Photo:

The Best Visual Albums Of All Time

What are the greatest visual albums of all time? Defined as vivid video artwork for musicians' studio LPs, visual albums paint artists' musical production in an extraordinary light beyond three to five minute music videos. Such films contain a wide range of storytelling, cinematic direction, costumes, and set designs to bring each full-length album's music to life beyond their streamed audio releases. From Beyoncé's BLACK IS KING and Lemonade to Kacey Musgraves' star-crossed, this list features all of the best visual albums written and produced by the musicians themselves.

Vote for your favorite visual albums below, and be sure to vote based on the quality of their corresponding films rather than simply their popularity, musical style, or number of views. 

Photo:

  • 1
    44 VOTES
    The Wall
    Video: YouTube

    A musical psychological drama aligned with Pink Floyd's legendary '79 studio album of the same name, The Wall highlights lead singer and bassist Roger Waters' physical and emotional wall following the death of his father. The MGM visual album stars Boomtown Rats' vocalist Bob Geldof as Pink, a depressed rock star who relects Water's own life experience of drug abuse and loneliness. 

    • Artist: Pink Floyd
    • Release Date: 1982
    44 votes
  • 2
    70 VOTES
    Lemonade
    Video: YouTube

    Beyoncé gracefully turns lemons into lemonade with her trailblazing 2016 HBO visual album, Lemonade. Providing an extraordinary window into both the Queen Bey's emotional distress throughout her marriage to JAY-Z and her frustrations with American society's treatment towards black women, the Emmy-nominated project represents black feminism at its finest. As the lead director, producer, and star of the film, Beyoncé takes the reigns behind the entire creative process, meticulously incorporating all facets of black American female culture through profound cinematography and dance. 

    • Artist: Beyoncé
    • Release Date: 2016
    70 votes
  • A Hard Day's Night
    Video: YouTube

    Popularly known as the OG visual album, A Hard Day's Night was the first ever cinematic compilation of a studio LP's music. The Beatles' Academy Award nominated film takes place during the pinnacle of Beatlemania and artistically documents their 1.5 day preparation for a tv performance throughout the streets of London in a comedic manner. The acclaimed motion picture inspired generations of musical films and remains a groundbreaking catalyst for today's visual albums.

    • Artist: The Beatles
    • Release Date: 1964
    39 votes
  • Dirty Computer
    Video: YouTube

    Defined as an "emotion picture" by multi-talented singer and actress Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer highlights queer injustice in an artistically stunning sci-fi fashion. The VMA and SAG award winner stars as an Android, Jane 57821, in a homphobic dystopia where the entire LGBTQ community is on the run from the totalitarian government. Fusing futuristic images with timely political commentary, Monáe's visual album embodies the pop funk anthem many millinnials wish they had as adolescents, shattering countless glass ceilings for queer American women of color.

    • Artist: Janelle Monáe
    • Release Date: 2018
    26 votes
  • If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power
    Video: YouTube

    Directed by music video filmmaker Colin Tilley, If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power explores both the physical and emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy and childbirth. The visual album draws inspiration from the medieval and renaissance eras through dramatic cinematography and vibrant costumes, with pop superstar Halsey serving as the antiheroine. The alternative rock and grunge/punk project empowers women in a patriarchal industry to embrace their femininity while also creating their own thrones.

    • Artist: Halsey
    • Release Date: 2021
    36 votes
  • 6
    17 VOTES
    Moonwalker
    Video: YouTube

    Named after Michael Jackson's signature dance technique the 'moonwalk,' the King of Pop's late '80s anthological visual album Moonwalker communicates his perception of fandom in a satirical fantasy fashion with elements of claymation. The multi-platinum project serves as a compilation of lengthier music videos and short films, coinciding with Jackson's seventh studio album, Bad. After its VHS release, Moonwalker stayed at #1 on the Billboard video chart for 22 weeks.

    • Artist: Michael Jackson
    • Release Date: 1988
    17 votes