A look at 15 top albums celebrating 20+ years in 2017.
Some of the best albums from the late ’80s and the full memorable decade of the ’90s are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year. Whether hip-hop or heavy metal, here are 15 nostalgia-inducing top albums worth revisiting.
1. Rage Against the Machine, Self-Titled (25th anniversary)
With this 1992 self-titled debut album, Rage Against the Machine pushed through the charts thanks to tracks “Bombtrack,” “Know Your Enemy” and “Killing in the Name.” The album became number one on the Heatseekers chart and number 45 on the Billboard 200.
2. Deftones, Around the Fur (20th anniversary)
The Deftones’ second album brought with it a fury of angry skateboarders, BMXers and extreme-sports junkies. Its approach to alternative metal included smooth bass lines, chaotic guitar riffs, solid drumming and vocals that alternate between hypnotic whispers and disgruntled screams. While the music video for “My Own Summer” may have been…odd, the song was unquestionably a hit. Commandeering a passed-up niche of listeners and giving them a home for their anger, the Deftones rocked on as Around the Fur became certified platinum.
3. Stone Temple Pilots, Core (25th anniversary)
This debut album by the hard-alt grunge act is no doubt their top album, with the stylish and inimitable “Plush,” “Sex Type Thing” and “Creep.” The album took number three on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Heatseekers chart, ultimately selling eight million records in the United States alone, platinum eight times over.
4. Rammstein, Sehnsucht (20th anniversary)
Rammstein, coined the “New German Hardness,” saw their second album become the only German album to be certified platinum. The tracks “Engel” and “Du Hast,” which were on heavy rotation, started the band on its journey and remain the epitome of its work. Through simple, catchy metal riffing and droning drumbeats, Rammstein successfully carved their own style and they show no signs of stopping.
5. Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (30th anniversary)
With GNR’s hard-glam metal debut album, Appetite for Destruction, heavy music itself and this writer’s taste were forever changed. While the album took number one on the Billboard 200, sold over 30 million copies and struck a chord in the hearts of many ’90s kids with hits “Paradise City,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and my personal favorite, “My Michelle,” it was also the introduction to a new era of metal-diva front men.
6. Ministry, Psalm 69 (25th anniversary)
Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs landed at 27 on the Billboard 200, earning a Grammy nomination and selling over a million albums in only two years. Ministry blew up with the singles “Just One Fix,” “N.W.O.” and “Jesus Built My Hotrod.” This is the eccentric Al Jourgensen at his best, and Ministry is arguably industrial metal’s best band.
7. The Prodigy, The Fat of the Land (20th anniversary)
This breakthrough album by the UK’s electronic hard-core breakbeat group The Prodigy found a home with fans of diverse genres: hip-hop, heavy metal, hard core, electronic. And with its eclectic selection of singles and videos, including “Breathe,” “Smack My Bitch Up” and “Firestarter,” the Prodigy’s approach to creating unique and thought-provoking material with catchy hooks and stunning videos have kept them popular to this day.
8. Blink-182, Dude Ranch (20th anniversary)
Simplistic pop-punk with lowbrow lyrical content. What these songs lack in musicianship, Blink-182’s videos made up for in character. Coming in at number one on the Heatseekers and at 67th on the Billboard 200, this album is a must for anyone who doesn’t take their music too seriously.
9. Faith No More, Angel Dust (25th anniversary)
Faith No More earned gold status and grabbed number 10 on the Billboard 200 with Angel Dust. Mike Paton’s smooth, soothing voice on “Easy” showed talent he had yet to showcase. Tracks like the volatile “Jizzlobber” brought out aggression mostly seen within his side project Mr. Bungle, and “Be Aggressive” stands out as a fun, energetic piece.
10. Wu-Tang Clan, Wu-Tang Forever (20th anniversary)
Wu-Tang Clan played a significant role in making rap a worldwide phenomenon. Their second album, a double one, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. With tracks like “Triumph,” it should come as no surprise that the album has sold over two million copies in the United States alone.
11. The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (30th anniversary)
The seventh album by the British New Wave/Goth act The Cure continued to establish the band as a forerunner in the market, claiming 35th on the Billboard 200. With their melancholic sound, the band brought its sound to the American mainstream with singles “Just Like Heaven” and “Why Can’t I Be You?”
12. Beastie Boys, Check Your Head (25th anniversary)
Check Your Head continued the Beastie Boys’ run of hits with “So What’cha Want” and “Jimmy James.” Grabbing the number 10 spot of the Billboard 200, the album was loved and hated for its unconventional versatility we’d come to see more of.
13. White Zombie, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One (25th anniversary)
The third studio album from the horror/sci-fi-themed groove metalheads White Zombie found its way to a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance, debuted on the Billboard 200 with standouts “Thunder Kiss ’65” and “Black Sunshine” and was certified platinum twice over. Led by antihero Rob Zombie, this band was made of the dirt and grime of Super 8 film footage.
14. Pantera, Vulgar Display of Power (25th anniversary)
Album cover photo myth: Metalhead got punched in the face 31 times to get the perfect shot. Truth: a photographer hired a hand model to push and rest his fist against another model’s face while a fan blew his hair. With that infamous cover and the heavy metal within, Vulgar Display of Power dominated the charts, changing the sound of the genre forever. At 44 on the Billboard 200 and selling over two million copies, this groove-metal powerhouse took names with singles “Mouth for War,” “Walk,” “This Love” and the beautiful and deep “Hollow” to remind us all that even metal guys have feelings.
15. Rollins Band, Life Time (30th anniversary)
This first full-length from Rollins punctuated through the speakers like a bull hell-bent on eliminating its rider. And while the record caught the attention of many fans old and new, it didn’t find much reception on the charts, which of course Rollins couldn’t give two shits about. Although it did properly foreshadow the hard-focused anger that was to come with critical appeal in the albums The End of Silence (1992) and Weight (1994), both placing well on the Billboard 200.