Best James Taylor Albums, Ranked

Chuck Fadely – photographer [Public domain]

It is my professional* opinion that James Taylor is the greatest singer/songwriter of all time. I am currently collecting all of his albums on vinyl, and I would consider myself… obsessed with James Taylor. As I have gone through the past years singing the praises of James Taylor (and just singing James Taylor songs), it has come to my attention how little others know about him. So, I have decided to take it upon myself to rank ALL of James Taylor’s albums…

“It is very strange making a living out of being yourself.”

JAMES TAYLOR, 1971, ROLLING STONE

I did not intend for this post to be this long, but I couldn’t help myself.

Note: I will only be ranking James Taylor’s original studio albums. Not included in the following list are the Covers albums, Christmas album, or any live albums.

16. In The Pocket (1976)

This album contains the hit “Shower the People” surrounded by a bunch of forgettable songs. This one gets some points for a great album cover, though.

15. Dad Loves His Work (1981)

Another one hit album. “Her Town Too” is really the only noteworthy song on this album. You won’t ever hear any of these songs at a concert.

14. James Taylor (1968)

His first album. Contains top songs “Something in the Way She Moves” and “Carolina in My Mind”. The only problem is the original versions of these songs are not very good. One of the best writing jobs on this album, though.

13. Hourglass (1997)

This one came in ’97 after a 6 year hiatus from Taylor. Contains a few ‘hits’ such as “Yellow and Rose” and “Little More Time with You”, the latter being the only real memorable song on the album. Again, not much here beyond the few ‘hits’.

12. Before This World (2015)

His latest album. This one is a great mixture of new experimental style with the classic James Taylor lyrical style. Every song on here is solid, but no real memorable ones either. This is as mediocre as James Taylor gets. He is clearly past his creative peak. But that’s ok, I still love him.

11. One Man Dog (1972)

This one is very interesting. It’s made up a lot of tiny songs, some of them instrumental (it contains the most songs of any Taylor album, 18). It came out only one year after the previous album, and feels like James many rushed through the writing process (just speculating here).

We do get “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” from this album, but it is mainly meant to be listed to as a full album, straight through. I can’t see anybody adding “Jig” or “Instrumental II” to any of their Spotify playlists, but a good listen none-the-less.

*Armstrong is not a professional by any stretch of the imagination.


I divided this up into multiple pages to avoid making it an endless scroll

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2 thoughts on “Best James Taylor Albums, Ranked

  1. I worked James Taylor 5 times when he was front act at the Guthrie. He told Sue the promoter that if he ever made it BIG he would pass up a chance to do do a show in a large venue in the Twin Cities and do a double bill at the Guthrie to pay her back a little for her help when he was starting out. He was true to his word. He could have sold out arenas but he did a two show day at the small venue Guthrie. He’s as nice a person as he is a talent.

    Liked by 1 person

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