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05.13.15 My Top 40 albums of 1994

My Top 40 albums of 1994

1994 is one of my favorite years in all of music. Here's my favorite albums from it-if the list was longer Frank Black, Helmet, Morrissey and a few other's would've made it too, but yaknow. Lemme know what you think/what i forgot
1The Notorious B.I.G.
Ready to Die


One of my favorite hip hop albums (definitely my favorite debut of all time). Big's flow was extremely unique and ahead of his time, and he was probably the realest to ever do it. His raw delivery mixed with the impeccable production and his skill for finding a good hook left an album that was visceral, sprawling, dark, and yet extremely accessable. Shame he only put out one more album, but it definitely keeps his legacy intact as this debut is the stuff of legend.
2Nine Inch Nails
The Downward Spiral


This one was neck-and-neck with Ready to Die, but it's just as great. The thing remains Reznor's sole masterpiece for my tastes; even though he has a solid discography nothing comes close to touching this monster. One of the few concept albums about suicide (and one of the weirdest to hit the top of the charts), this album is just a blueprint for Trent's warped musical vision as he goes from slow and maniacal ("Piggy") to dark and sexy ("Closer") to straight up bipolar ("March of the Pigs"). Everything flows beautifully and the album comes to a perfect end with "Hurt", still one of the most moving songs I've ever heard.
3Weezer
Weezer


The perfect pop album-10 songs of pure, calculated bliss, with just the right amount of snark and irony. Rivers Cuomo, the nerd who had an equal love of eccentric 70s power-pop and 80s arena rock ("my favorite rock group Kisssss") weaved his lyrics along with jagged overblown Marshall stack riffs to complete the perfect nerd love odyssey. "Undone-The Sweater Song" remains one of my favorite riffs ever, while "Say It Ain't So" might be my favorite song of the 90s. Seeing the band perform the album in full last year was a real treat and just cemented my love for it once more.
4Jeff Buckley
Grace


It's pretty insane to think that this is the only year where any of the top 10 could've placed number one in any other year for me, but it makes sense. I mean, Grace is fucking number 4. And that's not to diminish it, because it's a masterpiece. Too emotional for grunge, too overblown for emo, Buckley's weaving, drawn out t playing style mixed with his ungodly vocals proved to be an influence on everyone from Radiohead to John Mayer, and from the first notes of "Mojo Pin" you understand that this is something special. Equally containing the best elements of the past three decades from rock music and yet preceding many imitators, this album was extremely unique and every song and note is impeccably crafted, Buckley's tender voice handling each note with care, whether it be a soft falsetto in "Hallejulah" or a screaming roar in "Grace." Shame he went so soon, especially considering he was reportedly working with Tom
Verlaine on a follow-up, just imagine...
5Nas
Illmatic


One of the greatest albums of all time ends up at number 5 on the year list. There you go. Is there much that needs to be said at this point? Illmatic changed the game and blueprint for hip-hop entirely; an album so far ahead of its time that history in the genre is actually measured by pre- and post- its existence. Nas is a master of wordplay and no matter how many biters he has to this day, none come close to reaching the magic of Illmatic.
6Soundgarden
Superunknown


Is this really grunge? When a stoner rock band with heavy blues/punk influence reaches their widest scope and creative peak and makes a spaced out masterpiece...is there really a genre to label this? Do I care. No. From the beginning of "My Wave" things are clearly 1000x bigger for Soundgarden than they've ever been, guitars, drums, hooks, everything sounds HUGE. "Fell On Black Days", the best slow burner to ever exist, locks into its meloncholy groove so hard it's downright disgusting. The well guided use of multiple pedals on every song here is to note, every guitar crisp and lovely but still flanged out and fuzzed to no end. "Spooman" and "Black Hole Sun" are both immortalized by now, but the real standout is "The Day I Tried To Live", the best thing the band has done and will ever do.
7Green Day
Dookie


Best major label debut by a punk band ever, bar none. People cried "sellout!" to no end (ha, just wait 'til 21st Century Breakdown...if only they knew) but is the ability to reach a wider audience by writing hit after hit really selling out or just sharing your craft? Green Day stayed true to their punk roots on this one while keeping the hooks intact, the bass lines wonderful (see "Longview" or "Welcome to Paradise" which is obviously the reason new and old fans alike hold it in such high regard. Which they should.
8Blur
Parklife


Even the best Blur album only ranks 8...damn. This shit is so good it hurts, the moment when Damon hit both his emotional and songwriting stride, resulting in winners all around see "This is a Low" "Parklife". Boasting snarky lyrics about society and politics but still sounding huge as ever, the album proved to be Blur's biggest across the pond, and also broke them here as well.
9Portishead
Dummy


The definition of ahead of its time "Mysterious" and "Sour Times" sound light years away from whatever was going on on our planet in 1994. The first true trip-hop masterpiece (this is before Mezzanine, remember) the song cemented the movement as one that truly mattered. Damn was it sad, and damn was it great. Besides, who doesn't love "Glory Box"
10Pavement
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain


Arguably their best album, and their biggest-though most people alive just recall this for seeing the "Cut Your Hair" video on MTV, this quirky indie rock masterpiece hit a sweet spot within the changing music landscape and charted quite well, and got Pavement big exposure on a main stage Lollapalooza slot the next summer. Sure, they got booed off the stage half the tour, but the people who got it got it, and the people who didn't sure are kicking themselves now.
11Gang Starr
Hard to Earn
12The Offspring
Smash
13Jawbreaker
24 Hour Revenge Therapy
14Kyuss
Welcome to Sky Valley
15oasis
Definitely Maybe
16Jawbox
For Your Own Special Sweetheart
17Shellac
At Action Park
18Pearl Jam
Vitalogy
19Guided by Voices
Bee Thousand
20Common
Resurrection
21Pantera
Far Beyond Driven
22NOFX
Punk in Drublic
23Hole
Live Through This
24Ween
Chocolate and Cheese
25Drive Like Jehu
Yank Crime
26Beastie Boys
Ill Communication
27Method Man
Tical
28The Prodigy
Music for the Jilted Generation
29Jeru the Damaja
The Sun Rises in the East
30Toadies
Rubberneck
31Dinosaur Jr.
Without a Sound
32Emperor
In the Nightside Eclipse
33Machine Head
Burn My Eyes
34Beck
Mellow Gold
35Bad Religion
Stranger Than Fiction
36Aphex Twin
Selected Ambient Works, Vol. II
37Sunny Day Real Estate
Diary
38Meat Puppets
Up on the Sun
39R.E.M.
Monster
40Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Let Love In
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