Rattling through the best albums of the 90s: 100 down to 80

After finishing Rolling Stone magazine’s top 20 albums of the 90s, I decided to extend my challenge to the full 100 and have been working through from 100 to 80:

#100 – Moby – Everything is Wrong: I didn’t mind Play but this is just a big mess. Interesting for 1995 though? Yes. I’m surprised how jungly Moby got at times. 6/10

#99 – Luna – Penthouse: I can’t remember a lot of this but I do recall rather enjoying it. A nice change from most of the other 90s albums I’ve listened to here. I plan to come back to this one. 7/10

#98 – Buena Vista Social Club – Self Titled: Ry Cooder + Cuban musicians = lots of authentic, well played music. Not to my tastes but fine. 6/10

#97 – The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs: This is hard going, though the songs are interesting. Three hours of disposable songs on the same topic. I decided I was only giving 74 minutes (the length of a CD) to each album so I’m not listening to all three hours of this. Did it have some good songs though? Yes. Interesting concept. 6/10

#96 – Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Volume II: Fine. There’s not a lot here. It’s ambient. 6/10

#95 – Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York: Always enjoyable to hear a different take on Nirvana’s songs by the band themselves. They actually made the songs better in some cases and didn’t just play them in the usual style but acoustically. 8/10

#94 – Billy Bragg and Wilco – Mermaid Avenue: Nothing jumped out at me here but it was proficiently done. Not exciting. 6/10

#93 – Air – Moon Safari: A fantastically atmospheric album. This album is like floating on technicolor clouds in a warm blanket. It’s French, it’s a bit tacky, and it’s beautifully twee. 8/10

#92 – The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin: I’ve never felt like the Lips were the band for me but I really enjoyed this. I’ll definitely be coming back to this album. 8/10

#91 – The Pixies – Bossanova: Not for me. Trite. 5/10

#90 – Aaliyah – One In A Million: I had to hunt this down on YouTube as it’s not on Spotify. It’s pretty good and has some neat sampling. I’ve never been familiar with the late Aaliyah’s music but she clearly had a lot of promise. 7/10

#89 – Tom Petty – Into the Great Wide Open: Fine. It sounds like the Traveling Wilbury’s take two. 6/10

#88 – R Kelly – R Kelly: You can’t help but view this through the modern lens of R Kelly but even despite that, this is a slick piece of work and hugely influenced by the Isley Brothers. 7/10

#87 – De La Soul – De La Soul is Dead: I was a bit distracted while listening to this but it was fine. I need to listen to it again. This is another one that isn’t on Spotify. Why? Because they only ever cleared the samples for vinyl and cassette. 6/10

#86 – Yo La Tengo, ‘I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One’: Sounds like a slightly dreamy, shoegazy, less emotionally charged or cerebral Radiohead. I liked it, although it’s hard to point to any high points. 7/10

#85 – Pulp – A Different Class: This is a Britpop classic that I’d never listened to in full. It’s as good as I’d have expected, although it does sound rather dated by modern standards. 7/10

#84 – Marilyn Manson – Antichrist Superstar: I’d always avoided Manson because he looked like a blowhard and.. it seems I was wise to. This album is absolutely dire and painful to listen to. I did find his use of text to speech interesting though especially as it predated Ok Computer by a year. 2/10

#83 – Fiona Apple – Tidal: Genius. Long been one of my favourite albums, though it’s not even her best. 9/10

#82 – The Smashing Pumpkins – ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’: A metal, rock, pop rock, shoegaze, and prog rock masterpiece in so many ways. Let down solely by Corgan’s slightly grating voice. 9/10

#81 – Bjork – Post: Bjork is a genius but her music always makes me feel depressed. It has a huge dose of Nordic melancholy and detachment. This is Bjork at her best, though. 7/10

#80 – The Breeders – Last Splash: Not done this one yet, will fill it in later. X/10

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