Songfactors Choice: Top Albums of the '90s

Top 40 radio nearly died in the '90s. Pure pop music was replaced by a crazy combination of rap and grunge and all kinds of sounds that were classified "alternative." This gave us plenty to choose from, and also plenty to hate. This is probably the hardest decade to get a consensus, but here are the Top 10 albums of the '90s as chosen by the Songfacts community.
10. Ok Computer - Radiohead

Key Tracks:
Paranoid Android (in video)

No Surprises

Karma Police

Music critics swooned over Ok Computer, putting it on just about every best-of list. The album was recorded in Jane Seymour's mansion while the actress was busy filming her show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

Nominated by RockyRaccoon

9. Metallica - Metallica

Key Tracks:
Enter Sandman (in video)

The Unforgiven

Nothing Else Matters

Known as "The Black Album," this was Metallica's commercial breakthrough. It didn't thrash as hard as their previous work, which alienated some fans but brought them many more.

Nominated by Dappled

8. Monster - R.E.M.

Key Tracks:
Bang and Blame

What's the Frequency, Kenneth? (in video)

Crush With Eyeliner

R.E.M. made it to 1994 with no member changes and their artistic integrity intact. They stayed hungry, and made this classic album that they called their "Rock and Roll Record."

Nominated by skybluesky

7. Weezer aka The Blue Album - Weezer

Key Tracks:
Say It Ain't So

Buddy Holly (in video)

Undone - The Sweater Song

This was Weezer's first album, and a lot of people found it snarky, stupid or lame. History has validated The Blue Album, however, and we at least see it as a groundbreaking work that holds up wonderfully.

Nominated by Bertrand

6. Out Of Time - R.E.M.

Key Tracks:
Losing My Religion

Shiny Happy People (in video)

Radio Song

R.E.M. did themselves a favor by not trying to follow up Green with another big-seller. They had some fun, worked pressure-free, and were surprised when it sold a million copies in 10 days.

Nominated by Edna

5. Ten - Pearl Jam

Key Tracks:

Jeremy (in video)

Even Flow

Pearl Jam's first album, it was named after the number worn by a basketball player named Mookie Blaylock, who was a favorite of the band. At one point, the band was named Mookie Blaylock.

Nominated by Viaene

4. (What's The Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis

Key Tracks:
Wonderwall (in video)

Don't Look Back In Anger

Champagne Supernova

In the UK, they could sing along to just about every track, but making the album brought out some serious sibling rivalry: The Gallagher brothers fought like crazy, and at one point Noel took a cricket bat to Liam.

Nominated by Bertrand

3. Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette

Key Tracks:

You Oughta Know (in video)

Hand In My Pocket

In 1995, as we were tiring of Grunge and Gangsta, Alanis gave us something new and different and Canadian.

Nominated by Lucky

2. Nevermind - Nirvana

Key Tracks:
Smells Like Teen Spirit (in video)

Come As You Are


This one also makes our mildly controversial covers list. Kurt Cobain described the sound as "The Bay City Rollers getting molested by Black Flag." Just three years later, Cobain would be dead and the band would be gone forever.

Nominated by RonJon

1. Blood Sugar Sex Magik - The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Key Tracks:
Under the Bridge (in video)

Give It Away (in video)

Breaking the Girl

Released the same day as Nevermind (September 24, 1991), the Chili Peppers secluded themselves for a few months in Laurel Canyon to focus on making music. With the help of producer Rick Rubin, they avoided temptation and created an intricate and varied album where they bared their souls.

Nominated by The Lizard

February 16, 2011
More Song Writing

Comments: 68

  • Bono from U2Achtung Baby should be #1. And later U2 albums should be on the list.
    You can't miss the greatest band ever with the best frontman ever!
  • Fraser from UkWow, I have NONE of these except for the Oasis Album!
  • Fx from DcGreat list, but where is Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails?
  • Ross from Brighton, UkHah! Live and Candlebox! I'd completely forgotten how much I liked ( or in fact that I even owned ) both of those. Have just youtubed I Alone - fantastic rock song. Cheers!
  • Splat from Frankford, DeWow, I have all these execpt for the Oasis album. Deserving mention include Alice in Chains' "Dirt", Beck's "Odelay", Blues Traveler's "4", and, while we're including more than one album from the same artist, why not throw in Pearl Jam's "Vitalogy".
  • Carlos from Laredo Txpablo honey, new miserable experiece
  • Israel from LaredoGreat list. :D These are all the best I've heard. Superunknown should be here though.:P
  • Mike from NjCheck your head and ill communication should be on the list. Metallica, REM and Alanis may go!
  • Zach from VancouverNo Badmotorfinger, or Dookie? no Rage Against The Machine? or Foo Fighters? Two REM Albums?
  • Beautifulstream from A Place In The WorldI'm probably biased, seeing as I haven't heard any of these albums, but...

