Thursday, December 02, 2010

Best Albums of the 1990s (81 -100)

81. Michael Jackson - HIStory (1995). Michael Jackson never quite recaptured his glory days of the '80s--his talent and musical stature had been eclipsed by controversy surrounding his personal life, however Jackson still managed to deliver some decent albums, including this bloated set of vigorous edgy politically-driven pop and R&B inspired balladry (ignoring the first disc which features his greatest hits up until then). Best: Stranger in Moscow.

82. R. Kelly - R. Kelly (1995). R. Kelly remained pretty untouchable throughout the the '90s, delivering three blockbusters in a row. His second self-titled offering was conveniently the second best of the three, upping his game from 12 Play, delivering an even more well-rounded body of sultry sexual exploration ("You Remind Me of Something") and heart bearing balladry ("I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)"). Best: I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)

83. Jeff Buckley - Grace (1994). Jeff Buckley's Grace was a bold debut, swooning with warming slow burning alternative rock, complex but accessible guitar patterns tied in with a wall of lyrical depth. Grace does shine most on its popular cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" but I particularly like brewing vulnerable balladry of "Lilac Wine." Best: Lilac Wine

84. No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom (1995). American rock band No Doubt delivered an infectious mash of punky alternative rock dubbed ska punk for their ambitious third album, landing the massive crossover hit "Don't Speak" and a Grammy win for Best Rock Album. Best: Don't Speak.

85. Destiny's Child - The Writing's on the Wall (1999). With top notch producers Rodney Jerkins and Missy Elliot, drenched with guitar-driven R&B and tight harmonies, Destiny's Child second album delivered the group's best set of songs and also landed their first 2 #1's ("Bills Bills Bills" and "Say My Name"). Best: Say My Name

86. Robbie Williams - I've Been Expecting (1998). Whilst Life Thru a Lens cemented Robbie Williams as a new force in British pop to be reckoned with, the pop crooner delivered a widley better follow-up showcasing his exuisite showmanship on this James Bond inspired set. Best: Millenium.

87. Santana - Supernatural (1999). Mexican musician Santana and his band's fifteenth album landed them the most successful album of their career and won the Grammy for Album of the Year and also landed the popular #1 hit "Smooth." Best: Smooth.

88. Boyz II Men - Evolution (1997). This wasn't as good or as appealing as its insanely successful predecessor II, but this follow-up offered what fans wanted: Tight harmonies and vocal runs over soothing ballads with some bass-driven R&B thrown in. Best: 4 Seasons of Loneliness.

89. TLC - FanMail (1999). After presenting the blueprint for new millennium R&B with successful lead single "No Scrubs," TLC delivered an R&B album for the books. Booked with swaggering futuristic outlooks ("Silly Ho") sexually frustrated driven hip-hop ("I'm Good at Being Bad") and social awareness ("Unpretty"), the trio earned their first Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Best: No Scrubs.

90. Aaliyah - One in a Million (1996). With the help of hip-hop heavyweights Missy Elliot and Timbaland, R&B singer Aaliyah delivered a great follow-up to her weak first album Age ain't Nothin' But a Number, clobbering with cool gripping downbeat productions, complimenting her silky smooth vocals well. Best: 4 Page Letter.

91. Backstreet Boys - Millennium (1999). As the 2000s dawned, teen-pop had become a force to be reckoned with. Front-runners 'NSync and Britney Spears delivering albums that capitalized on the popularity of the genre but none did so better than Backstreet Boys' Millennium, which landed the international hit "I Want it That Away" and became one of the best selling of the decade. Best: I Want it That Way.

92. Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle (1993). Often compared to fellow West-Coast rapper Dr. Dre's debut The Chronic, Snoop Dogg's sexually foreboding debut along with Dr. Dre were the blueprint for gangster-rap throughout the '90s. Laying on the funk over hard-hitting hip-hop beats, ultimately cultivating the popular sub-genre G-Funk. Best: Who Am I? (What's My Name).

