A while back we did a blog post entitled "10 Best Albums from the 90's". It is only fitting that a post dedicated to the best albums from the 90's is created as well. The 90's music scene shifted from the New Wave era into the grunge / post grunge era as bands like Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bush ruled the radio. While the ten albums below might not all fall under your top 10 list, there is no arguing their popularity and their influence on modern music.
10. Live - Throwing Copper: Throwing Copper was the best "Nirvana influenced" album of the 90's. When listening to the current (horrible) albums that Live has released, it is surprising that they ever put a great album like this. Nevertheless, Throwing Copper is a great record that doesn't include a filler track.
Best Track: Lightning Crashes
9. Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory: I've listened to "Definitely Maybe" nearly as much as this album and I think the Morning Glory is the better album tune for tune. Oasis is hardly originial or innovative, but they take the music of their influences (primarily The Beatles) and turn it into a flawless pop album. Every track on this album is ridiculously catchy from the opener "Hello" all the way to the closer "Champagne Supernova".
Best Track: Champagne Supernova
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik: The first four releases from the RHCP were all very good (with the exception of maybe their debut), but they really came into their own on Blood Sugar Sex Magik. This album might be very long, but it is always enjoyable throughout. No other band was playing music like the Chili Peppers at the time and Blood Sugar Sex Magik illustrates why they were one of the best of the 90's.
Best Track: Under the Bridge
7. Pearl Jam - Ten: There is no question that this is a great album, but what makes Ten even more impressive is that it was a debut album. Eddie Vedder did work on other projects prior to Pearl Jam (Temple of the Dog), but that doesn't take away from the fact that this album is incredibly impressive for a debut (or any album for that matter). Pearl Jam did release other great albums during their still ongoing career (Vitalogy, Vs, Yield), but none have come close to the nearly perfect Ten.
Best Track: Black
6. Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream: I almost put "Mellon Collie" here instead. Even though "Mellon Collie" has some of my favorite Smashing Pumpkins tunes, the double album has too much filler to make the list. Siamese Dream, on the otherhand, is nearly a flawless album. Even though this piggy backed off of the success of Nirvana's Nevermind, it still had a huge influence on the post-grunce music scene.
Best Track: Today
5. Jimmy Eat World - Clarity: This is where all my credibility goes out the window right? For people who first heard Jimmy Eat World from the song "The Middle" (or future hits), you really need to give this release a listen. Clarity is completely different from the band's other releases. It is, without question, the best emo album of all time.
Best Track: Lucky Denver Mint
4. Sublime - Sublime: What's frustrating to me about this album (Sublime's best release) is that lead singer Bradley Nowell died shortly before it's release; never, in my opinion, reaching his peak as a songwriter. Nevertheless, this album is truly one of the best ones released during the 90s. No other band had mixed reggae, rock, pop, and alternative music nearly as well as Sublime did. This album (along with 40oz to Freedom to a lesser extent) helped to influence modern bands such as Pepper and Slightly Stoopid.
Best Track: April 29, 1992
3. Nirvana - Nevermind: Nevermind completely changed the face of music. Nobody was making music like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Lithium" and if they were, it certainly wasn't ruling the radiospace like Nirvana's tunes were. This album is hyped a lot due to Kurt Cobain's death, the fact that it was "different" than other music at the time, and because of how many bands this album influenced. This album is one of the rare ones that is just as good as the hype and even after 18 years (can't believe it's been out this long), it still continues to have an impact on newer generations from their very first listen.
Best Track: Smells Like Teen Spirit
2. Radiohead - Ok Computer: Even with the brilliance of "The Bends", nobody anticipated a release quite like this from Radiohead. Every single track on this album (with maybe the exception of "Fitter Happier") illustrates why this band is in a league of their own. This album almost always appears in people's top 3 for best 90's albums and rightfully so.
Best Track: Paranoid Android
1. Green Day - Dookie: Many would argue that while this is certainly worthy of the "top 10", it should not be in the number 1 spot. Green Day's Dookie, however, has had just as much impact on modern music as Nirvana's Nevermind and Radiohead's Ok Computer. This album, in my opinion, is not only one of the best albums from the 90's, but also one of the best of all time. Every song on here is an instant punk classic. Bands throughout the 90's and the new millenium tried to replicate the success of Dookie, but none have even come close. Green Day continues to make great music, but none of their future releases could compare to that of Dookie.
Best Track: Longview