Spin Alternative Record Guide – Top 100 Alternative Albums (1995)

Like the guide itself, this list is an excellent alternate path to the then-hegemonic Rolling Stone oeuvre. Simply put, if punk was your Beatles, this is your canon. Two traits worth pointing out:

  • So many female musicians for a list published in 1995! Given how a majority of these albums are FRACKING AMAZING, I don’t consider this tokenism.
  • Where much canon-making relies on ye olde “test of time,” 15 of these albums are from the five-year span immediately preceding the publication of the guide, including one in the top five (Nirvana), another in the top twenty (Pavement), two from just the year before (Hole, Beck), and one from the same year (Moby). (There are also several compilations listed which were released in the ’90s but collect music from the ’70s and ’80s.)

The record guide was edited by Eric Weisbard with Craig Marks. Enjoy!

  1. Ramones, Ramones
  2. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  3. Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico
  4. Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade
  5. Nirvana, Nevermind
  6. Patti Smith, Horses
  7. Big Star, Radio City
  8. R.E.M., Murmur
  9. Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
  10. X, Wild Gift
  11. Madonna, The Immaculate Collection
  12. Wire, Pink Flag
  13. Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  14. Neil Young, Tonight’s the Night
  15. Gang of Four, Entertainment!
  16. Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted
  17. Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady
  18. Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
  19. X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  20. Blondie, Parallel Lines
  21. Eric B. & Rakim, Paid in Full
  22. Pet Shop Boys, Discography
  23. Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  24. Prince, Sign “O” the Times
  25. Hole, Live Through This
  26. Clash, The Clash
  27. Run-D.M.C., Together Forever: Greatest Hits 1983-1991
  28. Television, Marquee Moon
  29. Meat Puppets, Meat Puppets II
  30. Stooges, Fun House
  31. Replacements, Let It Be
  32. Pretenders, Pretenders
  33. Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  34. Public Image Ltd., Second Edition
  35. My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
  36. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me
  37. De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising
  38. Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  39. Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime
  40. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill
  41. Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
  42. B-52’s, The B-52’s
  43. Mekons, Fear and Whiskey
  44. David Bowie, Changesonebowie
  45. Richard and Linda Thompson, Shoot Out the Lights
  46. Roxy Music, Siren
  47. Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Armed Forces
  48. Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  49. Feelies, Crazy Rhythms
  50. Brian Eno, Another Green World
  51. Pere Ubu, The Modern Dance
  52. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  53. Prince, Dirty Mind
  54. Ornette Coleman, Dancing in Your Head
  55. Germs, (GI)
  56. Big Star, Third/Sister Lovers
  57. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville
  58. Black Flag, Damaged
  59. Beck, Mellow Gold
  60. Devo, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo
  61. Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps
  62. Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
  63. Chic, Dance Dance Dance: The Best of Chic
  64. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  65. Various Artists, Wanna Buy a Bridge?
  66. New Order, Substance
  67. Stooges, The Stooges
  68. Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded
  69. Joy Division, Closer
  70. New York Dolls, New York Dolls
  71. Go-Betweens, 1978-1990
  72. Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth
  73. Captain Beefheart, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
  74. Descendents, Milo Goes to College
  75. Funkadelic, Maggot Brain
  76. Flatlanders, More a Legend Than a Band
  77. Freedy Johnston, Can You Fly?
  78. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  79. Flipper, Album–Generic Flipper
  80. ABBA, The Singles
  81. Michael Hurley, Unholy Modal Rounders, Jeffrey Frederick & the Clamtones, Have Moicy!
  82. Barbara Manning, Lately I Keep Scissors
  83. Big Black, Atomizer
  84. Sun Ra, Heliocentric Worlds Volume 1
  85. Vaselines, The Way of the Vaselines: A Complete History
  86. U2, Achtung Baby
  87. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
  88. Sonny Sharrock, Guitar
  89. Velvet Underground, 1969 Velvet Underground Live with Lou Reed
  90. Roches, The Roches
  91. Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  92. Nirvana, In Utero
  93. Moby, Everything Is Wrong
  94. English Beat, I Just Can’t Stop It
  95. Clean, Compilation
  96. Lee “Scratch” Perry (and the Upsetters), Some of the Best
  97. Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  98. Sebadoh, Sebadoh III
  99. Breeders, Last Splash
  100. Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
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