100 best albums of the '90s

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June 19, 2020
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100 best albums of the '90s

The decade of the 1990s was a really unique and exciting time in music. It’s a period that gave us (and our ears) a little bit of everything from all around the globe, with hundreds of artists in various genres peaking in their careers and experiencing both critical and commercial success with their records.

We saw alternative rock gain huge amounts of mainstream traction with bands like Oasis, U2, and Green Day. The U.K. also had a Britpop boom, with Pulp, Blur, and Suede leading the way in this cultural and musical movement.

Additionally, grunge music really came into its own, with Nirvana and Pearl Jam sailing to the top of the charts with their bold guitar riffs and gritty sounds. Heavy metal, which first came to popularity in the 1970s, continued its aggressive momentum with “thrasher” bands like Metallica and "industrial" acts including Nine Inch Nails. Hip-hop and rap music also experienced a major renaissance, with Notorious B.I.G. and Dr. Dre closing the gap between West Coast and East Coast hip-hop.

Electronic music also had a major moment, with downtempo, ambient, shoegazing, and synth-pop being subgenres; musicians like Bjork, Moby, and Fishmans showed us all we could enjoy electronica whether you were at a dance club or chilling out in your living room.

And we can’t forget about the decade’s solo artists—many of whom are female, like Lauryn Hill and Alanis Morrissette—giving us the emotional ballads and empowering hits we still belt out to this day.

Stacker compiled data on the top 100 albums of the ’90s according to Best Ever Albums, which ranks albums according to their appearance and performance on 40,000 editorial and data-based charts (e.g., Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Billboard, etc.). The Best Ever Albums score is derived from a formula that weighs how many charts an album has appeared on and how high it was on each of those charts, and awards points accordingly. For a more in-depth methodology, click here.

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#100. 'Throwing Copper' by Live

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,514
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 74
- Rank in year: #18
- Rank all-time: #549
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

The American alternative rock band Live put out their second studio album in 1994, which was subsequently certified eight times platinum by the RIAA. All five singles released off of “Throwing Copper” were considered chart-topping successes. Fun fact: the album’s cover art, painted by a Scottish artist, sold for $186,000 in 2005.

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#99. 'August and Everything After' by Counting Crows

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,516
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 73
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #548
- Year: 1993
- Country: US

The Counting Crows first broke onto the scene as rock legends of the ’90s with their debut album “August and Everything After. The album achieved multi-platinum status in many countries and its top single, “Mr. Jones,” peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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#98. 'Little Earthquakes' by Tori Amos

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,539
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #542
- Year: 1992
- Country: US

This debut album began as a 10-track demo tape that was first rejected by Atlantic Records. In response, Amos’s boyfriend rerecorded some of her songs (plus some new ones) in his home studio, and finally released her 13-track album “Little Earthquakes” in the U.K. Amos is credited as songwriter, acoustic and electric pianos, and lead vocals on every track.

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#97. 'The Fat of the Land' by The Prodigy

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,551
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 76
- Rank in year: #13
- Rank all-time: #536
- Year: 1997
- Country: UK

“The Fat of the Land” is the third studio album of The Prodigy, an English electronic music group. As of 2019, the album has sold an impressive 10 million copies around the world, but not without some controversy—feminist groups like The National Organization for Women criticized the track “Smack My B***h Up” for being misogynistic. The band said that the lyrics were used for their sounds instead of their meanings.

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#96. 'Repeater' by Fugazi

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,568
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #535
- Year: 1990
- Country: US

“Repeater” is revered as a beacon in the history of post-hardcore music, a genre that mixes the “anger” of hardcore punk with the avante-garde creativity of post-punk and rock. As Fugazi’s first studio album, it was well-received by critics and has sold over two million copies worldwide.

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#95. 'Vitalogy' by Pearl Jam

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,664
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #17
- Rank all-time: #523
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

"Vitalogy" was a bit of a stylistic departure for Pearl Jam, containing more bellicose rock songs and experimental sounds. Behind the scenes when creating their third album, the band admits things were a bit chaotic—guitarist Mike McCready entered rehab and drummer Dave Abbruzzese got his tonsils removed. But despite these hardships, the fast-selling record was eventually certified five times platinum in the U.S.

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#94. 'To Bring You My Love' by PJ Harvey

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,665
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #522
- Year: 1995
- Country: UK

While “To Bring You My Love” is PJ Harvey’s third studio album, it’s thought to be her most groundbreaking. The English alternative rock record pulled a lot of influence from American blues music and focused more heavily than prior releases from the artist on the subjects of love, loss, and longing in relationships. It was well-praised by critics everywhere and garnered two Grammy nominations.

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#93. 'Angel Dust' by Faith No More

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,827
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #504
- Year: 1992
- Country: US

Though this was Faith No More’s fourth studio album, it’s the first record in which the band’s vocalist, Mike Patton, wrote most of the lyrics; interestingly, he garnered inspiration from unlikely places including fortune cookies, states of sleep deprivation, and people-watching in rough areas. “Angel Dust” sold over 2.5 million copies and was named “Album of the Year” in 1992 by seven different publications.

