Twenty-five years ago in August 1994, the 25th anniversary of Woodstock ’69 was celebrated in New York. Another 25 years on in 2019, some of the most influential albums in music history are marking the big quarter-century milestone, and we’re honouring a few of the cherries in that pie. See the whole list of titles available @ JB!
The UK’s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 wasn’t popular with anyone who didn’t enjoy being discriminated against on account of their lifestyle, particularly those in the rave scene. Grimy breakbeat techno act The Prodigy were so incensed with the incursion on their musical culture that they lashed out with revered second album Music For The Jilted Generation. Its multiform, electro-industrial beats delighted listeners, who propelled it to a #1 debut in the band’s homeland and Top 10 positions around the rest of the world.
Who’d have thought the soundtrack from a divisively gory crime/comedy film would still be so very, indisputably beloved 25 years later? Goes to show you never can tell.
On a gathering storm comes a tall handsome man, leading his Bad Seeds to their eighth critically lauded studio album. Haunted by creeping organ, Blixa Bargeld’s avant-ambient guitar and the violin of Warren Ellis – then not a Bad Seed himself, but a guest – which slithers its way around Nick Cave’s vocals, Let Love In saw Cave mature as a singer without losing his thrilling volatility.
Turns out we did have the time to listen to Billie Joe Armstrong whine – whole barrelfuls of it in fact, with at least 20 million pairs of ears participating (read: international record sales as at 2014). While Dookie was the Californian trio’s third album overall, it was their first with their major label Reprise, and after selling less than 10,000 copies in its first week, it went on to became a total breakout success.
Another debut, another classic; English post-grunge group Bush – led by the formidable cool of Gavin Rossdale – cemented themselves as ‘90s icons as soon as the gentle chug of Glycerine’s chords hit the airwaves. When asked whether he would remix the album’s tracks for the the album’s 20th anniversary in 2014 (see image; the edition comes on clear vinyl), Rossdale said: “I did attempt to remix … but it’s really, like, you just can’t do that. You can’t mess with stuff. Those mixes, every single level of those songs is just ingrained in my DNA as it’s probably in anybody’s DNA who knows it. It just sounds really weird when you mess with it.”
The second album from Nine Inch Nails distinguished the industrial rock act as an unparalleled force in the ’90s landscape, spawning myriad copycats and legions of zealous fans. Recorded at a studio in the LA house where actress Sharon Tate was murdered by the Manson Family, The Downward Spiral is consistently included on ‘Best Of’ lists by the industry’s top tastemakers.
Often touted as the greatest film score in science-fiction history (a sparkling accolade if ever there was one), Greek electronic composer Vangelis’ soundtrack for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) is transportive, transformative, and enduring in its magic.
Dean and Gene spread their multi-limbed embrace of genres wide on the tour de force of an adventure that is Ween’s fourth album, Chocolate and Cheese – from the saloon revenge yarn of Buenas Tardes Amigo, to the appalling horror lullaby of Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down), to the satin-hisssing scorn of Baby Bitch, to the sauntering, platform-soled joy of Freedom Of ’76.
Before they went White and Green and every hue in between, Weezer began their kaleidoscopic musical journey with their self-titled-with-nickname-in-parentheses debut: The Blue Album. Featuring Buddy Holly, Say It Ain’t So, Undone – The Sweater Song and The World Has Turned And Left Me Here, The Blue Album is a stone cold classic in every sense.
Massive Attack’s critically celebrated second album Protection is an astonishingly elegant blend of dub and electronica, sifted through the exquisite haze of the club.
“I have hemorrhoid cream under my eyes and adhesive tape on my ass, and I had to scratch and claw and f-ck my way up, but I won Miss Congeniality!” said Courtney Love of this incendiary album’s artwork. The image reflects Live Through This’s themes of motherhood, beauty standards, violence against women, and anti-elitism. The album has reached Platinum status in Australia, Canada and the States, and Gold status in the UK.
Listen all y’all: Q-Tip and Biz Markie don’t guest on just any old album that smacks across their laps. Mike D, MCA and Ad- Rock explore punk, funk and jazz through their unique fish-eye lens on this ziggurat of the hip hop genre.
Filmed in one single take in November 1993, Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance is often deemed the all-time recording in modern live music history. In a setlist spiked with covers and as-yet unreleased singles from new album In Utero, the band performed only one of their own smashes: Come As You Are, from second album Nevermind. The record’s closer is the traditional folk song Where Did You Sleep Last Night, the final chorus of which is one of the stand-out vocal moments of Kurt Cobain’s career.
Winning the Mercury Prize with your debut album isn’t to be sniffed at – particularly when you’re up against Oasis, Supergrass, PJ Harvey and Leftfield. But Portishead did so in indubitable style with the smooth trip-hop sounds of Dummy, one of the decade’s most revered albums.
Superunknown was the album that finally put Soundgarden on the map; led by visionary frontman Chris Cornell, Superunknown saw psychedelic guitars peep through the ribs of the album’s metallic skeleton, astounding listeners and earning the band international respect.
Prog-house was never going to be the same again after Dubnobasswithmyheadman – Underworld’s first album with 22-year-old DJ Darren Emerson at the helm – which earned the English group top marks internationally for its spotless production and endless, multi-genre curiosity.
The fresh deluxe reissue of R.E.M.’s seminal album Monster includes a top-to-toe album remix by OG producer Scott Litt, previously unreleased demos, a rare concert recording from 1995, plenty of video footage, and spankin’ new liner notes.
Guess where American Recordings fell in the chronology of the late, great Johnny Cash. His fiftieth album? Sixtieth? Nope, it was his eighty-first – and signified a revival for the already iconic musician. It includes the faultless Tennessee Stud, which was recorded live at Hollywood’s Viper Room in 1993.