A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
As much as I loved the ’80s, I can’t say the ’90s holds as much sentiment. I feel more affinity for the Aughts than I do the ’90s. That said, 1998 has proven to be rich with favorites, and I would consider it the pinnacle year in the decade. This list has gone through extensive revision from the original.
Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Madonna, Ray of Light
Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy
Patty Griffin, Flaming Red
SUPERCAR, Three Out Change
Various Artists, For the Masses: A Tribute to Depeche Mode
Bruce Robison, Wrapped
Other favorites from the year:
Shakira, ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?
Wendy and Lisa, Girl Bros.
Midnight Oil, Redneck Wonderland
8 1/2 Souvenirs, Happy Feet
Kronos Quartet, Alfred Schnittke: The Complete String Quartets
the brilliant green, the brilliant green
Bang on a Can All-Stars, Music for Airports
Craig Armstrong, The Space Between Us
Julieta Venegas, Aquí
Aterciopelados, Caribe Atómico
Idlewild, Hope Is Important
Pansy Division, Absurd Pop Song Romance
A number of titles that held positions in the Favorite 10 switched places with ones in the extended list.
I didn’t give Fastball much credit 10 years ago because the album had been all over Austin at the time of its release. I got caught up in that hype, then dismissed it as such later. I was wrong. All the Pain Money Can Buy needs to be in the Favorite 10.
For the Masses actually turned me into a Depeche Mode fan. Some of the covers on the tribute album rival the originals. In the case of “Shake the Disease” and “Everything Counts”, they straight up improve them.
Madonna dominated the top position of this list for 10 years before Neutral Milk Hotel nudged her down a notch. SUPERCAR makes another revisionist ranking, pushing 8 1/2 Souvenirs off.
Idlewild makes an appearance with a debut album that’s at times bratty and tuneful. It’s a mess compared to its follow-up, 1000 Broken Windows. But it’s a riveting mess.