Best Albums of the 90’s: 71 – 80

80. BONNIE “PRINCE” BILLY- I SEE A DARKNESS (1999)

BONNIE "PRINCE" BILLY_I SEE A DARKNESS

BuyBonnie "Prince" Billy - I See a Darkness

Buy AmazonI See a Darkness

BPB is one of Will Oldham’s many aliases and “I See a Darkness” might just be the best album he’s ever done. Good enough for Johnny Cash to later cover (I See a Darkness), the Louisville, KY bred singer takes his classic Appalachian/old weird America sound to new heights with this stark but beautiful album.




Buy “I See A Darkness”
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I See a Darkness - I See a Darkness

 Buy “Another Day Full of Dread”
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I See a Darkness - Another Day Full of Dread



 

79. THE LEMONHEADS- IT’S A SHAME ABOUT RAY (1992)

LEMONHEADS_IT'S A SHAME ABOUT RAY

BuyThe Lemonheads - It's a Shame About Ray (Expanded Edition)

Buy AmazonIt’s a Shame About Ray

Evan Dando & co. make crafting hooky alternative pop look so easy. After three punk albums in the 80’s, The Lemonheads make their 2nd album for Atlantic Records & standout album of their career. This album has one wonderful sub-three minute anthem after another. Juliana Hatfield adds her vocals to many of the tracks as well and in excellent fashion.




Buy “Rudderless”
The Lemonheads - It's a Shame About Ray (Expanded Edition) - Rudderless (Remastered)

 Buy “It’s A Shame About Ray”
The Lemonheads - It's a Shame About Ray (Expanded Edition) - It's a Shame About Ray (Remastered)

 



78. SOUNDGARDEN- BADMOTORFINGER (1991)

SOUNDGARDEN_BADMOTORFINGER

BuySoundgarden - Badmotorfinger

Buy AmazonBadmotorfinger

This veteran Seattle band perhaps captured the grunge sound (early Metal like Black Sabbath mixed with modern day garage indie-punk) more than any other band save maybe Mudhoney. This, their 3rd album, catapulted them into the mainstream and hit just as Nirvana-mania was ascending. Badmotorfinger was their last album filled with 6+ minute screamers before they would move into tighter, more pop influenced directions with subsequent releases.



Buy “Outshined”
Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger - Outshined

 Buy “Searching With My Good Eye Closed”
Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger - Searching With My Good Eye Closed

 

 

 


77. MOTHER LOVE BONE- APPLE (1990)

MOTHER LOVE BONE_APPLE

BuyMother Love Bone - Mother Love Bone

Buy AmazonApple

Criminally unknown and underappreciated pre-grunge band, featuring pre-Pearl Jam members Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard as well as Seattle legend and recently deceased charismatic lead vocalist Andrew Wood. MLB was by far the sexiest and most glam (thanks to Wood) of the grunge bands. Wood’s death later inspired tribute band & album Temple of the Dog featuring members of Soundgarden & Pearl Jam.



Buy “Crown of Thorns”
Mother Love Bone - Mother Love Bone - Crown of Thorns

 Buy “Stardog Champion”
Mother Love Bone - Mother Love Bone - Stardog Champion

 

 

76. SUPERGRASS- I SHOULD COCO (1995)

SUPERGRASS_I SHOULD COCO

BuySupergrass - I Should Coco

Buy AmazonI Should Coco

Young, energetic pop punkers unleash their debut album in route to creating one of the better run of releases in Britpop. They take their cues from The Kinks, The Jam & The Buzzcocks & certainly know their way around a hook. Their music is pure fun & I imagine envelopes the sound of British adolescence at the time. Supergrass never really made any headway in the U.S. but listen for one of their best tracks “Alright” in the brilliant movie “Clueless”.



