For music lovers around the world who are now in their 30s and 40s, the 1990s was a special time for music. In America and the UK there was a renaissance of popular music with new Rock, Indie and Electronic bands producing some of their best work which is still incredibly popular today. In America, grunge music was born, which fused the raw ferocity of punk with Generation X sentiments and became a soundtrack to a disenfranchised generation of teenagers. In the UK, an air of positivity was present in the 1990s, which led to the movement known as Britpop, where a wealth of new and emerging bands took center stage to give their voices to the current British landscape. In this article, three of the top albums from the 90s will be explored, covering Metal, Grunge, and Britpop.
Virtual XI – Iron Maiden
By the 1990s, Iron Maiden had already cemented themselves as one of the best metal acts of a generation. Classic albums such as The Number of the Beast had already prepared the band for metal’s hall of fame and ensured that they were filling stadiums on every tour. However, Virtual XI is often overlooked when compared to previous albums but is one of the greatest metal albums of the period. It has an upbeat tone to the record and one of the standout tracks on the album is “The Angel and the Gambler,” which includes the lyrics “Roll off the dice take a spin of the wheel; out of your hands now so how do you feel?” The song mixed themes of gambling with images of heaven and hell and proved to be the most popular track as it tapped into the growing trend of online gambling that was starting to emerge during this period. Today, the online gambling scene is flourishing, with sites such as spincasino.com providing high-class gaming environments and secure payment for today’s generation of thrill seekers. Rock and metal always had an association with risk-taking and gambling, and The Angel and the Gambler gave a 90s spin on the growth of online casinos that were developing during this era.
Definitely Maybe – Oasis
From the Suburb of Burnage in Manchester emerged one of the standout bands in all of Britpop during the 90s. Oasis was a modern-day twist on acts such as the sex pistols (although heavily influenced by the Beatles) and fused a wall of guitar sound with arrogant confidence and showmanship of their frontman Liam Gallagher. Definitely Maybe was the band’s first album and it sold over 400,000 copies in its first week of release in the UK. Standout tracks were “Supersonic,” “Live Forever” and “Slide Away.” The album helped to fuel the emerging Manchester scene and sparked a “lad” culture of hard partying and gregariousness that is unlikely to be repeated in modern times.
Nevermind – Nirvana
From the instantly recognizable “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to the softer, downbeat tones of “Polly,” Nirvana’s 1991 Album Nevermind signaled the emergence of grunge music into the mainstream. Kurt Cobain and the band had produced a masterpiece of angst-ridden, shoe-gazing melancholia that blended raw punk with deep, bruising lyrics. Kurt was the rock star who represented the voice of disaffected American youth, and his lyrics were studied and unraveled by fans seeking to get a deeper insight into his troubled, genius psyche. Whilst the discography of Nirvana is short, due to the tragic suicide of Kurt Cobain in 1994, Nevermind stands as one of the greatest albums of the 90s and a true grunge masterpiece.