At last year's Country Music Association Awards, Eric Church's "Mr. Misunderstood" was crowned as album of the year, beating out a list of contenders that included "Hero" by Maren Morris and "Black" by Dierks Bentley. It was Church's second time winning the award after 2012's "Chief," which featured hit tracks like "Springsteen" and "Homeboy." Younger country music fans will likely include Church's recent contributions among their favorite albums of all time, while the older crowd might refer to the works of legends like Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings.
In a genre steeped in tradition, how do recent hit albums stack up with the classics? PrettyFamous, an entertainment data site by Graphiq, ranked the best country albums in its database by Album Score -- a customized statistic out of 100 that aggregates album ratings from external sources, including AllMusic, Metacritic, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and many more. Only albums that have been nominated for album of the year at the CMA Awards were taken into consideration. The CMA Awards were first held in 1967, so only albums released that year or later were eligible. It should also be noted that these ratings are pulled from an album's Wikipedia page, so in the event that an album does not have a page, or its page does not have ratings, it will not appear on this list.
The list skews toward more recent albums, as six of the top 10 were released in 2008 or later. Still, the top spot belongs to a true country music icon, whose 1971 album was deemed by PrettyFamous as the best of all time.
Note: Ties are broken by number of ratings and the year the album was released.