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#92. 'Ritual de lo Habitual' by Jane's Addiction

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,828
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #503
- Year: 1990
- Country: US

This alternative-metal-slash-funk record was both the second and final studio album put out by Jane’s Addiction, which drew a lot of its inspiration from the dark and bizarre underbelly of 1980s Los Angeles. Though the band broke up in 1991 after its release, the album sold half a million copies just one month after its release and was eventually certified twice platinum in the U.S.

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#91. 'Let Love In' by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,831
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #16
- Rank all-time: #501
- Year: 1994
- Country: Australia

This Australian rock band experienced great success with their eighth studio album, which sold 60,000 records in the U.K. as of 1995 and was certified silver by British Phonographic Industry. Multiple songs on the album were widely covered by other artists including Metallica, PJ Harvey, GIant Sand, and Arctic Monkeys.

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#90. 'Out of Time' by R.E.M.

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,908
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #12
- Rank all-time: #495
- Year: 1991
- Country: US

Alternative rock band R.E.M.’s seventh studio album was more than a chart-topping mainstay—it was also a huge political landmark. The U.S. longbox packaging for “Out of Time” featured a petition that supported Rock the Vote and would allow voters to register at their local DMVs. A month after the album’s release, there were 10,0000 signed petitions and R.E.M.’s lobbying is said to have played a role in President Bill Clinton signing the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

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#89. 'Bee Thousand' by Guided By Voices

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,975
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #15
- Rank all-time: #485
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

“Bee Thousand” was the indie-rock band’s seventh album, unique in the fact it wasn’t recorded in a studio, but instead on inexpensive home recording devices in the band members’ basements. They initially chose the DIY route to save money, but as it turns out, the band grew to prefer the sounds of this “lo-fi” recording style.

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#88. 'Goo' by Sonic Youth

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,087
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #468
- Year: 1990
- Country: US

In their sixth studio album, guitar-crazed Sonic Youth made an impact by diving into topics of women’s empowerment and American society. The song "Tunic (Song for Karen)" was inspired by fellow musician Karen Carpenter’s struggle with an eating disorder, and their famous hit, “Kool Thing,” was in response to an misogyny-laden interview that band member Kim Gordon had with LL Cool J.

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#87. 'The Mollusk' by Ween

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,091
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #12
- Rank all-time: #467
- Year: 1997
- Country: US

Ween’s successful sixth studio album was, believe it or not, influenced by “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Like the popular cartoon show, The Mollusk has a prominent nautical theme throughout, but with psychedelic and progressive rock elements. Band members Gene and Dean Ween both cite The Mollusk as their favorite album.

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#86. 'Play' by Moby

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,133
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #11
- Rank all-time: #460
- Year: 1999
- Country: US

After a previous departure for Moby from his bread-and-butter of electronica music, “Play” went back to his roots and also incorporated hints of ambient, blues, roots, and downtempo genres. While sales of the album were initially tepid, “Play” was eventually a sensation—it was certified platinum in 20 countries and sold over 12 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling electronica album ever.

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#85. 'Keep It Like a Secret' by Built to Spill

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,301
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #10
- Rank all-time: #446
- Year: 1999
- Country: US

The band decided to steer away from the longer tracks that encapsulated their third album; for record #4, they opted to focus on sound and shorter songs, many of which came to fruition during previous jam sessions. “Keep It Like a Secret” garnered mostly positive reviews from critics.

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#84. 'XO' by Elliott Smith

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,327
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #444
- Year: 1998
- Country: US

In 1998, following his performance of “Miss Misery” at the Oscars, Elliott Smith was signed to his first major record label (DreamWorks) and proceeded to put out his fourth solo album, “XO.” The album, fawned over by critics, enlisted the help of producers Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf who've worked with Beck, and featured dizzying melodies and layered sounds from various keyboards, mandolins, stacked vocals, and horns.

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#83. 'Midnight Marauders' by A Tribe Called Quest

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,379
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #441
- Year: 1993
- Country: US

After the wild success of their previous work, A Tribe Called Quest wanted to prove they could do it again. They really brought the funk for their third studio album, playing around with vocal sampling, eclectic drum beats, and developed lyricism. “Midnight Marauders” is associated with pioneering a wave of positive, open-minded hip-hop.

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#82. 'The Chronic' by Dr. Dre

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,387
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #438
- Year: 1992
- Country: US

Dr. Dre’s self-produced debut album was a milestone in popularizing G-funk, a music style that combined 1970s jazz influences and gangsta rap. It’s one of the most influential albums of the decade and arguably ever: In 2020, the Library of Congress chose to preserve “The Chronic” in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

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#81. 'Summerteeth' by Wilco

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,388
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #9
- Rank all-time: #437
- Year: 1999
- Country: US

Wilco’s third studio album showcased the band’s alternative rock style, but with more overdubbing and string sounds than before. Though the group tried and failed to bleed over into modern rock stations by rerecording their single “Can’t Stand It,” the album fared well with critics as an alternative work of art.

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#80. 'Dog Man Star' by Suede

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,484
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #14
- Rank all-time: #430
- Year: 1994
- Country: UK

Britpop group Suede was experiencing some struggles as they put out their second studio album, with clashing creative ideas and one band member quitting halfway through recording. Though it didn’t fare quite as well at the time of release as their first album, some critics calling it “pretentious,” it was eventually certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry.

