Near-Perfect Albums of the 1990s

The 1990s. The last decade where the album format was truly intact. The last decade where we genuinely remember albums as opposed to just songs, if we even remember that much.

The following are some my favorites (there are way too many to list here!). I will argue that these works truly are near perfect. Yeah, yeah, maybe it’s just because they’re the core of the music I was listening to most during my formative years. That’s probably part of it. Either way, this is some amazing music. You may disagree with or have plenty to add. Please leave a comment and share how you agree, would add, or take away.

Oh, and I’m beginning to see why old(er) people always talk about how “much better” things used to be “back in their day.”

Metallica – The Black Album

Counting Crows – August and Everything After

Counting Crows – Recovering the Satellites

Counting Crows – This Desert Life

Stone Temple Pilots – Core

Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming

Dave Matthews Band – Crash

Radiohead – The Bends

Blues Traveler – Four

Green Day – Dookie

Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral

Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion I and II

Weezer – Blue Album (Weezer)

dc Talk – Jesus Freak

Spin Doctors – Pocket Full of Kryptonite

Jeff Buckley – Grace

Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

The Pulp Fiction Soundtrack

The Reality Bites Soundtrack

Live – Throwing Copper

Aerosmith – Get A Grip

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell

Pearl Jam – Ten

Pearl Jam – Vs.

Garth Brooks – No Fences

Collective Soul – Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid

Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen

Foo Fighters – The Colour and the Shape

MxPx – Life In General

MxPx – Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo

R.E.M. – Automatic for the People

Slick Shoes – Rusty

Slick Shoes – Burn Out

Blink 182 – Enema of the State

Dixie Chicks – Fly

*There are too many. I officially give up trying to list them all.

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4 thoughts on “Near-Perfect Albums of the 1990s

  1. hey john!

    you’ve got so many good ones on here! i’m most impressed to see that you included jeff buckley’s grace. i didn’t discover him until later but he is nearly perfect. and stp’s Core! oh man! i love everything you listed, the spin doctors! i still dig this stuff. awesome list. and a lot of these albums were just the beginning of these artists’ careers.
    90’s music still sounds so good. i like sponge and some everclear (but not a lot) and veruca salt. it was such an awesome era.
    –delaney

    • Delaney, thanks for the comment and for reading. I appreciate it. I had the idea for this post the other day when I was popping Counting Crows’ August and Everything After into my office CD player, which plays on speakers that I’ve had for 16 years. Laying close by was Pearl Jam’s Ten. It very clearly came to me just how many near-perfect albums came out around that time.

      I’m glad you share my enthusiasm for this era.

      Thanks again.

      John Clore

  2. So glad to see the Counting Crows love. Those first 2 albums are perfect.

    And No Fences! I listened to that album so many times my senior year in high school. Chuck Klosterman has an essay on Garth Brooks. (You may hate Klosterman, as he’s one of those writers who inspires a lot of hate.) Anyway….he has a really interesting essay on Brooks being the biggest star to ever have no place in our cultural memories. When he retired, his memory disappeared with him.

    My favorite album ever is U2’s Achtung Baby, which I think was released in 91 or 92. (Not saying it’s the best ever….just my favorite.) And Radiohead’s Ok Computer is my 2nd favorite (released in 97, maybe). And Oasis’s Definitely Maybe (95?) helped launch the whole Brit Pop era.

    I like the overall idea here — the era of albums having passed. I still have a hard time buying just a single song. I almost always buy albums. I’m guessing that my students would not have heard more than a handful of songs from any of these albums. Oddly, more of them probably know Buckley than anyone else on the list (he’s huge with tragic college students). And they’d know DMB, although, they’re more familiar with his live albums than his studio work, so they’d have a hard time saying which album songs originally appeared on.

    • Hey Michael, I actually LOVE Klosterman. I think he is amazing, and hope to someday have half of his knowledge and skill.

      You point out a couple of ridiculously amazing albums. Not sure how I didn’t include Achtung Baby. I honestly became a little overwhelmed as I started trying to think about all of the albums that fit in this list. Thanks for the additions.

      Thanks (always) for reading and commenting. It’s highly appreciated.

      John Clore

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