Best Alternative Rock Songs Of The 90s And 2000s – , Ohio – The 1990s can be difficult to summarize musically. Consider that the first half of the decade was defined by the rise of grunge, while the last few years have seen bands like the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys take the pop world by storm.
Examining the 90s within the framework of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is even more difficult. There have not been many “1990s artists” inducted into the museum because it takes 25 years after their debut to be eligible and because voters tend to prefer the sounds of the 1970s and 1980s.
Best Alternative Rock Songs Of The 90s And 2000s
Where we might make a list of the 50 greatest Rock & Roll Hall of Fame albums from a single year like 1971, we find ourselves narrowing the list of the 25 greatest albums by Rock Hall inductees in the 1990s to the top 25. Otherwise, we would have some artists with four or five albums alone.
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That still left some really great material on the cutting room floor, including great albums from Tom Waits (“Bone Machine,” “Mule Variations”), Foo Fighters (“The Color and the Shape”), N.W.A. (“Efil4zaggin”), Neil Young (“Ragged Glory”) and others. Here’s what made our list:
Of all the times Madonna has reinvented herself, “Ray of Light” feels like the most substantial. Maybe it’s because it came before a new millennium or maybe it’s all that went into one of her best albums. “Ray of Light” takes the electronic sounds that became popular in the 1990s and positions them in a more atmospheric light, envisioning a new pop landscape for the 2000s. Dance songs are one thing, but Madonna also elevates her act as vocalist on songs like “Frozen” and “Power of Goodbye” (no doubt influenced by her role in “Evita”). The result is Madonna’s most critically acclaimed album, which won four Grammys and kept her at the top of the pop world well into the new century.
“Hi, my name is…” It was a very popular introduction for Eminem. But it just gave you an idea of the kind of artist Marshall Mathers was. “The Slim Shady LP” is a wild debut filled with shocking and disturbing rap that would take the mainstream by storm. It should have come with an X rating. Instead, teenagers flock to stores to buy the album, worth 5 million copies. More than 20 years later – thanks to numerous imitators – the shock of it all has worn off. But Eminem’s dizzying lyrical display and ability to turn disorderly conduct into art remains impressive.
The follow-up to “Check Your Head” was overshadowed by the influence of its predecessor. But “Ill Communication” is an incendiary record that’s even more eclectic than “Check Your Head,” oscillating between rap and hardcore punk, jazz and funk. No matter what style the Beastie Boys adopt, they elevate things, making tracks like “Sure Shot,” “Tough Guy,” “Sabotage,” “Root Down,” and “Do It” instant classics. “Ill Communication” was an alternative to the alternative and a rip-roaring good time.
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Michael Jackson could have spent the rest of his career conquering the pop mountain without taking many risks. Instead, he began the 1990s by bringing the new genre of jack swing to its peak. For “Dangerous,” Jackson teamed up with new jack king Teddy Riley for a hybrid of slick, pop and R&B sound that also proved to be Jackson’s most personal record to that point, even if he was playing with the tabloids in sudden ways. Almost every song on “Dangerous” hits hard (even the ballads), with its impact felt in younger imitations for years to come.
“Time Out of Mind” is one of the first projects that come to mind when thinking about a comeback album. It was Bob Dylan’s best effort since the 1970s, doubling down on many of the raw, relatable lyrics he surprised listeners with earlier in his career. Producer Daniel Lanois gives the album an old-school blues feel that suits Dylan’s voice, which became a well-worn but effective instrument late in his career. In a catalog of almost 40 studio albums – several of which are undisputed classics – “Time Out of Mind” is a unique triumph.