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#79. 'Bossanova' by Pixies

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,509
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #429
- Year: 1990
- Country: US

Some may say Pixie’s third studio album is out of this world. The Boston-based quartet pulled sound influences from space rock and surf rock, with otherworldly themes (e.g., UFOs and aliens) strung into their lyrics. Reception was mostly positive, especially among their U.K. fan base.

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#78. 'I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One' by Yo La Tengo

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,513
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #11
- Rank all-time: #428
- Year: 1997
- Country: US

With their ninth album, alternative pop group Yo La Tengo proved they still had their guitar-driven magic touch. “I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One'' was widely praised by critics for being simultaneously powerful yet softer in mood, and was also the band’s most commercially successful record ever.

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#77. 'Rust in Peace' by Megadeth

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,531
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #427
- Year: 1990
- Country: US

Megadeth's fourth studio album is regarded as one of the best thrash metal albums in history. The record produced two of the band’s biggest anthems, "Hangar 18" and "Holy Wars ... the Punishment Due,” and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 1991.

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#76. 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' by Lauryn Hill

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,584
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #423
- Year: 1998
- Country: US

Lauryn Hill came onto the scene with her debut solo album and left a big mark on R&B and neo soul music forever. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” cleaned house at the Grammys in 1999—with 10 nominations, five of which were wins. The album made her the first woman to be nominated that many times in one show.

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#75. 'Soundtracks for the Blind' by Swans

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,601
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #420
- Year: 1996
- Country: US

Swans first rose to popularity in the early 1980s and they kept their momentum going through the mid 1990s. Released on double CD, “Soundtracks for the Blind” was their 10th and last studio album—and some critics called it the rock group’s best album ever.

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#74. 'American Football' by American Football

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,664
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #417
- Year: 1999
- Country: US

Emo-rock group American Football made their debut with their namesake first album (though the band broke up right after its release). Its rise to fame was slow, first seeing some airplay on college radio stations, then eventually garnering a cult fan following and great accolades from critics.

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#73. 'The Holy Bible' by Manic Street Preachers

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,763
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #13
- Rank all-time: #405
- Year: 1994
- Country: UK

The Welsh alternative rock group was going through some hard times during the creation of their third album. Songwriter and guitarist Richey Edwards was suffering from self-harm and depressive disorders, which was reflected in the darker song lyrics and expressive themes. Record sale numbers weren't very impressive, but on the contrary, its critical acclaim was.

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#72. '69 Love Songs' by The Magnetic Fields

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,912
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #392
- Year: 1999
- Country: US

As the story goes, songwriter and producer Stephin Merritt birthed the idea for the band’s sixth album in an NYC piano bar. The successful three-volume collection comprises 69 tunes about love across various genres—from country to synth-pop to classic ballads—although Merritt has claimed “‘69 Love Songs’ is not remotely an album about love. It's an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love.”

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#71. '98.12.28 Otokotachi no Wakare' by Fishmans

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,943
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 89
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #389
- Year: 1999
- Country: Japan

The Japanese electronic dub group went out on a high note with their third and final album. The work is a live recording of Fishmans’ last-ever performance as a group in Tokyo. Though “98.12.28 Otokotachi no Wakare” marked the end of an era, it’s credited as the highest-rated live album in history, based on rankings at RateYourMusic.

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#70. 'Nowhere' by Ride

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,371
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #366
- Year: 1990
- Country: UK

Prior to 1990, the Britpop group Ride had released three EPs, but “Nowhere” was their debut full studio album. It’s often regarded by critics as a seminal work in the shoegazing genre and holds its own on a myriad of Best Album lists.

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#69. 'Emergency & I' by The Dismemberment Plan

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,372
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #365
- Year: 1999
- Country: US

“Emergency & I” was album #3 for The Dismemberment Plan, a band hailing from Washington D.C. Critics gave it rave reviews for its rhythms, keyboards, and lyrics, with Rolling Stone even naming it "a game-changer for indie rock fans,"

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#68. 'The Boatman's Call' by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,382
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #10
- Rank all-time: #364
- Year: 1997
- Country: Australia

Australian band Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds made a significant left turn with their tenth studio album, transitioning from avante-garde punk to subdued, slow-tempo piano ballads. Music critics loved hearing the softer side of Cave, with some calling it their most emotionally moving album yet.

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Polydor

#67. ‘Long Season’ by Fishmans

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,689
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 87
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #348
- Year: 1996
- Country: Japan

“Long Season” is the sixth studio album of Fishmans. As opposed to having a regular track list, the band decided to create a “one track album,” meaning the whole record is one 35-minute song broken up into five parts.

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#66. '13' by Blur

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,779
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #341
- Year: 1999
- Country: UK

Previously, Blur had put out albums that fell in the Britpop genre, then they branched into alternative rock—but as an attempt to keep changing, their sixth studio album touched on various genres, including electronic and experimental sounds. “13” quickly shot up to the top of the U.K. charts and was eventually certified platinum.

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#65. 'Debut' by Björk

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,820
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #338
- Year: 1993
- Country: Iceland

With her aptly-named first album, Icelandic artist Björk made her debut as a solo artist with a myriad of music styles that were new to her repertoire, including electronic pop and house music.

