I love the '90s

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A few weeks back, for no reason but avoiding work, I assembled a list of the 100 best albums of the '90s. Okay, maybe not the best, but my favorites anyway, the ones that I seem to have listened to most obsessively over the years. In an effort to avoid more work, I will now share the list with you.

I limited myself to one album per artist (although Medeski Martin + Wood kind of slipped in there twice through a loophole), and I allowed myself only studio albums, nothing live and no compilations (the exception there being The Beta Band's Three E.P.'s). For each year, I have bolded my top choice, though in many cases it was a very close call.


  • Question and Answer, Pat Metheny w/Dave Holland & Roy Haynes
  • Missing ... Presumed Having a Good Time, The Notting Hillbillies
  • Fear of a Black Planet, Public Enemy
  • The Rhythm of the Saints, Paul Simon
  • Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, The Sundays


  • Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos
  • Travelers & Thieves, Blues Traveler
  • Laughter & Lust, Joe Jackson
  • Mental Jewelry, Live
  • Ten, Pearl Jam
  • Roll the Bones, Rush
  • Pocket Full of Kryptonite, Spin Doctors
  • Achtung Baby, U2


  • 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of..., Arrested Development
  • Gordon, Barenaked Ladies
  • Return of the Brecker Brothers, The Brecker Brothers
  • Black Eyed Man, Cowboy Junkies
  • Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
  • Automatic for the People, R.E.M.
  • 99.9 F°, Suzanne Vega


  • Kamakiriad, Donald Fagen
  • Love & Liberté, Gipsy Kings
  • Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Sarah McLachlan
  • Siamese Dream, The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Ten Summoner's Tales, Sting
  • Elemental, Tears for Fears


  • The Sweetest Illusion, Basia
  • 11 Tracks of Whack, Walter Becker
  • Boingo
  • Grace, Jeff Buckley
  • She, Harry Connick, Jr.
  • Dis Is da Drum, Herbie Hancock
  • Under the Table and Dreaming, Dave Matthews Band
  • Dummy, Portishead
  • MoodSwing, Joshua Redman Quartet
  • Ruby Vroom, Soul Coughing
  • Home, Spearhead
  • Chocolate & Cheese, Ween
  • Sleeps with Angels, Neil Young & Crazy Horse


  • Post, Björk
  • Friday Afternoon in the Universe, Medeski Martin + Wood
  • Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt
  • Hello, Poe
  • 311
  • Secaucus, The Wrens


  • Odelay, Beck
  • If You're Feeling Sinister, Belle and Sebastian
  • Fashion Nugget, Cake
  • Unchained, Johnny Cash
  • This Fire, Paula Cole
  • A Few Small Repairs, Shawn Colvin
  • Walking Wounded, Everything but the Girl
  • We the People, Groove Collective
  • Mic City Sons, Heatmiser
  • Colossal Head, Los Lobos
  • Fever In Fever Out, Luscious Jackson
  • Who Can You Trust?, Morcheeba
  • Dusk at Cubist Castle, The Olivia Tremor Control
  • Archaeology, The Rutles
  • Duncan Sheik, Duncan Sheik
  • Hot, Squirrel Nut Zippers


  • Earthling, David Bowie
  • Cheap Trick [1997]
  • Let Us Play!, Coldcut
  • When I Was Born for the 7th Time, Cornershop
  • Whatever and Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five
  • Yeah, It's That Easy, G. Love and Special Sauce
  • Marcy Playground
  • You Will Go to the Moon, Moxy Früvous
  • Happy End of the World, Pizzicato Five
  • OK Computer, Radiohead
  • Dig Me Out, Sleater-Kinney


  • Moon Safari, Air
  • The Way We Were, Babe the Blue Ox
  • Hello Nasty, Beastie Boys
  • Fantasma, Cornelius
  • Painted from Memory, Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach
  • You've Come a Long Way, Baby, Fatboy Slim
  • 4-Sight
  • Mini-King [unreleased]
  • Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too, New Radicals
  • Aquemini, OutKast
  • A Go Go, John Scofield (w/Medeski Martin + Wood)
  • XO, Elliott Smith
  • Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Lucinda Williams


  • When the Pawn..., Fiona Apple
  • The Three E.P.'s, The Beta Band*
  • Stereo Type A, Cibo Matto
  • Emergency & I, The Dismemberment Plan
  • The Slim Shady LP, Eminem
  • Utopia Parkway, Fountains of Wayne
  • Liquid Skin, Gomez
  • On How Life Is, Macy Gray
  • Next Move, Hue and Cry
  • Bachelor No. 2; or, The Last Remains of the Dodo, Aimee Mann
  • Play, Moby
  • The Time Machine, Alan Parsons
  • Californication, Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Summer Teeth, Wilco
  • Apple Venus Volume 1, XTC

[One album there that deserves further explanation is 1998's Mini-King, which is an album that as far as I know existed only in advance promo form. It was to be released by N2K Encoded Music, the record label of a company I used to work for, but as far as I know was never released. (The company folded.) That was a big shame, because Mini-King had a lot of talent, not to mention an ultra-sexy (male) lead singer. People would say, "What does Mini-King sound like," and I would say, "Spandau Ballet," and my boss would say, "Don't say that! They'll tank if you say that!" Well, I guess they worse than tanked.]

So, can I be a talking head on VH1 now? Huh? Huh? Do I qualify?

[ original post:  http://shunn.livejournal.com/364501.html ]

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on February 8, 2007 5:52 PM.

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