2Pac came out of prison in 1995 with a chip on his shoulder the size of a mountain. His signing to Suge Knight’s Death Row Records provided Pac with the best production team he’s ever had to help him air out all the grievances. And, boy, does he do it? “All Eyez on Me” is Pac’s most hard-hitting album. But it’s also the most attractive. While it’s a bit bloated (most double albums are), there’s no getting around the sonic wonder created by producers like Daz, Johnny Jay, Dr. Dre, and DJ Quick. And Pac’s charisma and arrogance match every sound. He was never the most lyrically complex. But 2Pac had a way with words that drew listeners in. All the rage in “All Eyez on Me” paved the way for (and contributed to) the biggest singles of Pac’s career. It’s the album that made him an icon.
Over a career spanning more than 60 studio albums, Johnny Cash tried many things. But he never sounded better than in those early days at Sun Records. Like Sam Phillips, producer Rick Rubin knew this, signing Cash to his American record label and letting the country icon sit in his Tennessee cabin with an acoustic guitar and sing. Featuring some stellar originals mixed with impressive covers, virtually every song on “American Recordings” packs an emotional punch thanks to Cash’s ancient yet provocative voice. “American Recordings” marked the resurgence of Johnny Cash and the beginning of a series of albums that would remind a new generation just how essential the Man in Black was.
Best Albums Of The 2000s
Positioned as a sequel to their historic debut “Ready to Die,” Notorious B.I.G.’s “Life After Death” takes things to the next level. To say it is spreading would be an understatement. While “Ready to Die” featured a guest rapper (Method Man on “The What”) and a tight-knit circle of producers, “Life After Death” features a dream team of collaborators. And almost every second of its two-hour running time leaves you breathless. Biggie’s cinematic vision is fully realized across a wide variety of tracks, with his unparalleled lyricism and storytelling as the centerpiece. “Life After Death” may very well be the best and most proficient song any MC has ever played in the history of hip-hop.
Technically, “Wildflowers” is a Tom Petty solo album. Still, the album features almost every member of the Heartbreakers. Still, “Wildflowers” is about Petty embracing creative freedom as producers Rick Rubin and Mike Campbell have reinvigorated him musically. Rubin’s aesthetic offers some new features. But the driving force of “Wildflowers” is Petty’s courage and honesty. The portraits he paints lyrically and sonically are authentic and hypnotic. It can be debated whether this is Petty’s best work. But there’s no doubt that “Wildflowers” is an essential American album.
For many 2Pac fans, “All Eyez on Me” would take that spot. But there is a difference between definitive and best. While “All Eyez on Me” is an iconic double album with some weaknesses, “Me Against the World” is 2Pac’s most consistent effort – a balance between the light and dark sides of the personality that finds him with his back against the wall. . Instead of lashing out completely like on “All Eyez on Me,” Pac goes into introspection mode, showing that behind the controversy and media headlines was an incredible artist.
Green Day birthed modern pop-punk on “Dookie,” an album about tearful teenage angst that had the edginess of punk rock but came with crossover appeal. It only takes a few seconds of opening “Burnout” to feel like Green Day realized that Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, Trey Cool and producer Rob Cavallo were onto something different. The songs on “Dookie” come with a catchy edge that was destined to dominate rock radio. After the baseline of “Longview” played, the dirty guitars of “When I Come Around” arrived, and Armstrong delivered his lyrics on “Basket Case,” there was no stopping pop-punk from reaching the mainstream.
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“Reasonable Doubt” was Jay-Z’s reinvention. He wasn’t a young emcee looking for his big break. Jay-Z was in his 20s, having gone through the difficult task of not getting a record deal. So he channeled his drug-dealing past and drug-dealing ambition into a glorious mafioso rap milestone. “Reasonable Doubt” is one of the greatest debuts in rap history with Jay-Z undoubtedly at his peak lyrically with a tight collection of songs that have positioned him as a force to be reckoned with. It would take a few more albums for Jay to explode. But the plan was established.
Whether or not you think “Violator” is Depeche Mode’s best album, it is certainly the culmination of the band’s creative growth throughout the 1980s. Not only does it feature several of the band’s signature songs – “Enjoy the Silence,” “Policy of
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