About 1000 Albums
Welcome to 1000 90s albums, your one-stop shop if what you’re shopping for is an escape back to happier times. We firmly believe that the 1990s was one of the greatest periods in music history, and we aim to show that through the medium of twitter threads. Every day we post a great album from the 90s, along with links to reviews of the albums, live clips, and to the album itself on Spotify. We also take one song from each album and add it to out Thousand Albums playlist.
The 90s are much maligned now, looked back on as a vast wasteland of cultural nothingness in which a few bright sparks blossomed. Sure, you had grunge, you had britpop, but these were scenes trading on the glories of former decades, the natural conclusions of groundwork laid down by greater artists. As for the rest of it? The worst excesses of plastic pop. This is, of course, largely a narrative put forth by people who grew up in those earlier decades, a bias exposed by the endless documentaries about punk by a generation of middle-aged journalists who all seem to have been at the same five gigs in Camden in 1976.
We don’t subscribe to that. The 90s were a unique decade for music, the moment when the basic foundations laid down in the decades before were swirled together in a dozen melting pots, a splintering, a fracturing of the musical kaleidoscope. Just because it had Timmy Mallet as well doesn’t make that any less so. Do you judge the entire musical output of the sixties by Puppet on a String?
This particular project came about as a result of another piece of prime 90s nostalgia – the excellent Pop, Collaborate, and Listen podcast, where Dave Fensome and Krister Greer go through every number one album of the 90s, taking in most of the big singles and the not-so-commercial albums of each year as they go. It was following a discussion between a few friends about the relative uptick in quality that came in 1992 (Angel Dust, anyone?) that one of us saw an article in Rolling Stone about the 50 greatest albums of 1994. ‘Christ,’ we thought, ‘can’t wait for them to get to 1994.’
A quick perusal of the Rolling Stone list confirmed that, indeed, there were some cracking albums that year, but also that they’d missed out some albums that would have easily walked into our own personal top five’s. No Dog Man Star? No Dummy? That’s when one bright spark in the group thread posited the immortal question: ‘I wonder how many good albums there were in the 90’s.’
We started checking. We were looking to find fifty for each year to give us a nice round 500, at first, but we blew through that soon enough. Then we blew through 700. 800. 900. We delved deeper into our own musical histories, read through lists of every albums released for each year, and generally nerded out in the best way. In the end we blew through even the 1000 album mark and could quite possibly could have kept going.
Once we had the list, the whole thing felt a little pointless. A big ol’ list of albums, just sat there. So we decided to do, well, this with them. So, for the next… hmmm, three years, we’ll be posting one album a day over on Twitter and Instagram, and hell, maybe on big old racist Facebook, too, so that all the boomers can moan in the comments about how this isn’t real music and ‘isn’t he just ripping off Alice Cooper?’
A few quick housekeeping notes. Firstly, we are not claiming this to be a definitive list of all the great albums of the 1990s. These are the ones we picked, because they’re our favourites. If we missed your favourite album it’s not because we hate it, or you – we just didn’t pick it, and there could be a million reasons for that, the chief of which is probably that we haven’t heard it.
Second, while we have a combined knowledge of early emo and Seattle grunge that would stun an ox, there are a lot of genres we’re not hugely invested in, and as such we might skip entirely, or feature only a couple of key albums. Black metal, for example, is something we have absolutely no ear for, but you may find a few death metal albums sprinkled in. Even then, though, any death metal connoisseur is likely to take umbrage at our omissions. (wot, no Obituary?) Again, we had to go with the albums we wanted on the list.
Thirdly, and perhaps most controversially, we are not featuring albums by people who are avowed white nationalists (no Pantera) or against whom there are credible sexual assault allegations (Ryan Adams, for example). We’re not saying albums by these people are not amazing, we’re just saying that we’re choosing not to shine a light on them. This includes Tool, even if it feels mad to have this list without their early albums on. But we believe victims, full stop. This is obviously a slightly hit and miss policy, but it is at our discretion. And if we feature someone who you feel should not be on the list for these reasons, please let us know.
Lastly, because this started off as a Spotify playlist, any albums not on Spotify for whatever reason are also excluded from the list, because that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
The Thousand Albums