These are my top 10 rock albums from the 90s. Yes, it is quite biased towards metal, but I'm a metalhead so give me a break. There are also some boring, obvious choices at first, I know, but they deserve to be there. Still, it is more my hope that you might end up checking out one of the lesser known bands. So here we go.
10. Nirvana - Nevermind
I did say that the first few would be obvious didn't I? There really isn't much I can say about this album's influence on the 90s that you won't already know, expect that there were a handful of far better bands in the 80s that Nirvana took influence from. Check out bands like the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr. and the Meat Puppets to see what I mean. But even though Nirvana were just a watered down version of 80 alternative rock, their influence was massive and this album caused that.
9. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
This is a must hear album of the 90s. Personally shoegaze is not my favorite type of music, but this album creates its own world of sound. If you want to know what the music sounds like, just take a look at the cover. There is a guitar melded into a blurry pink background, and this is the perfect metaphor for the music. Dreamy and noisy at the same time, Loveless improves on innovations by bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain to make blissful art in sound.
8. Radiohead - Ok Computer
Everywhere you go, you will see this album being labeled the best of the 90s. I won't argue with that, just personally for me it is not quite there. Songs like Electroneering and the experimental Fitter Happier keep it from being perfect, but omg when this album is good, it is amazing! Songs like Paranoid Android and Karma Police are some of the top songs of this decade. Also, the album has a statement to make, as it predicts our increasing dependence on computers.
7. Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
This acoustic acid trip is the indie classic of the 90s. The lyrics are either metaphorical poetry that is mostly about sex, surreal images, or a combination of the two. In other words, the lyrics are brilliant, but the music, which sounds like indie acoustic space rock, is unique itself. And when the electric guitars do turn up, you can bet they blow the house down.
6. Ulver - Bergtatt
Get ready for some metal coming up! Bergtatt is the definitive black metal album of the 90s. It really takes all of the positives of black metal and puts them together better than any of 90s black metal album. If you have tried music like Darkthrone or Mayhem and just didn't get it, then give Bergtatt a spin before you walk away from the genre.
5. Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted
This is my pick for the best alternative album of the 90s. It's lazy slacker rock, the crown jewel of lo fi music, and is poetically catchy with just the right amount of noise and experimentation thrown in. I still have yet to check out their other albums, but Pavement appear to be one of, if not the best band of the 90s
4. Therion - Theli
This is the album that saved Therion, but it was also highly influential in the symphonic metal genre. It is just too bad that at the time Therion did not have the money for an actual orchestra. I would love to hear this album remade with one now that Therion are bloody rich, but sadly it probably won't happen. But either way, Theli is a touchstone of its genre.
3. Death - Symbolic
Death are the ultimate death metal band, and this is their ultimate album. I have heard Morbid Angel, and I have heard Carcass, and while these are both great death metal bands, Death are the real masters of the genre. Their albums Human, Individual Thought Patters, and The Sound of Perseverance are all fantastic too, but Symbolic is just too perfect for its own good.
2. Megadeth - Rust in Piece
My favorite metal album of the 90s is also my favorite thrash album. That's right, it even beats out old 80s Metallica albums like Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning. The reason is simply that the album has no weaknesses. Beyond that, Holy Wars(The Punishment Due) is a 100% perfect thrash song. And this just leaves number 1, and it will probably be a shocker.
1. Talk Talk - Laughing Stock
Ok, I know what you are thinking. "Aren't they that 80s one hit wonder band that did It's My Life?" Yes, yes they are. But after that, Talk Talk slowly started evolving. They left 80s pop behind, and created a minimalist and organic sound that was truly innovative. In fact, many cite Talk Talk as the creators of the post-rock genre. By the time the early 90s came around, Talk Talk released their masterwork, Laughing Stock. It is an album teaming with beauty and life, as well as a dogmatic opposition to all cliched music conventions. And it is my favorite album of the 90s.