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Top 90 Albums of the 90's

April 22, 2018

This is not THE list (that would be from Alternative Press Magazine), this would be MY list.

(Ahem. Aided by the hindsight of time.)

 

90. Calculating Infinity by Dillinger Escape Plan

Barely listenable, hugely influential.

89. E. 1999 Eternal by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony

If Bone Thugs were from New York or L.A. this album would have been on everyone's list.

88. Kizz My Black Azz by MC Ren

Funny story. I used to work with these guys, John and Rich.They were the neighborhood hooligans and may or may not have been selling drugs through the drive-thru at the local establishment at which we worked. How do I know? They put Drug Dealerz stickers on the back of their car windows. Anyhow, they used to listen to this album. Every single night. Instead of hating it, I grew to love it.

87. Kiss My Ass: Kiss Re-Grooved

Notice no actual Kiss albums on the list.

86. Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

Michael Franti is a Genius.

85. Songs of the Midwest by the Dillinger Four

Like I said before "good luck finding this masterpiece."

84. Load.... 

83. or Reload by Metallica 

It doesn't matter which, they're about the same quality.

Spoiler Alert: If you say "Fred, you missed the Black Album," NO I DIDN'T. YOU'RE BANNED FROM READING MY BLOG.

82. Sound of White Noise by Anthrax

John Bush isn't Joey Belladonna, but Anthrax was still putting out good metal in the 90's.

81. Portrait of an American Family by Marilyn Manson

Raw, disturbing, and unpolished. 

 

80. Beavis and Butthead Do America Soundtrack

Underrated Movie. Underrated Soundtrack.

79. Stain by Living Colour

A surprisingly diverse and under appreciated album.

78. Dwarves are Young and Good Looking by the Dwarves

One of the last gasps of grimy and dirty punk music.

77. King for a Day...Fool For a Lifetime by Faith No More

More range than Angel Dust, but missing key members.

76. Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell by Social Distortion

The closest thing to country you're going to get on this list.

75. Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed (And the Way to Suck Eggs) by Ministry

Al Jourgensen would start his Bush Family Fascination here.

74. F#A# Infinity by Godspeed! You Black Emperor!

I found this in the 2000's. It. is. bleak.

73. Gish by the Smashing Pumpkins

Of all my favorite 90's bands, the Pumpkins' music aged the worst.

72. The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails

When anger turns to despair.

71. Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request by the Brian Jonestown Massacre

Watch the greatest music documentary ever made, Dig!

 

70. Come Down by the Dandy Warhols

Then watch it again.

69. Sixteen Stone by Bush

The biggest hits on Sixteen Stone have turned out to be timeless, despite Gavin Rossdale being a bit of a cad today.

68. X by INXS

INXS doesn't get the credit they deserve for being a great pop band.

67. The Globe by Big Audio Dynamite II

The shadow of the Clash extends long.

66. Fat of the Land by the Prodigy

The Prodigy would not even come close to finding the sound of the Fat of the Land again.

65. South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut Soundtrack

The best adult, animated, musical, comedy, film soundtrack of the 90's. 

64. M3 by Mushroomhead

A small, independent success story from right down the street. 

63. Slavestate by Godflesh

Grinding and pummeling.

62. Slipknot by Slipknot

9 guys from Des Moines, Iowa would become one of the biggest Metal bands of the 21st Century.

61. The Virus That Wouldn't Die Compilation

Jello Biafra doesn't get the credit he deserves for plucking unique bands from out of the ether.

 

60. Fury of the Aquabats by the Aquabats

If you watch The Aquabats! Super Show! It's hard to fathom why they're not more popular today.
59. No. 4 by Stone Temple Pilots

STP at the threshold of destruction. You could feel the darkness descending upon the band.

58. Follow the Leader by Korn

I like Korn. Was just singing Dead Bodies Everywhere a few days ago.

57. Spawn Soundtrack

Tried the same approach as the Judgement Night soundtrack to lesser success.

56. Honey's Dead by Jesus and Mary Chain

Side 1 is pure College Radio Gold.

55. Vs by Pearl Jam

A very good album in the shadow of a great album.

54. Turn the Radio Off by Reel Big Fish

Reel Big Fish is fun.

53. Purple by the Stone Temple Pilots

STP at their manic best.

52. The Threat is Real by Anthrax

The last time Anthrax would be dangerous. (In a good way.)

