Top 20 Albums Of 1995

For this week's Ranked!, we ranked our favorite albums of 1995. Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments!

20. Poe, Hello

I'm not gonna lie, I really loved this album when it came out, starting with the song "Angry Johnny" because I had just been in a stupid college break-up and, well, angry chick song. It's an eclectic mix of electronic, hip hop, and a little bit of a jazzy rhythm and had all kinds of geeky references. I'm actually bummed she's only ever released two albums because she had a lot of potential for some interesting stuff.--Archphoenix

19. Foo Fighters, Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl gets it. Perhaps alone among his peers of musicians that emerged in the '90s, Dave Grohl seems to know he has an effortless grasp of the essence of rock and roll. How else to explain the emergence of the Foo Fighters from the long shadow of Nirvana to become of the greatest rock bands of the last 20 years. I was skeptical of their debut album when it came out--he was just a drummer, wasn't he?--but damn if Foo Fighters didn't hit that perfect balance of raging guitars, killer hooks, and middle-finger-in-the-air attitude. While other bands wrung their hands with teenage angst or sweated to prove they were "alternative," Foo Fighters seemed to want to crowd-surf and drink beers backstage like the rest of us. Isn't that what rock is all about?--CroutonBoy

18. Ani DiFranco, Not A Pretty Girl

Angry girl with guitar, scathing wit, and musical talent? Sold. The big song on this one is, of course, "32 Flavors," but her song "Shy" is pretty fantastic, especially live.--Archphoenix

17. Joan Osbourne, Relish

I love love LOVE Joan Osborne's voice. It's smoky sexy folksy and delicious. The big song, "One of Us," got a ton of airplay at the time, but for my money I love "Spider Web," "St. Theresa," "Ladder," and her cover of Bob Dylan's "Man In The Long Black Coat" isn't half bad.--Archphoenix

16. Green Day, Insomniac

Not as funny as its predecessor, Dookie, Insomniac was still a great album by the Berkley trio. Still to this day, I crank the radio extra loud when "Brain Stew" bleeds into the chaotic "Jaded."--Chris

15. Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds Five

"I was never cool in school, I'm sure you don't remember me." And with the opening of "Underground," Ben Folds Five created an anthem for misfits everywhere. I loved these guys and this album. While I loved all of the songs on Ben Folds Five, "Philosophy," "The Last Polka," and "Best Imitation Of Myself" are some of my all-time favorite songs from the guys.--Chris

14. Son Volt, Trace

Of the bands that emerged from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Wilco has gone on to become one of the greatest bands of this or any generation. But it's easy to forget that back in 1995 it was Jay Farrar and Son Volt that looked more like the true successors to that groundbreaking band. Trace may be the ultimate alt-country album; steeped in Americana, effortlessly sliding between folk and rock, and wearing generations of country influences on its sleeve. Songs like "Windfall" are perfect for midnight road trips driving between counties at somewhere in Arkansas, while others songs like "Drown" deliver a punch to the solar-plexus like a great Stones tune. Trace helped define one of the most important genres of the '90s, and remains proof that inventiveness sometimes comes from being true to your roots.--CroutonBoy

13. Elastica, Elastica

I bought Elastica because I dug the angular attack of their lead single, "Connection." I fell madly in love with Elastica (both the band and the album) after just a couple listens. The album is rightfully one of the cornerstones of '90s Britpop, with angular guitar riffs and dependably propulsive rhythms that make you want to kick down doors. "Annie" and "Vaseline" have been staples of my workout mixes for almost 20 years now, the former being a two minutes of pure energy while the latter sounds like an over-caffeinated '60s girl group. It's a fantastic, totally fun album.--CroutonBoy

12. Everclear, Sparkle And Fade

Everclear is one of those bands that doesn't get the respect they deserve. Not only that, they seem to be borderline hated nowadays. Yeah, the quality of their albums definitely went downhill with the start of those American Movie albums, but you can't deny the awesomeness of Sparkle And Fade, with songs like "Heroin Girl," "You Make Me Feel Like A Whore," "Santa Monica," "Summerland," and "Heartspark Dollarsign."--Chris

11. Various Artists, Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits

Not only is this one of the best albums of 1995, it's also one of the greatest tribute albums of all time. Basically, it was all these rock/alternative bands performing songs and themes found on the Saturday morning cartoons from their youth. And when you stock your compilation with acts like the Ramones, Juliana Hatfield, Sublime, Butthole Surfers, and Matthew Sweet, everyone wins. Favorite tracks: Liz Phair's "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)," Frente!'s "Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sun Shine In," Violent Femmes' "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You)," and the incredibly fun and catchy "Friends/Sigmund And the Seamonsters Theme" medley by Tripping Daisy.--Chris

