The Decade for which without its existance, Radio X would just be a pipe dream. The 90s was a decade of Hip Hop, Britpop, Girlpower and Grunge. A decade where Football Came Home(briefly), London swinged again and every Pop culture reference is within another Pop Culture reference(see The Simpsons and every Tarantino film). In many ways the 1990s not remains the last decade of the millenium but also that last decade of consistently good music and culture, on this list Tommy K picks out the best!
10. Dr Dre – The Chronic
Away from the pressure of NWA, Dr Dre was perhaps the quintessential hip hop personality of the 1990s. As a producer he can lay claim to the likes of Snoop Dog, 2pac and eventually Eminem and 50 cent. And as an artist he can lay claim to Hip Hop classics like The Chronic. It might have been his only album of the 1990s as a Solo artist, but it took the Gangsta rap sub genre to a new level.
If you like that, you’ll like this: Snoop Dog ‘Doggystyle’
9. Blur – Parklife
The moment Britpop became mainstream was the moment Blur won 4 Brit Awards, 1 of them for Best British Album. In an era when the likes of Phil Collins, Annie Lennox and Sting were forever winning awards at the very same ceremony it was little Blur who got the top prizes. And for good reason, Blur’s Parklife was the most complete Pop album by a British band since The Stone Roses’ debut.
If you like that, you’ll like this: Madness – The Rise and Fall
8. Jeff Buckley – Grace
The voice that would later inspire the likes of Keane, Radiohead and Coldplay. Jeff Buckley’s soulful voice mixed with a combination of Alternative Rock and Robert Plant inspired lyrics meant Grace was more a cult success rather than a huge one back in 1994. His sad death in 1997 meant a revaluation of his work and like Nick Drake before him he sadly found posthumous success rather than instant success, but then again, this album deserves at least that!
If you like that, you’ll like this: Radiohead – The Bends
7. Alanis Morrisette – Jagged Little Pill
Before Taylor Swift wrote poison pen letters via the medium of song, Alanis Morrissete was the original. Like Bjork she was a big name in her homeland(Canada) and was known as a Child Pop Star years before her Worldwide Breakthrough. The opening track All I Really Want and You Oughta Know showed how much she’d grown up as an artist and the rest of the album follow suit.
If you like that, you’ll like this: Taylor Swift – Red
6. The Verve – Urban Hymns
1997 was the year Oasis released Be Here Now and planned on finally taking over the world. By the start of 1998 it was The Verve who were taking over the world with their 3rd release Urban Hymns. Ashcroft and his merry men had been hiding in Oasis’ shadow for years and had finally broken out thanks to the power of the opening single Bittersweet Symphony and the Gallagher esque ballads Lucky Man and Drugs Don’t Work, shame they split up a year later.
If you like that, you’ll like this: Stereophonic – Performance & Cocktails
5. Pulp – Different Class
With Oasis and Blur on the front page of every music magazine and newspaper in the summer of 1995 it was Pulp who were many critics favourites with their breakthrough album Different Class. Their breakthrough hit Common People was without a doubt the soundtrack of the summer and their headline apperance at Glastonbury(The Stone Roses cancelled last minute) gave them more attention than they outlined.
If you like that, you’ll like this: Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
4. Oasis – Definitely Maybe
Described as the greatest debut of all time, Oasis combined Beatles melodies with a Jesus and Mary Chain sound and Sex Pistols attitude. It was the shot in the arm British music needed after years of guitar rock being in the doldrums. While Morning Glory was the album that made them world stars, Definitely Maybe is more consistent and typifies Oasis’ sound far better than anything they released since.
If you like that, you’ll like this: Kasabian – Kasabian
3. Nirvana – Nevermind
Like Oasis in Britain, Nirvana took what REM and The Pixies promised and turned into mainstream. Grunge was American Britpop for 1991 and Seattle was the Manchester of the early 90s. Kurt Cobain’s growling vocals and Dave Grohl’s pounding drums were one of the main reasons Smells Like Teen Spirit became a Smoke on the Water for Generation X.
If you like that, you’ll like this: Weezer – The Blue Album
2. REM – Automatic For The People
Away from the jangle of their early stuff and political yearnings of the Document era, REM were establishing themselves as One of the World’s greatest bands and by 1992’s Automatic For The People they had the songs and the fanbase to back that theory up. While not their most catchy or uptempo work, REM’s 8th studio release was the sound of a band at the very top of their game.
If you like that, you’ll like this: Coldplay – Parachutes
Bjork – Debut
Moby – Play
Suede – Dog Man Star
Pearl Jam – Ten
1. Radiohead – Ok Computer
Was there any doubt? Considered the greatest album of all time, Radiohead’s Ok Computer is the Dark Side of the Moon of the technological age. A stark contrast to the harder edged guitar overdubbings of The Bends, Ok Computer focused more on a consumerism and social alienation. With the millenium only a few years away it was the right album for the right time.
If you like that, you’ll like this: Muse – Black Holes & Revalations.