It’s been over ten years, so I think enough time has lapsed to look at the music of the 90s objectively. But that’s not really what this list is about. I culled this list from my own listening habits over the past decade-plus. The criteria is simple: to make the list, the work had to have been released in the 9os (duh), has to be in my iTunes directory today (before I conceived of this list), and it has to be something I continue to listen to on a regular basis. So that’s why there’s no Nirvana or Nine Inch Nails here. Sorry, dudes, your music is great, but it’s not in my catalog right now. Oh, and I wanted to include The Conet Project’s Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations, and while it is on my computer, I honestly don’t listen to it on a regular basis (though its importance is even more obvious now).
So it’s a biased and a (somewhat) arbitrary list of great music from the 90s. But isn’t every list biased and arbitrary? At least I own up to it.
One final thought: most of the music here was released in 1997 and 1998, two of the best years for music in decades. No one talks about this fact, but those years are right up there with 1968, 1977, and 1984 for sheer volume of amazing music.
- Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
- Boards of Canada, Music Has the Right to Children
- Tricky, Maxinquaye
- Massive Attack, Mezzanine
- Pan Sonic, A
- Radiohead, Ok Computer
- Belle & Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
- Portishead, Portishead
- Chris Watson, Outside the Circle of Fire
- The Caretaker, Selected Memories from the Haunted Ballroom