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#64. 'Liquid Swords' by GZA

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,822
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #337
- Year: 1995
- Country: US

GZA, rapper and Wu-Tang Clan band member, released his sophomore solo album in 1995 while his band was still experiencing success (all nine band members also made guest appearances on the album). "Liquid Swords" was awarded platinum status by the RIAA for selling over one million copies, and is still regarded as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time.

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#63. 'Jagged Little Pill' by Alanis Morissette

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,862
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #334
- Year: 1995
- Country: Canada

"Jagged Little Pill" is Morissette’s third studio album and first international album (her first two were only released in her home country of Canada). It still featured her signature angst-ridden (and often angry) lyrics, but with new alternative rock sounds and poppier vibe. The album sold an impressive 33 million copies across the globe and made Morissette the first Canadian artist to reach the double diamond certification threshold.

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#62. 'Blue Lines' by Massive Attack

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,013
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #11
- Rank all-time: #326
- Year: 1991
- Country: UK

Massive Attack, the three-member electronic group hailing from Bristol, England, released their first studio album “Blue Lines” in 1991. It paved the way for British dance music and is considered the first trip-hop album, a beat-heavy music genre also called “downtempo.” In 2012, “Blue Lines” was later reworked and rereleased into an even more upbeat version of itself.

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#61. 'The Colour and the Shape' by Foo Fighters

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,062
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #9
- Rank all-time: #325
- Year: 1997
- Country: US

Alternative grunge band Foo Fighters came back in 1997 with a second studio album, which boasted a more-modern rock vibe. It fared quite well with critics and listeners alike, selling more than two million copies in the U.S. and receiving a Grammy nomination in 1998 for Best Rock Album.

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#60. 'Aquemini' by OutKast

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,408
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #311
- Year: 1998
- Country: US

The southern hip-hop duo released their third soul-infused studio album in the late ’90s, which stood out for its eccentric lyrics and unique use of live instruments, including pianos, harmonicas, horns, and guitars. The record went on to get certified double platinum for its impressive sales.

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#59. 'Perfect From Now On' by Built to Spill

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,418
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #310
- Year: 1997
- Country: US

It took a few times to get “Perfect From Now On” to be “perfect”—the band recorded the album three times in its entirety before it was finally released in 1997. It was Built to Spill’s third studio album and considered their best work, inspiring indie rock acts for years to come.

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#58. 'Music Has the Right to Children' by Boards of Canada

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,588
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #300
- Year: 1998
- Country: UK

The debut studio album of this Scottish pair of brothers still holds its legacy as one of the best electronica albums of all time. Throughout the record's 17 tracks, you hear the artists’ unique style of synthesizers and analog audio, plus pop and hip-hop elements.

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#57. 'Vs.' by Pearl Jam

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,632
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #295
- Year: 1993
- Country: US

With a new producer and drummer, Pearl Jam had some reservations about how they would top the critical success of their debut record. They went the route of releasing a sophomore album that was heavier and rawer than their first, which resonated with fans and critics alike. “Vs.” was certified seven times platinum with the RIAA.

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#56. 'Ready to Die' by The Notorious B.I.G.

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,648
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #12
- Rank all-time: #292
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

In a time when West Coast hip-hop was ruling the music scene, Biggie Smalls debuted “Ready to Die” and put East Coast hip-hop back on the map. Three successful singles came off the album—"Juicy," "Big Poppa," and "One More Chance"—which garnered Biggie praise for his signature rap storytelling about rough-and-tumble themes.

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#55. 'Screamadelica' by Primal Scream

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,838
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #10
- Rank all-time: #286
- Year: 1991
- Country: UK

Though it was Primal Scream’s third studio album, it was their first to achieve chart success. Steering away from their indie rock style for their record, the band instead pulled influences from the growing popularity of house music, plus dub electronic and gospel music. “Screamadelica” has sold three million copies to date.

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#54. 'Post' by Björk

- Best Ever Albums score: 7,109
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #279
- Year: 1995
- Country: Iceland

Björk wrote material for her second studio album “Post” while living in London, giving the final work an eclectic, clubby, and cityscape vibe. The art-pop record birthed six successful singles, including "Army of Me," "Isobel," and "It's Oh So Quiet," and was certified platinum in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Canada.

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#53. 'Urban Hymns' by The Verve

- Best Ever Albums score: 7,283
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #271
- Year: 1997
- Country: UK

The Verve’s third studio album is the alternative rock gift that gave us “Bitter Sweet Symphony” and has sold over ten million copies worldwide. “Urban Hymns” received universal praise from the get-go, winning two Brit Awards in 1998 and going on to be the 18th best-selling album in the U.K. ever.

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#52. 'F-Sharp, A-Sharp, InfinityAe' by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

- Best Ever Albums score: 7,690
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #255
- Year: 1997
- Country: Canada

This Canadian rock group’s debut studio album was mostly instrumental, full of sample sounds and field recordings; the end result had an “apocalyptic” vibe that greatly inspired British director Danny Boyle during the making of the horror film “28 Days Later." Critics praised the album for being innovative and powerful.

