Following the fun I had doing the Top albums of the 20th Century, it makes sense that I would start a list for the 90s. This one will be harder, because I feel like it is such a wide range. In the same century, I bought both a Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch album as well as a Death Cab for Cutie album. Some of the albums, quite frankly, I didn’t really discover until after the 90s were over (my musical revolution began in 2001). I’ve basically taken a look at my collection and the albums I own that were released in the 90s and ordered them by enjoyability, quality of the record, impact on the music scene, and how much it affected me. You’ll also notice there are a lot more pop albums on this list, because that is what I listened to and I feel pop music was of better quality then. I’ve also included only one album per artist, because otherwise I would list all the Fugazi albums, Oasis albums, and Pixies albums and call it a day. I’ll shut up and start it.
#100 Nelson, After the Rain (1990)
Ok, I’ll admit this album is pretty bad. I had I had to find a way to squeeze this on the countdown because I listened to the shit out of this when it came out. Deal with it, I was twelve in 1990. The Nelson brothers are prettier than I will ever be.
#99 Cathy Dennis, Move to This (1994)
Uh, she performed at the 90210 prom, you know
#98 The Charlatans, Up to Our Hips (1994)
#97 Spice Girls, Spice World (1997)
How can you not utter “nineties” and “Spice Girls” in the same sentence.
#96 Gin Blossoms, New Miserable Experience (1992)
Shut up, you know you probably own it.
#95 Baenaked Ladies, Born on a Pirate Ship (1996)
If you went to a state school on the East Coast it was required that you like the BNLs.
#94 Veruca Salt, Eight Arms to Hold You (1997)
Two Jewish women fronting an alterna-rock band: awesome!
#93 Trans Am, Surrender to the Night (1997)
One of the best from the DC scene.
#92 Tonic, Sugar (1999)
This was very underappreciated. “Mean to Me” is amazing.
#91 Portishead, Dummy (1994)
They are so much more than “Sour Times”.
#90 Warrant, Cherry Pie (1990)
If you ignore the misogynist anthem, Warrant write pretty good pop rock songs. I had to sneak this one home from the mall.
#89 Goldfinger, Hang-Ups (1997)
I miss ska/punk!
#88 Frank Black, Teenager of the Year (1994)
Frank Black was the singer for the Pixies, so this sounds like a Pixies album. I’m okay with that.
#87 Shakespeare’s Sister, Hormonally Yours (1992)
I think I am the only one who ever bought this album
#86 Saigon Kick, The Lizard (1992)
One of the best of the hair metal bands. Almost on the verge of grunge.
#86 Reel Big Fish, Why Do They Rock So Hard? (1998)
#85 l7, Hungry for Stink (1994)
#84 Shudder to Think, Pony Express Record (1994)
Another great DC band.
#83 Dido, No Angel (1999)
Along with providing the awesome theme to Roswell, there is not a bad track on this.
#82 Enigma, The Cross of Changes (1994)
Remember when Gregorian chants were all the rage?
#81 Soundtrack, Clueless (1995)
#80 Blur, Parklife (1994)
#79 Poison, Flesh and Blood (1991)
#78 KLF, The White Room (1992)
The tammy Wynette verson of “Justified and Ancient” is to die for.
#77 Queensryche, Empire (1991)
#76 Love Spit Love, Love Spit Love (1995)
How did they not achieve commercial success?
#75 Backstreet Boys, Millenium (1999)
Pop came back with a vengeance in the late nineties, and I thought BB were better than N’Sync. Deal with it.
#74 Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
Most bands from today steal their sound.
#73 Soundgarden, Superunknown (1991)
#72 Blonde Redhead, Fake Can Be Just as Good (1997)
#71 Wilco, A.M. (1995)
#70 PJ Harvey, To Bring You My Love (1995)
#69 Madonna, Erotica (1992)
#68 Rufus Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright (1998)
#67 Mudhoney, Superfuzz Bigmuff (1990)
One of the best grunge bands that never got mainstream.
#66 Nofx, Punk in Drublic (1994)
All there songs sound the same, but there’s something charming and goofy about them.
#65 Skid Row, Slave to the Grind (1991)
Actually a masterpiece
#64 Prodigy, The Fat of the Land (1997)
#63 Boyz II Men, Cooleyhighharmony (1991)
My first cd ever!
#62 Bikini Kill, Pussywhipped (1993)
Riot Grrrrrls are born
#61, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication (1999)
Actually kind of beautifully haunting.
#60 The White Stripes, The White Stripes (1999)
And so it begins….They didn’t achieve widespread acclaim until their 2002 album, but this debut remains to be one of their best.
#59 Alanis Morisette, Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Maybe it is overplayed, but by god it’s catchy as hell.
#58 Extreme, Pornograffiti (1990)
They were known mostly for “More Than Words”, but that was an anomaly. They are actually a respectable, skilled metal group.
#57 U2, Achtung Baby (1991)
U2 hit their peak with this one, before starting to make Lite FM albums. “One” still makes me cry.
#56 Manic Street Preachers, Lifeblood (1994)
Another great British band that never seemed to catch on in the US.
#55 Van Halen, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)
Many may kill me, but I prefer the Sammy Hagar VH to the David Lee Roth VH. Especially when they can write great pop songs. Yea, you heard me, this was a pop album. And a damn good one.
#54 The Verve, Urban Hymns (1997)
I rest my case. The US would not know good music if it slapped us in the face.
#53 A.F.I., Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes (1997)
Before A.F.I. were the poster children for suburban mall emo, they played pretty good punk. I do enjoy their major-label stuff as of late, but they knew how to be a punk band first.
#52 Metallica, The Black Album (1991)
I think it’s okay to sell out if your stuff is still good. “Unforgiven” and “Noting Else Matters”? So good I could cry.
#51 R.E.M., Monster (1994)
I know that you may be surprised that this is on here and not Automatic for the People. This was was a bit more sublime and I like that.