The Best Alt-Rock Albums Of 1994, Ranked

Cultural Critic
05.31.19

DGC / Epic / Interscope

You might have noticed how many classic alternative rock albums are turning 25 this year. They all harken to 1994, arguably the greatest year in alt-rock history. That year alt-rock achieved a level of acclaim and popularity it would never reach again. New acts like Weezer, Green Day, and Oasis quickly established themselves as superstars, while veterans such as Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, and Pearl Jam built upon already impressive legacies.

But ’94 was also the beginning of the end. Many of the foundational acts of the era (including Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and R.E.M.) either disbanded or were about to enter periods of decline. Meanwhile, a band from Bakersfield, California called Korn released its self-titled debut, which would soon spark a nu-metal revolution that supplanted alt-rock as the dominant form of music on rock radio.

With a year so loaded with iconic records, it can be hard to determine which ones are the best. For this list, I used the following weighted criteria:

1. Timelessness, i.e. how good does the album sound in 2019: 60 percent
2. 1994-ness, i.e. how good did it sound then, and how well does it signify the year overall: 30 percent
3. Influence, i.e. how much are contemporary artists affected by this album: 10 percent

Okay, now let’s go back to 1994 and figure out which CD is the best!

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