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#51. 'Selected Ambient Works 85-92' by Aphex Twin

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,246
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #245
- Year: 1992
- Country: UK

British electronic musician Richard D. James (aka Aphex Twin) made his debut with this 13-track album on cassette. “Selected Ambient Works 85-92,” which focused on beats and textures, is considered an important work in the ambient techno genre. Come 2012, “Fact” magazine would call it the best album of the decade.

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#50. 'Moon Safari' by Air

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,282
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #243
- Year: 1998
- Country: France

In a time when intense trip-hop and techno was ruling the dance scene, the electronica duo Air broke barriers with “Moon Safari,” a collection of downtempo mostly-instrumental songs that you could also mellow out to and listen to the ambiance from a lounge chair. It remains their best-selling album and was complimented by critics.

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#49. 'Heaven or Las Vegas' by Cocteau Twins

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,420
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #239
- Year: 1990
- Country: UK

With their sixth studio album, the Cocteau Twins tapped into real-life experiences with their songwriting; this resulted in a collection of 10 songs that critics praised for being their most direct and approachable work. It was commercially successful as well, reaching #7 on the U.K. Best Album charts.

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#48. 'Aenima' by Tool

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,468
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #235
- Year: 1996
- Country: US

Tool is the epitome of alternative metal music. With their second album, they succeeded in creating a strange and expressive collection that focused on edgy sounds, cryptic lyrics, and even themes of religious fundamentalism. Its bizarreness was well-received, debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200 and eventually winning a Grammy for Best Metal Performance with their title track.

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#47. 'Dirt' by Alice in Chains

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,684
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #227
- Year: 1992
- Country: US

“Dirt” was Alice in Chains’ second and arguably best record. The album as a whole was rock-meets-metal, focusing on edgy and highly emotional topics like depression, drugs, death, pain, and others. It was also the band’s best seller, going on to be certified five times platinum by the RIAA.

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#46. 'Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space' by Spiritualized

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,766
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #224
- Year: 1997
- Country: UK

“Space rock” is a vague genre full of celestial sounds and outer space themes, and Spiritualized fully encompassed that vibe with their third album. “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space” went on to receive the highly sought-after recognition of best album of the year by NME in 1997.

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#45. 'Odelay' by Beck

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,771
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #223
- Year: 1996
- Country: US

Beck finally broke out of the “one-hit wonder” mold with his fifth and most-successful studio album; it produced a few successful singles like "Where It's At" and "Devils Haircut" and won a Grammy in 1997. “Odelay” is highly praised and impressively spans various genres, from folk music to country, grunge, and rock.

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#44. 'Metallica' by Metallica

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,979
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #9
- Rank all-time: #214
- Year: 1991
- Country: US

Metallica was formerly putting out thrash metal music, but with the band’s eponymous and fifth album, they steered a bit more toward the heavy-metal route with some slower rhythmic songs. The Black Album saw high commercial success, producing five singles including “Enter Sandman” and “The Unforgiven,” selling an extremely impressive 16 million copies in the U.S..

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#43. 'Parklife' by Blur

- Best Ever Albums score: 9,393
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #11
- Rank all-time: #204
- Year: 1994
- Country: UK

Blue’s third studio album “Parklife” was released during the height of “Cool Britannia,” a movement that celebrated British pride, culture, music, and art. The Bripop record delivered four singles including “Girls & Boys” and “End of a Century,” and was certified four times platinum in the U.K.; it also went on to sell five million copies around the world.

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#42. 'Dookie' by Green Day

- Best Ever Albums score: 9,416
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #10
- Rank all-time: #203
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

Though “Dookie” was the third studio album for these punk-rock kings, it was Green Day’s first album release with a major record label. At first, independent music lovers revolted and called them sellouts—but soon enough, the album received worldwide acclaim and became the band's best-selling record. It was certified diamond by the RIAA and is still said to have played a major role in bringing popularity to punk rock music.

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#41. 'Superunknown' by Soundgarden

- Best Ever Albums score: 9,471
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #9
- Rank all-time: #199
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

American rock-grunge group Soundgarden really found themselves (and international stardom) with their fourth studio album. “Superunknown” achieved not only commercial success‚ as it was certified five times platinum by the RIAA, but critical accolades as well.

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#40. 'Slanted and Enchanted' by Pavement

- Best Ever Albums score: 9,778
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #194
- Year: 1992
- Country: US

Pavement’s debut album set the bar for other indie rock acts to follow, and is revered as a prominent masterpiece in the genre. As stated by the band’s lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist Stephen Malkmus, “I think ‘Slanted and Enchanted’ probably is the best record we made, only because it's less self-conscious and has an unrepeatable energy about it.”

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#39. 'Californication' by Red Hot Chili Peppers

- Best Ever Albums score: 10,056
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #188
- Year: 1999
- Country: US

The Chili Peppers seemed to mellow out and pivot a bit in their seventh studio album. Though it still had a fun-rock vibe and no shortage of sexual innuendos, “Californication” was a bit more spiritual and personal with its lyrics and composition. The album sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, and its hit single “Scar Tissue” scored them a Grammy.

