10. Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister -1996 -Scotland
Why: The Belle and Sebastian indie-pop might be something entirely new or a throwback to 80's music like The Smiths. It was different but familiar. (lack of) Romance and childhood sadness, dealt with by the characters in the form of walks of solitude and reading. It was resonant with many then;as it still is now.
Example Tracks: Seeing Other People; The Boy Done Wrong Again
9. The Verve - A Northern Soul -1995 -England
Why: Intense and full of songs that can only be described as anthemic. You feel the hurt, the isolation, the drug-filled recording sessions. It's said too much that artists put it all in the record, like catharsis. But The Verve let it out, and it's great to hear all that turmoil of young men feeling so very old.
Example Tracks: History, On Your Own
8.Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral - 1994 -USA
Why: A good industrial album that sold enough to go quadruple platinum. Seems unlikely, but that's what NIN managed. Reznor has hooks and melodies mastered, so much so that I'm inclined to believe the topics of S&M, power and hate pass over without being noticed cause of how good the music is.
Example Tracks: March of the Pigs, Closer
7.Dr. Dre- The Chronic - 1993 - USA
Why: So very offensive, in a time when rap was new (especially gangsta rap), but so creative; in both lyrics and flow. It's a Snoop and Dre album really and it was a look into the daily life in Compton. Violence and misogyny laden, for sure; but it's hard not to bob your head to it.
Example Tracks: Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang; Let Me Ride
6. U2- Achtung Baby -1991- Ireland
Why: Look at the documentary 'From The Sky Down', about the making of this album. U2 made albums of brilliant music, both lyrically and rhythmically (I'm waiting for a return to albums like that but maybe they set the bar too high too early). This was the album that U2 got less upbeat and more darkly introspective. Possibly the best idea they made.
Example Tracks: One, So Cruel
Why: Fifth for one of the most influential albums of all time? Seems low, I know. It can't be helped because the 90's were so good. What more needs to be said. It sent grunge and alt rock mainstream, the lyrics were timeless; the music so good it could be stripped down acoustically and still be excellent (can any other predominant noisy band say that?). Nirvana were pioneers and Kurt Cobain was probably the best songwriter out of America in recent times.
Example Tracks: Come As You Are, Smells Like Teen Spirit
4. Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory - 1995 -England
Why: Maybe you can be popular and good. Not that artistic and not that deep, Morning Glory is still the best of the Britpop albums. I've always loved Oasis and I think a lot of the appeal comes from the fact that the album is for the fans. There's no snobbery in it, no "you can't make music like we can'. A gift to the fans, this one
Example Tracks: Some Might Say, Don't Look Back In Anger
3. My Bloody Valentine -Loveless -1991 -Ireland
Why: Honestly, I first heard this (and heard about it) in 2001; so I was clueless to some of the greatest music around for a decade. Not exactly commercial success, but its a great album. An album of a bit of everything; being shouted at you in a wall of noise. Noise that doesn't cause stress but wipes the stress away.
Example Tracks: Only Shallow; I Only Said
2. Public Enemy - Fear of A Black Planet -1990-USA
Why: Thought provoking rap with music that makes you want to get up and do something. Very anti-establishment, Public Enemy have been my pick for the most important and influential rap group of all time (yes, more than Run-DMC). This album encapsulates the powerful lyrics, the need to get people educated and, of course, the lyrics of very clever rappers.
Example Tracks: Fight The Power; Power to the People
1. Radiohead- OK Computer-England -1997
Why: Landmark. Like nothing else before it. Every single thing about this album was innovate. Slow moving search into paranoia and solitude. The most introspective of albums. Radiohead have ability most bands only dream of and are always challenging themselves. It started here. A follow-up exactly like The Bends (1995) and no one would complain. It takes belief to start from scratch, it takes ability to do it so well.
Example Tracks: Paranoid Android, Karma Police