  • Robert from Lillian, AlYeah, I agree with the list, and agree with all of you guys about all these albums. Maybe top 30 or so next time so we can fit in all the awesomeness
  • Connor from Carlsbad, CaThis list is ridiculously spot on. This is the only website on the internet that knows music.
    The only thing that sounds, maybe a little off, is that The Red Hot Chili Peppers album didn't make a huge impact until later in the decade, a little while after its release. So I think Nirvana's should be #1, and Chili Peppers (and believe me i love both of these bands almost equally) should be #2.

    Oh, and I think theres probably a better #10 out there besides, Ok Computer.
  • Mike From BostonSiamese Dream
  • John from Brenham, TxI'm Not seeing LIVE, Throwing Copper and CANDLEBOX self-titled, and hate them or not LIMP BIZKIT, Significant Other hit hard. I'd like to second the SUBLIME nomination as well.
  • Davet from LaCollective Soul, self titled. Still bringing it.
  • Corey from OklahomaGranted red hot chili peppers are a good band, but im pretty sure in terms of influence and overall popularity nevermind should be first on this list. oh and where is green day or the offspring? i find it bias that theres not a single punk revivalist band on the entire list.
  • Larry from San Jose, Ca UsaI agree with requesting Soundgarden, Jane's Addiction, Alice In Chains, Green Day ...
    In fact the Singles soundtrack might deserve a nomination.
    But I also would mention that the And Out Come The Wolves album by Rancid was super excellent;
    their followup Life Won't Wait was also excellent.
  • John from ScrantonOasis..really? How about AIC - Dirt
  • Drew from IndianaOnly one that seems out of place is REM's Monster. Replace that with the Wallflowers "Bringing Down the Horse" or Hootie's "Cracked Rear View" and I'd say the nail would have been hit on the head.
  • DanRage Against the Machine? One of the best Debut albums, ever!
  • J from NaplesAchtung Baby, Amused To Death, Zooropa, Definiteley Maybe, The Division Bell, Second Coming, The Tractors, The Bends, Fifteen Minutes
    All are good albums, possibly runners-ups
  • Ac from MichiganAnyone ever heard of Use Your Illusion? Seemed like a pretty significant album(s)
  • Tye from OrlandoOk give me one good reason U2's Achtung Baby isn't on this list. It's the best album from that decade.
  • Chuck C. from Atchison, Ks.Crash Test Dummies, Sublime, Big Head Todd, Soundgarden... Alanis Morissette really? If you needed a chick singer to appear fair you could have picked Tori Amos, Sarah Mclachlin, or even something by the Cranberries.
  • Adrian from Illinoissoundgarden Superunknown???
  • Nikki from St PaulI think Alanis and Rem Monster have no place on this list. I would add Janes Addiction Nothings Shocking and Sonic Youth Dirty. I do agree with this lists RHCP and Nirvana but I would switch the order. When Nevermind came out there was nothing like it. It influenced all the music to follow so it should get the number one spot.
  • Gopal from HyderabadWonder what happened to the "Use your illusion" albums?
  • Eric from Ridgecrest, CaPork Soda by Primus!!!!!
  • Bob from HollandThree words: Faith No More.
  • Adam from Winchester, VaFull Moon Fever came out in 89 so not a 90's album, and I agree that Achtung Baby by U2 should be on this list but ZOOROPA? You're insane if you think that album should be on the top ten of anything...
  • Ryan from AlabamaNo respect for U2?!? Achtung Baby and Zooropa kicks the rests of these album's asses.
  • Pj from Cochrane, OntarioUmm, What about Jane's Addiction Ritual De Lo Habitual? Even Penthouse magazine named it album of it's year on it's 25th anniversary issue.
  • Jack from Dci dont know if U2's Achtung! Baby deserves to be on here or not, but One from that album is definitely the best song of the decade
  • Kevin Cooper from SyracuseWheres Dookie by Green Day that album was unstoppable
  • Mattkiss from Daytonawhat about sublime seems like they are getting legendary despite losing their frontman over a decade ago. im on the east coast and while i am sick of it, their music seems too influence every local around.
  • Josep from DubrovnikWhere is "Full Moon Fever" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers? (Officially a solo album, but they all played on it)
  • Eugene from Long Beachyou missed dookie and in utero.... and Americana
  • Man from PlacePearl jam and Blink 182 are the same thing in opposed sides. Pearl Junk is a "get artificially sad" "so you will look smarter" band. Blink is a get artificially(fake) happy so you look less intelectual for a dumber generation think you are cool. The fact that pearl jam have better musicians count very litle. You missed Alice in Chains every albun and Pro Pain. True rock is not like blink or pearl...that is a fact.
  • Me from Herepeople who likes blink 182 simply missed the concept of good music, thats a fact. If this list of music from the 90's have "pearl Junk"and have no RHCP it was made by one of those sad dorks that havent had fun in the 90's. Really, the importance of peal jam is it made us remmember we could not be allways happy, couse there was a bunch of sad moaning ass holes considering theyr selves important, but with out any meaning.