51  Blood Sugar Sex Magic by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Chili Pepper's best album was 1989's Mother's Milk.

BSSM was their fourth best album.

 

50. Running with Scissors by "Weird" Al Yankovic

As great of a parodist as Yankovic is, his albums were wildly uneven. Scissors was probably his most complete album.  His lyrics were always spot on:

Its been three days since the bitter feud
Between the KKK and that gay Jewish Black Dude -
Jerry Springer

I'm down with Bill Gates/I call him Money for short

I phone him up at home and I make him do my tech support - All About the Pentiums

49. Hello Nasty by The Beastie Boys 

Nasty was the Beastie's best album of the 90's.

Their best album, Paul's Boutique, was from the 80's.

48. Saturday Morning Cartoons Compilation

For kids (adults) who loved Saturday Morning Cartoons and Alternative music.

47. OK Computer by Radiohead

Good, but overrated.

46. Goo by Sonic Youth

College radio staple at their best.

45. Play by Moby

Every song on that album was sold to a commercial, so all the songs are familiar.

Most of the songs are good.

44. Judgement Night Soundtrack

Rappers and Rock bands done the right way.

(Dennis Leary as a Gang Leader? Not so sure about that.)

43. Come to Daddy (EP) by Aphex Twin

EP Review in 1 picture:

42. Sublime Self-titled

Band's breakthrough effort's release came after the tragic death of their singer Brad Nowell.

41.  π (Pi) Soundtrack

Clint Mansell captured the textural touch of insanity.

 

40. Hats Off to the Insane by Therapy?

Always wondered why this band wasn't more popular in the United States.

39. Dance of the Headless Bourgeoisie by NoMeansNo

This Story Must be Told!

38  The Crow Soundtrack

The auditory hallucinations of darkness and despair.

37. Filth Pig by Ministry

This album captures hopelessness.

36. Boingo by Oingo Boingo

Danny Elfman's genius on full display.

35. Swandive by Bullet LaVolta

On exactly ZERO best album charts. It's okay, you can all be wrong.

34. Stranger than Fiction by Bad Religion

One of the few punk bands that's better with more polish.

33. Sailing the Seas of Cheese by Primus

Manic energy, manic bass.

32. Last Rights by Skinny Puppy

The soundtrack of the underworld. Not a Christian hell, but a Greek Underworld.

31. Rage Against the Machine Self-titled

Lots of Rage that was hard to recapture past, oh, about 1999. It's been nearly 20 years since the band's last album of new material.

 

30. The Slim Shady EP by Eminem

I was always surprised by the introspection of the Shady EP's deeper cuts.

29. Pump Up the Volume Soundtrack

Great Soundtrack. The movie had a lot of opportunities to be better than the result.

28. Use Your Illusion I by Guns n Roses

Better, top to bottom, than Use Your Illusion II, but if Guns n Roses released the album below, it would have been the #1 album of the 90's in a landslide:

  1. Live and Let Die - I

  2. Bad Obsession - I

  3. Pretty Tied Up - II

  4. Perfect Crime - I

  5. Back Off Bitch - I

  6. Right Next Door to Hell - I

  7. You Should Be Mine - II

  8. Garden of Eden - I

  9. Bad Apples - I

  10. Locomotive - II

  11. Yesterdays - II

  12. Knockin' On Heaven's Door - II

  13. Dead Horse - I

  14. Coma - I

(You would argue: Where's November Rain? I hated that song. But you could trim the fat from Illusion 1 & II and come up with your own 14 to 15 song great album.)

27. Etc. by Jawbreaker*

Sorry to cop out. Etc. was a greatest hits/b-sides compilation album that was released in 2002* on Blackball Records, 6 years after the band had broken up. All of the music was recorded in the 90's. Through the magic of Pandora, I had noticed that over the past few years, I had "liked" almost every song on Etc. Not sure why I was spoon fed a steady diet of Jawbreaker when I hadn't built a station around the band, but I digress. 

26. Superunknown by Soundgarden

A great album top to bottom. Except for Spoonman.

25  Red Medicine by Fugazi

What happens when a punk band is confident and on top of their game.

24. Smash by The Offspring

What happens when a punk band breaks through and sarcasm drips from the vinyl.

23. Unplugged by Nirvana

Nirvana unplugged was a revelation.

