The nineties often get forgotten about when it comes to musical decades but a lot of damn good albums came out of those ten years. From pop and Britpop, to grunge and alternative rock, the nineties saw the world get down and dirty with music, getting experimental with sound and genres by mixing them up. They also saw contemporary country music gain popularity outside of America – a genre that’s more popular than ever now. Here the Culturefly writers reveal the top 20 albums of the nineties, as voted by you.
20. Loveless – My Bloody Valentine (1991) – Nathan Tompkins
Who: Seminal Shoegazers from Belfast, Ireland with a persistent contempt for smiling.
For Fans Of: Slowdive, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Spacemen 3
Why I Love This Album: Loveless re-wrote the possibilities of guitar and noise manipulation, dramatising that loud really could be beautiful.
Stand Out Song: To Here Knows When
Where They Are Now: After a break-up that lasted ten whole years before reformation, MBV continued to work on the follow-up to Loveless in and around 2007. The record, simply titled m b v, was finally put out early this year, making it 22 years between studio releases. M b v was met with huge critical acclaim and looks set as a definite contender for ‘Album of the Year’ from many high-profile publications.
19. Spice – Spice Girls (1996) – Amy Salter
Who: The Spice Girls were a cultural phenomenon across the globe, backed by countless merchandise, and a bloody awful pseudo-documentary movie, but a band that nonetheless crafted some infectiously good pop songs and engaged young girls in the idea of ‘girl power’.
For Fans Of: No band has yet managed to match The Spice Girls, but a few have given it a good go: Little Mix, The Saturdays… The Beatles (this might be stretching it, but the girls’ impact was certainly similar in terms of the mania they created).
Why I Love This Album: I played a Spice Girl once in my primary school play, so it’s safe to say I was a hardcore fan from the start. Spice is entertaining, boisterous, and bursting with personality, just like the band’s five members.
Stand Out Song: Wannabe
Where They Are Now: Middle-aged mums living lives of leisure with their millions, still performing occasionally together for their die-hard fans at small events, the Olympic ceremony for example.
18. Forgiven, Not Forgotten – The Corrs (1995) – Sophie Devlin
Who: Blending a classic 90’s pop sound with traditional Irish melodies, The Corrs are a group of four siblings who rose to fame thanks to their raw talent and unique sound.
For Fans Of: Clannad, Enya
Why I Love This Album: Forgiven, Not Forgotten was the band’s 1995 debut, and it set the scene for their later musical development with a balance struck between original ballads and reworkings of Irish folk songs.
Stand Out Song: The title track, Forgiven Not Forgotten.
Where They Are Now: The Corrs have been on hiatus since 2006, after becoming only the second band to hold the top two positions in the UK album chart simultaneously in 1998 and releasing a number of successful records. Andrea and Sharon Corr are now pursuing solo careers, while all four siblings have been awarded MBEs for their philanthropic work.
17. Wide Open Spaces – Dixie Chicks (1998) – Natalie Xenos
Who: An American country band with a contemporary twist, comprising of lead singer Natalie and sisters Emily & Martie, the Dixie Chicks made country cool. Their fun attitude to performing made them an instant favourite.
For Fans Of: Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, Sugarland
Why I Love This Album: This was the first country album I ever listened to and it solidified my love for the genre. The songs vary from lively country pop to bluesy ballads and have a timeless quality to them – it’s still one of the best country albums out there.
Stand Out Song: Wide Open Spaces is the most listened to but There’s Your Trouble stands out as perhaps the most overlooked song on the album.
Where They Are Now: Following a brief hiatus and then a 2010 tour with The Eagles, the band took some time to focus on other musical projects. They announced in August 2013 that they would be doing their first full-length tour since 2007, with a performance at the C2C festival in London in 2014.
16. The Razors Edge – AC/DC (1990) – Jason Noble
Who: Hard rock behemoths AC/DC, famed for their classic early ‘80s albums returned after several years of sub-par albums with their strongest album since Back In Black.
For Fans Of: Judas Priest, Guns N’ Roses and just about any rock band.
Why I Love This Album: It features tunes that rank as some of the best in their canon.
Stand Out Song: The opening Thunderstruck with its badass intro lick and monumental guitar solos is still a staple of their live set today.
Where They Are Now: The band are now one of the biggest bands around selling out arenas and stadiums the world over but after a lengthy comeback tour are enjoying some down time.
15. Dizzy Up The Girl – Goo Goo Dolls (1998) – Natalie Xenos
Who: An American rock-band formed all the way back in 1985, the Goo Goo Dolls have enjoyed commercial success with a number of singles and albums, though they’re probably best known for their 1998 single, Iris. They’ve sold more than 10 million albums worldwide.
For Fans Of: Lifehouse, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, Train, Counting Crows
Why I Love This Album: Having introduced me to American rock at a tender age, the Goo Goo Dolls have always had a knack for making a really good album and Dizzy Up The Girl features many of the band’s best songs. Providing enough variety so that it never gets dull, DUTG has that perfect balance between driving rock and slow, softer tracks.
Stand Out Song: The upbeat treat that is Slide.
Where They Are Now: This is one band that seem as if they’ll be around forever, not always at the forefront of rock music but constantly in the background. They released their tenth studio album in June 2013.
14. Odelay – Beck (1996) – Kane Basterrechea
Who: Genre-hopping musical magpie and slacker icon.
For Fans Of: The Beastie Boys, The Flaming Lips, DJ Shadow
Why I Love This Album: Beck sounds effortlessly cool as he lazily raps and rocks his way through this uniquely eccentric record.
Stand Out Song: The shambolic Where It’s At.
Where They Are Now: Keeping busy with production duties, soundtracks and side projects though it’s been 5 years since his last proper album.
13. S Club – S Club 7 (1999) – Sophie Devlin
Who: The UK music scene in the 1990’s was characterised in part by a new wave of manufactured groups creat