  • Rockie from Los AngelesA Rage album should definitely be there.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, DasciaHow in the world is Nevermind not #1? When you say the word "grunge" that is the album everyone thinks of.
  • Ethan from TulsaReally? Nevermind isn't at #1? It completely wiped the 80s hair metal off the map and proved alternative was bankable.
  • Rob Tyrer from SaskatchewanWhat about Clumsy by Our Lady Peace, not overly the most successful band in the 90's but it is for sure between Ten and RHCP... at least on my list. It knocks Metallica right off if it were up to me.
  • Alejandro from MiramarMeh, I would've included Zooropa by U2
  • Dave from CharlotteTen is far and away the most important album of the 90's. It literally changed the face of music. Any list that does not place Ten as #1 or #2 of the 90's is worthless.
  • Nick from Chattanooga, TnDefinitely Dookie, although I would also place Nevermind at #1 instead of #2. And frankly I would also place In Uetero in here as well.
  • Jimjam from Tampa BayWhere the hell is Enema of the State by Blink-182? This is absolutely outrageous. And yes, Siamese Dream should definitely be on here, too. Unbelievable Songfacts, I'm extremely disappointed.
  • K from Nowhere, OnI've heard some of the songs on Weezer's blue album and I think it should be noted that Only In Dreams is fantastic.
  • Jon from Enumclaw , WaSixteen Stone anyone?
  • Dave from FloridaId say third eye blind ST album. Not bc of the singles that brought them to fame but because of the album as a whole, especially the last 4 songs.
  • The_skunk from Pepsibottlecola, FloridaWhoever said Hybrid theory by Linkin park check your CD case, Hybrid theory was released in 2000 not the 90's.
  • David from Ancona, Italy- Red Hot Chili Peppers at 1st place is an insult to any kind of good music :) BSSM shouldn't even be in the top 10.
    - R.E.M.: Out of Time and Monster but not Automatic for the People? My gosh, what were you thinking?
    - Alains Morrisette? F**k me sideways.
    - Last but most important: where are Siamese Dream (THE best album of the '90s) and Mellon Collie?
  • Sam Bowar from WisconsinOK Computer should for sure be #1. The Bends by Radiohead should be on there too, along with Aenima by Tool, and Violator by Depeche Mode.
  • Rache from OntarioHybrid Theory by Linkin Pard
  • Alex from Somewhere Out ThereWhile I dont think "BSSM" is the best album of the 90's, this is actually is pretty damn good list I can be satisfied with. I would replace "Out of Time" with R.E.M's "Automatic For the People". And "Monster" with "Siamese Dream". It's not a coincidence 9 out of 10 of these albums are between 1990-1995. Incredible music during this time period and lots of other worthy albums (Soundgarden - "Superunknown and to be fair a couple rap albums) could be included on this list.
  • Brent from Canadaanyone who doesnt have nirvana at number one deserves to no longer be allowed in journalism... most important band of the 90's by far and away!!!
  • Brandon from PhiladelphiaWhat about Dookie by Green Day?
  • Big Ron from JerseyThe foo fighters should definitely be on there. I'd get rid of one of REM's albums. Also, what about Dirt by Alice in Chains? Dookie by Green Day? Also, Rage's first album?
  • Blake from CincinnatiSiamese Dream, or Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
  • Lucas from IowaOut of the Cradle by Lindsey Buckingham should be on this list along with Garth Brooks' Ropin' the Wind. I am disappointed, Songfactors...
  • Shawna from North CarolinaI really feel like Third Eye Blind's self titled album should be on this list. That's one of the best albums ever, not just from the '90s.
  • Courtney from Santa Fe, NmI LOVE BSSM! But I think In Utero was a better album than Nevermind. The only reason people usually pick Nevermind as Nirvana's best is because SLTS. Nirvana has better songs than the 3 listed, but they are great songs regardless.
  • Brian from 3rd Rock From The SunI'd replace Alanis Morissette with either:
    The Colour and The Shape- Foo Fighters
    Cracked Rear View- Hootie and the Blowfish
    But that's just my opinion
  • John from TexasDizzy Up The Girl - The Goo Goo Dolls
  • I Am from Here To EternityMonster and Out of Time, but not Automatic for the People! that can't be right.
  • Layton from TexasGod Shuffled His Feet - Crash Test Dummies
  • Mimi from MissouriNot a bad list, I can agree with some of them, especially considering the 90s wasn't the best time for music, but it wasn't the worst either. I mean, this list is put well together, considering we did get garbage like Aqua, Billy Ray Cyrus (Achy Breaky Heart, anyone?)and a lot of dance music. (I like it when music uses REAL instruments.)
  • Mike from New YorkSiamese Dream - Smashing Pumpkins
see more comments

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