70. MASSIVE ATTACK- MEZZANINE (1998)
The pioneering trip hop group from Bristol’s last album that mattered- perfect for the feeling of paranoia just before the new millennium. “Mezzanine” features great guest vocal performances from Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins as well as Reggae star Horace Andy.
69. OASIS- DEFINITELY MAYBE (1994)
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Snotty, snarling & brash debut from the Gallagher brothers and company. The Brits tend to overrate this album as it often lands in the top ten albums of all time on many of their best of lists. That said “Definitely Maybe” is full of mighty anthems, including first hold-up–your-lighter Brit Pop power ballad “Live Forever”. Oasis would follow this debut with the even better American breakthrough only a year later. Oasis mania was under way!
68. MERCURY REV- DESERTER’S SONGS (1998)
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The only band in the world to sound remotely like the Flaming Lips- the veteran Mercury Rev followed a similar path as the Lips: They formed in the mid 80’s, releasing a series of albums combining noise-rock with psychedelic pop and even befriended the Lips in 1990 when the Rev’s guitarist worked as their guitar technician. They moved on to release the beautiful “Deserter’s Songs” one year before the Lips bettered them with “The Soft Bulletin”- indie rock’s own version of The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
“Goddess On A Hiway” (Album & tracks not available on iTunes)
67. R.E.M.- NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI (1996)
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To my ears R.E.M.’s last great album and also their longest and most experimental. Quite a leftfield turn after the more stripped down and grunge influenced “Monster”. This would be R.E.M.’s last album with drummer Bill Berry. Also contains a beautiful duet with Michael Stipe’s hero Patti Smith in “E-Bow the Letter”
66. THE SMASHING PUMPKINS- GISH (1991)
The debut album from one of Chicago’s finest. This arrived a few months before Nirvana’s Nevermind and was only a moderate alternative rock hit. Few could have predicted that the Pumpkins would become one of the biggest bands in the world in a few years time. “Gish” was psychedelic, dreamy & raw compared to their follow up releases which would unveil the Pumpkins biggest influence- 70’s arena rock.
65. BLUR- MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH (1993)
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The album, along with Suede’s debut, said to be the impetus of 90’s Brit Pop, is Blur’s big leap forward after their debut “Leisure”. It was as big a leap forward as Radiohead took with “The Bends” after “Pablo Honey”. Although “Leisure” contains some great singles, it is ultimately beholden to the shoegaze scene of the late 80’s perfected by Stone Roses and Happy Mondays and beaten to death by Jesus Jones, EMF etc… “Modern Life” showed main man Damon Albarn to be a serious writer of social commentary and Blur a band destined to go places.
64. THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS- BLOOD SUGAR SEX MAJIK (1991)
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Overly long and perhaps at least partially responsible for ushering in the annoying area of meat-head rap rock of the late 90’s, time has not been very kind to this album. Back in ’91 & ’92 it was everywhere and was one of the dominating sounds on college campuses. Contains hit after hit- many of which still have recurrent airplay today. Some of the best songs are non-hit album cuts like “I Could Have Lied”, “If You Have to Ask” and “My Lovely Man”. “Blood Sugar” is the Chili’s best album by a long shot. I just wish it wasn’t quite so long.
63. SPIRITUALIZED- LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE ARE FLOATING IN SPACE (1997)
“Ladies and Gentlemen” is a totally album by a totally unique band which combines psychedelic and gospel….drugs and God! The result is predictably both f**ked up and beautiful. Jason Pierce (AKA Jason Spaceman) unapologetically seeks redemption and transcendence through chemicals to overcome his experiences of love and loss. The album art itself is designed like a pharmaceutical package!
62. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE- RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE (1992)
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Rage is another band who unfortunately has much to apologize for only because of all of the inferior bands who came in their wake (including Audioslave by the way which contained ¾ of the band). Rage was the first band to successfully combine rap and metal for a whole full length album. Vocalist Zach de la Rocha ferociously spat his socialist anti- Emperial (American) lyrics while guitarist Tom Morello played every effect under the sun and the rhythm section bashed away behind them. Nothing sounded like Rage when they debuted in ’92. One of the great mosh albums of all time and includes perhaps their signature song “Killing in the Name”.
61. MISSY ELLIOTT- SUPA DUPA FLY (1997)
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Straight outta Virginia Beach, Va, perhaps the best album by the most important female rapper of all time. “Supa Dupa Fly” is also the debut album of producer Timbaland, one of the two most influential producers in hip hop of the last decade and a half. Missy co-wrote, sung & rapped over every track inviting guest like Busta Rhymes, Da Brat & Lil’ Kim appear alongside her. Missy & Tim, along with fellow Va. Beach producers The Neptunes and Atlanta’s Outkast would be THE most influential artists on Rap/R&B/Pop music in the next decade.