Friday, July 13, 2007

Top 5 Albums 1990-1999

Dan's Top 5:

1. Radiohead - OK Computer - The #2 best album ever, and easily the best of the 90's. Probably reestablished rock as an art form with it's rich textures, and still accessible as it was before Radiohead's ultra-weird phase (Kid A and Amnesiac).

2. Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory? - When you rip off the Beatles' style for writing songs, you're going to still be awesome. Best collection of singable songs from the decade.

3. Weezer - Weezer (The Blue Album) - For me, the quintessential alternative album. Pop songs full of nothing but loud guitar. Also contains the epic "Only in Dreams," which always finds its way into my personal top ten.

4. Beck - Odelay - The first album, I think to mix elements of hip hop and alternative, which would eventually lead to great music from the likes of Gorillaz. speaking of which...

5. Blur - Parklife - Included mostly for the title track and "Girls & Boys," but also for shock value, as it's an oft-overlooked album.

Honorable mentions - Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Nirvana - Nevermind, Green Day - Dookie

Ryan's Top 5:

1. Whatever and Ever Amen - Ben Folds Five – It’s not for nothing that they’re one of my favorite bands of all-time. Other than the Beatles’ big ones, this is the only album where I could very easily rattle off each individual track in order. I wouldn’t think of skipping any track. Includes a lot of my BFF favorites: One Angry Dwarf; Brick; Selfless, Cold, and Composed; Kate; Battle of Who Could Care Less; Evaporated.

2. Weezer (blue album) - Weezer - I'll agree with Dan here, it's about as close to perfect that an alternative album can get.

3. (What's the Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis - I was so content with my favorite singles from this album for so long (Wonder Wall, Don't Look Back in Anger, Champagne Supernova, Roll With It, Morning Glory) that it took probably years for me to realize the rest of the album is great too.

4. Urban Hymns - The Verve - Not sure where everyone else rates this album but for me, it's one of the best of the decade. Includes the excellent Bitter Sweet Symphony, The Drugs Don't Work, and Sonnet, among many others. Note: I kicked Mellon Collie out to put this in, which marks probably the first time I've not included Mellon Collie in a top 5 list. I just feel this one functions better as a total album, whereas Mellon Collie is not immune from missing occasionally.

5.Odelay - Beck - This just in, Beck is talented. I love doing the robot to Where It's At.

Honorable mentions: Urban Hymns - The Verve (really wanted to work this in), Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - The Smashing Pumpkins, Fashion Nugget - Cake.

Tim's Top 5:
1) Pearl Jam – Yield – Pearl Jam’s best, and therefore, one of the all-time greats. Few of the tracks are worth individual note, and yet it’s a coherent and fantastic album experience. It has its weaknesses, but from Brain of J. to All Those Yesterdays, it’s a masterpiece. And it’s what ultimately rendered Pearl Jam a band for fans only, breaking from the commercial success of its predecessors.

2) Black Crowes – Shake Your Moneymaker – One of the best debuts of all time, it’s the only album I own that has every song on ITunes rated five stars. Certainly “She Talks to Angels” is overplayed, even now, but it is still a great track, they make Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” their own, Sister Luck, Jealous Again, Twice As Hard…it’s really hard to place this second.

3) R.E.M. – Automatic for the People – Everybody Hurts was overplayed, true, but Nightswimming is great, and Find the River makes Nightswimming sound terrible by comparison. If you believe they put a man on the moon…it’ll pale in comparison to the creative genius that led to R.E.M. recording Automatic for the People.

4) Guided by Voices – Mag Earwhig! – Bee Thousand has gotten more press, but Guided by Voices’ temporary Cobra Verde lineup put together an astounding album headlined by the rockingest song of my lifetime “I Am A Tree” but still has cuts like Choking Tara, Jane of the Waking Universe, Little Lines, Can’t Hear the Revolution, and Bulldog Skin. One word – awesome. Too bad it was phased out of the GBV lineup once the Cobra Verde guys (except for Doug Gillard) left.

5) Gin Blossoms – New Miserable Experience – If clinical depression has a soundtrack, this is it. Every song is booze-laden misery that makes you wonder how long it will be until none of them can bear to face the day anymore. Even its success took years, with the album being released in 1992 but it was still charting tracks in the top 40 four years later. More than any other album on the list, absolutely every track is essential, and some of the best were among the few that didn’t chart.

All great albums: Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York, Elliott Smith – Either/Or, Old 97’s – Too Far to Care

Tory's Top 5:

1. Bright Eyes - Fevers and Mirrors - My favorite musician, though I didn't hear this album during it's release decade. The album is an experience, and through all of the sad to throaty performances, it is certainly one of the most depressing albums for most of the tacks, however it does end on a song that evokes a certain passivity that is just an edge away from happiness. It is perfect in other words. (Directly after I did this list I found out this was released in 2000, however it was recorded in 1999 so I will keep it on here.)

2. Smashing Pumpkins - Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - This is the first CD that I ever owned. The second disk is not quite the experience that the first one is, but it is a nice calming rendition to follow up the harder Dusk album.

3. Bright Eyes - Letting off the Happiness - I struggled here, not wanting to put Bright Eyes again so high, but my bias has won out. The reason this didn't get 2nd is because the last two songs are not up to snuff, and the reason it didn't get lower is because I can't justify it.

4. Our Lady Peace - Clumsy - OLP is one of my three favorite bands. Superman's Dead as well as the title track are two of the best songs ever written. There are other memorable tracks on here.

5. Bone thugs-n-harmony - East 1999 Eternal - This is the best rap album ever. Every song on it has an original beat, original hook and the most important of all an original flow. You wouldn't know there were so many different ways to rap until you hear this album.

Honorable mentions - Weezer blue album and Oasis - Morning Glory

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