Favorite albums by year from 1990 to 2009


20 Sep 2009, 6:28

Yeah, I thought I could look at the last 2 decades (where most of the music I listen to is) and see which albums were the best for each year. Now, it will change in the future as I acquire even more albums and listen to the remaining albums from 2009, but here’s what it is right now. Best album for each year + 2 honorable mentions. For each of the best albums per year, I'll give out my 3 favorite tracks from the albums.

Some years were heavily stacked with a lot of 9/10 and 10/10 albums. Some decisions were tough to make too :(

Depeche ModeViolator - The album that got me right into Depeche Mode and is one of the best albums of all time, especially the songs Enjoy the Silence, World in My Eyes, and Personal Jesus.

Honorable Mentions:
MegadethRust In Peace
PanteraCowboys From Hell

Pearl JamTen - Pearl Jam's best album to date...their most classic, and the 2009 Ten Redux version made it better with some bonus tracks. The song Alive has one of the best guitar solos of all time, courtesy of under-rated guitarist Mike McCready. Once sets the tone for the album, and who can’t forget Jeremy.

Honorable Mentions:
Red Hot Chili PeppersBlood Sugar Sex Magik
Michael JacksonDangerous

Alice in ChainsDirt - Major Alice in Chains fan, and this album helped solidify their place as my favorite band. The vocals of Layne Staley combined with the slow sludgy riffs and atmosphere makes this overall my #1 favorite grunge rock album. My favorites include the hard rocking Dam the River, the heavy power ballad Down in a Hole, and the lengthy slow-moving Rain When I Die, a song that fades out near the end, then suddenly few seconds later after some silence, comes right back!!

Honorable Mentions:
Faith No MoreAngel Dust
Rage Against the MachineRage Against the Machine

Pearl JamVs. - Yeah, Pearl Jam continued their string of success. 1993's album while not up to Ten, saw PJ not losing their edge and keeping their hard rock up. Once again, Pearl Jam answered with another strong opener Go. W.M.A. is a catchy song with a cool drum rhythm, and the soft and mellow Indifference gives the album a fitting end.

Honorable Mentions:
Depeche ModeSongs of Faith and Devotion
NirvanaIn Utero

The OffspringSmash – While Ixnay on the Hombre is my favorite Offspring album (and it’s not even the best album for 1997), Smash brought The Offspring into the mainstream with their hard rock/grunge influenced style of punk rock. Many of the songs are fast hitting, and provided the soundtrack of my middle school. Come Out and Play could be considered one of the best songs of the 90s, but my personal favorite is the angry Bad Habit with one of my favorite bridges of all time. Genocide is another favorite of mine.

Honorable Mentions:
Green DayDookie
--Another overstacked year

Green DayInsomniac – most Green Day fans will say Dookie was their best, but nothing really beats Insomniac…a band releasing their anger at those who’ve accused them of selling out due to Dookie with darker lyrics. Most will remember the epic apocalyptic video to Walking Contradiction. A few other standout tracks include 86 (written to a club that gave GD no admittance after Dookie), and the short but sweet Stuart And The Ave.

Honorable Mentions:
Alice in ChainsAlice in Chains
Foo FightersFoo Fighters

Alice in ChainsUnplugged – Layne Staley was slowly dying, but one of his final live performances proved to be memorable. Talk about hearing your favorite AIC songs, stripped down into acoustic forms. Many of these versions IMO are better than the original, particularly No Excuses (Unplugged) and Nutshell (Unplugged), but the version of Over Now (Unplugged) takes the cake as the best on the album, and a fitting farewell to Layne Staley.

Honorable Mentions:
Rage Against the MachineEvil Empire

Foo FightersThe Colour and the Shape – the first Foo Fighter album I listened to, and it is truly THE BEST THE BEST THE BE…bad fad. Originally it was some of the radio singles including Everlong (one of the best songs of all time) that got me hooked to the band. Compared to most post-grunge bands, the Foo Fighters had a style that none could match, combining up hard rock with many alternative rock and grunge elements. Along with Everlong, my other faves include My Poor Brain and My Hero (accompanied by one of my favorite videos of all time).

Honorable Mentions:
The OffspringIxnay on the Hombre
The ProdigyThe Fat of the Land

System of a DownSystem of a Down – an interesting album that would lead to the growth of a pioneer in alternative metal. Their self-titled showed tons of experimentation. In addition to the crazy/wacko Sugar and the dark Spiders, there’s the interesting song Peephole, the only song that can combine the atmosphere of a fucked up circus with the heavy alternative metal riffage.

