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The 90s...the best albums of 1994...

Posted by Brad Schelden, February 8, 2013 05:44pm | Post a Comment
The year is 1994. Here we are in the middle of the 90s. This list of my favorite 10 albums of 1994 was not hard to come up with. But I honestly can't think of too many other albums that I loved this year other than these 10. I listened to a lot less music back in 1994. What I mean to say is that I listened to a lot less different bands. I listened to music a lot and it was a big part of my life. But in these mid 90s years I mostly listened to the same artists and albums over and over again. I was very into Britpop throughout the mid 90s. But there are really only two albums on this 1994 list that were really classified as Britpop. But there are some big albums missing from my list this year. Definitely Maybe by Oasis was of course also released in 1994. But I am saving them for my 1995 list. Blur released Parklife and Suede released Dog Man Star in 1994. And these albums was also a big part of my life and two of my favorites of the year. But I have already picked my favorite Blur and Suede albums for 1993. Split by Lush was another one of my favorites of 1994. But I already have them in my 1992 list. Maybe I should take another look at my self made rule of only putting one album by each band in my entire 90s list. But I still think it is a good idea. I don't need to keep talking about each band over and over again. And I always have my favorite one album for each band. There is just also usually a second album by each band that I love almost as much. Both 1993 and 1994 were two of my favorite years of the 90s. They were very similar and included many of the albums that I can't imagine my life without. Six of the albums on my list for 1994 were from bands from England. So no surprise there.
So here it is. My top ten albums of 1994...

Pulp-His 'n' Hers (Island)
1994 will always be remembered as the year that I discovered Pulp. I am still not exactly sure how or when it happened. But I know it happened at some point at the end of 1993 or the beginning of 1994. It is hard to imagine my life as existing before I discovered this band. What is funny is that this band had existed for over a decade already! They had already released It in 1983, Freaks in 1987 and Separations in 1992. But I don't think any of my friends had ever even heard of this band until 1993. The band released two singles in 1993. "Razzmatazz" and "Lipgloss." Both pulpended up on the U.S. version of His 'n' Hers. His 'n' Hers also included "Babies," "Do You Remember The First Time," "Joyriders" & "Acrylic Afternoons." This album was released in April of 1994. I probably listened it more than anything on this list. Pulp really did seem to take over in 1994 and 1995. You either loved them of you just didn't know who they were. Jarvis Cocker was the amazing and hilarious leader and singer of Pulp. I seriously did not know that this band existed before 1993. It is an amazing story that they even lasted that long and finally made the big time in 1994 and 1995. I didn't actually go back and discover the older Pulp albums until years later. Different Class was released the following year. It was probably one of the most anticipated albums of 1995 for me. And it also became one of my all time favorite albums.

stereolabStereolab-
Mars Audiac Quintet
(Elektra)

I still remember the first time I heard Stereolab. It was the year before this in 1993. Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements was released in 1993. One of my friends had it on cassette and I loved the name of the band. I loved the name of the album and the artwork. I didn't know anything about them. But I sort of already somehow knew that they would become one of my stereolabfavorite bands. I never gave my friend's cassette back and I know I purchased Mars Audiac Quintet on CD as soon as it came out in 1994. I really did love everything about this band. I was hooked on this band for life after this album came out. They were seriously the coolest band that I liked and sounded like nothing that I had heard before. This was years before I had ever heard of bands like Neu! or Faust. They fit into my love of shoegaze and electronics. They were sort of a mix of lounge music and shoegaze. Emperor Tomato Ketchup came out two years later in 1996 and was probably their most popular album. Dots & Loops was released in 1997 and was probably the last album of theirs that I was obsessed with. But I will remain a fan of this band for life.

echobellyEchobelly-
Everyone's Got One
(Rhythm King)

Everyone's Got One was Echobelly's first album. I was hooked as soon as I first head "Insomniac." I think I might have read about this band a while before this album actually came out. But it really is one of the best albums from the years of Britpop. The album also featured "Father Ruler King Computer," "Bellyache," "Call Me Names" & "I Can't echobellyImagine The World Without Me." Every album on this list takes me right back to 1994. But this album in particular. I am seriously transported right back to how I felt at the time. And I honestly remember being so happy when I listened to this album. This album just put me in a good mood. Echobelly went on to put out another great album On in 1995. They put out three more albums after that. But nothing was ever as great as this debut album. This is one of those albums that went out of print and is now surprisingly hard to find.

heavenlyHeavenly-The Decline & Fall of Heavenly (Sarah)
Heavenly was probably the first band that I listened to on Sarah Records. A couple of years later I would be exposed to the greatness of Sarah Records and Blueboy, The Field Mice, Brighter & Even As We Speak. There is really nothing like this label. I love almost everything that they put out. But it all started with Heavenly. This was also the beginning of my love of twee music. Twee heavenlymusic and the jangly pop music associated with it had been around since the 80s. But I had not really been exposed to it until the mid 90s. Heavenly was basically a reformed Talulah Gosh. They had been around in the 80s. I would of course go back and become a fan of all things Heavenly after getting obsessed with this album. The album cover is ridiculously cute just like the music. Heavenly had already released Heavenly Vs Satan in 1991 & Le Jardin de Heavenly in 1992. And they put out one more album after this one. Those first three albums are all classics of the genre. Perfect and brilliant pop albums. Simpatico! by Velocity Girl almost took this spot in my top ten for this year. But Heavenly beat them out by a bit. But I did love both albums.