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#38. 'Different Class' by Pulp

- Best Ever Albums score: 10,083
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #187
- Year: 1995
- Country: UK

Britpop group Pulp saw continued success with their fifth studio album. Its title, “Different Class,” is in subtle reference to social classes in Britain during that time, which was a running theme throughout some of the album’s songs. Come 2013, the “New Musical Express” would list it as #6 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

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#37. 'Laughing Stock' by Talk Talk

- Best Ever Albums score: 10,840
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 85
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #178
- Year: 1991
- Country: UK

With its experimental instrumental sounds (the band used harmoniums, organs, violas, and uniquely a water heater and kettle) and often-improvised recording sessions, “Laughing Stock” initially received mixed reviews from critics. Today, however, it is widely considered a brilliant masterpiece of the post-rock genre.

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#36. 'The Lonesome Crowded West' by Modest Mouse

- Best Ever Albums score: 10,842
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #177
- Year: 1997
- Country: US

Modest Mouse’s second studio album is regarded as more diverse than the first, with some indie-rock-slash-punk jams, some acoustic-forward songs, and suburbia social commentary in the lyrics. Critics applauded the record, which as of 2000, sold over 60,000 copies.

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#35. 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain' by Pavement

- Best Ever Albums score: 10,940
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #173
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

In 1994, the American indie rock group Pavement released their sophomore album “Crooked Rain,” which had a more mainstream rock vibe than their last work. Despite the fact the band replaced their drummer Gary Young with Steve West and experienced lukewarm success in the U.S., the album still leaves its legacy as a critical success. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, a writer for “AllMusic, called the record "a vibrant, dynamic, emotionally resonant album that stands as a touchstone of underground rock in the '90s and one of the great albums of its decade."

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#34. 'The Low End Theory' by A Tribe Called Quest

- Best Ever Albums score: 11,315
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 85
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #161
- Year: 1991
- Country: US

A Tribe Called Quest’s second album is a musical landmark, as it’s regarded as the album to successfully fuse jazz and hip-hop. “The Low End Theory,” which was certified platinum by the RIAA, is highly praised for its production (which was mostly done by group member Q-Tip) and its lyricism.

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#33. 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' by Red Hot Chili Peppers

- Best Ever Albums score: 11,774
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #157
- Year: 1991
- Country: US

“Blood Sugar Sex Magik” was the band’s fifth studio album, and the one that can take credit for launching them into worldwide stardom. The Red Hot Chili Peppers had a reputation for being four raunchy and wild funk-rock guys, but this album showed their artistic prowess; it had five successful singles, including “Give It Away” and “Under the Bridge,” and sold over 13 million copies.

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#32. 'Mezzanine' by Massive Attack

- Best Ever Albums score: 12,112
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #152
- Year: 1998
- Country: UK

British group Massive Attack branched out with more electronic sounds on their sophomore album. Though the band experienced creative disagreements and almost broke up during production of Mezzanine, the final product went on to climb charts in the U.K., Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.

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#31. 'MTV Unplugged In New York' by Nirvana

- Best Ever Albums score: 12,363
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #146
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

Featuring an acoustic performance by Nirvana, this live album was recorded at Sony Music Studios in New York City for the TV series “MTV Unplugged.” It included mostly deep cuts and cover songs, and marked the first Nirvana album released after Kurt Cobain’s death. The work received a Grammy for the Best Alternative Music Album and has been certified five times platinum.

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#30. 'The Downward Spiral' by Nine Inch Nails

- Best Ever Albums score: 12,546
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #143
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

NIN’s second studio album deviated a bit from their synthpop first album. “The Downward Spiral” presented more of an intense rock and heavy metal vibe, infused with themes of destruction, sex, and depression. While some conservative people were offended by the record’s harsh language and sounds, critics praised the masterpiece and call it one of the most important musical works of the ’90s.

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#29. 'Endtroducing.....' by DJ Shadow

- Best Ever Albums score: 12,963
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #140
- Year: 1996
- Country: US

American record producer DJ Shadow first found success in the U.K. with “Endtroducing.” His debut album, a compilation of sample sounds from vinyl records and hip hop instrumentals, topped the U.K. Albums Charts and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry. It eventually caught wind in the U.S. and landed at #37 on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart.

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#28. 'Either/Or' by Elliott Smith

- Best Ever Albums score: 13,190
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #133
- Year: 1997
- Country: US

Singer-songwriter Elliot Smith released his third indie folk album in 1997. Even though the “Either/Or” didn’t top the charts in America, critics applauded the record; so did film director Gus Van Sant, who loved the record so much, he included three of its tracks on the “Good Will Hunting” soundtrack.

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#27. 'Souvlaki' by Slowdive

- Best Ever Albums score: 13,775
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 85
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #127
- Year: 1993
- Country: UK

Slowdive’s second studio album, “Souvlaki,” is considered an exemplar of shoegazing—a U.K.-born subgenre that’s basically indie rock in psychedelic overdrive. The record received universal praise and peaked at spot 51 on the U.K. albums chart.

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#26. 'Violator' by Depeche Mode

- Best Ever Albums score: 13,810
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #126
- Year: 1990
- Country: UK

With their seventh studio album “Violator,” English synth-pop group Depeche Mode mixed electronic sounds with some alternative rock and classical elements; the album expanded their fan base and garnered them commercial success. According to band member Martin Gore, the aggressive, heavy metal-esque name of the album was chosen as a joke.

