The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s Albums

The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

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The Nineties were a glorious decade for music. I will never again consume as much music as I did in the 90s and the 00s (and I still listen to a LOT of music). It's pretty clear now how much better the 90s were than the decade that followed - not only did I get another 100 albums into my 90s list, but I would rate the quality of the Top 10/20/50/100 MUCH higher in the 90s than either the 80s or the 00s - I gave 16 90s albums a perfect 10 rating, but only 3 in the aughts. Indeed, for my tastes that only decade that I think will come close will be the 70s (the 70s will probably win, but it will be a good fight - stay tuned). It will be interesting to see if I can find 500 equally worthy records from the Seventies - I doubt the difference will be that great.

I'm a rock fan and not very interested in pop, hip-hop, or contemporary country or R&B, though there are always exceptions. I listen to a lot of jazz, but didn't find much that came out in the Nineties that transcended. Also, for those who might complain that I give too-high ratings, please keep in mind that I listened to at least 5,000 albums during the decade (I worked in the music industry for the whole decade and also co-owned a record store for half of it, so I was exposed to just about everything that came out). So less than 10% got a score of 7 or higher.
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  1. 1
    (What's the Story) Morning Glo... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #17 on the original list &rated: 10
    (What's the Story) Morning Glory? Oasis A perfect document of its time and place.

  2. 2
    Ten is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #2 on the original list &rated: 10
    Ten Pearl Jam Ranking this #2 was a tough call, since I have heard these songs so many times I very, very rarely would find myself listening to them. But I still love hearing live versions of literally just about

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  3. 3
    OK Computer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #5 on the original list &rated: 10
    OK Computer Radiohead

  4. 4
    Ritual de lo habitual is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #49 on the original list &rated: 10
    Ritual de lo habitual Jane's Addiction

  5. 5
    Urban Hymns is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #128 on the original list &rated: 10
    Urban Hymns The Verve

  6. 6
    Ragged Glory is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #271 on the original list
    Ragged Glory Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

  7. 7
    Lost Somewhere Between the Ear... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #1193 on the original list &rated: 10
    Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home The Geraldine Fibbers In the mid-90s I had the good fortune to work for the Virgin record label for a few years, during a time when they released some of the finest records of the decade, including this one. IMHO this may

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  8. 8
    Mellon Collie and the Infinite... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #11 on the original list
    Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness The Smashing Pumpkins

  9. 9
    Nevermind is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #1 on the original list &rated: 10
    Nevermind Nirvana I was moving from IL to CA when this came out and for whatever reason I actually didn't buy it for the first 3 or 4 months of its existence - it was so massive so fast that I never really got to

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  10. 10
    The Fat of the Land is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #61 on the original list &rated: 10
    The Fat of the Land The Prodigy There really has never been anything quite like this record, either before or since.

  11. 11
    Vitalogy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #41 on the original list &rated: 10
    Vitalogy Pearl Jam I remember the vinyl came out a week or two before the CD. This was a big deal in 1995 - and this record sold 1mil in the US the first CD week, one of the last big ROCK records to do so. Their 2nd

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  12. 12
    Relish is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #851 on the original list &rated: 10
    Relish Joan Osborne 1995 was the year that the awesomeness of the decade really hit home to me. I was way into the grunge/alternative revolution that was dominating the airwaves and culture, and I had a pretty good radar

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  13. 13
    Black Love is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #489 on the original list &rated: 10
    Black Love The Afghan Whigs Gentlemen got more acclaim, and some modicum of sales. But Black Love is the dark masterpiece. THE dark masterpiece in a decade that was no slouch (Maxinquae, Dummy, Loveless, Cure For Pain,

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  14. 14
    Achtung Baby is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #21 on the original list &rated: 10
    Achtung Baby U2

  15. 15
    If You’re Feeling Sinister is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #162 on the original list &rated: 10
    If You’re Feeling Sinister Belle & Sebastian

  16. 16
    Superunknown is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #9 on the original list &rated: 9.9
    Soundgarden

  17. 17
    Perfect From Now On is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #445 on the original list &rated: 9.9
    Perfect From Now On Built to Spill

  18. 18
    In Utero is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #3 on the original list &rated: 9.9
    In Utero Nirvana

  19. 19
    Siamese Dream is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #6 on the original list &rated: 9.9
    Siamese Dream The Smashing Pumpkins The highs on this album are as high as any record of its time - would be a perfect 10 save for being a few tracks too long.