Buy “Alright”
Supergrass - I Should Coco - Alright

 Buy “Caught By the Fuzz”
Supergrass - I Should Coco - Caught By the Fuzz

 

 

 

75. SUGAR- COPPER BLUE (1992)

SUGAR_COPPER BLUE

BuySugar - Copper Blue

Buy AmazonCopper Blue

Sugar is the great Bob Mould’s 3rd act- after the mass-influential post-hardcore band Husker Du & his two much more melancholy solo albums. Taking its cues from The Pixies & Nirvana- Mould & Sugar takes the songcraft of his catchiest Husker & solo tracks and amps up both the guitars and the production values. “Copper Blue” is jam packed with tight alternative rock songs and would be the biggest selling album of Mould’s career.



Buy “A Good Idea”
Sugar - Copper Blue - A Good Idea

 Buy “Helpless”
Sugar - Copper Blue - Helpless

 



74. UNCLE TUPELO- MARCH 16-20, 1992 (1992)

UNCLE TUPELO_MARCH 16-20, 1992

BuyUncle Tupelo - March 16-20, 1992 Buy <strong>Amazon</strong><a href=

Buy AmazonMarch 16-20, 1992

The alt country godfather’s most actual country release. Tupelo turn down the punk almost completely and focus on acoustic folk odes to the workingman. Produced by Peter Buck of R.E.M.





Buy “Fatal Wound”
Uncle Tupelo - March 16-20, 1992 - Fatal Wound

 Buy “Moonshiner”
Uncle Tupelo - March 16-20, 1992 - Moonshiner

 

 

73. A TRIBE CALLED QUEST- PEOPLE’S INSTINCTIVE TRAVELS AND THE PATHS OF RHYTHM (1990)

A TRIBE CALLED QUEST_PEOPLE'S INSTINCTIVE TRAVELS

BuyA Tribe Called Quest - Peoples' Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm

Buy AmazonPeople’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

This would be the first release in Tribe’s brilliant trilogy of classic albums. Tribe, to me the best of The Native Tongue’s collective who dominated Hip Hop’s first wave of conscious rap, were always playful even when delivering serious messages. They were also one of the first group’s (along with Gang Starr) to often use jazz samples. The vocal interplay of Tip and Phife would only improve with their even beter follow up releases .



Buy “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo”
A Tribe Called Quest - Peoples' Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm - I Left My Wallet In El Segundo

 Buy “Bonita Applebaum”
A Tribe Called Quest - Peoples' Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm - Bonita Applebum

 

 

 

 

 72. ELLIOTT SMITH- XO (1998)

ELLIOTT SMITH_XO

BuyElliott Smith - XO

Buy AmazonXO

“XO” is Smith’s major label debut after scoring an Oscar nomination with the track “Miss Misery” from Good Will Hunting soundtrack. The prolific Smith delivers a well produced, inward looking set up Beatlesque tunes seeming putting the major label money to good use. “XO” is probably his loveliest album.




Buy “Amity”
Elliott Smith - XO - Amity

 Buy “Waltz, #2 (XO)”
Elliott Smith - XO - Waltz, No. 2 (XO)

 

 

71. BELLE & SEBASTIAN- TIGERMILK (1996)

Belle & Sebastian_Tigermilk

BuyBelle and Sebastian - Tigermilk

Buy AmazonTigermilk

Tigermilk, this Glascow, Scotland band’s debut album was made as lead singer Stuart Murdoch’s final project to complete his business school requirements. The album’s original pressing was only 1,000 pieces of vinyl. After Belle & Sebastian hit with the more successful “If You’re Feeling Sinister”, “Tigermilk” became a collector’s item until its reissue in 1999 and helped to establish B&S as a cult sensation. B&S takes its cues from the twee pop of the Sarah Records releases of the mid to late 80’s and ushers in the era of chamber pop music in Britain of the late 90’s.


Buy “The State I’m In”
Belle and Sebastian - Tigermilk - The State I'm In

 Buy “Expectations”

Belle and Sebastian - Tigermilk - Expectations

 

 

 

 

 

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