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The Top Albums From The 90's

Updated on August 11, 2017

The Albums That Changed Music

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Nineties Gave Birth To Many Great Artists


In the early nineties, the big hair metal band scene began to die down and developed many new styles and cultures of music. From grunge, to pop, to new metal, music was beginning to evolve and offer listeners to some of the most infamous styles that have influenced bands of today. Someone asked me what I would consider the top ten best albums of the nineties. So I did some research and thought about it for a while and finally I have came up with what I think in my opinion would be the top ten albums of the nineties. You will not find a pop boy band album on this list. To me that music has died out. You will not find any rap albums on the list either, personally, that is a whole other list for that genre. This strictly has to do with rock and some metal. Bands and their albums I truly feel that stand out among the music of the nineties.

1.       Metallica-Metallica (The Black Album): This album changes the history of Metallica’s popularity and has been their biggest commercial album to ever be released. It offers deep and dark lyrics with guitar riffs that gave birth to a whole new way to produce metal music. Still raw and aggressive, Metallica’s self titled album showed just how much the band has evolved from their eighties status. “Enter Sandman” became a huge hit when the single was released. The album also offered a lighter side to Metallica with songs like, “The Unforgiven” and “Nothing Else Matters.”  Sure, it’s not my favorite Metallica album, but when you consider albums that stand out in the nineties, you will more than likely find this album on everyone’s list.

2.       Nirvana-Nevermind: Grunge took the music industry by storm in the early nineties thanks to one of grunge’s pioneers, Nirvana. Kurt Cobain, the front man for Nirvana, created songs that no one was use to hearing before. His raspy voice created a sound that many people began to give a listen to. When Nirvana released Nevermind in the early nineties, people began to play the album over and over. With hits like, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are,” Nevermind quickly became one of grunge’s most unforgettable albums of the nineties.  

3.       Rage Against The Machine-Rage Against the Machine: The nineties got introduced to one of the most political charged and aggressive rock bands to ever arise in music. Rage Against the Machine was like no other band of its time and still a band that stands out. Front man Zach de la Rocha wrote aggressive, historic, and political lyrics that some would say could really create a revolution. Guitarist Tom Morello introduced listeners to a style that was like no other.  Morello produced some of the original and creative guitar solos anyone has ever heard. Songs like “Killing the Name”, “Know Your Enemy” and “Bombtrack” Rage Against the Machine’s self titled album dared to be different and educational without losing any of its raw characteristics. Their follow up albums Evil Empire and Battle of Los Angeles offers the same kind of originality that their self titled album offers.  

4.       Pearl Jam-Ten: Another band to emerge onto the grunge scene was Pearl Jam. Though not as heavy as Nirvana, Pearl Jam offered a more dark and edgy style of lyrics that grew popular fairly quickly. When Ten was released, the hit single “Jeremy” won over with fans immediately.  This song landed Pearl Jam on the map of success. The music video for Jeremy stirred up a lot of controversy with its violent message of a boy who seeks revenge on those who tormented and made fun of him. Ten also had more to offer then just “Jeremy”. Songs like “Even flow” and “Alive” also became huge hits as well. This album definitely belongs on the list of best albums of the nineties.

5.       Stone Temple Pilots-Purple: Stone Temple Pilots was another great band that was no stranger to the music scene in the nineties. With a different style then just grunge, Stone Temple Pilots showed their roots and made sure to keep Rock n Roll as a basis style for many of their songs. Mixing grunge and rock, Stone Temple Pilots became fan favorites in the nineties. Purple was Stone Temple Pilots second album and by far their best. With songs like “Interstate Love Song,” “Big Empty,” and “Vaseline,” Stone Temple Pilots showed the music industry the formula for becoming a successful rock band. This is one album that music fans can play from beginning to end without having to skip a single song. And no two songs sound alike.

6.       Tool-Aenima: Another creative and original band that emerged in the nineties was the dark, deep, and emotional band Tool. Tool was a band that took time when it came to creating an album. Many years would pass when Tool would release an album. Their follow up to the album Undertow, Aenima was released in the mid-nineties. You never knew what to expect from a Tool album. With visual and bizarre illustrations, Tool’s creative talent put them on a whole other level of creativity. Aenima’s unusual style and mystery, it offers listeners a chance to step into a type of music that many audiences where not use to. The lyrics were like no other as well. The topics the Front man Maynard James Keenan would approach make Tool a band that keeps listeners on edge. From songs like “Stinkfist” and “46 and two,” listeners will have to dig deep for the meanings and origins from which these songs developed.  

