Top 10 Albums of 1993
A mix of the very old guard, artists who first made it big in the ’70s, as well as some newer faces of rock all released records in 1993. We sorted through each and every one of them to come up with our list of the Top 10 Albums of 1993.
Music had undergone some rather radical changes in the time between Rush’s 1991 album ‘Roll the Bones’ and 1993’s ‘Counterparts.’ The earlier record was released just as grunge was in its pop-chart infancy — Nirvana‘s landmark ‘Nevermind’ album was released just weeks after ‘Roll the Bones.’ ‘Counterparts,’ on the other hand, hit shelves in the middle of grunge’s heyday. Whether directly or indirectly inspired by the music emerging from the Pacific Northwest, Rush delivered one of the most straightforward rock albums of their career.
With their remarkable comeback solidified on 1989’s ‘Pump,’ Aerosmith didn’t exactly see the need to reinvent the wheel on ‘Get a Grip.’ And why should they? Even though the record gives a nod to some old-school Aerosmith, their recent chart success was still fresh in their minds. The first single, ‘Livin’ on the Edge,’ proved that the band could still rock, but mostly the album chooses a path sprinkled with guaranteed chart toppers, like ‘Crazy’, ‘Amazing’ and ‘Cryin’.’ ‘Get a Grip’ ended up selling more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone.
By the time John Mellencamp released ‘Human Wheels’ in 1993, he had long secured a name for himself as one of the country’s finest roots-rock artists. And though he had become a champion of the common man, Mellencamp sounds as though he could use some championing of his own here. Musically, he doesn’t veer off course as much as he simply sounds worn down, but not without reason: Keyboardist John Cascella passed away unexpectedly during the making of the record. As with his previous albums, ‘Human Wheels’ struck a chord with fans, eventually going platinum in the U.S., thanks to the success of the title track along with ‘When Jesus Left Birmingham’ and ‘What If I Came Knocking.’
If there’s one thing as sure as the sun coming up tomorrow, it’s the consistency and frequency with which Motorhead hammer out their records. ‘Bastards’ is as loud (if not louder) and as fast (if not faster) as any of the group’s earlier and more celebrated albums, ultimately proving that you’re only as old as you feel and play.
While Pearl Jam’s 1991 debut ‘Ten’ was a slow-burning success, their highly anticipated follow-up was anything but. ‘Vs.’ stormed the charts, debuting at No. 1, setting a record at the time for the most albums sold in a week (950,000 copies!). Musically, the record couldn’t have been more different than ‘Ten.’ Although the group showed it could still mellow out on tracks like ‘Daughter’ and ‘Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town’, ‘Vs.’ boasts a much rawer sound than what fans expected.
In the time between the Rolling Stones‘ 1991 live album ‘Flashpoint’ and 1994’s ‘Voodoo Lounge,’ Mick Jagger stepped away from the band to release his third solo record, ‘Wandering Spirit,’ arguably his strongest. Jagger embraces the guitar-based sound of classic Stones on the album, dropping the keyboards that heavily dominated his other two solo LPs. Jagger said the album was a mix of rock, R&B, country and gospel.
A little more than a year after artists like Eric Clapton, the Band and others paid tribute to the legendary Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden, the man himself showed that he was still a relevant artist. The album — which included a mix of traditional folk songs like ‘Delia’, ‘Broke Down Engine’ and ‘Ragged and Dirty’ — was reportedly made in Dylan’s garage in a matter of days. No wonder it sounds so authentic.
What a difference six years make. Flashback to 1987, when ‘The Joshua Tree’ was U2’s golden ticket, giving the band its big break in the U.S. But by 1993, they had pushed aside guitar-driven rock anthems in favor of electronic music that divided their fan base. U2 had successfully explored electronic textures on 1991’s ‘Achtung Baby,’ but on ‘Zooropa’ they fully immersed themselves in the more experimental world.
‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’ was a victory of sorts for Sting, especially after the understandably muted ‘The Soul Cages,’ in which he dealt with the passing of his parents. ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’ isn’t exactly an upbeat album, but it is one of Sting’s most pop-oriented solo outings. On songs like ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith in You,’ he rediscovered a sense of melody that had been absent from much his solo work.
After the success of ‘Nevermind,’ all eyes focused on Nirvana. But instead of making ‘Nevermind Part 2,’ the trio gave their fans a less accessible and rough-around-the-edges record. They lost some fans in the process, but Nirvana weren’t intent on pleasing the hangers-on with ‘In Utero.’ Instead, they delivered an uncompromising album that also became their final studio effort.