By 1996, grunge had gone from underground rebellion to mainstream commodity to bilked cash-cow. Even well-established hard rock acts like Def Leppard and Metallica (sort of) took stabs at "alternative" rock.
At the time, it may have seemed innocuous, but in truth the mainstream success that brought alternative music to the masses had begun to compromise the field -- not unlike heavy metal bands from the Eighties, whose ubiquity, ironically, spawned the grunge rock movement.
It's an inevitable pattern: Something begins as an idea, becomes a business and turns into a racket. This is evident from the stable of easily forgettable albums from the mid-Nineties.
There was, however, still a respectable crop of notable records from 1996. Listed below are many of them ... and a few less notables for good measure. Take the poll and let us know which one ought to be at the top!
Thanks for voting.