Readers Poll: The Most Underrated Rock Albums Of The '90s

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For this week's readers poll, I asked our Facebook and Twitter chums their choices for the most underrated and unsung albums of the '90s.

We all agree on things like Nevermind, Harvest Moon, Mezzanine, The Soft Bulletin, Odelay and OK Computer, but what about albums that fall through the cracks of '90s lore? The ones that don't get teary-eyed blogs written about them, or grand SPIN magazine retrospective covers?

Most of these were no-brainers that I was glad to see mentioned, like The Afghan Whigs' Gentlemen, and more esoteric and adventurous pieces like Kula Shaker's K. Of course, Team Rocks Off snuck a few onto the list. (You're welcome, Live!)

I should have made my case for the Donnas' sophomore album, American Teenage Rock 'n' Roll Machine, recorded before they turned into Turbonegro.

Not all albums from the '90s aren't overrated or underrated. Some things are rated just as they should be. Like The Pixies' Bossanova , Sleater-Kinney's Call the Doctor, or Jawbreaker's Dear You. They are just good, no more no less. Argue amongst yourselves.

Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy: You may have only known Fastball for their hit single "The Way" but they turned in a great pop-rock record with 1998's All The Pain..., which featured two other singles that should have been much bigger.

Blind Melon, Soup

Live, Secret Samadhi


The Rentals, Return of the Rentals: If you were into Weezer in the mid-'90s, you surely owned former guitarist Matt Sharp's Rentals work. This one still gets love, a decade and half on.

The Offspring, Ixnay On The Hombre

God Lives Underwater, Life In The So-Called Space Age

White Zombie, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1

Garbage, Version 2.0

Matthew Sweet, Girlfriend


Pulp, Different Class: With Pulp active again -- for now -- many people are rediscovering their catalog, a perfect, glam-inflected take on the Britpop genre. Start with this one.

L7, Bricks Are Heavy

Better Than Ezra, Friction Baby

Bush, Razorblade Suitcase



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27 comments
Brian Barker
Brian Barker

Breaks my heart not to see Ride's Nowhere up there. Or Jawbox's For Your Own Special Sweetheart. Could you at least throw Pavement or Fugazi a bone?

Mike
Mike

Plexi - (1996) Cheer Up - one of the best psych rock/shoegaze albums ever. they would have been huge had this album came out 4 or 5 years later.

St. Johnny - (1993) High As A Kite, and (1994) Speed Is Dreaming - great noisy indie band from NYC. thurston moore got them signed to Geffen. sounds like swervedriver meets dino jr. kinda

TAD - (1993) Inhaler - heavy as hell, great riffs and songs. produced by J. Mascis

recordfeller
recordfeller

Underrated?  Many of these albums reached or exceeded the Gold or Platinum sales award mark.  Possibly lesser works by the artists, but most were very popular.

Jake
Jake

I'm so happy to see Pack Up The Cats on that list - one of my favorite albums ever.

90sssss
90sssss

Talk Talk Laughing Stock

dharman
dharman

Guided By Voices - Under the Bushes Under the StarsHusker Du - Flip Your WigThe Afghan Whigs - GentlemanGirls Vs Boys - Venus Luxure #1

Lots more too.. the underground in the 90s was amazing. Heck, check out just about anyone on Touch and Go records 90-95 and be happy.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Right Said Fred - Up.  Screw the "I'm too sexy" song.  This was a good album.  Youtube "Deeply Dippy" for further proof.

Racostello
Racostello

Rocket from the Crypt  --  Circa Now! '92Sonic Youth -- Goo '90Slint -- Spiderland '91The Jesus Lizard -- Goat '91Brendan Benson -- One Mississippt '96Could go on for awhile......

Josh
Josh

I said it before, if you like meantime, go get Betty and Strap it on, Both are BETTER than Meantime. Hell, even Aftertaste isn't bad.

Meantime just benefits from having one of the best rock songs of the past 25 years on it.

The OSD
The OSD

The Silos' self titled album The Silos (The one with the bird on the cover).  It came out in 1990 and is excellent.

Jeff Hall
Jeff Hall

Glad to see King's X - Dogman on here.  That and Ear Candy are still in regular rotation on my iPod...

@rickinhou
@rickinhou

Smashing Pumpkins - Gish is brilliant.  Sure, "despite all my rage..." blah blah blah, whatever...but the Pumpkins' initial offering of the grunge era blows away any of their later offerings.

Powerman 5000 - Tonight the Stars Revolt! was fantastic, as well. Because it most closely fit into the "heavy metal" genre, though, it was largely overlooked, but was no less brilliant than many other more trendy releases at the time.

Kudos to whomever mentioned Helmet - Meantime. Fantastic stuff, that.

Josh
Josh

Hard to think of radio overplays like Bush and Garbage as underrated but I suppose you could argue that dismissa because of radio is grounds for inclusion.

Did someone just call FNM a stupid band?? Yeah, and Carl Sagan was a dumb guy.

Joshwebster
Joshwebster

Glad to see Razorblade Suitcase. That has long been my PA-tuning album, killer Albini production.

Radio Zero
Radio Zero

Urge Overkill - Supersonic Storybook or Saturation 

That band got the shaft because they adopted the "rockstar image" but it was always with tongue in cheek. Rock at that moment didn't have a highly developed sense of humor.

Guest
Guest

Thermadore. Monkey on Rico.

Dustin Kalman
Dustin Kalman

The Sundays - Reading, Writing and Arithmetic

ace simmons
ace simmons

House of Love – completely underrated 80s / 90s band. Most of their early stuff is brilliant.

also, underrated from a stupid band – Faith No More "Angel Dust"

csoakley
csoakley

Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" is a masterpiece.

SF
SF

The La's album. Technically, it's from the 80s but was not released until the 90s.

Racostello
Racostello

Fantastic record, and possibly the most overlooked of all these.  Just listened to it on Monday!

RickC
RickC

Yep, all of these are great records!

ace simmons
ace simmons

not sure if Goo can be considered under-rated, although Daydream Nation is surely over-rated. For my money, Sister is the most complete, tight SY album of that era. Also, ironic that Dirty was panned as a sell-out by fans upon its release – the big label thing and Butch Vig, I guess. In hindsight, it's still an incredible album.

How about "That What Is Not" from PIL? Brilliant or rubbish?

cxf
cxf

true. talk about a timeless album.

Racostello
Racostello

Oh, not saying it's their best by any stretch, just that it was probably their best of the nineties...

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