Animal Collective have always been willfully difficult to pin down. If the arc of their career appears, on its face, fairly easy to chart (a course starting with their early days of healing noise and inhuman yowling to their later days blasting out "My Girls" for festival crowd) a deeper dive into their music reveals something different. The band – a loose confederation of four musicians with a lineup that shifts from album to album – have yielded a catalog that similarly seems to expand and contract with each release, rather than progressing along a straight line. Some things stay relatively uniform: The band's interest in melting down and deteriorating sounds; their ability to dig down beyond words to pure animal feeling; and an innate sense of melody on behalf of Avey Tare and Panda Bear. Everything outside that core is in constant motion, allowing the band to progress (for the most part) with each release without papering over the same sounds again and again.

With the idea in mind that each Animal Collective album is its own singular journey, and with the band's spirit of insatiable adventurism, we bring you every Animal Collective album ranked from worst to first.

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