The mid-90s witnessed a time of condensed, raw talent bursting onto the international music scene on all fronts. In the post-grunge world, music spanning genres of punk, ska, rock, reggae and rap all aimed to express their take on the world pre-millennium. With such a rich variety of music styles, music history hasn’t been the same since.
The following ten albums were all released in 1995 and have been an inspiration to contemporary artists of different genres today. Check out these classic hits; reminisce about your youth and the past era of some truly inspiring music.
The Bends by Radiohead
At the start of the year, Radiohead released The Bends, which had a more lyrical, multi-dimensional sound than their debut album Pablo Honey with tracks like 'My Iron Lung' and 'Street Spirit.' The harsher guitar sound paired with the new addition of keyboard complemented the album’s abstract lyrics of transient concepts and philosophical journeys. The Bends represented a major shift in music history and has had a tremendous influence on other rock bands like Coldplay and The White Stripes, who both rose to fame in the 2000s.
Insomniac by Green Day
Green Day’s fourth album Insomniac represented a shift towards a darker, heavier punk sound for the band with tracks like ‘Geek Stink Breath‘and ’Brain Stew/ Jaded’. The album jumpstarted a more abrasive punk revival in the late 1990s and 2000s, which led to pop punk bands like Blink 182, Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance.
Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrissette
Alanis Morissette released this debut album at the ripe age of nineteen, documenting the fascinating road of an intelligent and independent young woman very much in tune with her emotions. She gave the strong, outspoken 90s girl a voice with tracks like ’You Oughta Know‘ and ’Head Over Feet’. Alanis’ sensual and staccato voice styles are still echoed in contemporary solo artists like Regina Spektor and bands like Dresden Dolls and Eisley.
Melon Collie and Infinite Sadness by the Smashing Pumpkins
This album was a spin-off in a new direction for the Smashing Pumpkins. Experimental beats and multi-dimensional rhythms aimed to define the emptiness of disaffected youth. Tracks like ‘Beautiful and ‘Lily’ demonstrate the Pumpkin’s crooning love song side amid mostly rock and roll anthems. These sounds influenced other alternative rock bands like Placebo and Interpol.
Who on Earth didn’t find the single ‘Boombastic‘ contagious in 1995? Not only did the single jumpstart a movement towards reggae pop, but the reggaeton explosion in the 2000s was inspired by artists like Shaggy. Sean Paul, Nina Sky and Don Omar are just some of the contemporary reggae artists carrying on the legacy.
Pieces of You by Jewel
In 1995, Jewel was the voice of poetic justice. Her impassioned lyrics and fairy-like voice inspired many to develop their own poetic talents. Tracks like ’Who Will Save Your Soul?’ and ’You Were Meant For Me’ became timeless guitar ballads. Jewel has given birth to a new era of beautiful voices with poetic verse including Joss Stone, KT Tunstall and Michelle Branch.
The Great Escape by Blur
Blur’s fourth album made its mark on the mid-90s British pop scene with their retro, Beatles-inspired beats. Many of the tracks discuss the desperate loneliness of 90s youth. Tracks like ’Country House‘ and ’The Universal‘ inspired much of the British indie rock explosion later in the 2000s like Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura.
Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio
This album included the massive hit single by the same name. Featured on the soundtrack for Dangerous Minds, the melody haunted the mid-1990s with larger questions of social class and mass inequality. Simply put, this album made being a gangster cool, which influenced later rap, R&B and hip-hop artists like Jay-Z, Snoop Dog and 50 Cent.
Adios Amigos! by the Ramones
After a 21-year run, the Ramones released their final album in 1995. The music legacy of the Ramones is difficult to grasp, but let’s just say that Green Day members have named their children after this epic band. And when pop punk began to rise on the scene, tracks like ‘I Don’t Want to Grow Up’ and ‘Born to Die in Berlin ’ kept old school punks and hardcore bands like Rammstein inspired.
Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt
When No Doubt landed on the international scene, everyone was positively addicted to the high-energy sound of tracks like ‘Just a Girl‘ and ’Spiderwebs’. Gwen Stefani was as pretty as she was punky, and she certainly held her ground against the all-male team. No Doubt has influenced plenty of rock-pop contemporary bands like the Black Eyed Peas and solo artists including Marina and the Diamonds, Avril Lavigne and Pink.