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29 Essential Albums Every ’90s Kid Owned

Looking back at the albums that tested the anti-skip technology on our Walkmans.

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1. Jurassic Park: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Universal Music Group

In 1993, nothing was bigger than Jurassic Park — NOTHING — and the film's soundtrack was no exception. Besides allowing you to relive the movie, the soundtrack gave you an epic background score as you played with your Jurassic Park action figures and dinosaurs.

Choice track: "The Theme to Jurassic Park" (which will probably still send a chill up your back)

2. Britney Spears, ...Baby One More Time

Sony Music

Britney's debut album was a must have after her debut single, "...Baby One More Time," blew up on radio and, of course, her iconic music video became a staple on MTV.

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Choice track: "...Baby One More Time"

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3. The Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Walt Disney Records

Easily the one Disney soundtrack both kids and their parents could enjoy. While you could relive the movie by singing along to the movie's songs, your parents could sing along to the Elton John numbers.

Choice track: "I Just Can't Wait to Be King"

4. Hanson, Middle of Nowhere

Universal Music Group

Let's be honest, there were two reasons kids bought this album: for the infectious single "MMMBop" and because they had major crushes on the Hanson brothers (mainly Taylor).

Choice track: "MMMBop"

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5. Spice Girls, Spice

Sony Music

A combination of perfectly crafted catchy pop songs, along with the Spice Girls' over-the-top cartoon personas, made Spice a must-have album for kids in the late '90s.

Choice track: "Say You'll Be There"

6. Aqua, Aquarium

Universal Music Group

"Barbie Girl" is arguably one of the most annoying songs ever written, and yet, somehow, kids couldn't get enough of it. Maybe it was because it mentioned Barbie and Ken? Or maybe it was the cartoon-type voices/singing heard throughout the song? But one thing's for sure: That song was the only reason you bought this album.

Choice track: "Barbie Girl" (duh)

7. Space Jam: Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture

Warner Music Group

This bigger-than-life kids movie had an equally impressive soundtrack that included the hit singles "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly and the Diane Warren–penned "For You I Will," performed by Monica.

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Choice track: R. Kelly, "I Believe I Can Fly"

8. Boyz II Men, II

Universal Music Group

In 1994 Boyz II Men ruled radio. The first single from their sophomore album, II, spent an impressive 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 — which likely taught kids everywhere the phrase, "I'll make love to you, like you want me to."

Choice track: "I'll Make Love To You"

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10. Choice track: Céline Dion, "My Heart Will Go On" (of course)

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11. TLC, CrazySexyCool

Sony Music

One of the definitive albums of not just 1995 but also the '90s was propelled to success by its No. 1 singles "Creep" and "Waterfalls" (the latter of which had a really kid-friendly sound).

Choice track: TLC, "Waterfalls"

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12. Batman Forever: Original Music From the Motion Picture

Warner Music Group

While Batman Forever was a campy mess of movie (made to appeal to kids), its soundtrack was actually pretty solid and it featured U2, Brandy, The Flaming Lips, Method Man, and, of course, Seal.

Choice track: Seal, "Kiss From a Rose"

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13. Smash Mouth, Astro Lounge

Universal Music Group

Smash Mouth's ska-pop music sounded like it was tailor-made to appeal to kids. And their the second single off Astro Lounge, "Allstar," is a perfect example of it.

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Choice track: "Allstar"

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Choice track: "Always Be My Baby"

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15. Hootie & the Blowfish, Cracked Rear View

Sony Music

With their hit singles like “Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry,” and “Only Wanna Be With You,” Hootie & the Blowfish dominated Top 40 radio and MTV in 1995. Their pop-rock sound not only appealed to kids, but their parents too.

Choice track: "Only Wanna Be With You":

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Choice track: "The Sign"

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17. No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom

Universal Music Group

Why did everyone have this album? Well, besides No Doubt's perfectly pop-rock/ska sound, it was all about Gwen Stefani's bubbly cool-girl persona.

Choice track: "Don't Speak"

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18. Will Smith, Big Willie Style

Sony Music

Will Smith's debut solo album (it was his first album without longtime collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff) was an instant must based on his appeal to kids thanks to his role on Fresh Prince, and, of course, it also included the title track to Men in Black.

Choice track: "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"

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Choice track: "Tearin' Up My Heart":

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20. Michael Jackson, Dangerous

Sony Music

In the early '90s, (a pre-scandal) Michael Jackson was still riding high on his '80s success, which meant getting his new album was still an important event.

Choice track: "Black or White"

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21. Armageddon: The Album

Walt Disney Records

There was one reason and one reason alone to buy this album: For "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," the Diana Warren–penned power ballad that was inescapable in the summer of 1998.

Choice track: Aerosmith, "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing"

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Choice track: "As Long As You Love Me"

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23. Pure Disco

Utv Records

Any kid growing up in the '90s probably remembers disco music being pretty much a staple at any wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, quinceañera, and backyard party. And all those classic songs played were on this album.

Choice track: "The Grease Mega-Mix" (a middle school dance staple)

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Choice track: "Livin' la Vida Loca" ('cause in 1999 you couldn't escape it)

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Choice track: Enigma, "Return to Innocence"

Choice track: "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"

Choice track: "Whoomp! (There It Is)":

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28. Now That's What I Call Music! 2

Sony Music

Forget Vol. 1, this was the CD that had all the jams! Yes, there have been a zillion other Now albums since, but this is still the best.

Choice track: "You Only Get What You Give"

29. Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill

Warner Music Group

This quintessential '90s album is also one of the biggest-selling albums of all time (making it highly likely you owned a copy).

Choice track: "Ironic"

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