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bands/musicians The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s  

Clark Benson
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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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(What's the Story) Morning Glo... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
(What's the Story) Morning Glory? Oasis - A perfect document of its time and place.

The Best Grammy-Nominated R&B Albums of the 1990s The Greatest Rappers of All Time

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

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

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

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

6
Ragged Glory is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
Ragged Glory Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

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Ranker Video
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 be the single greatest ...

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

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Nevermind is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
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 experience it properly as an ...

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The Fat of the Land is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
The Fat of the Land The Prodigy - There really has never been anything quite like this record, either before or since.

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Vitalogy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
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 best record - and by far their ...

12
Relish is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
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 on what new music I would ...

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Ranker Video
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, Tindersticks, The Blue Moods Of ...

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

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

The Best Grammy-Nominated Alternative Albums of the 1990s Songs That Were Total Ripoffs

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

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

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

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Siamese Dream is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
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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Murder Ballads is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
Murder Ballads Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The most badass album from one of the biggest badasses in rock history.

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

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

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

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

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Mermaid Avenue is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
Mermaid Avenue Wilco, Billy Bragg

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

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Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road Lucinda Williams

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

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

The Best Grammy-Nominated Comedy Albums of the 1990s Guys Reveal What They Actually Want for Valentine's Day

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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 for me (still doesn't, to be ...

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Broken Arrow is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
Broken Arrow Neil Young, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

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

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Ranker Video
Thank You Royal Trux

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

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

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

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The Boatman's Call is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
The Boatman's Call Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Greatest Guitar Rock Albums of All Time The Greatest Former Child Stars

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And the Horse They Rode In On is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The 400 Best Albums of the 1990s
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 "Before Punk ...

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

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

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

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

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

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