The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s Albums
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The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s

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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    #15 on the original list &rated: 10 Oasis A perfect document of its time and place.

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    #2 on the original list &rated: 10 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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    Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

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    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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    #1 on the original list &rated: 10 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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    #63 on the original list &rated: 10 The Prodigy There really has never been anything quite like this record, either before or since.

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    #47 on the original list &rated: 10 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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    #289 on the original list &rated: 10 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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    #280 on the original list &rated: 10 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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    #8 on the original list &rated: 9.9 Soundgarden

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    #5 on the original list &rated: 9.9 Nirvana

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    #6 on the original list &rated: 9.9 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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    #219 on the original list &rated: 9.9 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds The most badass album from one of the biggest badasses in rock history.

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    #17 on the original list &rated: 9.9 Nine Inch Nails

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    #9 on the original list &rated: 9.8 Green Day

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    rated: 9.8 Wilco, Billy Bragg

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    rated: 9.8 Rumor and Sigh Richard Thompson

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    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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    #545 on the original list &rated: 9.8 Neil Young, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

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    #418 on the original list &rated: 9.8 Neil Young

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    Thank You Royal Trux

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

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    #24 on the original list &rated: 9.7 Beck Hansen

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    #173 on the original list &rated: 9.7 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

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    #84 on the original list &rated: 9.7 Portishead

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    #336 on the original list &rated: 9.7 Guided by Voices Wow.

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    #62 on the original list &rated: 9.7 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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    #7 on the original list &rated: 9.7 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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    rated: 9.7 And the Horse They Rode In On 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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    #257 on the original list &rated: 9.7 The Afghan Whigs

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

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