It is easy to notice that a lot, if not most, of the albums gathered in THE LIST are quite pop in a sense that those might not be the subtlest and most extravagant or sometimes even not the most expressive works of a respective artist. Rather those are the records possessing the quality to appeal easily to a wider range of listeners – being more pop. And I think it's worth explaining my position here.
I do believe that “pop” in this meaning is not a bad thing at all. Of course, there are other meanings like being purely commercially driven for instance, which is a topic for a whole different conversation. But the ability of an artistic product to move the masses is a huge achievement, requiring a talent of a further level imho. And thus I put this ability among criteria to enter the list; among things valuable. You do not necessary devaluate yourself by being more understandable! On the contrary, communicating sophisticated ideas and subtle emotions in an accessible way is a solid mark of a real talent, potentially bordering with genius. Just like Shreks and onions, art can have layers – so put it there – as many layers of subtext as you wish or can, but make the front one strong, clear and appealing – at least to make it heard.
Just like Samsara – a movie called a triumph of cinematography for a reason. It says so much about so many things so deep, important, but overdiscussed till the loss of public interest or attention; and yet does it in a form so right for cinematography but so unusual to the most of us, that it would've been a sure failure if it wasn't so beautiful and so CLEAR. At least in its front layer.
Just like Norman Rockwell.
Just like Led Zeppelin.
So be deep, be good, be purple if you choose, but be popular.
With two remarks:
1)I'm absolutely NOT saying EVERYTHING should be easy going. I'm a strong believer of diversity as a greater good. And we desperately need works harder to grasp as the only means possible to grow and evolve, to learn feeling and thinking deeper. It's just that as well I see a danger of refusing things pop only on the basis of its popularity – which has a strong scent of snobbery and decadence – intellectual elite's other best friends.
2)And of course not all the records I dare to recommend here are of that magic multi-layered kind – some are just what it says – a good rock record. ...Or I simply did not see through it – hopefully yet.