0025: Top Albums of the 90's

  1. Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
  2. Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)
  3. Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted (1992)
  4. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)
  5. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)
  6. The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin (1999)
  7. Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)
  8. Bjork - Homogenic (1997)
  9. Belle and Sebastion - If You're Feeling Sinister (1997)
  10. The Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I (1999)
  11. Elliott Smith - XO (1998)
  12. Yo La Tengo - I Can Feel the Heart Beating as One (1997)
  13. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I See a Darkness (1999)
  14. Beck - Odelay (1996)
  15. Massive Attack - Mezzanine (1998)
  16. Nirvana - Unplugged in New York (1993)
  17. Sonic Youth - Goo (1990)
  18. Weezer - Weezer (1994)
  19. U2 - Achting Baby (1991)
  20. Belle and Sebastian - Tigermilk (1996)
  21. Radiohead - The Bends (1995)
  22. Modest Mouse - This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About (1996)
  23. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
  24. Built to Spill - Keep it Like a Secret
  25. R.E.M. - Automatic for the People (1992)
  26. The Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream (1993)
  27. Bright Eyes - Letting Off the Happiness (1998)
  28. Elliott Smith - Either/Or (1997)
  29. Portishead - Dummy (1994)
  30. Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville (1993)

Hell yes for LCW!
Where's Soft Bulletin man??

I am about to download the album...I'm ashamed to admit that I have never heard it.

Methinks the back-to-back tracks of 'Fox in the Snow' and 'Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying' on 'If You're Feeling Sinister' are some of the best 7 minutes of music I can think of from the 90s.

It's truly a gorgeous album.

Great list! I can very much to love here! My list would definitely include many of the same (albeit in a different order).

Have you heard:

Primal Scream's Screamadelica
Blur's Parklife
REM's Out of Time

and if so, what thinkst thou?

Dang, my musical shortcomings are on full display here! I haven't heard any of those albums, sadly.

I've definitely wanted to check out Blur and Primal Scream, and I'll keep my eye out for Out of Time.

Well, I don't think Out of Time is better than Automatic for the People, and since that's #16, I would doubt that Out of Time could make it here. Especially if you're one of the many people who finds "Shiny Happy People" intolerable. But I definitely think it's worth a listen. There are some great songs on it.

But Parklife and Screamadelica you should definitely check out. I think you'll really like both of them.

It is truly a "Great list!" and I've never heard Parklife but if you woke me up from a deep sleep and told me that my two favourite albums of the '90s were Screamadelica and Out of Time you'd get no complaint from me. Then I'd clean your clock with a reading lamp ... or knock your lights out with a clock radio.

I have found it difficult to explain to others that "No, aside from "Movin' On Up" they never did anything else worth listening to." and to remember a time before over-playing turned "Religion" into "Lunch" and "Shiny Happy" into "Very Angry" [Look at the track listing. That was funny, trust me.]

"Hey! I can't find nuthin' on the radio..."
"toch. Yo! talk to that station."

:-) Hilarious comments. Oh, and you should really check out Parklife. It's a fantastic album.

Thank you. I'm pleased that someone thinks I'm funny without me having to sit them down to explain to them in painstaking detail just how witty I am. Fate has spared you for a greater destiny.

If you have any personal investment in seeing me (hearing me?) enjoy Parklife then you're going to have to go into more detail than a blanket endorsement. Please don't feel any pressure to do so... I get uncomfortable when I like artists that other people like.

In much the same vein: For the love of Gadd! I'd love to hear a bit more about an album that I have been beating the drums for. Please don't feel any pressure to do so... I get uncomfortable when other people don't like the artists that I like.

I hope you still like your leafy greens.

To be honest, I reread your thorough review of Aja, agreed with all of it, and decided you had said it better than I could, which is why I kept mine short. But since you asked, I'll try to string some original thoughts together after I've listened to it one or two more times.

As for Parklife, it's a wild, eclectic portrayal of life in the 90s. It starts off with a hilarious, disco-infused satire of sexual preferences ("Girls and Boys") and a song about an eccentric man just aching to be hipper than hip ("Tracy Jacks"), with the line "I'd love to stay here and be normal / But then it's just so overrated." Just when you think the album is going to be funny but emotionless, we get the beautiful ballad "End of a Century." The rest of the album continues in the same way, alternating between the satirical and the heartfelt, the hard rocker and the soothing ballad, and it all fits together to form a perfect snapshot of the 90s (not that it seems dated at all). Reminiscent of the Smiths' The Queen Is Dead, Parklife closes with the delightfully bizarre song "Lot 105." There are many very strong songs on Parklife, and only one weak one in my book - "Far Out", which is basically a laundry list of celestial bodies - but even this song is kinda interesting.

Still don't believe me? You could check out lbangs's review if you like. Any other Parklife fans out there have anything to add?

If you do come up with the world's smallest ball of string then, of course, I'll string along with you. But I'm not wound too tight about it. I was just curious if "fantastic stuff" was an attempt to avoid conflict (did you listen to the successful succession of bassists?) and whether "favorite album by them" was a low hurdle along the lines of "favourite Mary Chapin Carpenter album." And I'm shocked that you don't listen to Aja one or two times a day.

Reminiscing about The Smiths brings back thoughts of "uh-oh." Although I do admit that Johnny Marr consistently surprises me (in the high-hurdles way.) Thanks for the internal intervention link, it helps me avoid stumbling about like a liquor-clicker. It brought to mind the high esteem in which I hold lbangs's taste. (But, uh-oh, more The Smiths.)

It also brought to mind the trouble I have in accepting Greatest Hits packages as true "albums" worthy of discussion in categories of greatness. Which then brought to mind a conversation I had with my brother on a long car trip. The discussion had drifted on to the topic of Things Which We Really Don't Understand:
"How in the heck can Eagles - Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 be the best-selling album of all-time?"
"Maybe it's all of the people who don't want to have to buy any of their albums."

Nope, I really like Can't Buy a Thrill so it was actually a good-sized hurdle.

:-) Very funny Eagles story.

I have just been reminded that I have hunted down and listened to Parklife and... it just didn't grab me. However I do remember the the relentless chunk chunk of "Girls & Boys" from the first time round and I liked that.

I just noticed Nirvana Unplugged on this list (woo-hoo!), and had to mention that "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" is my three-year-olds favorite song. Near the end where Cobain switches to that anguished wail, she sings along to particular words loudly and excitedly, kicking her feet and swinging her arms (usually she's sitting in her car seat when it's on). In particular, she belts out "ma curl!" for "my girl" and "ma frou" for "night through". She also sometimes throws in a "don't lie!", sporadically adding in a quick sung editorial, "it's bad!"

LCW is My favorite of the 90's as well, but I think it came out in 1997.

What does 'Exile in Guyville' sound like? It'd better not sound like 'Why Can't I?', the worst song I've heard this side of Lindsay Lohan.

Certainly not. If you'll look around Listology, you'll probably find lbangs lamenting that Liz Phair's latest pop-tastic, crap-tastic album pales in comparison to her debut. I haven't heard Phair's later stuff so I can't say, but I do know Exile in Guyville is far from mainstream hogwash. It's edgy, honest, and brilliant, in my opinion. Download "Divorce Song" or "Shatter" or "Fuck and Run" if you don't believe me.