Science fiction changed music. And music saved science fiction. Most of our favorite flights of fancy and epic adventures are bound up in our minds with amazing musical scores, or epic theme songs. But some of the greatest pieces of music ever created were also inspired by science fiction and fantasy.
Over the past week, we've counted down the 100 albums that every science fiction and fantasy fan should listen to. And now, here it is: the top 10 albums that genre lovers should already adore.
10. Daft Punk - Discovery (2001)
You know an album's audio magic when basically every damn song could carry its own single. With this shiny, spacey hour of disco nouveau, the DJ duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo cemented their personas as night-clubbing robots. This music is so addictive it will close out every Sweet 16 for the next billion or so years, until the Sun's rising temperature turns our planet into a desiccated hellhole. Hopefully humanity will be jamming across the stars by then, not unlike the aliens from Leiji Matsumoto's anime adaptation of Discovery, Interstella 5555. (And for more Daftness, their Alive 2007 live album also slices and dices the best parts of their robo-inclined 2005 LP Human After All.) - Cyriaque Lamar
9. Vangelis - Albedo 0.39 (1976)
We adore electronic pioneer Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou's work on 1975's Heaven and Hell (which gave us the theme to Cosmos) and the Blade Runner soundtrack, but this cosmic concept album makes our minds to turn to Carl Sagan, on the sheer force of "Pulstar" and "Alpha" alone. The title track is also a suitable proxy for a piece of disembodied alien AI floating by, shouting factoids in our planet's general direction. - CL
8. Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)
Even before they name-dropped The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and gave Bob Dylan an extraterrestrial veneer, Radiohead had already written history's greatest dystopian prom song. But when OK Computer came out, its (now-iconic) brand of pre-millennial malaise was a shocker — nobody expected this sort of album from that one-hit-wonder band who sang "Creep." Steeped in themes of technology-driven alienation and consumerism gone amok, OK Computer is the wail of a civilization that has yet to evolve the psychic organs to keep up with its own progress. Waiting for the Singularity sucks, but at least this album will commiserate with you in the meantime. - CL
7. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
The record that launched a thousand laser planetarium shows, it's way easier to sync up Dark Side with the stellar flickers of the countryside night sky than The Wizard of Oz. After all, this loopy prog rock classic was written to organically represent the passage of life, from the inexorable march of time to the vicissitudes of the economy to the, hey, is that the International Space Station? Nope, just my flashlight. Whoa. Where was I? Oh right, The Wall. It's. Far. Out. - CL
6. Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine (1978)
The truth is, we could populate half of this final ten with Kraftwerk albums — thanks to immortal tracks about radioactivity, synthetic romance, living mannequins, and the technological marvel that is the German highway system — but we're going with this particular cyborg-and-futureplex-tinged masterpiece due to our self-imposed rules. This Düsseldorf troupe has put an indelible robotic mark on the past four decades of music history, laying the groundwork for everything from synthpop to techno to hip-hop. If you require proof, here's six hours' worth. - CL