7.       Red Hot Chili Peppers-Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik: What happens when you take funk, rock, and hip hop and combine them, you get a band like no other? Red Hot Chili Peppers took the music industry by surprise with a new style of rock that had been long forgotten. Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik offers funk rock like never before. “Give It Away Now”, “Under the Bridge” and my favorite, “Suck My Kiss”, are just a few of the many hits that this album has to offer listeners. This album definitely stands alone from any other album that was released in the nineties.

8.       Filter-Short Bus: Trying a new style of metal and succeeding, Filter’s first album Short Bus was released in the mid-nineties. When I first heard Filter’s hit single “Hey Man Nice Shot,” I was a fan forever. Till this day, that song remains one of my favorite songs of all time. This album combines such guitar riffs that gave birth to a new style of metal. Hard and heavy, Short Bus was the type of album that would change the pace of music in the nineties. Richard Patrick’s vocals were a mix of screaming and melodic all at the same time. The albums originality is what makes it stick out among a lot of other metal albums in the nineties.

9.       Green Day-Dookie: Punk rock was about to be put back on the map, and who better to send punk there then the band, Green Day. Loaded with hit after hit, Dookie became a top seller when it was released in the nineties. “Basket Case,” “Longview,” and “When I Come Around” are just a few of the many famous songs off this album. The album became a huge commercial success, giving Green Day a much deserved spot of one of the greatest bands from the nineties. Till this day, Green Day still produces mega hits that music fans enjoy.

10.   Silverchair-Frogstomp: Young and from Australia, the boys of Silverchair gave the nineties a great debut album Frogstomp. This album offers breakdowns and tempo changes that keep the music interesting and intense. Frogstomp offers hits such as, “Tomorrow”, “Pure Massacre” and “Israel’s Son.” Just in their teens, Silverchair had what it took to produce music that was not just good, but unforgettable.


Many other albums stand out from the nineties, but to me, these are the ones that stand out the most. A few honorable mentions would be: Korn’s self titled album, Live’s Throwing Copper, Nine Inch Nails’ Downward Spiral and Soundgarden’s Superunknown. Nineties definitely produced many great artists and albums. It is a shame that so many of today’s artists cannot produce the creative, original and unforgettable music that was introduced to audiences during the nineteen nineties.

Looking back at this list I still do not think I would change anything. I have re-discovered some other albums from the 90's, but I still think this list holds up. Man there is nothing like the music that came from the 90's. I wish today's music would have that type of creative structure that music use to have and not be about an image.


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    • Fullerman5000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ryan Fuller 

      6 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      Yeah I had to put Frogstomp on here. I mean Silverchair members were only fifteen when they made that album. And it is still one of my favorites. thanks for stopping by

    • sprphilly profile image


      6 years ago

      Some of your picks I agree with...Ten especially. That's hands down the #1 album of the '90's with Nevermind a close second. I would have included August and Everything After and Automatic for the People. But Frog Stomp?? Really????

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      fullerman, they were really good. Local H and Handsome opened.

    • Fullerman5000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ryan Fuller 

      6 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      Ardie, the 90s hands down is a decade of historical music. thanks for stopping by

      Sunshine625 always good to see ya my friend. I recently read that about the kid on yahoo. i never knew that.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      The album cover of Nirvana is one of my favorites. That baby is now 22 years old and the idea for the cover was a total fluke...toss the photographers baby in the pool and take a pic! Done! The rest is history. It's also my favorite album on your list. Rock on Ryan!

    • Ardie profile image


      6 years ago from Neverland

      These are all great groups from the 90's. I love going back and revisiting old favorites. I find one song can trigger so many memories.

    • Fullerman5000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ryan Fuller 

      6 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      Thats awesome you got to see them live. I would have love to seen them. Thanks for the vote and the feedback.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Big fan of all those records, particularly Ten and Nevermind. Frogstomp holds a special place in my heart, too, because Silverchair was the first arena show my parents let me go to by myself. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!


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