Back in the '90s your favorite bands didn't put out records on vinyl. Why would they? COMPACT DISCS WERE THE HEIGHT OF MUSICAL TECHNOLOGY. Most of these albums are still sitting in the lonely 200-CD flip case on the floor of my car. But now you can get your favorite '90s rock albums in a medium that actually fits their warm, grungy vibe. Let's skip down this lane of not-that-long-ago nostalgia because that's what we youngs do best. —Angelo
Sure you could buy the deluxe box set
of Nirvana's more famous album, but purists will always be drawn to Bleach
, which was famously made for like $600 and before Dave Grohl came along and...made them a better band. Before real studios and producers helped Kurt and company reluctantly shape a more radio friendly Nevermind
vibe, the band had the freedom for quick, heavy cuts like "Negative Creep
." This album was technically made in 1989 but whatever.
Bro I actually had this album on a cassette tape which I listened to in my Walkman. If you're too young to have owned a Walkman, take a walk, man! (Slaps knee.) Also, if you're too young to have owned a Walkman, you probably only know Green Day as a terrible group of old dudes in eyeliner who make unlistenable songs like "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." But back in my day Green Day just made simple pop-punk songs about fun stuff like smoking pot and masturbating.
The year was 1996. Gwen Stefani was young, bomb.com and for some reason wore a sticker on her forehead. She had just broken up with No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal (drama!) which led to not the album's best song, but the song
that got No Doubt onto stations your mom listened to, catapulting Gwen and the bros into stardom.
Gwen Stefani dumped her bassist to eventually marry Bush's pretty-boy frontman Gavin Rossdale, who is tight because he was randomly in The Bling Ring
as a skeezy club owner. Anyway, it's easy to dismiss Bush as tepid radio rock until you look back at this album and remember there was a time when records would have like five songs on the radio. Does that happen anymore? None of the songs on Sixteen Stone
are as good as "Mouth
" from the band's follow-up, Razorblade Suitcase
, but it's still solid throughout.
This album produced three lasting hits: "What I Got," "Wrong Way," and "Santeria," but "Pawn Shop" is built on one of the decade's most underrated bass grooves and "April 29, 1992" was how white kids who didn't listen to N.W.A. or Public Enemy learned about racial injustice.
The kids probably don't even know Incubus made albums in the '90s, but after their first, mushroom-inspired album Fungus Amongus
(which was interesting but needed to chill a bit) and before the band couldn't decide whether they wanted to rap or make acoustic love songs, Incubus created 1997's gem: S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
None of the album's tracks blew up, which is sad because "Summer Romance
" and "Deep Inside
" are better than any of the band's later radio hits.