10 Best Albums Of The '90s
The 10 best albums of the ‘90s are an eclectic mix. Though the decade has come to be known for grunge and alternative rock, standout music was produced across the sonic spectrum in the ‘90s. From alt rock, to chamber pop, and even classic hip hop, the best albums of the ‘90s will satisfy each part of nearly any musical palette.
- “Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine. My Bloody Valentine was a fantastic alternative rock band whose heyday was in the early ‘90s. Though they’ve since taken a back seat on the pop culture grid to Nirvana and Pearl Jam, their 1991 album “Loveless” is one of the pinnacles of the “shoegaze” genre.
- “The Bends” by Radiohead. Released in 1995, this album features some of Radiohead’s last great non-electronic songs, including “High and Dry” and “Fake Plastic Trees.” Listening to it is a real pleasure, as you can hear hints of the band’s evolution coming through in a few tracks’ unique structures.
- “If You’re Feeling Sinister” by Belle and Sebastian. Indie darlings Belle and Sebastian have had a long, distinguished, and prolific career. Their 1996 album “If You’re Feeling Sinister” represents some of the best music they’ve ever made. If you’re into addictive chamber pop with an indie twist, this now legendary ‘90s album is definitely for you.
- “Illmatic” by Nas. Known among many hip hop fans as one of the best MC’s of all time, Nas has become a kind of mythical figure in the genre. It’s generally agreed upon that his 1994 album “Illmatic” features some of the greatest samples and most clever, best flowing lyrics of Nas’ career.
- “The Black Album” by Metallica. After the height of cheesy hair metal in the 1980’s, Metallica’s “Black Album,” released in 1991, was a much needed response. It was a perfect blend of thrash metal with mainstream sensibilities, and has since become Metallica’s best selling album.
- “Nevermind” by Nirvana. “Nevermind” is undoubtedly one of the most influential albums of the ‘90s. In essence, the album defined an entire genre and subculture, riding on the back of the surprise hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” But listening to the album in its entirety reveals a band with real depth and talent. If you’ve only heard the single, you owe it to yourself to give “Nevermind” a full listen.
- “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” by Raekwon. In the ‘90s, the members of the Wu-Tang Clan pretty much owned the hip hop scene, and for good reason. Their depth of talent in both production and songwriting was hard to beat. “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx,” Raekwon’s 1995 masterpiece, is a perfect demonstration of why that was so.
- “OK Computer” by Radiohead. Released in 1997, Radiohead’s groundbreaking album “OK Computer” signaled a big transition for the band. It wasn’t really electronic, but it wasn’t alternative rock, either. Radiohead captured a sound yet to be heard on this album, and it has since become a defining moment in popular music.
- “Ten” by Pearl Jam. Along with grunge album “Nevermind”, Pearl Jam’s “Ten” is known as a huge achievement in the grunge genre. It features fantastic rock tracks including “Jeremy” and “Even Flow”, and its influence still echoes in today’s alternative rock scene.
- “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. When everyone else in the 90’s was making rock albums, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were busy creating a distinct sound that included rock, R&B, and funk influences. On no album is this unique, infectious sound more prevalent than “Blood Sugar Sex Magik.”