Feeling nostalgic for the nineties? I know I am. With the news that Green Day's seminal album 'Dookie' turned 27 this week, we thought we'd take a look through the archives and revisit some of our favourite albums from 1994. It truly was an exciting time for music, with the emergence of the Britpop movement taking the UK by storm. US punk bands were finding success over on this side of the Atlantic, and pop, R&B and hip-hop were making waves in the charts.
So if you're looking for some music inspo or fancy changing up your listening habits, don't forget that there's a whole world of music out there from years gone by. Take a look at our 10 essential albums to revisit from the year 1994. Cassette players at the ready, please!
Green Day - Dookie
Released: 1 February 1994
UK Chart Position: 13
Biggest Hit: 'Basket Case'
Commercially, 'Dookie' was a slow burner. It took half of 1994 for the album to gain momentum, however since then it's been considered a modern punk classic. 'Dookie' remains Green Day's best-selling album, and critically one of their most acclaimed. It's been heavily featured in the music press lists as one of the greatest albums of all time. A true inspiration for many punk bands who followed in their footsteps, and as a result it an album that AllMusic claimed as one that "many tried to emulate but nobody bettered".
Pink Floyd - The Division Bell
Released: 28 March 1994
UK Chart Position: 1
Biggest Hit: 'Take It Back'
Pink Floyd's 'The Division Bell' was their penultimate studio album. It reached number one in more than 10 countries, including the UK and the US. The album - which won a GRAMMY Award and was nominated alongside (and lost to) Blur's 'Parklife' for a BRIT Award - tackles themes of communication and choice, and was considered by Uncut's Graeme Thomson as "the dark horse of the Floyd canon".
Blur - Parklife
Released: 25 April 1994
UK Chart Position: 1
Biggest Hit: 'Girls & Boys'
Along with Oasis' debut album 'Definitely Maybe', 'Parklife' by Blur became one of the defining records of the Britpop movement. With accolades including being certified 4x Platinum, charting at number one in the UK Official Albums Chart and giving Britpop one of its most famous releases, 'Parklife' was the perfect comeback for Blur, whose previous release 'Modern Life is Rubbish' failed to acquire the same level of success. As a Mercury Prize nominated album, it is deserving of all the praise it received in 1994, and ever since.
Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
Released: 31 May 1994
US Chart Position: 1
Biggest Hit: 'Sabotage'
'Ill Communication' became the second number one album in the US and the second album to go triple platinum for the Beastie Boys. It is widely regarded as one of the most essential albums released in the 90s, and took influence from the jazz rock albums released by Miles Davis. As with the previous record 'Check Your Head', the musical direction of 'Ill Communication' moved away from sampling and was more in favour of using live instruments, and became a much loved modern classic.
The Prodigy - Music for the Jilted Generation
Released: 4 July 1994
UK Chart Position: 1
Biggest Hit: 'No Good (Start The Dance)'
The Prodigy returned in 1994 with their second album, ready to make an impact with its unique amalgamation of the many branches of electronic music. The album was at the time seen as, largely, a response to the criminalisation of rave culture in the UK. Like Blur's 'Parklife', it was Mercury Prize nominated and applauded critically. 'Music for the Jilted Generation' has cemented itself in UK music history as a true masterpiece in electronica.
NOFX - Punk In Drublic
Released: 19 July 1994
UK Chart Position: -
Biggest Hit: 'Don't Call Me White'
'Punk In Drublic' was the fourth of 13 studio albums released by NOFX so far (with a 14th on its way soon!). It is arguably one of the most iconic. As one of the most successful independent bands of all time, NOFX have influenced an enormous range of artists from Blink-182 and Sum 41, to Frank Turner and Anti-Flag. 'Punk In Drublic' was a genre-defining record and no doubt changed the face of punk and all its subgenres for the rest of time.
Oasis - Definitely Maybe
Released: 19 August 1994
UK Chart Position: 1
Biggest Hit: 'Cigarettes & Alcohol'
So it goes without saying that Oasis' debut album 'Definitely Maybe' deserves revisiting time and time again. But, we couldn't possibly leave it out. As one of the fastest-selling debut albums of all time, 'Definitely Maybe' has left a lasting impact on the British music scene, with the NME naming it the greatest album of all time in 2006. Countless singles from the album became timeless hits. 'Live Forever' and 'Cigarettes & Alcohol' both charted in the top 10, and were the first of many to follow this path.
Shed Seven - Change Giver
Released: 5 September 1994
UK Chart Position: 16
Biggest Hit: 'Speakeasy'
Just one of many albums to be released in the formative years of the Britpop movement, 'Change Giver' by Shed Seven was the band's debut record. Shed Seven had already made a name for themselves as outstanding live performers. Even when unsigned, the band had seen support from other key players in the Britpop scene, such as Inspiral Carpets and Suede. As a result, 'Change Giver' was welcomes as a strong debut release, and drew comparisons in the press to The Smiths and Radiohead.
Jamiroquai - The Return Of The Space Cowboy
Released: 17 October 1994
UK Chart Position: 2
Biggest Hit: 'Stillness in Time'
Following the band's debut album 'Emergency on Planet Earth', Jamiroquai continued to build a catalogue of music that was both creative and innovative. However, it was the song 'Space Cowboy' that became a true turning point in the production of this album. Along with singles 'Stillness in Time' and 'Half The Man', it contributed to an album that was deeply personal and miles beyond other records of its ilk released in 1994.
TLC - CrazySexyCool
Released: 15 November 1994
UK Chart Position: 4
Biggest Hit: 'Waterfalls'
Five years prior to the release of their worldwide hit 'No Scrubs', TLC released their career defining LP 'CrazySexyCool'. Their sophomore album was considered a major departure from their debut. Through themes such as romance and sexuality, paired with TLC's textbook hip-hop and soul sound, 'CrazySexyCool' was deemed a coming-of-age record for the trio. It birthed timeless hits such as 'Creep' and 'Waterfalls'.
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