1997: The Year That Had A Few Reasons For Paying Attention
I like to think the 1990s had a little something for everyone. Unlike the 1980s when the mainstream bit truly hard and major 1960s icons were defeated before they tried a thing due to major label production values, the 1990s dried out those productions and suddenly even modestly-inspired music sounded better, which is a big deal since music is sound, after all.
25) Radiohead -- OK Computer: If you were young enough, this was a mind-melting experience. If you were a bit older, say nearing 30, it wasn't so clearcut. I've heard conversations regarding this album that sounded like two people talking about completely different things. No matter how I feel about this particular album, I do think it's a shame big, important rock acts can't seem to have hits like the Pink Floyd back in their day.
24) The Prodigy -- The Fat of the Land: Anyone remember when electronica was going to be the next big thing? We all read about how the industry was ready to dump grunge and salute the new regime. It says on Wikipedia, everyone's favorite source for facts that may or may not be factually correct, that the album sold over 10 million copies. So it wasn't exactly the Bosstown Sound, but it stayed in the clubs and at raves, so folks could enjoy the Eagles' Greatest Hits on the radio without interruption.
23) The Chemical Brothers -- Dig Your Own Hole: Another highly-hyped album that's been a sizable hit but not the cultural touchstone that its followers wanted it to be. Or maybe if you live in the U.K., you actually get exposed to new ideas and these things have taken on cultural heft. I liked the album cover.
22) The Notorious B.I.G. -- Life After Death: Only Ready To Die was released in his lifetime, with Life After Death being released 16 days after he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting. The career risks involved with having a Gangsta Rap career have oddly not deterred young people from attempting one. Despite Biggie's death, young people did not flee to a safer genre such as folk or bluegrass music, where violent deaths have dropped drastically in recent decades, despite the amount of death that appears in the songs.