Happy 20th Anniversary, Angry '90s Icons!
"Wanna feel old?" your friend asks. "Well, guess what -- that Weezer song that defined your first feelings for the member of the opposite sex is now old enough to drink!" And then you feel terrible.
Here's a list of golden opportunities to pass that kind of misery down to someone else. We've compiled nine of the biggest, angriest rock albums from the '90s that are hitting their twenty-year mark in 2015. Let's learn to rage against various things and people all over again!
1. Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill
Today is the actual anniversary of the Canadian singer's relationship-centric attack album. Whether seeking revenge (allegedly) on Dave Coulier for theater-based sex acts or ruining an entire generation's understanding of the word "Ironic," this album transitioned Morrisette out of bubblegum synth-pop and into the upper echelon of angst rock culture, remaining a cornerstone of the genre to this day.
Release Date: June 13, 1995
WATCH: Alanis Talks Jagged Little Pill
2. No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom
Like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours before it, sometimes an inter-band relationship going nuclear yields the greatest artistic results. After her brother departed the band for a job animating on The Simpsons and her boyfriend, No Doubt's bassist Tony Kanal, called their relationship quits, Gwen Stefani and company produced the definitive feminist Orange County ska-rock album by which all other feminist Orange County ska-rock would be measured. Listen to "Sunday Morning" for the sonic reversal -- the electric guitar is used for the verses while a much bigger acoustic sound rocks the chorus.
Release Date: October 10, 1995
3. Oasis' (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
While the songs about champagne supernovas and not looking back in anger might imply this is one of the least angry albums from the era, the well-publicized interpersonal neutron star forming at the heart of this band was one of the greatest rock 'n' roll sibling rivalries of all time. Tempers and creative storms flared so badly that there are multiple versions of this album, featuring many of the songs re-recorded by each of the Gallagher brothers. The fact that Morning Glory -- or any of their albums -- ever saw release remains a small miracle.
Release Date: October 2, 1995
4. The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
As dedicated as those Oasis boys were to self-sabotage, Billy Corgan only needed himself to square off against during the recording of this epic, genre-spanning double concept album. Alternating between lush orchestrations and devastating multi-layered guitar orchestras, Billy's perfectionist nature drove his band to the brink of destruction. The timeless nature of this release can rarely be criticized, though, so it looks like the Chicago native was right. If you're tracking this one down in CD shops, be wary -- some copies were only released with a single disc, making it a nightmare for completionists.
Release Date: October 24, 1995
5. Pavement's Wowee Zowee
Not inherently aggro, this third album from the godfathers of loser rock went completely off the rails from their established brand. Critics thought they'd either become too successful and got lost in the praise or were inherently self-sabotaging to keep themselves from success, but bandleader Stephen Malkmus simply blamed an over-consumption of marijuana for many of these artistic choices. We're inclined to believe him, especially when discovering that the original working title for the album was D***-Sucking Fool at P****-Licking School, which is probably super funny when you're high.
Release Date: April 11, 1995
PHOTOS: Gwen & Her Fellow Rockers Neon 'Dos
6. Radiohead's The Bends
When your lead singer's face is easily mistaken for the plastic life-support dummy on the cover, your band knows it cannot depend on sexuality to push records -- and they didn't. The Bends is Radiohead's angriest album, not only tonally in their triple-guitar attack at its effect-drenched peak but in content as well. As the follow-up to an album which only yielded a single mega-hit, critics had all but written-off the Brit rockers as a one-hit wonder, and many of the songs on this album directly address the "Iron Lung" that the culture had morphed "Creep" into. "High & Dry" also features the single cleanest snare drum recording of all time.
Release Date: March 13, 1995
7. Everclear's Sparkle & Fade
What would 1995 be without the junkie rock of Art Alexakis' high-energy tribute to all things low-class? Tracks about addiction and abusive girlfriends are balanced against more intricate introspection like "Pale Green Stars" and the radio-friendly celebration of apocalyptic lifestyles on LA's favorite beach in "Santa Monica."
Release Date: May 23, 1995
8. Foo Fighters' Foo Fighters
Following Cobain's suicide, Dave Grohl found himself too depressed to play drums, despite offers for employment from groups ranging from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to Danzig. Instead, he formed a side project and rushed an entire album out the door in fifteen days. The result is an uneven but poetic mess that ranges from hammering rock to the foreshadowing of Grohl's later comedic slant with ditties like "For All The Cows."
Release Date: July 4, 1995
NEWS: Chris O'Donnell Reflects on the 20th Anniversary of Batman Forever
9. 311's 311
Everyone knows the basic mumble-cadence of all the tracks on "the blue album," because what Midwestern kid didn't want to be a rapper that was simultaneously a rockstar? That's two great tastes that taste great together! Omaha's dual vocalists and a bass player with skills and a name just as silly as Flea carved out a hyper-specific niche with their hyper-aggressive approach to songs about peace, love and understanding. (Don’t believe that name thing? Trust us: The bassist dubbed himself P-Nut.)
Release Date: July 25, 1995
10. Garbage's Garbage
Mega-producer Butch Vig and his rock supergroup were off to a difficult start on their new project when an MTV 120 Minutes broadcast introduced them to Angelfish's Shirley Manson -- and subsequently, to the idea of letting a lady front their band. The result is a seminal electronic-infused emotional maelstrom that beget five increasingly successful radio singles. A special 20th anniversary re-release is in the works, featuring all the unreleased remixes and non-album tracks, as well as a reunion tour they've cheekily named 20 Years of Queer.
Release Date: August 15, 1995
11. Better Than Ezra's Deluxe
This one is a slight cheat but how could we pass it up? This Baton Rogue band originally released Deluxe in 1993 on Swell Records, but it didn't find an audience until the 1995 re-release by Elektra Records, making it their major label debut. While all of Kevin Griffin's track's are definitive slacker rock, this album also holds a special place in our hearts for featuring one of the era's best known "hidden track" songs, the industrial metal tune that begins at the 4:20 mark of the 13th track.
Release Date: February 28, 1995
BONUS: Batman Forever Soundtrack
While '95 churned out its share of memorable soundtracks (especially Clueless) this album featured some of the angriest and weirdest tracks to break through alongside pop stars on one of the most bizarrely curated albums in history. Sure, U2 and Seal make a straight line for the heroic, but their work is sandwiched between killer tracks by The Offspring, The Flaming Lips, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, plus Sunny Day Real Estate right alongside Method Man.
Release Date: May 23, 1995
How does Alanis Morrisette remember her killer 1995 album twenty years later? Watch the video below to find out.