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Laurence Station's Top 10 Albums of the 1990s

1. Radiohead: OK Computer (Capitol, 1997)
It doesn't give up its secrets easily, improving with repeated listens. A masterpiece.
 
2. Tom Waits: Bone Machine (Island, 1992)
Not for the faint of heart. The  most cohesive, intense, and thematically rewarding album of Waits' career.
3. A Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory (Jive, 1991)
Eschewing done-to-death '70s R&B-inspired beats for jazz-flavored tracks, A Tribe Called Quest crafts one of the greatest hip-hop albums.
 
4. My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (Sire, 1991)
Kevin Shields & Co. take overdubbing to a whole new level on this dense yet light as a feather collection of intimate yet symphonic noise rock creations.
5. The Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin (Warner Bros., 1999)
1997's Zaireeka was just a tune-up compared to the level of sonic artistry the Lips would achieve on this record.
 
6. Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (Matador, 1994)
Slanted & Enchanted validated the group's indie cred, this one established its musical identity.
7. Neutral Milk Hotel: In An Aeroplane Over The Sea (Merge, 1998)
Jeff Mangum justifies the promise of the Elephant 6 Collective with the decade's most surrealistically inspired effort.
 
8. Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville (Matador, 1993)
Naked, honest, devastating, but never once self-pitying. A brilliant achievement.
9. Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (Mercury, 1998)
The birth of this record was not easy, but the end result proved to be well worth the wait.
 
10. Björk: Homogenic (Elektra, 1997)
Flawless integration of Björk's voice with the edgier tones of electronica and trip-hop. Vibrates with a rich, near cinematic sheen.
 
How tough was this list to compile? Consider the following releases that didn't make it, despite being imminently worthy efforts:
 
  • Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (Apollo, 1993)
  • Autechre: Tri Repetae (Warp, 1995)
  • Bark Psychosis: Hex (Caroline, 1994)
  • Beastie Boys: Check Your Head (Grand Royal, 1992)
  • Beck: Odelay (DGC/Bong Load Custom Records, 1996 )
  • Beck: Mutations (DGC/Bong Load Custom Records, 1998)
  • Company Flow: Funcrusher Plus (Priority Records, 1997)
  • The Dismemberment Plan: Emergency & I (DeSoto,1999)
  • DJ Shadow: Endtroducing… (Mo Wax, 1996)
  • Massive Attack: Blue Lines (Virgin, 1991)
  • Massive Attack: Mezzanine (Virgin, 1998)
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: The Boatman's Call (Mute/Reprise, 1997)
  • Nirvana: In Utero (Geffen, 1993)
  • OutKast: Aquemini (LaFace, 1998)
  • Pavement:  Slanted & Enchanted (Matador, 1992)
  • Pavement: Wowee Zowee (Matador, 1995)
  • PJ Harvey: Dry (Too Pure/Indigo, 1992)
  • PJ Harvey: Rid of Me (Island, 1993)
  • PJ Harvey: To Bring You My Love (Island, 1995)
  • Primal Scream: Screamadelica (Sire, 1991)
  • Pulp: Different Class (Island, 1995)
  • Radiohead: The Bends (Capitol, 1995)
  • R.E.M: Automatic For the People (Warner Bros., 1992)
  • The Roots: Things Fall Apart (MCA, 1999)
  • Silver Jews: American Water (Drag City, 1998)
  • Slint: Spiderland (Touch & Go, 1991)
  • Spiritualized: Ladies And Gentleman We Are Floating In Space (Arista, 1997)
  • Sugar: Copper Blue (Rykodisc, 1992)
  • Throwing Muses: The Real Ramona (4AD/Sire, 1991)
  • Tortoise: Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Thrill Jockey, 1996)
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders (Jive, 1993)
  • U2: Achtung Baby (Island, 1991)
  • Wilco: Summer Teeth (Reprise, 1999)
  • Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (Matador, 1997)

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