sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 11, 2020

nine from the ’90s
posted by soe 1:09 am

Tonight on Twitter, a meme was going around asking us to share our top nine albums from the 1990s. Lists like that are arbitrary, and, much like any list, will vary from day to day as to what my response will include.

Like many of my Gen X friends, the ’90s was a crucial decade for me. It ran from high school, through college, and into my first years of adulthood — and my major years of concert attendance. But because my high school years extended into two decades, I had to check which decade some pivotal albums came out. (Maybe sometime soon I’ll consider my top 8 albums from the ’80s…)

But for tonight, these were my answers:

  1. Boys on the Side soundtrack: While out with my volleyball teammates a couple weeks ago, we were considering all-important questions of places we wanted to visit and places we’d recommend. One asked if there was a specific song that we associated with being on vacation. I couldn’t think of one, but I associate this soundtrack with roadtrips and sunny days heading down the highway. This would be my convertible album, if I owned a convertible.
  2. Rites of Passage, Indigo Girls: This isn’t my favorite Indigo Girls album, but is probably the one I know best.
  3. Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos: Tori was the first artist I discovered in college and this angsty, heart-rending album epitomizes my first year.
  4. Automatic for the People, REM: This was the first cd I bought just before heading off to college.
  5. River of Dreams, Billy Joel: I can remember Grey Kitten and I going into Caldor’s to buy this the summer after my first year of college. “Lullabye (Good Night My Love)” is one of my favorite songs.
  6. The Honesty Room, Dar Williams: This album brought me back to my folkie roots. Dar’s written many other great songs and albums that I’ve loved, but no more so than her first commercially successful one.
  7. Beauty and the Beast soundtrack: What bookworm didn’t see Belle on the screen and immediately see herself reflected back at her? If someone offered me a yellow ballgown to this day, I would immediately say yes, because I would know that there were hours of reading and waltzing in a magnificent personal library in my future. Who’d have guessed, indeed…
  8. New Moon Shine, James Taylor: J.T. has many great great songs that date back before I was born. But this album seems to finally find him feeling comfortable in his own skin and his own place in history, and I appreciate that.
  9. Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette: If Tori started the early ’90s with a feminist yowl, Alanis picked it up in the later half of the decade, giving voice to so many of women in their 20s.

In true definitive list format, as soon as I was writing this I realized I’d left off a crucial album: Kenny Loggins’ Return to Pooh Corner. For years that album sang me to sleep and soothed me through stressful moments, and I don’t know how I could have overlooked it. Which album would it replace? Maybe J.T., if push came to shove. But no one is going to push or shove, and so my list comes in at a round ten.

Do you have nine albums from the 1990s you consider to be part of you? Or a similar list from another decade that’s more meaningful to you?

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