Honorable Mentions:
Beastie BoysHello Nasty

Nine Inch NailsThe Fragile – 2 Discs, one masterpiece. Honestly, one of my ultra favorites of all time. Trent Reznor creates an album revolving around things falling apart. Throughout the album, you can hear chord progressions of other songs on the album repeated. The album must be listened from start to scratch to understand it. Among my favorites include the chaotic march song The Wretched, the synth funk Into the Void, and the instrumental which gained more of a meaning after a certain Spartanic movie, Just Like You Imagined

Honorable Mentions:
Rage Against the MachineThe Battle of Los Angeles
IncubusMake Yourself

Green DayWarning – some people thought GD was losing it after their Nimrod days...well, they were WROOOONG! Warning goes down into acoustics, creating a mix of acoustic folk with the feel of punk rock. If Green Day was political on any album, it was this one. The song Misery feels like a take on a folky song. Other faves of mine include the fast-paced Castaway, and the celtic-influenced Minority. Unfortunately, this album has been overlooked by most of GD’s fanbase…I highly recommend all GD fans to take a listen to this album, easily better than their new stuff.

Honorable Mentions:
Rage Against the MachineRenegades

System of a DownToxicity – Oh yeah…around now is when System of a Down hit their peak with ultimately one of the best albums of the decade. Toxicity, taking in some of the strangest elements of music. This album is what separates SOAD from the other “nu metal” bands like Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, and KoRn.. Many songs follow unconventional patterns, for example, Aerials, the album closer, does not really have a distinct chorus (music video’s worth checking out). Psycho is what happens when you’re on too much cocaine (I saw a great live performance of the song on youtube where guitarist Daron Malakian really rips out an additional guitar solo. Deer Dance is another great track with the lyrics “Pushing little children with their fully automatics, they like to push the weak around”.

Honorable Mentions:
MuseOrigin of Symmetry
IncubusMorning View

Red Hot Chili PeppersBy the Way – This is my 3rd favorite RHCP album, behind their sexual orgies Uplift Mofo Party Plan and BSSM. Now, many thought BTW was a repeat of Californication, but there is one thing that listeners didn’t realized. The album’s more mellow, less funk, but still a great album. And many other tracks on the album utilize other elements. Some of my favorites include the heavily funk-driven Throw Away Your Television, the soft mellow the zephyr song (accompanied by a groovy music video), and the album closer, a lengthy piece called Venice Queen.

Honorable Mentions:
EminemThe Eminem Show

Queens of the Stone AgeSongs for the Deaf – Imagine you’re in the middle of a desert in California…you switch through the radio stations, and take a drive through the desert into a bustling metropolis in one day…ladies and gentlemen, this is Songs for the Deaf. Easily QOTSA’s best album to date…and perhaps maybe one of the best albums this decade. With the assistance of drummer Dave Grohl and Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, QOTSA provides a blend of hard rock, stoner rock, and garage rock. Grohl and Lanegan shows off their skills on A Song for the Deaf. The 2 hit singles rock as well, especially Go With the Flow (accompanied by a great rotoscopped music video…with a hot chick…LOLOLOL). You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire features some harsh vocals coming from Josh Homme Nick Oliveri (mistake, sorry) provided by a straight out hard rocker, sending the driver on a voyage out of the desert. Honestly, I could go on about this album, and if you haven’t listed to Songs for the Deaf and enjoy a lot of hard rock/garage rock stuff, check it out.

Honorable Mentions:
Linkin ParkMeteora

Breaking BenjaminWe Are Not Alone – These days, many consider post-grunge, the main virus that’s bringing down rock. But like any controversial genres, there are the negatives, and the positives. Breaking Benjamin is one of the pluses, and on 2nd album We Are Not Alone, Breaking Benjamin brings out a full album with themes of loss and hate. Billy Corgan provides some assistance on 2 track on the album including the simple pop ballad Forget It. Other standouts include Firefly, and the epic opener So Cold.

Honorable Mentions:
The KillersHot Fuss
Killswitch EngageThe End of Heartache

KoЯnSee You on the Other Side – WHAT? MAPLEJET! YOU WAITED UNTIL 2005 TO PUT KORN AS THE TOP ALBUM…BUT THEY SUCKED AFTER HEAD LEFT! No…they didn’t. Korn simply evolved. The sound you hear on the album is not the nu metal sound of the 2000s. It’s a mix of alternative metal, experimental rock, industrial rock, and at times, ambient. The industrial sound comes from the work of producer Atticus Ross (best known for his work with NIN in the 2000s). The song Coming Undone experiments with the signature drum beat of Queen’s classic “We Will Rock You”, creating a slow sludgy melody. Love Song is a pure industrial rock song and the album closer Tearjerker is a ambient song that slowly gets louder near the end, one of my personal KoRn favorites.

