My first post ranking the top 15 albums was met with quite a bit of feedback. With 10 years of material in a post that I put together in 3 hours, it’s clear I missed a few gems. That is why I’ve decided to come out with more top albums of the 90’s and then compile them into one more final list which I’ll consider complete. Orders will be shifted and albums replaced. Here are 15 more top albums of the 90’s.
First off, take a moment to admire the album cover and remember the swings at a carnival. Great ride. How I missed DMB the first go around I’m not entirely sure as this album is classic. The first song, The Best of What’s Around, (with John Popper of Blues Travelers) is probably my favorite and was overshadowed by the tracks I listed above. In middle and high school I never liked the kids who liked DMB for an inexplicable reason (probably because of their unbridled love that I wasn’t experiencing) but as I’ve gotten older I can appreciate the greatness that is this album and the band.
Sold: 6 million copies
Oh now feel it, comin’ back again. Without a doubt I can say that Lightning Crashes was my favorite song for about 3 months straight in middle school. The pace of the intro followed by the hook had me hooked. I purchased the album specifically for this song and was treated to more excellent music. I grew to love Selling the Drama and I Alone. Follow up albums were never quite as good as Throwing Copper but still produced hits like Pain Lies on the Riverside and Overcome. Bud used to call Shit Towne, “S” Towne.
Sold: 8 million copies
I have to be honest, I did not own this album. The songs that I know are the most popular ones. Self Esteem was was played any and everywhere in 1994. After listening to the entire album once through recently, I’d have to pick Bad Habit as my favorite track. All of the songs are high energy with hard drum beats and all sort of sound the same. Smash was the contemporary to Dookie in 1994.
Sold: 11 million copies worldwide
Joe Kenefic (someone I went to high school with but we never hung out outside of) commented on my list noted that I picked the wrong Smashing Pumpkins album. He is 100% right. I wrote that I didn’t listen to Mellon Collie and picked it because of the 4 songs I knew. I recently listened to Siamese Dream in its entirety and loved the feel of the album. I heard of the top tracks I listed but Mayonaise and Hummer blew me away. I’m happy I gave this one a chance because each and every track is worth listening to.
Sold: 4 million copies
Another album I didn’t own but know the top tracks. Since I don’t want to just add albums I’ve never listened to, I go through each one to hear every track to get a feel for the music and see how the album stacks up in its entirety. I enjoyed the pace of Enema of the State and how the songs flow into each other. Each track is under 3 minutes and the album hits its groove in the middle. There aren’t many songs that struck me as “this sucks, change it” but that could be because they are short. Adam’s Song is the zenith for me. I also like how this wasn’t their debut album so they had to work to get to this point of success. Blink is also a weird band when it comes to band relationships with Travis Barker nearly dying and Mark Hoppus playing in Angels and Airwaves.
Sold 15 million copies worldwide
In 1998 I was into Rap. I probably listened through this album 100 times from A-Z. I learned to hate Hard Knock Life and that nauseating chorus. Fortunately the tracks on this album could be a greatest hits list. I liked If I Should Die more than the hits. Coming of Age and It’s Alright with Memphis Bleek are unheard of songs that shouldn’t be. The 14th and final track is Money Ain’t a Thang which was a monster hit with Jermaine Dupri. How many artists save one of their most popular tracks for last? Hova.
Sold: 5.4 million copies
Bradley Nowell died too young. He was 28 when he passed from a heroin overdose 7 days after getting married. It isn’t an easy decision choosing between Sublime (released after Bradley’s death and self titled) and 40 oz to Freedom but my opinion is this album is a little more polished. I must point out though that I find Badfish a song that can be played to favorable reviews in any environment, anywhere. It’s hard to argue though that What I Got & Santeria aren’t two of the finest, most played songs of the 90’s. I’m not up to date on other tracks on this album but this album deserves recognition for it’s Ska-Punk flavor.
Sold: 5 million copies
I’m going to come out and say it, I don’t like the Chilli Peppers that much. I find their hits nice to listen to but their secondary songs are fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I can rarely understand the lyrics hidden under the barrage of guitar and bass playing. Under the Bridge is a great song. Give it Away is ok. If I could combine One Hot Minute to this list I’d add My Friends as another great track. Hard to Concentrate is a great song from Stadium Arcadium. Not a band that I gel with.
Sold: 13 million copies
Third Eye Blind still tours and put out an awesome single in Everything is Easy this year. The Self Title album Third Eye Blind was also awesome. Semi-Charmed Kind of Life is known by every human being who listens to music. I like the album because it’s easy listening but lacks the punching power on its secondary tracks. It should be noted though that the guys from Workahoilcs use Jumper to its utmost height in this clip.
Sold: 6 million copies
If it’s not The Joshua Tree by U2, I probably won’t like it as much. When U2 released The Joshua Tree in 1987, they set the bar high, like 9 ft high (the world record is 8 ft in the high jump). Every track on that album is a smash. Actung Baby is better than 95% of the albums released in the 90’s but wasn’t as good as Joshua Tree and for that reason it gets swept under the carpet. One is an incredible song. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses is a diamond in the rough. I didn’t listen to this album until I started doing this research so I apologize if I’m a bit off on the star appeal.
Sold: 18 million copies
I know this album by osmosis. Laura had it would listen to it. A lot. Combine that with the fact that it was on TRL everyday, all day, and these tracks make your head spin. This album was released in 1999 which started the boy band era. N’Sync, No Strings Attached, was probably the “better” album but was released in 2000. I’m sure this could be hotly debated. I honestly don’t know how to rank this in terms of musical appeal. I can’t tell if it was pure image and infatuation from teenage girls that propelled this band but the music had to be at least decent. Their last song on this album is called “The Perfect Fan”. Now if that’s not knowing your audience, I don’t know what is. After I listened to this for “research” purposes, I’d give the music a D.
Sold: 30 million copies
Ever notice that ears and hear are so similar? You’ll have to excuse my ears because they don’t get it. I enjoy Radiohead’s top tracks Paranoid Android and Karma Police as they would both make any playlist I’d make. The other tracks make me feel like I’m in 2050 with robot ears. It’s a lot of whining and off noises. OK Computer. There are hardly any hooks and the lyrics are inaudible. I feel the same way about Bends. High and Dry and Fake Plastic Trees are wonderful songs but I can’t get into the rest. I’m obviously not getting it though because Radiohead is regarded by top musicians as ground breaking so I’ll just show myself the exit.
Sold: 5 million copies
This album suffers from the U2 “Joshua Tree” syndrome. Aerosmith put out so many classic albums (this is their 11th) and have so many greatest hits that this doesn’t live up to expectations which are impossible to achieve. Amazingly, this is a solid album that produced classic tracks of the 90’s but with only 4 “hits”, it was deemed a failure by Aerosmith standards. Plus it comes with one of the hottest music videos of the 90’s with Alicia Silverstone looking dynamite.
Sold: 7 million copies
I’m not going to lie, I struggled to get to 15 and keep up quality. I was considering Blue Travelers Four or Collective Soul’s self titled album but settled on joining two Barenaked Ladies albums. What starts to happen is that there are a few hits but then the music, well, starts to suck. I went with Gordon & Stunted because of Brian Wilson alone and the success of One Week. Brian Wilson is “a song that tells the story of a man whose life parallels that of Beach Boys member Brian Wilson, particularly during his time spent with psychologist Eugene Landy after Wilson was diagnosed with mental illness, and, more generically, with lyrics about suffering from comorbid mental illness and obesity.” The live version is better. Also, who can’t remember trying to learn the words and singing along to One Week? Sorry, I fizzled out at the end of this list.