93. Monica - The Boy is Mine (1998). Following the successful duet with fellow R&B singer Brandy ("The Boy is Mine") Monica delivered a surprisingly well-rounded set of sultry R&B, soul and hip-hop with a handful of highlights, only unfortunately for her Brandy delivered a better and more successful album the same year. Best: Angel of Mine.

94. Alanis Morissette - Supposed Former Infactuation Junkie (1998). Off the back of the wildly successful Jagged Little Pill, Alanis delivered a more lengthy and complex set of raw post-grunge alternative rock. Didn't quite work as well as Pill but an insightful follow-up in all. Best: UR

95. Prince - Diamonds and Pearls (1991). Thirteen albums into his career and American musician Prince managed to keep the funk, returning with a spectrum of R&B, pop and the then popular sound of New Jack Swing. Best: Gett Off.

96. Shania Twain - Come on Over (1997). I wasn't as in love with this as critics were (I prefer the even more pop-driven country of Up!) but still Shania Twain delivered a knockout country album, trailing its hybrid between pop influenced folk and country, it landed four US top 40 singles ("You're Still the One," "From This Moment On," "Honey, I'm Home" and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman") and also became the biggest selling female album of all time. Best: You're Still the One.

97. The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin (1999). Before the decade turned American rock band The Flaming Lips delivered their critically acclaimed ninth album, pursuing more daring and emotive seas than the already experimental predecessor Zaireeka. I thought this was the better album. Best: Race for the Prize.

98. Jay-Z - In My Lifetine, Vol. 1 (1997). Jay-Z delivered four albums during the '90s, however the two I feature were amongst the best in his career. The first of two is his second album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 which found the rapper drifting into more commercial territories and landed the fluffy UK hit "(Always Be My) Sunshine." Best: The City is Mine.

99. Jewel - Pieces of You (1994). Through her appealing innocence, rich tone and awkward yodeling, American singer Jewel delivered her pleasant debut, charming melodic arragments built around folky acoustic rock and also became one of the best sellers of the '90s. Best: Who Will Save Your Soul.

100. R. Kelly - 12 Play (1992). R. Kelly's sensual solo debut was the blueprint for male all R&B balladeers throughout he '90s. Drenched with sex, soul and swooning balladry, it still holds a pretty strong legacy today through acts like The Dream and Trey Songz. Best: Bump N' Grind.


Mel said...

Ambitious Countdown, dearie -- can't wait to read the rest. Will def use this to revisit some of these albums. Ahhh, childhood.

A1 said...

loving the list, cant wait for the rest of countdown now!!

J.Mensah said...

Thank you for the kind words. Needed a compliment or two, this week lol :/

ww_adh said...

81. I quite like History, and I rate the new disc as Michael's last good album. I agree that "Stranger in Moscow" was it's best song. Haunting and lovely, it really evokes being alone in a foreign city.

85. I have this album, but I never listen to it much. I think Destiny's Child was a better singles artist. Beyonce's albums are largely better than the group's/

86. Love this. "Millennium" and "No Regrets" are solid.

87. I've never gotten into this one, which I know so many people love. It's kind of like U2--you're supposed to like it, but do you really?

88. Last gasp for them. II was so much bigger than this. It was a real decline.

90. I'd like to hear this album. I think I appreciate her more. I consider her what made Timbaland a name.

91. A guilty pleasure for sure, but it's actually a decent pop album.

94. I listened to this a lot when it came out, convinced it was brilliant. Now, I'm not so sure. It's okay.

95. This one had the big hits, but I liked the 1992 follow-up "symbol" album better.

96. A must have on the list, but this is about right, position-wise.

97. Another album I should listen to but haven't really, especially sine I like the follow-up so much.

J.Mensah said...

I think the only good Beyonce album is Dangerously in Love... B'Day was bleh and I know you love IASF, but I thought it was bleh again. I don't know, something about Beyonce irks me.

And U2 are awesome! I recently got most of their discography, I understand that comparison but I really love 'em.

rcLoy said...

Grrr! BSB at #91! I demand a recount! XD

J.Mensah said...

Ahh, I'm sorry Loy. But some interesting trivia, before I added a couple more rap albums they were at 99. Smile? Lol