TOP TEN GREATEST ALBUMS OF THE '90s Via christopherlongshowbizguru.blogspot.com Whatever happened to all of those amazing bands that were going to forever shape, mold and define world culture? You know – those unkempt, hookless '90s bands that seemingly exterminated the hair band scene overnight. Remember? MTV VJs Matt Pinfield and Dave Kendall swore that those bands were here to stay. Hey, did you see that new guy working the graveyard shift at Speed-E-Mart? I heard that he used to be in the band, Pavement.Anyway, even I can recognize that not all '90s rock completely sucked. In fact, a few records from that era were actually quite good. And after considerable soul searching, I've even been able to amass my personal Top Ten favorites from the 1990s. Some of these releases were hugely successful. Some of them tanked. Some of the artists have become iconic. Others never even made it onto rock's radar screen. Some are fun and poppy. Others are dark and heavy. But I personally ga-ron-tee that each of these albums is supremely awesome – despite having the dubious distinction of being released during an otherwise crappy decade. #10 HOLE – Live Through This (1994)This one proves beyond a shadow of a doubt who had the nuts in the Cobain family. High-energy, low-fi garage rock, cooked up in a meth lab (see "Miss World"). Generally speaking, the musicianship on this record barely measures up to a second grade level and during some of the quieter moments, you can almost hear the needle going into Courtney Love's track-marked forearm. Oh man, how I used to love this record! #9 BARENAKED LADIES – Stunt (1998)If Fastball was channeling The Beatles, it can also be said that Barenaked Ladies' sound was equally reminiscent of the Beach Boys. Featuring the chartbusting single, "One Week," Stunt became a platinum-selling smash and took the band from Canadian cult status to that of international headliners. Wonderful, well-crafted and occasionally smart-ass pop songs #8 PANTERA – Cowboys From Hell (1990)Far more influential than even Nirvana's Nevermind, Cowboys From Hell was to the '90s what Van Halen's debut was to the '70s. Dimebag Darrell's groundbreaking monster drop "D" riffs combined with Vinnie Paul's thunderous signature double-kick drum style and Phil Anselmo's distinctive scream-o vocals made for a perfect chemistry in which to create a ferocious, high-octane classic. Often imitated, never duplicated. SLEDGE, indeed! #7 SAIGON KICK – Saigon Kick (1991)Although this Florida-based quartet would discover gold with their 1992 sophomore effort, their masterpiece debut went relatively unnoticed. Psychedelic glam/grunge/pop at its best. While "What You Say" and "What Do You Do" are infectious, hard-hitting earworms, "Come Take Me Now" defines "brilliant." #6 NO DOUBT – Tragic Kingdom (1995)At some point, somewhere between being garage/ska/punks and becoming an over-produced airbrushed name brand, this So-Cal combo knocked out a classic – at a time when I really needed a new crunchy pop record from a fun band with catchy hooks, big guitars, a sexy, yet skanky chick singer with a dot on her forehead and a drummer with no pants. Tragic Kingdom featured such hits as "Spiderwebs," "Just a Girl" and "Don't Speak." It currently has sold over 419 billion copies. #5 VANESSA PARADIS – Vanessa Paradis (1992)Johnny Depp's longtime actress/model girlfriend teamed up with producer Lenny Kravitz when she was just a wee lass to create this ultimate retro-sounding pop record. Imagine if Karen Carpenter was smacked-out and made a record with Smokey Robinson in 1967. Simply one of the best pop records EVER! #4 SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS – Dirt Track Date (1995)Hillbilly/surf music born and bred at a tractor-pull. Think B-52s-meets-Skynyrd at a Dick Dale concert. This was a powerful life-changing record. A fun and unique, high-energy band that continues to be just too hip for mass consumption. All I wants is just one more oatmeal pie! #3 EVERCLEAR – Sparkle and Fade (1995)These guys deserve unlimited praise for two reasons:A) They're from Seattle and they DON'T suck!B) "Santa Monica" is just about the coolest, most rockin' track of any decade. #2 LIFE, SEX AND DEATH – The Silent Majority (1992)Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Life, Sex and Death successfully combined arena rock melodies with hard-driving, grungy guitar riffs (and an offensive-smelling homeless frontman) to create one of rock's most unique bands and one of the '90s greatest records. An Amazon customer reviewer referred to LSD as "the greatest band you never heard." A spot-on observation to be sure. #1 FASTBALL – All the Pain Money Can Buy (1998)This Texas trio served up heaping portions of snappy, well-written and hooky pop/rock. The record comes closer to channeling The Beatles than any other since Cheap Trick's Heaven Tonight back in 1978. Featuring the hit singles, "The Way" and "Fire Escape," this is, for me, THE quintessential record of the '90s. It's so great, in fact, that it could have come out in the '70s.Okay kids – reflect and discuss! I look forward to hearing from readers on this one. So feel free to offer comments or share your own related personal stories. -Christopher Long(August 2013)ChristopherLongShowBizGuru.blogspot.comAuthor Christopher Long's latest book,C'MON! - My Story of Rock, Ruin and Revelationis available NOW on Amazon.