Best Albums of the 90’s: 81 – 90

90. ELASTICA- ELASTICA (1995)

elastica_elastica

BuyElastica - Elastica

Buy AmazonElastica

Fast moving album filled with post-punk pop songs sung by the sexy-voiced Brit Justine Frischmann.  Many riffs are copped (mainly from late 70’s post punk minimalists Wire) but Elastica makes them sound fresh anyway by delivering them with strut and attitude as well as hooks.




Buy “Stutter”
Elastica - Elastica - Stutter

 Buy “Connection”
Elastica - Elastica - Connection



89. YO LA TENGO- PAINFUL (1993)

yo la tengo_painful

BuyYo La Tengo - Painful

Buy AmazonPainful

Yo La Tengo’s breakthrough album- does what they do best; combining beautiful stripped down ballads (ala Velvet Underground’s self titled album) with lengthy songs filled with feedback. They may have made one better album later in their career but “Painful” is their most concise.




Buy “Sudden Organ”
Yo La Tengo - Painful - Sudden Organ

 Buy “From a Motel 6”
Yo La Tengo - Painful - From a Motel 6

 




88. GZA (GENIUS)-LIQUID SWORDS (1995)

gza_liquid swords

BuyGZA the Genius - Liquid Swords

Buy AmazonLiquid Swords

The Wu’s headiest MC releases his best album- filled with elaborate story raps and including every Wu-Tang member- though GZA remains the focal point.






Buy “Gold”
GZA the Genius - Liquid Swords - Gold

 Buy “Shadowboxin’”
GZA the Genius - Liquid Swords - Shadowboxin'

 

 

87. THE JAYHAWKS- TOMORROW THE GREEN GRASS (1995)

jayhawks_tomorrow the green grass

BuyThe Jayhawks - Tomorrow the Green Grass

Buy AmazonTomorrow the Green Grass

Last album featuring the beautiful harmonies of Gary Louris and Mark Olson before Olson split the band. A striking piece of alt country by this criminally underappreciated band from Minnesota.





Buy “Blue”
The Jayhawks - Tomorrow the Green Grass - Blue

 Buy “I’d Run Away”
The Jayhawks - Tomorrow the Green Grass - I'd Run Away

 

86. BUILT TO SPILL- PERFECT FROM NOW ON (1997)

built to spill_pefect from now on

BuyBuilt To Spill - Perfect from Now On

Buy AmazonPerfect from Now On

Northwestern band goes from releasing two minute songs on a small indie label to releasing eight monster Neil Young & Crazy Horse style jams on “Perfect From Now On”- their major label debut. No cries of sell out here. Shortest track is 4:52 and Doug Martsch is the latest indie guitar God!




Buy “I Would Hurt A Fly”
Built To Spill - Perfect from Now On - I Would Hurt a Fly

 Buy “Stop the Show”
Built To Spill - Perfect from Now On - Stop the Show

 

 


85. YO LA TENGO- I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE (1997)

yo la tengo_i can hear the heart beating as one

BuyYo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One

Buy AmazonI Can Hear the Heart Beating as One

This is arguably the Hoboken, NJ band’s best album- it gives the listener the feeling of a good old fashioned double album from the 70’s- and would have been if not for the 80 minute album length of cd’s. Yo La Tengo embraces every one of their diverse influences on this album and comes up many of their best songs in the process.




Buy “Autumn Sweater”

Yo La Tengo - I Can åHear the Heart Beating As One - Autumn Sweater

 Buy “Sugarcube”
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One - Sugarcube

 

 

 

 84. JANE’S ADDICTION- RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL (1990)

jane's addiction_ritual de la habitual

BuyJane's Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual

Buy AmazonRitual de lo Habitual

A precursor of Nirvana and the Seattle grunge movement which would dominate the rock landscape for the ensuing three years, this was Jane’s breakthrough into the mainstream after the underground success of the brilliant “Nothing’s Shocking”. While “Ritual” is more self-indulgent then the former album, it also contains some of their best songs including the sprawling, beautiful (and also self-indulgent) epic “Three Days”.



Buy “Stop”
Jane's Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual - Stop

 Buy “Ain’t No Right”
Jane's Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual - Ain't No Right

 




83. THE ROOTS- THINGS FALL APART (1999)

the roots_things fall apart

BuyThe Roots - Things Fall Apart

Buy AmazonThings Fall Apart

Philadelphia’s greatest rap-jam band truly come into their own on “Things Fall Apart”, paving the way (along with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Jurassic 5) for conscious rap’s 2nd wave- taking the mantle from the Native Tongues (Tribe, De La, Jungle Bros, Black Sheep) of the early-mid 90’s. This is one of the few long rap albums that truly deserve its length. The Roots have the diversity and the dexterity to keep things interesting the whole time.



Buy “You Got Me (Feat. Erykah Badu)”
The Roots & Erykah Badu - Things Fall Apart - You Got Me

 Buy “Dynamite!”
The Roots - Things Fall Apart - Dynamite!

 

 


82. SLEATER-KINNEY- CALL THE DOCTOR (1996)

sleater-kinney_call the doctor

BuySleater-Kinney - Call the Doctor

Buy AmazonCall the Doctor

The girls from Olympia, WA release their first great one, along the way to establishing themselves as one of the most consistently great band (along with Radiohead and Wilco) on the late 90’s/early 00’s. The vocal & guitar interplay between Carrie Brownstein and Corinne Tucker is pure magic. You won’t find any bass here!




Buy “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone”
Sleater-Kinney - Call the Doctor - I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

 Buy “Call the Doctor”
Sleater-Kinney - Call the Doctor - Call the Doctor

 

 

 

81. STEREOLAB- EMPEROR TOMATO KETCHUP (1996)

stereolab_emperor tomato ketchup

BuyStereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup

Buy AmazonEmperor Tomato Ketchup

The French/British self claimed space-age bachelor music playing band delivers both their best and most mainstream album to date- if you can possibly make a claim that a band combining exotica, avant-garde, kraut rock, space-rock, bossa-nova & lounge music with socialist lyrics could be anywhere near the mainstream.




Buy “The Noise of Carpet”
Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup - The Noise of Carpet

 Buy “Cybele’s Reverie”
Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup - Cybele's Reverie

 

 

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