Last year, I struggled to come up with more than 10 albums I was passionate enough about to write about, so I decided to stick to ten. No such problem this year, which was a rebound year for art in pop culture in general (as long as you kept paying attention after the summer), bringing me back to a top 20 list. As always, this is a list of how I feel right now, not an attempt to make a list for the ages, which is pointless. I’ve no doubt that this list would change over time were I to revisit it, and in fact hope there’s some great albums out there that I’ve missed, because that would mean there’s more great music for me to hear. I will say that I pretty much ignored any album released in December, so if there was a great album released then that I missed, that’s why.
This list was the most difficult for me to make. This time out, I was both alive for the whole decade AND a consumer of music. In fact, I took music pretty seriously for the whole decade. The problem is that the music I took seriously (and bought in massive amounts) isn’t the music I take seriously today.
Throughout the 90s, I exclusively listened to hip-hop and R&B music. East Coast, West Coast, Underground, Gangsta, all of it. But, as time passed, I got a little older and the music of my youth didn’t speak to me as it once did. It also wasn’t as good as it used to be, as hip-hop became more mainstream and more predictable.
So I turned to rock, and eventually indie rock. The result is the songs I now like from 90s are quite different than the songs I liked in the 90s. But, it’s not like I listened to crap back then, so part of me want to represent that part of me in this list. But it’s hard to compare songs I listen to frequently with songs I mostly just listen to for nostalgic purposes. And thus, this list was hard.