X Albums Ranked

X is an American punk rock band, formed in Los Angeles. The original members are vocalist Exene Cervenka, vocalist-bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D. J. Bonebrake. The band released seven studio albums from 1980 to 1993. After a period of inactivity during the mid-to-late 1990s, X reunited in the early 2000s, and currently tours, as of 2021. X achieved limited mainstream success but influenced various genres of music, including punk rock, Americana, and folk-rock, and is considered one of the most influential bands of their era. In 2003, X’s first two studio albums, Los Angeles and Wild Gift, were ranked by Rolling Stone as being among the 500 greatest albums of all time. Los Angeles was ranked 91st on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the 1980s. Here are all of the X albums ranked.

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8. Hey Zeus! (1993)

X's 'Hey Zeus!' has some bright moments | Blank Newspaper

“This is like the love of your life dying and then unearthing some memento they left behind for you after they’re gone. Definitely a little too much grunge worship, but John and Exene’s vocals sound as lively as ever.”

7. Alphabetland (2020)

X – ALPHABETLAND (2020, File) - Discogs

“X are a welcome return in 2020 after a twenty plus year hiatus. It’s the kind of reunion album that was both done for a good reason (guitarist Billy Zoom is collecting money for his cancer treatments) as well as good songs were made by all! Singer / bassist John Doe makes the largest impact with tunes such as “Free”, “Water and Wine” and “Cyrano Deberger’s Back” that recall the tuneful but furious tunes of X’s first four beautiful records. Add in some of Zoom’s great guitar work on “Strange Life” which is a throwback to the great “Universal Corner” from Wild Gift (1981), the punky “Drunk 88 Nightmare”, and always reliable drum work by DJ Bonebreak and this is a fiercely independent and lovely comeback record.”

6. See How We Are (1987)

X – See How We Are (2002, CD) - Discogs

“This is one of my favorite X records, yet when you go see the band live these days with Billy Zoom back in the lineup they don’t do anything from it, nor from the other two albums after the “New World,” which is like a ripoff to the fans I think. My understanding is that this was a Zoom mandate. Figures, since he wasn’t on this album.”

5. Ain’t Love Grand (1985)

X - Ain't Love Grand | Releases, Reviews, Credits | Discogs

“X try there best to sell themselves to a bigger crowd, but it just never seems to work for them. Depite plenty of weak spots, this album has three great songs which again reinstates my opinion that X releases some great songs, not great albums. Still three great songs is more then most bands.”

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4. More Fun in the New World (1983)

X - More Fun in the New World - CD – Rough Trade

“This may very well be my favorite X record. It is a near-tie between this and the previous, darker “Under the Big Black Sun”. I think the songs on this disc have the most replay value of any X release. Things start of strong with the lackadaisical, charming “The New World”. Up next, the absolute banger of a track “We’re Having Much More Fun” is a fun look at bohemian, subverse life through the eyes of the protagonists. I also need to talk about the track, “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts”. This tune is immediately relatable to any frustrated over thinker. Never has a song encapsulated this theme so well.”

3. Under the Big Black Sun (1982)

Under the Big Black Sun by X (Album, Punk Rock): Reviews, Ratings, Credits,  Song list - Rate Your Music

“The classic third album by X, which marked their transition from spirited, primitive punks to more refined songwriters, is appended with a few live tracks. The performances on the bonuses are pretty good, but the sound is not. Also present is the single version of “Riding With Mary,” which has clearer production than the album version, but lacks the needed grit of that one. And a single mix of “Breathless” is here, which didn’t appear until their next album.”

2. Wild Gift (1981)

X - Wild Gift - Amazon.com Music

“A more competent, polished and savvy X here. By this point they knew they were great, knew their style and passed off great songs with seeming ease. I don’t think I have ever heard an album by a band that is so totally sure of what they want to be and yet somehow still sounds like they’re not really trying.”

1. Los Angeles (1980)

X - Los Angeles (Expanded & Remastered) - Amazon.com Music

“Wow, a punk album that actually manages to disprove the theory that punk is sloppy and easily created. This is very tight, and the fact that Exene and John manage to harmonize even while yelling is remarkable, they were not only married but two of the most musically compatible people I’ve ever heard. Their cover of The Doors’ “Soul Kitchen” is barely recognizable and must be heard to be believed. This is the sort of album you could play for most anyone and they could either a) enjoy the instrumentation and appreciate the musicianship involved b) dance around and drink to it rockin’ out c) appreciate the seemless blending of surf punk and their interesting lyrics. Truly deserving of it’s high praise.”