Thought Catalog

Ten Flawless Albums From The '90s

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1. Self-Titled by Le Tigre

To say that Le Tigre’s self-titled debut album was an important record of my youth would be an understatement; it seriously revolutionized my life. I discovered it during my junior year of high school and was blown away by the band’s interesting marriage of political lyrics and infectious dance beats. When I wasn’t busy getting drunk to “Deceptacon” at high school dance parties, I was actually paying attention to the messages in tracks like “What’s Yr Take On Cassavetes?” and “Slideshow At Free University” and actually trying to care about stuff. Not to mention that when I came out of the closet, Le Tigre’s music became a source of empowerment and strength. I was that gay guy talking about Kathleen Hanna in high school and telling everyone to KEEP ON LIVING. This is your time, this is your life.

2. Becoming X by Sneaker Pimps

Most people only know the trip-hop band Sneaker Pimps from their big hit “6 Underground”, which is a shame because their whole album is spectacular. Kelli Dayton’s poppy vocals served as a nice contrast to the band’s somewhat intense musical beats, making the entire album sound like this weird tension between light and dark. I used to listen to the record in my room when I was feeling particularly angsty and my parents would just be like, “Why is our ten-year-old listening to heavy trip-hop? Let’s give him some Janet Jackson or something.” # 1 CHILDHOOD FREAK RIGHT HERE.

3. Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette tore through the nineties like a bat out of hell. I was either nine or ten when Jagged Little Pill was released and I remember it being played wherever I went, including once in my teacher’s car on a fourth grade field trip. She ended up being my very first concert. My mom took me and I sang along to the lyrics about her ex-boyfriend screwing other chicks and felt very adult. Besides being a brilliant alternative rock record, the album totally captures that nineties sound with the bass-heavy guitars and that unmistakable Glen Ballard polish. People loved it because it was relatable; it was about a twenty-something woman who wasn’t going to take it anymore. I wish pop records were still as honest as this one.

4. Version 2.0 by Garbage

Some people might be pissed that I didn’t choose Garbage’s debut record to be on this list. While that album is amazing and quintessential nineties, I fell in love with their follow-up even more. It signaled the beginning of a new trend by ditching the guitars in favor of a more techno sound (Madonna and others had begun to embrace this trend as well). Songs like “Push It” and “When I Grow up” seemed more anthemic and expansive than their previous efforts and the band seemed to produce more interesting sounds because of it. Garbage’s music was clearly special from the beginning but it was hard to distinguish from all of the other bratty girl rock out at the time. Version 2.0 gave them a new platform and took their shit to the next level.

5. Crazysexycool by TLC

I mean, I couldn’t not include TLC on this list. Crazysexycool, in particular, helped define the R & B sound of the nineties. Their first album, Ooooh…On The TLC Tip, was solid but it felt too immature and gimmicky at times. For their second effort, they decided to use Left Eye’s rap as an added spice rather than the main dish and hired hitmakers Babyface and Prince to give them a more mature and sexy sound. Boy, did they get it. Songs like “Creep” and “Red Light Special” showcase T-Boz’s slinky vocals and could make you blush with its explicit content. Simply put, the album is just a smooth and sexy pop record.

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More From Thought Catalog

  • Scott Southard

    Whelp.  Shut ‘er down boys.  We’re done here.  

    Although I could go for a PJ Harvey album in here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=704016484 Joe Ott

    And…hipster coming out party. Wtf, The Bends isn’t good enough for ya???

  • Anonymous

    WHERE IS TRAGIC KINGDOMMM?! !!

    • http://twitter.com/galette_rois Julian Galette

      THAT’S WHAT I’M FUCKING SAYING! There’s a dangerous lack of No Doubt, Jay-Z and Wu-Tang motherfuckering Clan on this list. 

      • ariel

        Oh yeah! And No Doubt! This list lacks accuracy. 

    • beck

       seriously, THAT is a flawless album. the only no doubt album i still go back and listen to.

  • Falco

    This should’ve been called “10 Reasons Why Ryan O’Connell Has The Worst Taste In Music (Regardless Of The Decade)”

    • Anonymous

      whatever…TLC ruled!

