The second installment of “Great Albums From The Last 20 Years” lands us closer into the mid 90s. 1994 was filled with a ton of debut records, some from bands who would go on to be wildly successful. Throughout this list will be a few of the names you would expect, and also a few of the not so obvious choices. These albums are in no particular order and are just a few of the great albums that were released in 1994.
1994: Weezer- Blue Album
The Blue Album, also known as Weezer, was the debut record from the band and was released on May 10th of ’94. The album was massively successful thanks to singles like “Buddy Holly”, “Say It Ain’t So”, and “Undone – The Sweater Song”. The album peaked at 16 on the Billboard 200, has sold over 3 million copies to date and is certified platinum in both Canada and the US. Weezer thanked fans for their support by embarking on a recent tour where the played The Blue Album cover to cover.
1994: Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand
Bee Thousand is the 7th album from Guided by Voices and was released on June 21st, 1994. The group didn’t head into the studio to record this but instead recorded the entire project just using consumer-quality recording devices. It gives the record a “lo-fi” sound and make them a staple in the genre. This is the last record the band made before switching to Matador Records for their next album.
1994: Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
February 2nd was the first release of Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain before being reissued October 26th, 2004 by Matador Records under the name Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA’s Desert Origins. This is their second studio album and it saw the group transition their sound into something more accessible than what was displayed on their debut album Slanted and Enchanted. Although not extremely commercially successful, the album has landed itself on both Rolling Stone Magazine and Pitchfork’s best albums of the 90s list.
1994: Violent Femmes – New Times
New Times was the first record from Violent Femmes that strays from their original line up, replacing former drummer Victor Delorenzo with percussionist Guy Hoffman. The first single “Breakin’ Up”, was written years before the release of the record and the video received a mild amount of airplay from MTV. The album itself was essentially a commercial disappointment but it brought about concert staples like “4 Seasons” and “I’m Nothing”.
1994: Sonic Youth – Experimental Jet Set, Trash And No Star
This album contains one of Sonic Youth’s biggest hits, “Bull In The Heather”, and is the groups 8th studio album and was produced by legendary producer Butch Vig. The record reached #34 on the Billboard 200 chart which was their highest to date after Dirty gave them the #89 spot back in 1992. The critical reception of Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star was mixed but Rolling Stone called the album “quietly confident; more ambitious and weirder than Dirty”.
1994: Beastie Boys – Ill Communication
This was the 4th studio album from the group but it was the 2nd time they had debuted at #1 on the billboard charts. A big part of why this record was so successful was the first single “Sabotage” and the Spike Jonze produced video that came along with it. Other singles from the album included “Get It Together”, “Sure Shot” and “Root Down”. The group returned to their punk rock roots on a couple of the other songs from the LP like “Tough Guy” and “Heart Attack Man”.
1994: Oasis – Definitely Maybe
August 30th, 1994 is the day the world was introduced to the dysfunctional Gallagher brothers. Definitely, Maybe was the debut record from Oasis, and not only debuted at #1 on the UK album charts but was also the fastest selling debut record at its time of release. The album went on to be certified platinum 7 times and the success can be credited to the three huge singles “Supersonic”, “Shakermaker” and “Live Forever”. In June 2006, NME named it the greatest album of all time.
1994: REM – Monster
Monster is the record behind a long awaited and highly anticipated REM tour, their first since 1989. The album debuted at #1 in the United States, led by the single “What’s the Frequency Kenneth”. Monster changed the usual REM flow and focused more on loud, heavy and distorted guitar tones and more simplistic arrangements of the songs.
1994: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Let Love In
Let Love In is the 8th studio album from the group and features the very same line up from their pervious album Henry’s Dream. Love is the central theme of the album coming through prominently in numerous tracks like “Loverman”, “Do You Love Me?” and the almost title track “I Let Love In”. The album peaked at #12 on the UK albums chart and inspired countless covers from bands like Arctic Monkeys and Metallica.
1994: Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral
Released on March 8th, 1994, the album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 5 million copies world wide. The Downward Spiral was a massive commercial success even with the album’s dark concept, it followed a man from the start of his “Downward Spiral” and ends with his climatic attempt at suicide. This record featured the very popular singles “Hurt” and “Closer”; both of which cracked the top 10. This album is what established Nine Inch Nails as a powerful force in the music industry.
1994: Sebadoh – Bake Sale
Bakesale was the 5th studio album to come from American indie band Sebadoh and was the first to be released since the departure of founding member Eric Gaffney. Bob Fay who had previously subbed in for Gaffney on numerous occasions officially joined the band for this record. Bakesale was included on Spin Magazine’s “20 Best Albums Of 94” list and pitchfork named it one of the 20 best albums to be released through Sub Pop Records.