10. Radiohead, The Bends

The Bends is when Radiohead stopped being a standard alt-rock band and became... well, became Radiohead. The songs on The Bends still had some of the familiar feel of radio-friendly rock, but were visibly shedding some of the trappings of the genre and subtly integrating inventive new song structures. "Fake Plastic Trees" soars with majesty, the title song can tear the paint off walls, and the rest of the album is filled with an amazing blend of anguished orchestral rock and Thom Yorke's familiar wail. It doesn't get the praise of OK Computer or Kid A but The Bends is a masterpiece in its own right, perhaps more so because its subversiveness sneaks up on you until you're helpless against it. Easily my favorite Radiohead album, and that's saying a lot.--CroutonBoy

9. Supergrass, I Should Coco

While they were lumped in with Britpop bands, Supergrass had a style all their own and I Should Coco should've been in everyone's CD players in 1995. Everyone knows "Alright," but the album also boasted "Caught By The Fuzz," "Mansize Rooster," and "Lose It."--Chris

8. No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom

This was the album that put No Doubt on the map. Its blend of pop and reggae/ska was definitely a unique sound at the time and the album spawned some monster hits with "Spiderwebs" (because apparently this was the year for songs about spider webs), "Just A Girl," and "Don't Speak." It's a pretty great album to put on if you need a pick me up in the middle of the day because it's just so... bouncy.--Archphoenix

7. Natalie Merchant, Tigerlily

Tigerlily, to this day, is my go-to Sunday morning album. It's perfect for reading the paper and sipping coffee, and somehow avoids the cliches that turned me off to the Sarah McLachlans and Indigo Girls of the world. Of course Natalie's voice is amazing, as any fan of 10,000 Maniacs can tell you, and the music has an easy canter that's comfortable and confident without being boring.--CroutonBoy

6. Soul Asylum, Let Your Dim Light Shine

I freakin' love this album. It gets a bad rap because the lyrics are, at times, a bit overwrought and silly. But that's exactly why I dig this disk! A two-headed president? Why not? "She spins and pulls her pants down." Nice image, Dave. Thanks for that. "My time has neither come nor gone / It just slips out when I yawn." I would have written those lyrics when I was 17. It's the sound of a great band that dipped its fingers in the cheese and liked the taste too much; it's their Dream Police, their Blondes Have More Fun. But those albums are great, too, because it's also a band letting its hair down and having fun. The melodies are catchy and energetic, and remind me of great times in Minneapolis, going to street festivals and eating deep-friend cheese curds. And thus the circle of cheese is complete.--CroutonBoy

5. Garbage, Garbage

I actually still really love this album. I mean come on, it's a band fronted by an awesome rocking Scottish pixie Terminatrix. The album is another reason why the ladies of the '90s rocked my world.--Archphoenix

4. Pulp, Different Class

God, I can't begin to tell you how many times I played this album. "Mis-Shapes" and "Common People" were songs that spoke to me and seemed to be written for me.--Chris

3. Oasis, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?

This is one of Britain's best-selling albums of all time. "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova" are just fantastic songs. I didn't love this album when it first came out but it's one of those works that has really grown on me over time. Do I think they're as great as the Beatles? No. Do I think this is a big step above your usual pop/rock albums? Oh yes. Incidentally, Ryan Adams's cover of "Wonderwall" is a thing of beauty.--Archphoenix

2. Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill

This is the ultimate bitter girl breakup album from the 1990s. The utter power and raw emotion of the album kind of blew my collegiate mind in 1995. Fun fact: Both Dave Navarro and Flea play guitar on "You Oughta Know."--Archphoenix

1. Rancid, ...And Out Come The Wolves

I became a fan of Rancid with Let's Go, but nothing on that album prepared me for the greatness of ...And Out Come The Wolves. Nothing was cooler to me in 1995 than Tim Armstrong's gravelly, marble-mouthed voice. Several years later, I was able to see them live for the first time in some strange dance place turned bar in Raleigh. And it was worth the wait. Favorite tracks: "Olympia WA," "Ruby Soho," "Journey To The End Of The East Bay," "As Wicked," and "Avenues & Alleyways."--Chris

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