Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994
We've already checked in with 1984, so let's fast forward exactly one decade.
The year in question — 1994 — was incredibly varied. It was a year of discovery and tragedy, innovation and resurrection.
It was the year when rock's long-festering underground finally collided full force with the mainstream. Though Nirvana had broken through in a massive way in 1992 with Nevermind, they (along with Pearl Jam) were the only punk-rooted bands to find big-time mainstream success during the first few years of the decade.
But with Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral, Soundgarden's Superunknown, Stone Temple Pilot's Purple and Smashing Pumpkins' Pisces Iscariot, the hazy, vague anger of grunge exploded into the mainstream. Rock was no longer about having a great time; it was about wallowing in confusion and self-doubt, looking inside yourself and seeing a muddy pit of emotions rather than simple rebellion or hooliganism.
Hair metal, for so long rock's dominant force, seemed entirely stale and out of date. Bon Jovi moved to adult contemporary, Guns N' Roses were still successful but found themselves battling with intra-band turmoil, while Motley Crue dealt with extensive drug abuse within their ranks. Hair metal had virtually died, and in its place battled numerous, increasingly small metal sub-genres.
The emergence of black metal showed the genre's more extreme side, while "alternative metal" used elements of progressive rock that formed interesting musical hybrids.
But all of these disciples of harder rock achieved increasingly great commercial success, mostly on the back of one artist, who lost his life in 1994. Kurt Cobain changed rock forever, a frontman with incredible charisma and a unique vision that would change America's musical taste buds forever.
Meanwhile, guitar heroes of old were still a force to be reckoned with in 1994. The list below features contributions from Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton. Keith Richards, David Gilmour, Tony Iommi — plus Texans Dimebag Darrell and Jimmie Vaughan, not to mention Yngwie Malmsteen and Richard Thompson.
Nineteen hundred and ninety-four was a year of transition, but much of the music made during this period continues to stand the test of time.
Below, check out our guide to 50 (OK, 51) albums that defined 1994. Remember you can click on each album cover to take a closer look!
Dream Theater — Awake
Edge of Sanity — Purgatory Afterglow
Emperor — In the Nightside Eclpise
Eric Clapton — From the Cradle
Green Day — Dookie
Guided By Voices — Bee Thousand
Hole — Live Through This
Jeff Buckley — Grace
Jimmie Vaughan — Strange Pleasure
Jimmy Page & Robert Plant — No Quarter: Jimmy Page & Robert Plant Unledded
Johnny Cash — American Recordings
Korn — Korn
Marilyn Manson — Portrait Of An American Family
Meat Puppets — Too High To Die
Motley Crue — Motley Crue
Oasis — Definitely Maybe
Pantera — Far Beyond Driven
Pavement — Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
P.O.D — Snuff the Punk
Queensryche — Promised Land
Stone Temple Pilots — Purple
Megadeth — Youthanasia
Nine Inch Nails — The Downward Spiral
Nirvana — MTV Unplugged In New York
NOFX — Punk In Drublic
The Offspring — Smash
Pearl Jam — Vitalogy
Pink Floyd — The Division Bell
R.E.M — Monster
Richard Thompson — Mirror Blue
The Rolling Stones — Voodoo Lounge
Sebadoh — Bakesale
Smashing Pumpkins — Pisces Iscariot
Sonic Youth — Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star
Soundgarden — Superunknown
Suede — Dog Man Star
Testament — Low
Tom Petty — Wildflowers
Dinosaur Jr. — Without A Sound
The Cranberries — No Need To Argue
Bush — Sixteen Stone
Blur — Parklife
Black Sabbath — Cross Purposes
The Black Crowes — Amorica
Beck — Mellow Gold
Beastie Boys — Ill Communication
Alice In Chains — Jar Of Flies
Bad Religion — Stranger Than Fiction
Ween — Chocolate & Cheese
Weezer — Weezer (Blue Album)
Yngwie Malmsteen — The Seventh Sign