Nirvana – Nevermind
Probably the ultimate ’90s album from America, by a band considered to be one of the best three pieces of all time. This is where grunge exploded. Best track is Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Pearl Jam – Ten
If Nevermind is the biggest grunge album, this is the second biggest, with huge vocals and melodies on every song; this will never grow old to your ears. Best track is Jeremy.
Metallica – The Black Album
This is Metallica’s most significant album, and marks the period where they weren’t as harsh as their previous work or as soft as what was to come, a brilliant album that marked the end of the mullet season for Metallica. Best track is Sad But True.
Green Day – Dookie
Probably the snottiest, most zitty album you can find in HMV. This piece of splendour with the album artwork of poo-slinging-monkeys is my personal favourite album of the ’90s. Listen to this all the way through and try not to smash something to pieces, trust me it’s hard. Best track is Longview.
Manic Street Preachers – Generation Terrorists
Heading over to Wales, this album wasn’t as huge as the other albums on this list, mostly because of the time it was released. The music is a beautiful cross between punk, indie and Guns ‘n’ Roses influenced rock, with the lyrical content constantly switching between serious, political and just stupid. It’s a very good listen. Best track is You Love Us.
Radiohead – The Bends
This triple platinum classic is an explosion of creativity. Thom Yorke’s haunting vocals and accompanying experimental guitar style compliment each other well and make up Radiohead’s best songs. Best track is Street Spirit.
Oasis – What’s the Story (Morning Glory)
Choosing between this and Definitely Maybe was tough, the production on that being less polished and it being a rockier album, but I chose this for two reasons. It has so many huge songs, and the album works well as a whole and if one album could speak for Britpop, it would be this one. Best track is Champagne Supernova.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Californication
So yes, RHCP had lots of good albums in the ’90s, but this is their best one. With Otherside, Scar Tissue and Californication, this album has so many of their biggest songs and strongest melodies. Best track is Otherside.
Foo Fighters – There Is Nothing Left To Lose
It was much less rocky than its predecessor the colour and the shape but I think it has the best of Dave Grohl’s song writing, from huge rock classics all the way to the chilled beach anthems. It was recorded when they were a trio and the relaxed vibes of their home studio can really be heard. And to be honest it’s all about the vibes. Best track is Ain’t It The Life.
Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine
This explosive 50 or so minutes of huge rap metal is just massive to listen to. That’s the only way of putting it: massive. If by now you’re losing patience with me and all these seemingly uneducated punk albums, let me tell you that guitarist Tom Morello earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University before his guitar career. Best track is Killing In The Name.
Dr Dre – The Chronic
A brilliant rap masterpiece, I consider this the best rap album of the ’90s. Slightly sweary is an understatement, but nonetheless, this deserves a place n the list. Best track is Nuthin’ But A G.
U2 – Achtung Baby
In 1991 U2 were in trouble, they were becoming dated and needed an album to reinvent themselves. This was exactly that album, with a new style and brilliant songs such as One. This album rightfully went platinum. Best track is Mysterious Ways.
Madonna – A Ray Of Light
As you might have realised, I’m quite a rock man so it pains me to add this to the list but it must be done, a good pop album should be on everyone’s CD rack, just to say you’re not against it. Best track is Frozen.
Eminem – The Slim Shady LP
This album is complete and utter genius in every single way. Enough said? Good. Best track is Guilty Conscience.
Soundgarden – Superunknown
Even if the whole album was rubbish (which it is definitely not), just the track Black Hole Sun alone would propel this masterpiece into the best albums of the ’90s. Best track is Black Hole Sun.