  • A.

    my new car didn’t have an ipod hookup so for literally 3 weeks straight all I listened to was Enema of the State. still not sick of it.

  • http://hydeparkblvd.wordpress.com Allison Berger

    Third. Eye. Blind.

  • anonymous

    Completely ignoring all of 90’s hip-hop, okay fine, be that way.

    • Guest

      Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

  • ryan chang

    my blink fave is definitely ‘dude ranch.’ it has ‘dammit’–what an angst-filled pre-teen jam!

  • Swervedriver

    Are you a Woman?  You picked the top ten most annoying albums from the ’90s.

    • http://twitter.com/nuclearcabbage Nive

       Agreed.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Cock.Thunder Joseph Anthony Nicoletti

        agreed
         

    • http://twitter.com/no_cazador hunter ray

      ew

  • Anonymous

    You forgot Portishead Dummy

  • http://twitter.com/AFDex16 Tony F.

    i think i just threw up in my mouth a little…..

  • Liamb90

    Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Laurn Hill?
    Bjork – Homogenic?

    • anna

      miseducation of lauryn hill is flawless for sure

  • That Guy

    Right…cause Blur is just awful.

    • anon

      boooo

  • http://twitter.com/cream_dreamz Stephanie Jones

    Spice World

  • Nate

    “And now 15 years later, it’s so cool to love Blink-182. It’s so cool to admit you loved Enema Of The State. So there you go. Everything is cyclical, people are stupid and Enema Of The State is really good.” …I feel oddly vindicated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer

    at least 8 of these albums do not come anywhere near flawless

    • EP

      In the ’90s, when you were a child, they were flawless. Also, definitely forgot Backstreet Boys-Millennium. And Elliott Smith-Either/Or.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer

        this might be the douchiest thing that i have ever said in my internet career, and i fully expect to be judged for it, but i didn’t like the majority of these bands when i was a child [sic]

      • Guest

        Yeah, I can’t say I was listening to much of this when I was seven in the early 90s.  

        Achy.  Breaky.  Heart.

  • http://twitter.com/t_baugh Travis Baugh

    Numbers 1 and 9 are true but you forgot about Spiderland, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Repeater, Loveless, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, F#A# Infinity, and most of Stereolab’s career

  • Anonymous

    At least this was objective.

  • Katie

    TLC, Blink, Alanis, Oasis, yes. Maybe Garbage. But where is THIRD EYE BLIND?!

    • K.

      SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

      • oy

        Yes! I was so confused it wasn’t there

    • Adolf Hipster

      Third Eye Blind was fucking terrible. Watered down, radio-friendly, cookie cutter corporate crap rock. 

  • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

    No. Jeff. Buckley.

  • Anonymous

    Live Through This was my middle school anthem. 

  • Anonymous

    I have never cared for Alanis and there is a lack of Belle and Sebastian tbh.

    • Topriko

      then write your own top ten on your blog!!

  • http://twitter.com/WarofArt Joseph

    Blink 182, that’s some serious 90s shit. Brings me back to doing dumb shit with carts, pretending to be Johnny Knoxville.

    Holy shit. It’s like I’m having acid flashbacks.

  • LaurenK

    Definitely can’t believe you left out The Mis-Education of  Lauryn Hill. So flawless, so much more influential and ground breaking than TLC

    • Guest

      I agree, but there’s no need to harsh on TLC.  Crazysexycool is fucking awesome.  

  • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

    i liked this list because it catered to those of us who were kids in the 90s, whose musical roots are, simply, mainstream radio.

    i never knew any ‘indie’ music, nor hip-hop. my 90s was basically just alanis morrisette, though i threw away her cd after i had dreams that she was the devil (prob vis-a-vis her saying “chicken shit” and “fuck”, and me being of the southern christian ‘pray-for-your-soul-if-you-say-bad-words’ variety) but later received her cd as a christmas present and it was like slappy, the dummy from Night of the Living Dummy who kept returning even after lindy and her sister threw him away/buried him/etc.

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