20. Johnny Cash: American IV: The Man Comes Around
This is the album that caused me to fall in love with the music of Johnny Cash. For most alternative music fans my age, I knew who Johnny Cash was, I respected him for his contributions to music, but I really didn't listen to his music. That all changed when I saw the music video for "Hurt". It is a truly haunting piece of art. Listening to this song caused me to get the record, and the rest as they say his history. I fell in love with Cash's music, and finally understood his greatness. I now see him as a modern-day commentator on life, spirituality, and politics. Someone who has something to say, and one you should listen to. (Unfortunately the official music video is no longer on YouTube, so I must use a lyric video.)
19. Norah Jones: The Fall
Very similar to how American IV made me a fan of Johnny Cash, The Fall made me a fan of Norah Jones. The first time I heard Chasing Pirates, I fell absolutely in love with her music. For me, this is pop music at its finest. Great lyrics, catching beat. What more could you ask for? In addition to having this great song, The Fall also features some other great songs such as: "December", "It's Gonna Be", and "Even Though". The Fall is still my favorite Norah Jones album, and my number 19 favorite album of all time.
18. Ringo Starr: Ringorama
In my opinion, the last twenty years has seen Ringo Starr release some of his best music since The Beatles. A few highlights include the albums: Liverpool 8, Vertical Man, and Postcards in Paradise. But for my money, his best album during this time period is 2003's Ringorama. This is my favorite solo Starr album, and it features a heartfelt tribute to George Harrison "Never without You", commentary on the British Royal Family with "Elizabeth Reigns", and good old fashion rock n' roll with "Eye to Eye". From beginning to end, this is one great album, and one of Ringo's best ever.
17. System of a Down: Toxicity
I love System of a Down. I love the fact that there isn't another band in the world that sounds like them. Their music is aggressive, yet informative. I started listening to System in college, and I vividly remember reading Toxicity's lyric book, and being shocked with the content they were discussing throughout the album. Issues such as the drug epidemic, prison overpopulation, the environment, and orgies and groupies. All on a single album. Like Rage Against the Machine, I feel like I learn something new every time I listen to System of a Down. It's true they cover a wide range of topics, but they are also probably the best modern metal band.
16. The Postal Service: Give Up
They say you are either a Death Cab for Cutie fan or you are a Postal Service fan. I am a Postal Service fan. Ben Gibbard's side project only released one album. One album. And its perfect! And beautiful! From beginning to end, Give Up captures an emotional feeling that is difficult to put into words without sounding "corny". Its not emo, but it is very emotional. It has an electronic/computer sound, yet it still sounds very organic. Part of me wishes that Postal Service would release another album. But then again, having one perfect album is not a bad thing at all either.