First and foremost, this is my list. You probably won’t agree with it. My choices are made based on how they affected me as I grew up with strong consideration to what songs I actually like. This post is a ranking. The only album that was left off of this list that should be on is OK Computer by Radiohead. I just don’t like Radiohead that much. Any comments on your favorite albums are always welcome. The 90’s weren’t that bad for music and here are 14 more 90’s albums that could have made the list.
Top Tracks : One Headlight, 6th Ave Heartache, Three Marlenas, The Difference
Jacob Dylan is Bob Dylan’s son. If you weren’t aware, this is a pretty big deal because Bob is considered the greatest song writer of all time. To live in the shadows of an icon like this must suck because your always being compared to a level that is incomparable. Knowing this, one must believe that Jacob would have a shot at success even if he was only ok. Fortunately, Bringing Down the Horse was a tremendous album.
14. No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom (1995) & Bush – Sixteen Stone (1994)
Top Tracks – Spiderwebs, Just a Girl, Don’t Speak, Glycerine, Machinehead, Comedown
Each album on its own wasn’t good enough to make this list but considering they are married in real life, it made sense to combine two staple albums of the mid 90’s. The 6 songs listed were mammoth hits and played non-stop. Spiderwebs and Glycerine were probably top 100 tracks of the entire 90’s popularity wise. The fact that they are beautiful people only made it that much easier to like their strong music.
Top Tracks – I’ll Make Love To You, Water Runs Dry, I’ll Make Love To You
Overlooked as a top album in 1994, II was a by yourself, singalong classic. A lovey, dovey album that won’t fit the mood in every atmosphere but contains tracks that you lock yourself in your room and weep to. I’ll Make Love To You ruled MTV’s air waves for months. It was also the 3rd best selling album of 1995 and moved 12 million copies.
Top Tracks- The Message, If I Ruled the World, Street Dreams
You know when a white suburban kid is buying a rap album, it is reaching a wide audience. How am I placing a Nas album ahead of more classic albums like Dr Dre’s the Chronic and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggfather? You’d be right to ask that question but this album was what I listened to when I did my homework in middle school. The Message should be a top track of the decade. If I Ruled the World is also a song that if you play among a group of people, no one will change it and everyone will comment on how good your music selection is. Nas balanced intelligent lyrics with catchy hooks and brought an album that put him on the map.
Top Tracks – Drive, Everybody Hurts, Nightswimming
Michael Stipe struck a chord with people all over the world with this kick ass, high point album for REM. This album can be listened to in its entirety and every song is solid. I would consider putting Nightswimming as a top 100 song of all time I like it that much. I also think that I probably like REM more than the average person. Most people probably can’t name 5 songs. However, their relatively unknown songs would be hits for other bands but they get lost in the shuffle. This album is one that I would start from track 1 and wouldn’t change it. It is the opposite of an album which has 3 hot tracks and a bunch of shit after.
Top Tracks – Tonight, Tonight, Zero, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, 1979
I’m sort of cheating on this album because I never listened to it in its entirety. However, I don’t think it’s fair to not have Smashing Pumpkins on a list of best albums of the 90’s because there hits are top notch. Tonight, Tonight and 1979 are incredible tracks that deserve as much recognition as they receive. This particular album was a double that included 28 tracks and won 7 grammy’s. So even though I probably haven’t heard 24 of the tracks on it, the 4 I have heard make it classic.
Top Tracks -Daughter, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Ten is one of the finest debut album’s by a band but VS was a true follow up masterpiece. Pearl Jam’s music was played fast and loud and Eddie Vedder’s distinctive yell and mumbling made it very easy to sing along to. My personal favorite Pearl Jam song is Better Man off of Vitalogy but VS is a more complete album. Elderly Woman also vaults this album because it is probably a top 25 song of the decade. I’d be a fool to not mention Daughter as well.
Top Tracks – Round Here, Omaha, Mr Jones
Those 3 tracks start this album. Fire. Not to mention that they all have their own unique flavor. For a time I would even say that Rain King was my favorite track off of the album. Plus who didn’t hear the rumor that Adam Duritz named his penis Mr. Jones in the song? This album still holds up today and went 7x Platinum.
Top Tracks – Hand In My Pocket, Ironic, You Oughta Know
If my list was based on most sales of the 90’s, Jagged Little Pill would be #1. These songs were everywhere because the audience was universal because men and woman alike loved the music. Singles kept getting pulled off as hits month after month which kept it current for what felt like forever. You Oughta Know was the lead single but I’ll never feel that Ironic wasn’t the most popular song off the album. I count 6 booming hits that people are still listening to today.
Top Tracks – Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back in Anger, Champagne Supernova
The ever-feuding Gallagher brothers were able to make an album back in 1995 that have tracks that will never die. Wonderwall’s opening is known by virtually everyone on the planet. Champagne Supernova made us ask the question, “where were you while we were getting high?” Some Might Say would be my sleeper on the album. In 2010, Rolling Stone commented that “the album is a triumph, full of bluster, bravado and surprising tenderness. Morning Glory capped a true golden age for Britpop.
Top Tracks – Still Dre, What’s The Difference, Forgot About Dre, The Next Episode
This album was released in November of 1999 which means that it barely makes the cut as a 90 album. Vaulted by the untouchable jam Forgot About Dre, this album was Dre’s crown jewel. He was the beat master before anyone else could even be considered. The rhymes are equally strong with Eminem providing the hottest lyrics that anyone had ever heard. This album is a treasure that I’ll always associate with listening to on the school bus to track meets in my Sony Discman.
Top Tracks – My Name Is, Guilty Conscience, Just Don’t Give a Fuck
The white boy who changed Hip Hop. This album was meteoric in influence and originality. Being backed by Dr. Dre also didn’t hurt. My Name Is is probably the best title for an introduction track that I can think of. Guilty Conscience told a story in a manner that hadn’t been done before with a back and forth conversation between good vs evil. There is also a ton of profanity which the world wasn’t ready for at the time. Eminem launched into super stardom after the release of this album which shows an immediate impact.
Top Tracks – Basketcase, Longview, When I Come Around, Welcome to Paradise
Dookie is Green Day’s 3rd album that sold over 20 million albums to date. The 3 minute shot out of the cannon in Basketcase started Green Day’s movement into mainstream. Not a single track is over 4 minutes and most hover under the 3 minute mark. She is my favorite track outside of the hits and who can forget the hidden track where you had to let F.O.D run for a few minutes in order to hear All By Myself. I remember in 6th grade when a class I had asked what was your favorite song and half the class said Basketcase…a track I embarrassingly had never heard of.
Top Tracks – Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are, Lithium
I recently watched the Showtime Documentary on Kurt Cobain and his life was short and sad. His heroin addiction overtook his life and turned a once in a lifetime talent into a man with a hole in his head. This album, with its controversial album cover, was game changing. Leading the grunge era was Kurt Cobain and sidekick Dave Grohl. The fact that Dave Grohl played second fiddle in this band (along with the bass player who know one knows) should be a strong indicator on how talented Kurt Cobain was. I recently found Drain You on this album and find it an incredible track to go along with the mainstays.
Top Tracks – Buddy Holly, Undone – The Sweater Song, Say It Ain’t So
I specifically bought this album for Buddy Holly. The short 2:39 song whose music video featured a concert at the Happy Days diner was electric. Who knew what other gems were on this 10 track album. Not a single bad song. The top tracks are not even the best songs. Every song could be considered the best song on the album. My personal favorite is The World Has Turned and Left Me Here. Concluding it with the 8 minute Only in Dreams was the perfect conclusion to this masterpiece.