Starting XI - Best Albums of the 90s
Just like we like to pretend that the 70s were all Led Zeppelin and the Sex Pistols, rather than The Osmonds and Showaddywaddy, nostalgia dictates that when it comes to the 90s we should ignore the fact that the Bodyguard soundtrack shifted 15million more copies than Nevermind and just focus on the good times.
And talking of Nevermind, yes, we know we missed it off and that there's no Radiohead or Jeff Buckley, but that's where you come in. Tell us what is missing and why
'Ritual de lo Habitual' Jane's Addiction (1990)
Jane's Addiction's follow-up to their classic 1988 studio debut, Jane's Addiction, got artsier and funkier on the follow-up, a strange, twisting study of man's psyche and spirit. It got little publicity with "Been Caught Stealing," but the centrepiece is the epic 11-minute long "Three Days."
LISTEN TO Ritual de lo Habitual on Amazon Music
'Metallica/Black Album' Metallica (1991)
One of metal's best bands became one of the most popular acts on the planet after undergoing a commercial hard-rock makeover. The Black Album traded Metallica's thrash for melody and dirt for polish and, in doing so, kept conventional rock alive during a moment when grunge was luring away fans quicker than a packet of sweets and the promise of puppies in the back of an unmarked Transit.
LISTEN TO Metallica on Amazon Music
'Ten' Pearl Jam (1991)
Pearl Jam mixed punk's anger with classic-rock sensibilities and somehow managed to shape rock radio for the following thirty years. The brightest moments, such as "Alive" and "Oceans," continue to shine, while the quieter, more reflective ones hint at the band's future.
LISTEN TO Ten on Amazon Music
'Vulgar Display of Power' Pantera (1992)
Pantera stuck to bone-crushing, no-nonsense rock at a time when their contemporaries (yes, we are looking at you, Metallica) went chasing the dollars that come with chart success. Be warned though; turn this one up too loud, and your house is likely to collapse quicker than a post-Brexit economy.
LISTEN TO Vulgar Display of Power on Amazon Music
'(What's the Story) Morning Glory?' Oasis (1995)
We are making no apologies for this one. Oasis plastered their love for the Beatles all over their second album. Their influence can be found throughout, from riffs to lyrics to song titles (a Harrison solo album inspired even the name "Wonderwall"). Their debut was damn fine too, but this is the one album when the Gallaghers came within touching distance of being as good as they claimed to be.
LISTEN TO (What's the Story) Morning Glory? on Amazon Music
'The Colour and the Shape' Foo Fighters (1997)
Following what was effectively a Dave Grohl solo album first time out, the Foo Fighters' second album is their first as include a complete band. And the presence of those extra talents helps to bring these songs to life, even if many of them were rooted in Dave's reality, having been inspired by his recent divorce. It's a personal record for the Foos, and it's also their most intriguing, with more than just a few hints of their stadium-filling future.
LISTEN TO The Colour and the Shape on Amazon Music
'The Ghost of Tom Joad' Bruce Springsteen (1995)
'The Ghost of Tom Joad,' like 'Nebraska,' is a Bruce in stripped-to-the-bone solo acoustic mode. Joad isn't as haunting as its predecessor, but that doesn't make it any less riveting. Springsteen's delivery of protest, poverty and politics makes sure it still has enough grit to remain as authentic as it is essential.
LISTEN TO The Ghost of Tom Joad on Amazon Music
'Automatic for the People' R.E.M. (1992)
R.E.M. followed up their huge commercial success with a sombre, contemplative compilation of songs about dying. 'Automatic for the People,' which features orchestral arrangements by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, is one of the most beautiful albums of the decade and one of the band's all-time finest.
LISTEN TO Automatic for the People on Amazon Music
'American Recordings' Johnny Cash (1994)
Johnny Cash plumbs the depths of America's aspirations and anxieties, at times equal parts moody and comic ("The Man Who Couldn't Cry"), sobering ("Beast in Me"), and downright terrifying ("Delia"). Even in the end, Cash didn't back down from the tough questions, and in doing so, he fashioned a remarkable late-career comeback that would peak a few years later with his cover of Hurt.
LISTEN TO American Recordings on Amazon Music
'Main Offender' Keith Richards (1992)
If Keith Richards' first solo album sparked a Rolling Stones reunion, his second one re-established the band's musical direction. The raucous origins of the Stones' "Love Is Strong" may be heard in "Wicked as It Seems." With that achieved, Richards happily consigned X-Pensive Winos side project to rock n' roll mythology.
LISTEN TO Main Offender on Amazon Music
'Jagged Little Pill' Alanis Morissette (1995)
The rock gods can be right bastards sometimes. A pretty non-descript Snow Mexican teams up with Wilson Phillips' producer to create the ultimate angst-rock album which not only sells 13 million copies, but also, amazingly is really bllody good. From the jilted ex anger of "You Oughta Know" to the sisterly love of "You Learn," it's damn close to faultless. And yes, we all know that "Ironic" isn't ironic (seriously, you don't sound edgy telling people either) but it is a rock goddess railing on the pitfalls of being a woman in the modern world. Jagged Little Pill is to the Nineties what Carole King's Tapestry was to the 70s: a great singer/songwriter rifling through the emotional debris of her adolescence with enough heart and songcraft to make you feel like it happened to you.
LISTEN TO JAGGED LITTLE PILL on Amazon Music