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The '90s Sucked

The 20 Worst Albums of the '90s: The Complete List

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Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Korn
  • Korn
Sure, you had the Bill Clinton blowjob scandal, OJ, Pakistan and India going nuclear, mad cow disease, the Rodney King decision, and Titanic. But what made the '90s truly awful was its music. That's not to say that there weren't bright spots -- early Beck, say, or Ok Computer and much of hip-hop's golden era -- but what passed for mainstream rock was awful, particularly when it was tagged with the "alternative" qualifier.

See also: Guess What Year These Lisa Loeb Photos Were Taken

And considering that internet music platforms hadn't much gotten going, too often the crap on the radio was what we were stuck with. As a method of catharsis, then, let's take a look back at what was so dispiriting about this pivotal time in our lives. We promise there is no C+C Music Factory. -Ben Westhoff

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20. Garth Brooks 

Chris Gaines' Greatest Hits (1999)

Yes, all multimillionaire megalomaniacs attempt a Slim Shady/Sasha Fierce move at some point. Country titan Garth Brooks dipped his toes into pop as a fictional "rock star" in the late '90s, preceding a feature film that never came to fruition because he couldn't sell these "greatest hits." Using the Gaines disguise (complete with chin hair) as a failsafe parachute was the only good idea about this crossover bid. Remember that "Smile on your brother/ Everybody get together" song by the Youngbloods? Imagine it literally remade with Cake-style talk-rap verses, and you have an idea of how lost Garth was. "I say black/ You say white/ I say day/ You call it a night" is as clever as this infamous failure gets. Few recall that Garth's locomotive '90s fame was enough to drag this number two to #2. Briefly. -Dan Weiss

See also: The 20 Worst Hipster Bands

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19. The Presidents of the United States of America

The Presidents of the United States of America (1995)

Forged in the horribly mistaken notion that America needed just that much more wackiness, Presidents of the United States of America's (Pot USA, get it?) self-titled debut pops out like puffs of skunky weed smoke from Deen Ween's basement. It's as if they asked themselves, "Hey guys, let's, like, do a whole Butthole Surfers / Ween / They Might Be Giants / Dead Milkmen kind of album...but for the whole grunge scene. It will also lack any shred of cleverness, insight, and humor that all those other wack-rock bands have...but like we'll sing about ironic things, like peaches." And then they responded, "Can we have a really pedestrian and uninspired sound, too?" "You bet man, you bet." -Paul Bradley

click to enlarge Alanis_Morissette_Supposed_Former.jpg

18. Alanis Morissette

Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998)

Have you ever been cornered at a party by a girl who talks rapturously and somewhat incoherently about her recent discovery of Eastern spirituality, then goes into an hour-long monologue about all of her ex-boyfriends? This is that girl in album form. The only moment of restraint on Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is when Alanis tells one of those ex-boyfriends, "Let's name 30 good reasons why we shouldn't be together," and then doesn't proceed to sing all 30 of them. That is, by far, the best part of the album -Andy Hermann

See also: The Worst Song Of The '90s? A Line-By-Line Dissection Of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic"

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