Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)
Truthfully, RHCP are not one of my favorite bands. Californication, though is a great collection of songs about loss, hope, and redemption. “Around the World” sets the tone from the start, building to a somber crescendo at its midpoint with the title track, and a refreshingly sparse “Road Trippin'” ends the album on a bright note. From start to finish, it just works.
Natalie Merchant (1998)
Although “Kind & Generous” and “Life is Sweet” had some modest success and single releases, they appear early in the album and give way to the icy, melancholy vibe that permeates the rest of Ophelia. This album, more than any other I own or have heard, makes me think “winter” with every listen. Hell, it’s cold outside – grab a mug and stare out the window listening to this album. It fits.
Pearl Jam (1993)
Pretty much a perfect representative of 1990’s rock throughout, Vs. slides down the list a bit due to sounding dated in parts. As great as songs like “Daughter” and “Animal” are, they seem anchored to the time they were recorded in. Still, great songs are great songs, and there’s a ton of them on this album.
Jack White (2012)
Jack White does two things amazingly well : name albums that sound like made-up words but turn out to be actual things, and crank out rock and roll so full of raw energy that you wonder what the hell everyone else is doing. “Sixteen Saltines” grabs your attention early on with sheer impact, and “Freedom At 21” follows right behind with sneaky unique instrumentation – two themes that weave together effortlessly through Blunderbuss.
I know what you’re thinking – that’s way too low for Nevermind. Meh, maybe. It’s a great album, and I know it, but I never want to listen to it. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the anthem of an entire generation, “Something in the Way” is timeless and haunting, and “In Bloom” held up well; still, it’s been almost twenty years since I wanted to give it much rotation. I’ll blame MTV for ruining it for me.