Legendary Music Writer Chuck Klosterman’s Favorite 1990s Albums of All Time

Few writers in the past 50 years have left such an imprint on the popular music scene as the non-fiction composer Chuck Klosterman.

In his career, Klosterman has worked for outlets such as Spin, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine and ringer (plus ESPN). But he is probably more widely known for his essay books, such as his seminal book Sex, drugs and cocoa puffs. In 2002, Klosterman also received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for his musical criticism.

Klostermann, who has written more than ten books and is a The New York Times Best selling writer, his latest book coming out tomorrow (Feb 8): in the nineties. As such, what better way to celebrate this achievement than to ask the man, the legend, the legend for his favorite albums from that memorable musical decade.

So, that’s exactly what we did. And without further ado, here are our favorite Chuck Klosterman albums from the ’90s.

20. Abibani in Brooklyn (1992), Brenda Kahn: There will likely be some feelings associated with this choice. It is impossible for me to separate my current appreciation of the material from the experience of originally listening to it. I had a mysterious friend who loved this recording more than she did, and she would write me long, handwritten letters quoting lyric passages from her various songs, along with explanations of how those words relate to her life and our friendship. But then all of a sudden I lost track of that person and wondered why she stopped answering my calls. It turns out she had cancer and didn’t want anyone to know she was dying, and I didn’t find out until after she actually passed away. Now I’m playing this recording and imagining she’s still alive.

19. Sumert (1999) Wilco: My all-time favorite Wilco song is “I’m Always in Love”, which was the only song on this disc that I thoroughly enjoyed. But now it’s the Wilco version that I listen to the most, and the traits Jay Bennett has added to the soundscape become a lost reality that separates Smarteth From every other version in their catalog.

18. It’s a disgrace to Ray (1992), The Lemonheads: It’s funny to remember how people in the ’90s (myself included) underestimated Ivan Dando as a songwriter just because he was straightforward looking good.

17. flex (1995), Elastica: Elastica was always an easy example of a band that made one irreplaceable album and then brilliantly vanished until they made another album in 2000 that kind of spoofed lazy. This debut was also a defining element of the mixed tape era, with “All-Nighter” only 1 minute 32 seconds long, which was perfect if you had a little bit of room left on the “A” side.

16. my house (1994), helmet: The loudest party I ever attended was the Type O Negative, but the second loudest party was Helmet and the third was Helmet’s voice before that show. When I look at this list, I realize how strange it was that I didn’t listen to a lot of heavy music during the ’90s that wasn’t recorded in the ’70s. The helmet was an exception. The other major exception was Alice in Chains, although that singing experience was quite different. Helmet seemed to constantly lecture me about my lack of common sense and that I needed to not trust my closest friends’ motives, while Alice in Chains just tried to get me to sit down in an oversized chair and try heroin. I think I can see the logic in both cases.

15. Fear of a black planet (1990) Public Enemy: I played this game fearlessly on my Sony Walkman as I wandered around the campus of the University of North Dakota, an exceptionally non-black planet.

14. space (1994), Spacehog: It was hard to find glamour when Bill Clinton was president. That was basically mechanical animalsthe atmosphere on the “celebrity look”, two or three songs from Velvet Gold Mine A soundtrack I don’t remember, and this underrated album from two British brothers who ate a lot of Chinese food.

13. Use your first and second illusion (1991), Guns N’ Roses: This is technically cheating (because it’s two albums), but I bought them the same night and I think almost everyone views this as a double album that was split up for totally selfish reasons. I used to like short songs but now I prefer longer songs, especially “Locomotive (Complicity)”, although I’m still not sure what I’m colluding with.

12. unknown (1994), Soundgarden: Sasquatchian revolution, amazing studio production, and very professional vocals (of course). The only songs I don’t like are those that everyone else remembers, although I think I’d love the Spoonman song if it wasn’t about a guy playing with spoons.

11. decent (1991), Nirvana: It’s hard to think of this album as an “album” the same way it’s hard to think of Moby Dick As a book on whaling.

10. Wheelbarrow (1991), Teenage Fanclub: In 1991, it was named Spin Magazine Bandungunsk As her album of the year, with decent It comes in #2. This somehow became a constant embarrassment to the magazine, and when I worked there in the early 2000s (when we still put Kurt Cobain’s body on the cover once a year), there was a vague, unspoken feeling that this decision Fateful, it wasn’t something we were supposed to joke about. But did you know? I think they were right in 1991, assuming you’re just focusing on the songs and pretending that society doesn’t exist.

9. Pinkerton (1996), Weezer: A record that no one likes, except for those who love him very much.

8. automatic for people (1992), Reem: This sounds like the best REM record to me by a wide margin, although I’d say so as someone who didn’t listen to REM in the ’80s. If not, I would (possibly) view this album as an interesting audio experience. But because of the experience I I did You have it, it represents what I want most from this group. They are artisans, and their craft is the manufacture of contradictory feelings.

7. small earthquakes (1992) Tori Amos: I can justify putting this at the top of the list. It definitely has the highest percentage of truly memorable moments (the mic put on “China,” the piano frolic on “The Happy Phantom,” the confusing horror of “Me and a Gun,” etc.). I suppose some of Tori’s once revealing thoughts now seem clear and collective, but I was in college and I was clear.

6. lovable (1991), My Bloody Valentine: The rare example of someone photographing a record that did not exist before, and then making that record in a way that usurped his imagination.

5. The first band on the moon (1996), cardigans: I’ve listened to this album for 26 years and have always been waiting for one of these songs to sound worse than I can remember. never happened. I almost do not understand it.

4. bends (1995), Radiohead: I am one of those ideologues bends People. If you know what that means, you know what that means. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it.

3. Definitely can (1994), The Oasis: Joe Dimaggio in 1941.

2. Pizzicato Five music sound (1995), the Pizzicato Five: Some would argue the inclusion of a set, but the sheer number of supernaturally perfect pop songs in this anthology would baffle me to death. And when I say “perfect”, I mean literally perfect—I don’t know how this material could be improved, even if the band had unlimited resources and access to technology that had yet to be invented.

1. Exile in Gevil (1993) Lise Fer: There are many compelling ways in which I can explain why this is my favorite recording of the ’90s, but the main reason is that – in a way – it seems obvious. I’ll definitely admit that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the defining vocal instrument of the era, and nothing would be more historically exciting than that song. But these Liz Phair tracks were texture From the ’90s – what it was like to be there and how I felt at the time. Once upon a time, he was an excellent track recorder with rigid visions. Now it’s a psychological time machine.

Photos courtesy of Penguin Random House


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