portisheadPortishead-Dummy (Go! Beat)
I can't think about 1994 without Portishead. I can't really even think about the 90s without thinking about this album. Dummy was everywhere in my life from 1994 to probably the end of the 90s. I am sure I listened to this album more than most anything else in my collection. This band seemed to come out of nowhere and just took over my life. I think portisheadmost everyone I knew owned this album. This album was a blend of downtempo electronica and hip hop. Massive Attack had basically started the genre know as Trip Hop. But Portishead really made it crazy popular this year. Tricky released Maxinquaye the following year. This album is amazing from the beginning to the end. And it really still holds up after all these years. The album featured "Sour Times," "Numb," "Roads," "Glory Box" & "Mysterons." I really can't express enough my love for this album even all these years later. I did probably listen to it too much at the time. But after a bit of a break I still find myself going back to it a couple of times a year.

nine inch nailsNine Inch Nails-The Downward Spiral (Nothing)
This is another album that I simply could not ignore. This album was too important and too big to leave off this list. I was already a big fan of Nine Inch Nails way before this album came out. Pretty Hate Machine came out in 1989. However I probably didn't get really obsessed with that album until 1990 or 1991. The Broken EP came out in 1992. I was ready and waiting for this monumental album The Downward Spiral to finally be released in 1994. This album was huge. Like Dummy and Live Through This by Hole. They all dominated 1994 and 1995. I still watched a lot of MTV in 1994. And this album was all over MTV. The album featured "Mr. Self Destruct," "Piggy," "Closer," "March of the Pigs" & "Hurt." I don't think I listened to much else other then these 10 albums in 1994. Because I listened to them so much I really did not have time for much more. I do associate certain songs on this album with certain people in my life at the time. But I also did listen to this album a lot by myself. It is just one of those huge albums that will always be with me.

sunny day real estateSunny Day Real Estate-Diary
(Sub Pop)

Diary was the first album released by Sunny Day Real Estate. They were on Sub Pop like Nirvana and they were from Washington like Nirvana. They also infused elements of punk and metal. They were probably the first Emo band that I got into. I think I actually first heard this band on MTV on 120 Minutes. I was again hooked on another new band in 1994. Sunny Day Real Estate went on to release LP2 in 1995sunny day real estate and then broke up. They reformed in the late 90s and put out How It Feels To Be Something On in 1998. That album was also one of my favorites of 1998. This band always remained sort of a mystery to me. I knew very little about them. But I really did love this album and do still consider myself a big fan of this band. I go back to this album often. The album is an emotional journey for me. It makes me feel all emo again every time that I listen to it.

tortoiseTortoise-Tortoise (Thrill Jockey)
1994 will also be remembered by me as the year that I discovered Tortoise and the year that I discovered Thrill Jockey. I will be honest and admit that I only listened to this album because this dude I had a crush on told me that I had to listen to it. So I of course went and bought it so that we would have something to talk about. But I did end of becoming a big fan. This album sounded like nothing that I had heard before. I had never listened to anything remotely jazzy my whole life. I was into checking out new things this year. And Tortoise was for sure a new tortoisething for me. They were a sort of post rock mash up of electronica and jazz and rock. This album is what I think of when I think of Chicago. This was their first album. I also really liked their next couple of records. Millions Now Living Will Never Die in 1996, TNT in 1998 & Standards in 2001. I became hooked on the label Thrill Jockey after this album. And got into albums by The Sea & Cake, Trans Am, Eleventh Dream Day, Mouse On Mars & Oval. I had not listened to this album in over 10 years probably. But it has been fun to rediscover this band and remember why I got into them in the first place.

bark psychosisBark Psychosis-Hex (Caroline)
This was one of those records that I bought just based on the cover. I knew nothing about Bark Psychosis. But I liked the name of the band and the cover. It also fit right in next to my Tortoise album. They were sort of a darker version of Tortoise. They were from London but still had that post rock sound. They have some instrumental songs like Tortoise. But they have vocals on this album as well. The album is sortbark psychosis of a combination of Cocteau Twins or This Mortal Coil with the jazzy post rock sound of a Tortoise album. This is sort of goth jazz. The album is still intense and dark. And I do remember often listening to this album when I was a bit depressed. But it always seemed to help me out of it. I am not sure this album would have the same effect on me if I was listening to it for the first time in 2013. I listened to this album many times throughout the mid to late 90s. I took a long break from this album like the Tortoise album. But it just got reissued on LP a couple of months ago so I was able to revisit it and fall in love with it all over again.

hole live through thisHole-Live Through This (DGC)

I still remember going to buy this album the week that it came out. It came out on April 12th 1994. Just a couple of days after Kurt Cobain died. I turned 20 a couple of weeks after that. It was an important year in my life for many reasons. Hole had already released Pretty On The Inside in 1991. But this was my first Hole album. It was just a crazy and sad set of circumstances surrounding this album. But thehole album still became a huge record that year. And everyone either hated or loved Courtney Love and Hole. I always try and imagine what the rest of the 90s would have been like with Kurt Cobain still around. But I was happy to have this album to console myself. The album featured "Violet," "Miss World," "Jennifer's Body," "Asking For It" & "Doll Parts." There is no denying how great this album really is. And it still holds up against any album released since then. I really got obsessed with this album and Courtney Love throughout the rest of the 90s. It is the kind of record that gets me a bit down and emotional. It is sort of like Courtney Love's version of emo. I can seriously listen to "Doll Parts" over and over again. This is another great record from 1994 that I will never forget. A record that will always be attached to my life in 1994.

Check for these albums here on Amoeba.com

Check out the video for "Glory Box" by Portishead from the album Dummy...



Check out the video for "Seven" by Sunny Day Real Estate from the album Diary...


Relevant Tags

Hole (7), Best Of The 90s (5), Portishead (11), Echobelly (1), Tortoise (2), Stereolab (3), Heavenly (1), Sunny Day Real Estate (2), Nine Inch Nails (11), Bark Psychosis (1), Pulp (9), 1994 (2)