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  20. 20
    Murder Ballads is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #213 on the original list &rated: 9.9
    Murder Ballads Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds The most badass album from one of the biggest badasses in rock history.

  21. 21
    The Downward Spiral is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #15 on the original list &rated: 9.9
    The Downward Spiral Nine Inch Nails

  22. 22
    Dookie is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #10 on the original list &rated: 9.8
    Dookie Green Day

  23. 23
    Time Out of Mind is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #109 on the original list &rated: 9.8
    Time Out of Mind Bob Dylan

  24. 24
    The Southern Harmony and Music... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
  25. 25
    Mermaid Avenue is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #641 on the original list &rated: 9.8
    Mermaid Avenue Wilco, Billy Bragg

  26. 26
    Rumor and Sigh is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #742 on the original list &rated: 9.8
    Rumor and Sigh Richard Thompson

  27. 27
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  28. 28
    …and Out Come the Wolves is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #111 on the original list &rated: 9.8
    …and Out Come the Wolves Rancid

  29. 29
    Endtroducing..... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #339 on the original list &rated: 9.8
    Endtroducing..... DJ Shadow

  30. 30
    The Bends is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    The Bends Radiohead Took me like 9 months to pick this up because I hadn't been a big fan of the first record, and the only single off The Bends that got any airplay in LA was High And Dry, which didn't really do much

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  31. 31
    Broken Arrow is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #760 on the original list &rated: 9.8
    Broken Arrow Neil Young, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

  32. 32
    Mirror Ball is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #361 on the original list &rated: 9.8
    Mirror Ball Neil Young

  33. 33
    Thank You is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #1230 on the original list
    Thank You Royal Trux

  34. 34
    Dirt is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #8 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Dirt Alice in Chains

  35. 35
    Odelay is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #30 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Odelay Beck Hansen

  36. 36
    Grace is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #64 on the original list
    Grace Jeff Buckley

  37. 37
    The Boatman's Call is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #149 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    The Boatman's Call Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

  38. 38
    Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed a... is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #341 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs Ministry

  39. 39
    Dummy is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #84 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Portishead

  40. 40
    Alien Lanes is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #398 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Alien Lanes Guided by Voices Wow.

  41. 41
    Definitely Maybe is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #63 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Definitely Maybe Oasis I didn't even own this until 2 years later, because at the time I didn't like the single Live Forever (it's still one of my least-favorite early Oasis songs, but "least favorite early Oasis"

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  42. 42
    Metallica is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #7 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Metallica Metallica I am probably subconsciously punishing this a bit by it being so overplayed that I have a hard time envisioning every listening to it again, but I did listen to it a hell of a lot the first year it

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  43. 43
    Keep It Like a Secret is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #499 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Keep It Like a Secret Built to Spill

  44. 44

    #422 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Soul Asylum Wow. This record barely sold, and seems to be totally forgotten, probably because these guys really overdid it a bit later in the decade - but this is an A+ artifact of Amerindie of the late 80s ie

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  45. 45
    Bone Machine is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #330 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Bone Machine Tom Waits

  46. 46
    Exile in Guyville is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #115 on the original list
    Exile in Guyville Liz Phair

  47. 47
    Gentlemen is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #372 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Gentlemen The Afghan Whigs

  48. 48
    Loveless is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #58 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Loveless My Bloody Valentine

  49. 49
    Mule Variations is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #183 on the original list &rated: 9.7
    Mule Variations Tom Waits

  50. 50
    Life Won't Wait is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

    #748 on the original list &rated: 9.6
    Life Won't Wait Rancid

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