Honorable Mentions:
DisturbedTen Thousand Fists
Kanye WestLate Registration

Killswitch EngageAs Daylight Dies – I still don’t get why KSE purists claim the band dies when former lead vocalist Jesse Leech left the band. To be honest, I see As Daylight Dies as KSE’s best album to date. What separates Killswitch Engage from other metalcore bands is their emphasis on melodic structures while keeping the sound heavy. Also, guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz provides some vocals on several songs along with lead vocalist Howard Jones (an element dropped on their S/T which I was disappointed with). The song that got me into KSE, My Curse remains a classic in my library, other favorites include Break The Silence, with an great breakdown, and a bonus B-Side Let The Bridges Burn which has one of my favorite riffs right after the first chorus.

Honorable Mentions:
Lupe FiascoFood & Liquor
Rise AgainstThe Sufferer & The Witness

Lupe FiascoThe Cool – I’m still looking into hip-hop, but I think I may have found my new favorite hip-hop act. Lupe Fiasco…the only rapper that can rhyme about video games and a fictional story of a druglord and the choices he can make. Many have praised Lupe for his lyrical substance, something many believe hip-hop has been lacking as of lately (I’m speaking to you Soulja Boy). The Cool revolves around a character created by Lupe, a druglord killed by a rival, and now walks with a skeletal hand. Should he rebuild his empire, or continue to live in fear among others. One of the interesting things on the album is the people who looked at to help his album, including Fall Out Boy lead singer Patrick Stump producing the song Little Weapon, a track with military themes around a little boy. Some of my other favorites include Hello/Goodbye (Uncool), featuring UNKLE and guess who…Josh Homme. The RNB/rap number Intruder Alert is quite haunting.

Honorable Mentions:
Alter BridgeBlackbird
Kanye WestGraduation

DisturbedIndestructible – Most nu metal bands spent the decade trying to distance themselves away from the hated genre among metalers and pitchforkers who have no business attacking hard rock since they don’t listen to it anyways…anger aside, Indestructible was one my most anticipated albums in 2008, and Disturbed delivered. Dan Donegan gets out his guitar and rips out a ton of awesome guitar solos. Songs like Haunted and The Night explores dark themes. The song Indestructible launches the album…a strong unifying fight song that ranks up as one of my favorite songs of all time.

Honorable Mentions:
The OffspringRise and Fall, Rage and Grace

Alice in ChainsBlack Gives Way to Blue – Originally, albums by Muse, Eminem, and Green Day were my most hyped albums for 2009…I didn’t take AIC seriously seeing as this would be their first album without Layne Staley, and their first with William Duvall. But once I heard their first 2 singles, AIC quickly jumped to the top of my list, and after the leak of Black Gives Way to Blue, I quickly hailed it as the best album of the year. AIC continues their signature sound heard on albums like Dirt, Jar of Flies, and S/T. The title track Black Gives Way to Blue (with piano played by Elton John) pays tribute to fallen Layne Staley. Acid Bubble swaps between a soft ballad and a hard sludgy chorus with heavy riff by Cantrell. While most of the vocals come from Cantrell with DuVall providing backup vocals on songs, DuVall shows of his vocal skills on Last of My Kind, something most AIC fans will want to hear for future releases. It almost felt like AIC never lost their edge after the death of Layne, and hopefully they can continue to rock as the next decade approaches

Honorable Mentions:
The ProdigyInvaders Must Die
Green Day21st Century Breakdown

This list could change in the future. Also, once I get more albums from the 70s and 80s, I’ll expand the list to include releases from those decades.


  • ll2k1985


    20 Sep 2009, 20:05
  • ll2k1985

    but great music stay metal and rock on \m/

    20 Sep 2009, 20:06
  • ll2k1985

    wow alice in chains have a comeback album we can only hope for the same from nirvana that'd be sweet as

    20 Sep 2009, 20:08
  • maplejet

    ll2k1985: Um...comeback album by Nirvana...that's only possible if people had the powers to raise the undead.... BroadwayJr: Yes, I did, though Alter Bridge's Blackbird is one of the best rock albums this decade

    21 Sep 2009, 0:45
  • Bambi2803

    You think I ain't worth a dollar... isn't sung by homme on the album. it's sung by nick olivieri, the former bassist of QOTSA. Correct me if I'm wrong

    21 Sep 2009, 20:26
  • maplejet

    Bambi2803: Yes, just confirmed that on wiki. The original version comes of a Deserts Sessions track but with vocals from Mario Lalli instead.

    22 Sep 2009, 4:55
  • little_raven

    lol wide range of genres

    22 Sep 2009, 5:20
  • waaampir

    Lol... Wher's Nirvana - Nevermind in 1991?!?!

    25 Oct 2009, 10:18
  • maplejet

    waampir: Nevermind was quite over-rated IMO. In fact, I see In Utero as a better album compared to Nevermind.

    26 Oct 2009, 4:24
  • Danielcarmoo

    Where's QOTSA???

    14 Dic 2009, 15:31
  • maplejet

    "Where's QOTSA???" Gee, I wonder where QOTSA is. If you read Bambi's post, then you know where QOTSA is!

    15 Dic 2009, 3:28
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