburbs — No. 404, Credit in Heaven; No. 756, In Combo
Jeremy Messersmith — No. 412, The Reluctant Graveyard; No. 675, Heart Murmurs
Atmosphere — No. 440, God Loves Ugly; No. 475, When Life Gives You Lemons; No. 698, Seven's Travels
Soul Asylum — No. 462, Grave Dancers Union; No. 576, Hang Time
Dessa — No. 517, A Badly Broken Code
Semisonic — No. 544, Feeling Strangely Fine; No. 622, Great Divide
Motion City Soundtrack — No. 565, Commit This To Memory
Low — No. 613, The Great Destroyer; No. 864, Things We Lost in the Fire
Dillinger Four — No. 620, Midwestern Songs of the Americas
Caroline Smith — No. 637, Half About Being a Woman
Gear Daddies — No. 654, Billy's Live Bait
Mason Jennings — No. 679, Mason Jennings
Polica — No. 726, Give You the Ghost
Brother Ali — No. 789, The Undisputed Truth
Trip Shakespeare — No. 792, Lulu
Babes in Toyland — No. 809, Fontanelle
Lifter Puller — No. 845, Fiestas + Fiascos