Ahh, the mid-90s. A time for most of us that meant neon was cool, as were birthday parties at roller rinks and bowling alleys, slouch socks were worn over your stretch pants (or easily substituted with acid wash jeans) and all your friends told you if you ate Pop Rocks with a Coke, your stomach would explode.
That’s I what I associate with my youth, but even more than that, I remember the music.
It doesn’t happen often that one great album is released, but in the time span from 1994 to 1996, so many amazing albums were released for our youthful listening pleasure.
These were the songs that we listened to on our Walkman, on the bus ride to school and on the radio in our parent’s car, begging them to turn it up because we knew all the words – even if we didn’t know what masturbation was, or why it had lost its fun.
I am going to break it all down to the top five albums of my youth. I know some of you may not have owned these albums. Perhaps you are older, or maybe too young, or just didn’t purchase CDs, but you all should know and recognize these amazing albums.
5. A tie between Bush’s Sixteen Stone and Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy.
I chose these two albums, as a tie for fifth, because I honestly couldn’t decide which one was actually more worthy to be on the list.
They both came out in late 1994, and everyone really did have these CDs.
All the girls were arguing over who was hotter, Gavin Rossdale or Eddie Vedder. I personally couldn’t decide. (Until recently. I mean, have you seen how hot Gavin Rossdale still is? And what ever happened to Eddie Vedder?)
4. TLC’s CrazySexyCool.
This group really was the benchmark of allowing a lot of different kinds of people starting to listen to R&B.
People ran out and bought this CD because the smooth sound and the infectious beat of this trio were too good to pass up. Their songs from this CD were played at sixth grade dances everywhere.
This huge hit, released the same time as the above two albums in late 1994, not only released really great songs, but spoke controversial messages.
3. Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill.
Yay, angry ex-girlfriend music! In the time of 1995, where sappy love songs were at their height, Alanis Morissette let loose with her angry girl rock.
She turned from a Canadian pop star to an American rocker, seemingly overnight. I think I knew, and still know, every word to every track on this album. You know you sang every word to “Isn’t it ironic?,” too.
2. Sublime and their self-titled hit of mid-1996.
Very few of my friends do not own this album one way or another. Lost or kept, scratched or cracked, this CD went everywhere that summer. To the beach, the mall, friend’s parties and anywhere else.
This music was a serious success, and it really is a shame that the lead singer was such a drug addict, because there won’t be another band that can do what Sublime did with ska music on the mainstream level.
This skater-stoner blend may have started out with the pot-smokers of America, but it reached way farther than that. This CD, which came out about seven years ago, is still played over and over. You just aren’t at a party if they don’t play Sublime.
1. And now, finally, the moment you have all been waiting for, the Number One album: Green Day’s Dookie.
I remember when this album came out, because it turned all my friends who hated listening to my favorite punk and ska bands, like NOFX and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, into little punk fans.
People from the suburbs were actually dying their hair blue and green to match the going color of what Green Day’s leading man.
This CD, all 14 tracks and even the secret song after the last track (that wasn’t so secret because everyone knew about it), were classic. My dad has actually stolen my “Dookie” CD and won’t give it back.
I know that I am missing a lot of bands, and it was hard for me to eliminate bands like Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, Weezer (I especially apologize to Heather on that one), Stone Temple Pilots, The Presidents of the United States of America and Lauryn Hill. But I think that these top five were definitely the most influential of them all.