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#25. 'Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)' by Wu-Tang Clan

- Best Ever Albums score: 14,433
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #120
- Year: 1993
- Country: US

Hailing from Staten Island, New York, the Wu-Tang Clan played a major role in bringing back East Coast hip-hop with their debut album. “Chambers 36,” chock-full of sharp rhymes, explicit lyrics, and big sounds, was certified platinum by 1995; by 2008, it went triple platinum.

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#24. 'Rage Against the Machine' by Rage Against the Machine

- Best Ever Albums score: 14,628
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #117
- Year: 1992
- Country: US

Rap-metal group Rage Against the Machine first came on the scene in the early ’90s with their eponymous and politically-driven first album. It peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers chart and was just as big of a hit with critics.

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#23. 'If You're Feeling Sinister' by Belle And Sebastian

- Best Ever Albums score: 14,650
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #116
- Year: 1996
- Country: UK

Indie pop group Belle and Sebastian was led by Scottish musician Stuart Murdoch, who calls the band’s sophomore album, “If You're Feeling Sinister,” his best-ever collection of tunes. Critics agreed, with publications like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone featuring the record on their Best Albums lists.

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#22. 'Homogenic' by Björk

- Best Ever Albums score: 15,321
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #113
- Year: 1997
- Country: Iceland

Art-pop artist Björk saw success and praise with her third studio album, which she created as a homage to her native country of Iceland. The tracks feature a myriad of string instruments and a mix of electronic beats, a combination that mirrors Iceland’s wild nature and modernism.

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#21. 'Definitely Maybe' by Oasis

- Best Ever Albums score: 15,597
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #111
- Year: 1994
- Country: UK

Britpop group Oasis put out their first album “Definitely Maybe” in 1994, zooming straight to the top of the charts in the U.K. The debut also went on to be certified seven times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. Critics praised the album for being a breath of fresh, optimistic air in the wake of grunge’s pessimism.

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#20. 'Achtung Baby' by U2

- Best Ever Albums score: 15,636
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #110
- Year: 1991
- Country: Ireland

“Achtung Baby” was U2’s anticipated seventh studio album after the band took a three-year hiatus from putting out music. The band really expanded their musical repertoire with this record, drawing elements from alternative rock and electronic dance music. Though recording sessions were reportedly riddled with tension, the album was a true success, selling over 18 million copies worldwide and snagging a Grammy in 1993 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

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#19. 'The Soft Bulletin' by The Flaming Lips

- Best Ever Albums score: 15,914
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #103
- Year: 1999
- Country: US

Psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips went a slightly different route with their ninth studio album; they softened things up a bit, creating a collection of more emotional and relatable tracks to orchestral sounds. “The Soft Bulletin” topped numerous charts and ended up being the pinnacle of the band’s career.

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#18. 'Pinkerton' by Weezer

- Best Ever Albums score: 16,683
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #94
- Year: 1996
- Country: US

Weezer’s sophomore studio album was self-produced and stylistically different from their upbeat debut, showcasing darker themes and more intense sounds. “Pinkerton,” which was named after the character BF Pinkerton from the opera “Madama Butterfly,” at first received mixed reviews, but eventually went on to achieve certified platinum status.

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#17. 'Spiderland' by Slint

- Best Ever Albums score: 17,268
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #90
- Year: 1991
- Country: US

Slint’s second and final studio album had a slow yet eventually triumphant rise to fame—it eventually sold over 50,000 copies and is recognized as a game-changer in the experimental underground music scene. "Spiderland" was unique in that it featured lots of dramatic and harsh guitar sounds mixed with spoken lyrics.

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#16. 'Dummy' by Portishead

- Best Ever Albums score: 19,936
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #76
- Year: 1994
- Country: UK

Portishead’s debut album “Dummy” is often recognized as the album that mainstreamed trip-hop, a genre of music popular in ’90s England that meshes hip-hop and electronica. With singles like “Numb,” “Glory Box,” and “Sour Times,” the record was a success and was eventually certified triple platinum in the U.K. come 2019.

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#15. 'Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness' by The Smashing Pumpkins

- Best Ever Albums score: 20,050
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #74
- Year: 1995
- Country: US

The Smashing Pumpkins’ third studio album was released on two discs; the two halves represented day and night and contained 28 tracks that really ran the gamut stylistically. The record received seven Grammy nominations in 1997 and with over 10 million copies sold, it was eventually certified diamond by the RIAA.

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#14. 'Illmatic' by Nas

- Best Ever Albums score: 20,186
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #73
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

In 1994, New York City-based rapper Nas broke onto the scene with his debut album “Illmatic”—a work that's highly regarded as an icon in the “hardcore” East Coast hip-hop movement. Music critics gave Nas great praise for his album’s lyrics and production; though sales were low at first, the record was eventually certified platinum in 2001.

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#13. 'Weezer (The Blue Album)' by Weezer

- Best Ever Albums score: 22,098
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #68
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

Weezer’s first and namesake album (also simply called “Blue Album” by way of its cover) rose this rock band to fame in the early–mid ’90s. In the heart of the grunge era, Weezer stood out with their more-vibrant sound and lyrical themes of awkwardness, romance, and family drama. The Blue Album was their most successful record and was certified triple platinum.