22. Clerks Soundtrack

Part of the greatness of the Clerks Soundtrack is that some of the bands were never heard from again. How did Kevin Smith pluck such gems from obscurity?

21. Unplugged by Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains unplugged was almost a different band.

 

20. Dirt by Alice in Chains 

Before being overplayed, Dirt was a refreshing masterpiece.

19. Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy

Public Enemy was the best rap band of the 90's by a mile.

18. God Fodder by Ned's Atomic Dustbin

A deeply personal favorite.

17. Dummy by Portishead

This album was nearly a genre upon itself.

16. Natural Born Killers Soundtrack

Trent Reznor put together the most varied Soundtrack success of the 90's.

15. Goat by the Jesus Lizard

The Jesus Lizard suffered for being ahead of their time.

 

14. Jesus Freak by D C Talk

D C Talk was the best Christian band of the 90's by a thousand miles.

 

13. AntiChrist Superstar by Marilyn Manson

1996 is today.

 

12. Wisconsin Death Trip by Static X

What I miss most about the 90's was the melodic anger. There's lots of anger today, don't get me wrong, but most of it either sits atop uninspired and unadventurous music or superbly complex calculations.

Editors Note: Scarred by Age/ I Bled for Days was prophetic.

 

11. Nevermind by Nirvana 

Smells Like Teen Spirit may have been the top single of the 90's, but the song eclipsed a good album. (Remember, the category is best ALBUMS of the 90's). Go back and listen to the sadness and eerie foreshadowing of Something in the Way.

10. What's the Story (Morning Glory) by Oasis

Since the Beatles broke up, only one English band has even approached their greatness, (if you ask the Gallagher Brothers, they'll agree) and that's Oasis. Every song on the album was a hit or should have been a hit.

 

9. In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up (live) by Ministry*

In Case You DIdn't Feel Like Showing Up (live) was a 6 song, 40 minute ode to brutality. At the time, the EP was spot on. But there was the rare live video of the show that included songs like Breathe and The Land of Rape and Honey which hinted at even more greatness of the set. Throughout the years, outtakes and singles from that tour turned up in other places like box sets and b-side compilations. 

 

*In 2017, Ministry re-released the audio version of the show called Live Necronomicon which is what Al Jourgensen SHOULD have released in 1990.

 

8. Ritual de lo Habitual by Janes Addiction

Two worlds collide symbolically on one Album.

Side 1- All Alternative Hits

Side 2- Epic Classic Rock 

 

7. Ten by Pearl Jam

Once Jeremy ends, the second part of Ten is epically dark soundscapes.

The first part is the soundtrack to the early 90's.

 

6. Copper Blue by Sugar

No album encapsulated the spirit of Alternative Music better than this Copper Blue colored masterpiece. Right on the line between underground and mainstream success.

 

5. Untidy Suicides of Your Degenerate Children by Alice Donut

It's not too late to acquaint yourself with the greatness of the Donut. From Tomas Antona's vocals to the off-kilter guitars to the occasional slide trombone, no one else sounds like Alice Donut.

 

4. Aenima by Tool

Metal for the masses. Some people forget, Tool has only released 4 studio albums, and only 2 of those were from the 90's. Undertow was good, but not top to bottom good. Tool captured lightning in a bottle (or in this case, lightning on a cool, moving CD cover) on Aenima, an electricity rarely found in the history of Metal.

 

3. broken (EP) by Nine Inch Nails

Swim in the the anger and despair of the broken.

 

2. Angel Dust by Faith No More

Angel Dust was a great album in the 90's. The difference between Angel Dust and some other entries on the list is that Angel Dust didn't age. 

 

1. The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails 

Perfection. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#81, #72, #38, #16, #13, #3. & #1 all had Trent Reznor in common. He was the driving force of the Nineties. Kurt Cobain was, you say? You would be wrong.

 

A friend of mine pointed this out and I was surprised that he was right. Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters actually had more charting singles in the 90's than Nirvana. You could say "well the Nirvana albums were better," and I would agree, Cobain was great with Nirvana. Quick question: You remember Cobain's other great collaborations?  

 

While Cobain was doing mountains of heroin alone, or hiding from his wife, Trent Reznor was, well, he was probably doing lots of heroin too, but he holed up with David Yow, Martin Atkins, and Bill Rieflin and made THE BUSHMASTER.

 

 

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