Twenty-five years ago we saw a whole host of timeless classics released from a vast array of genres; whether they be groundbreaking debuts or era-defining soundscapes. From Britpop to Hip-Hop, Grunge-Rock to Synth-Pop, these are the best albums from the year 1993.
10. Blur – Modern Life is Rubbish
Blur’s second studio album held immense pressure on it after the band’s falling reputation from their debut album and far from well received live shows in America; but it is safe to say Damon Albarn and co. delivered with resounding success. Modern Life is Rubbish coincided with an image change for the band, as they adopted more of a melodic sound with the use of woodwind and brass instruments to help push this sound further. The album is poignant and gracious and it paved the way for their future endeavors.
9. PJ Harvey – Rid of Me
PJ Harvey is a critically acclaimed goddess of the British music industry, creating some of the best albums this country has heard in many decades. Her second album Rid of Me was more raw and aggressive than it’s predecessor, looking at concepts of female empowerment way before it was trendy to sing about. Thanks to albums such as this one, she has become an icon of the modern feminist era, proving again and again how ahead of her time she truly is.
8. Suede – Suede
Suede brought us their commercially successful cult eponymous debut in 1993 and it went toe-to-toe with newly formed rivals Blur’s effort Modern Life is Rubbish. The stylistic development of their glam-rock sound, very reminiscent of David Bowie in certain ways, helped Suede come out on top in terms of critical success against Blur, with songs like Animal Nitrate still standing the test of time and being one of the better britpop anthems of the 90s.
7. Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle
Hard to believe that there was once a time that Snoop Dogg was a novice in the rap game, it just feels like he has always been a veteran and a huge name, but that mainly is thanks to the brilliance of his 1993 debut Doggystyle. It has such an archetypal West Coast flavour and managed to sell widescale as well as being critically successful, striking a balance many rappers struggled to find in that era. It sold over 800,000 copies in the first week alone and is regarded as an essential listen for 90s hip-hop.
6. Björk – Debut
As the album title suggests, this is the debut album from Swedish singer-songwriter Björk, as she ventured into solo work after splitting from her previous band The Sugarcubes. Traditionally known as a borderline rock artist at that time, Björk shocked the world as her album went completely leftfield; exploring the genres of electronic pop, house, jazz and even hip-hop at times. The album was highly influential and would serve as a bookmark moment in the illustrious career of one of music’s most cherished possessions.
5. Radiohead – Pablo Honey
Radiohead are still to this day one of the best bands on the planet, consistently churning out fantastic releases 25 years on from the debut album. Pablo Honey is where it all started for the British rock band, 1993 saw the birth of a band destined for greatness and you could hear that in abundance here. The album of course has Creep on it, one of the most quintessential British anthems of the 90s, but it also had charisma and mystery; combining Thom Yorke’s chilling vocals with Johnny Greenwood’s thrashing guitar chords.
4. The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
The Smashing Pumpkins brought their second album out in 1993, and Siamese Dream is widely regarded as the best album of the band’s discography, as well as one of the very best grunge/alt-rock albums of all time. In a time when shoegaze was immensely popular, Billy Corgan and his band took influence from the sounds of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive and created their own avenues, releasing huge hits and conceptual masterclasses. Cherub Rock and Today remain some of the very best songs of their time and you feel as though the longer this album has been out, the better it has sounded.
3. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Returning with their third studio album, A Tribe Called Quest were already at the very top of their game when Midnight Marauders arrived in 1993. The group were making waves not only in the hip-hop genre, but in the whole industry as a whole with their jazzy production and conceptual lyricism. This album had funk, attitude and served as a great staple role model for young listeners, using positive lyrics and content to shed a better light on what was a fairly physical and aggressive genre in hip-hop. It may not be as good as The Low End Theory, but it serves as an important moment in the new-wave rap scene that we can hear today.
2. Nirvana – In Utero
Nirvana’s third and final studio album before the untimely death of frontman Kurt Cobain was yet another shining example of the group’s emotive, raw attitude in their music. In Utero had the mission of following the band’s previous album Nevermind, a record many consider one of the greatest of all time; in doing so Nirvana opted for a new sound, increasing the intensity and subject matter of Kurt’s vocals above and beyond what could be considered the more ‘radio-friendly’ sound of it’s predecessor. You had the grunge anger on Heart Shaped Box but also the tranquil ballad style of All Apologies, it strikes a case for being Nirvana’s most honest and true to themselves piece of music.
1. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
It had to be something pretty special to top this list, but what better than one of the most iconic and well-respected rap albums of all time? With their debut album, The Wu-Tang Clan put their stamp down on the music industry with hardcore raps and jazzy production courtesy of master-producer RZA. Containing some of the greatest MC’s of all time (Ghostface Killah, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Raekwon etc.), they blended together with seamless continuity to craft a masterpiece, widely regarded as one a major source of inspiration for the East Coast Hip-Hop Renaissance period of artists such as Nas and Jay-Z.