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#12. 'Ágætis byrjun' by Sigur Rós

- Best Ever Albums score: 23,084
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #63
- Year: 1999
- Country: Iceland

“Ágætis byrjun,” which translates to “a good beginning” in Iceleandic, is Sigur Rós’ second studio album and their most successful. Lead guitarist Jónsi Birgisson first introduced his cello-bowed guitar-playing, which became his distinctive style. All songs on the album are sung in Icelandic or gibberish vocals invented by the band for their rhythms, rather than their meanings.

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#11. 'Grace' by Jeff Buckley

- Best Ever Albums score: 23,626
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #59
- Year: 1994
- Country: US

Surprisingly, Jeff Buckley’s one and only album initially received poor sales and mixed reviews (it peaked at #149 on U.S. charts). However, the alternative-slash-folk-rock record slowly but surely experienced success, eventually selling over two million copies as of 2007 and receiving critical praise.

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#10. 'Automatic for the People' by R.E.M.

- Best Ever Albums score: 23,793
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #58
- Year: 1992
- Country: US

R.E.M’s eighth studio album was a stylistic departure from their previous work. While they initially planned on creating a rock and roll record, “Automatic for the People” ended up more ballad-like, focusing on more-melancholy themes of loss. The album was certified six times platinum in the U.K. and four times platinum in the U.S..

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#9. 'In Utero' by Nirvana

- Best Ever Albums score: 24,224
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #55
- Year: 1993
- Country: US

After Nirvana came to great fame with their album “Nevermind,” their third (and final) studio album “In Utero” was far more abrasive and chaotic in its sounds. That said, it was still a great success for the trio, selling over 15 million copies worldwide.

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#8. 'Siamese Dream' by The Smashing Pumpkins

- Best Ever Albums score: 24,605
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 85
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #54
- Year: 1993
- Country: US

In the midst of working on their second studio album, the lead singer and songwriter of Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan, suffered a nervous breakdown and started going to therapy—the result being more-emotionally-charged lyrics and blunt references to his troubles. “Siamese Dream” was a critical success as soon as it was released, and is often called one of the best albums of all time.

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#7. '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?' by Oasis

- Best Ever Albums score: 24,759
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #53
- Year: 1995
- Country: UK

Oasis’ second studio album, boasting a little more of a pop vibe than their debut, put this Britpop group on the map forever (even after their eventual breakup). With iconic songs like “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova,” the record has sold over 20 million copies copies to date.

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#6. 'Ten' by Pearl Jam

- Best Ever Albums score: 25,731
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #50
- Year: 1991
- Country: US

Pearl Jam came in hot on the grunge scene and left their mark with their wildly-successful debut album (and most commercially-successful album to date). The record was certified 13 times platinum and produced three hit tracks including “Jeremy,” which received two Grammy nominations.

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#5. 'Loveless' by My Bloody Valentine

- Best Ever Albums score: 42,366
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #22
- Year: 1991
- Country: Ireland

“Loveless” was a labor of love—it took over two-and-a-half years to record, as the band changed recording studios 19 times. The juice was definitely worth the squeeze: With its experimental guitar techniques, critics like Rolling Stone still dub it to be one of the greatest albums of all time.

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#4. 'The Bends' by Radiohead

- Best Ever Albums score: 46,526
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 87
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #20
- Year: 1995
- Country: UK

Radiohead topped the U.K. album charts with their second studio album, which was a bit more abstract and less grunge than their first. With “The Bend,” which went triple platinum in the U.K. and Canada, the band influenced and paved the way for a new wave of Britpop musicians, including James Blunt and Coldplay.

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#3. 'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea' by Neutral Milk Hotel

- Best Ever Albums score: 55,664
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 88
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #16
- Year: 1998
- Country: US

Neutral Milk Hotel’s sophomore album was so unconventional, it was hard to pigeonhole it into a musical genre. Some say it was indie rock, others say psychedelic folk, but what made it so unique was the way they included sounds from instruments like the singing saw, zanzithophone, and uilleann pipes. The record was a success and garnered a cult following with listeners.

99 / 100
Paul Bergen // Getty Images

#2. 'Nevermind' by Nirvana

- Best Ever Albums score: 55,793
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 87
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #15
- Year: 1991
- Country: US

“Nevermind” has sold over 30 million copies to date and is certified diamond by the RIAA, but Nirvana’s sophomore album is so much more than a commercial success—it can take credit for making grunge and alternative rock music more “mainstream.” The album art, which shows a naked baby submerged in a pool with a dollar bill on a fishhook, is one of the most highly-recognized album covers out there.

100 / 100
Jim Steinfeldt // Getty Images

#1. 'OK Computer' by Radiohead

- Best Ever Albums score: 107,829
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 92
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #1
- Year: 1997
- Country: UK

With its moody sounds, abstract lyrics, and unexpected instrumentals, Radiohead’s third album is widely considered a masterpiece by critics, listeners, and other musicians. The band drew inspiration from Miles Davis’s jazz-fusion album “Bitches Brew” and recorded most of “OK Computer” in a historic stone mansion in Bath, England. Alex Ross from The New Yorker applauded the experimentation on “OK Computer,” saying, "Throughout the album, contrasts of mood and style are extreme... This band has pulled off one of the great art-pop balancing acts in the history of rock."

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