Putting together a list of my top five albums from the 1990’s was an enjoyable one because I grew up listening to a lot of 90’s music. It was also difficult because there was a wealth of albums to choose from and I had to leave some of my favourites out, even though they get an honourable mention at the end of the article.
Blur – The Great Escape
Blur’s The Great Escape was the first album I ever got into and to this day it remains one of my all time favourites albums. My dad had this album in his music collection and I used to put it on my stereo all the time and listen to the songs, often playing along on my trusted air guitar to many of the tunes. Even though it may not be seen as Blur’s best album, it’s my favourite because of the sentimental feelings I get every time I listen to it.
Even though Parklife is their most talked about album I do think The Great Escape contains superior songs in my opinion. The likes of It Could Be You, Charmless Man, The Universal, Mr. Robinson’s Quango and Stereotypes make this an extremely enjoyable album to listen to. The song Ernold Same is the only duff song on the album, the less talked about that one the better, but as a whole it’s a classic.
Blur – 13
Another Blur album makes my top five studio albums from the 1990’s in the form of their superb 1999 album 13. In my eyes it’s their best album and my second favourite album of theirs after The Great Escape. The album was written in more of a jam style than previous albums and the end result are thirteen incredible songs that saw Blur develop more than all of the other Britpop bands put together, including Oasis, who only really had one style of music. Blur on the other hand evolved and 13 was the pinnacle of that evolution as a four piece.
It’s difficult to choose which songs on the album are my favourites because they are all so good but the ones that stand out the most are Tender, Bugman, Coffee & TV, B.L.U.R.E.M.I., Battle and Caramel. Those six give me goosebumps every time I listen to them and they also take me back to certain places I was at in the past, a moulding of music and memories. This would be Blur’s last full album as a four piece until 2015’s The Magic Whip and as well as making my top five albums from the 1990’s it’s also one of my favourite albums of all time.
The Rentals – Return Of The Rentals
I first listened to this album in the late 2000’s after watching a video of Blur performing a song called Friends Of P. live with The Rentals. After a bit of researching I discovered that song was from their debut album Return Of The Rentals which I bought immediately. Since then it’s become one of my go-to 90’s albums and The Rentals one of my favourite bands. The band is led by ex-Weezer bassist Matt Sharp and in my opinion it’s better than any album Weezer have and will ever make.
It’s an extremely underrated album that contains ten incredible songs with some of the best guitar tones of the 90’s. There’s something so fun about the songs on this album and on top of that it’s a really good driving album. I speak from experience when I say that. The Rentals would go on to record a second album in 1999 but it wouldn’t live up to the greatest of their debut which will forever be one of my favourite albums. It’s exceptional.
Foo Fighters – There Is Nothing Left To Lose
The Foo Fighters have been one of my all-time favourite bands for a long time and this album is fantastic on all levels. Since this album was released the band have moved away from their signature sound, a sound that is found on all of their 1990’s album as well as 2002’s One By One. But for me this is their best album and my favourite as well because when you put it on you instantly know who it i, that classic sound that marks the Foo Fighters as one of the best rock bands of all time.
The most well known well known song from the album is the classic Learn To Fly which had an incredible music video on an airplane featuring Jack Black. Even though that’s the standout track the album is packed full of other gems including Breakout, Gimme Stitches, Aurora and Next Year.
Eric Clapton – From The Cradle
After Clapton’s 1989 Journeyman album he went on a blues rollercoaster ride which included his 1992 live album Unplugged and ended with this 1994 album From The Cradle. This album contains Clapton’s best and most explosive playing since Derek and the Dominos. The album is pure blues and in many ways a natural successor to the Beano album he recorded with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers way back in 1966. It’s superb on ever level.
At this point in his career Clapton had certainly recaptured the same guitar playing ability which labeled him as GOD in the sixties. It’s often accepted that Clapton’s playing just wasn’t the same after Derek and the Dominos in 1970 due to a drug and then alcohol addiction which he wouldn’t fully shake until the 1980’s. But by 1994 Clapton was well and truly back and delivered his best album in decades. The stand out tracks for me are Reconsider Baby, Five Long Years, It Hurts Me Too and Someday After A While but in reality it’s a solid album and arguably one of the best blues albums of all time. It’s also one of my favourites and makes my top five albums list from the 1990’s.
Blur – Modern Life Is Rubbish, Blur – Blur, The Rolling Stones – Voodoo Lounge, The Cardigans – Gran Turismo.
Next week I will be sharing with you my top five favourite studio albums from the 2000’s.
In the mean time though, feel free to leave a comment specifying which albums YOU would have chosen from the 1900’s.