For many people, the 90s represented a golden era for pop music. Whether you were a fan of Britpop, grunge, dance music, hip-hop or trip-hop, the decade offered something for everyone.
Twenty years on, it’s staggering to look back at the wealth of great albums produced in 1997. Oasis, Blur, Radiohead and The Verve all released huge records which would go on to change the face of British music, and there were plenty of big hitters released in Europe and the US too.
Take a look at loaded’s list of the classic albums turning 20 in 2017 – if this doesn’t make you feel nostalgic, nothing will…
Radiohead – OK Computer
Coming off the back of 1993 debut album Pablo Honey and its brilliant follow-up The Bends, OK Computer catapulted Radiohead to new levels of mega-stardom. The album contained miserablist classics Paranoid Android, karma Police and No Surprises, and established the group’s reputation as one of the most innovate guitar bands of their generation.
The Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land
Firestarter, Smack My Bitch Up and Breathe all feature on this, a truly classic dance album. The Prodigy had released two LPs in the early 90s, but it was The Fat Of The Land which saw the group accepted into music’s mainstream with open arms. It’s widely-recognised as one of the finest British electronica records ever made, and rightly so.
The Verve – Urban Hymns
The Verve had released two albums before 1997, but Urban Hymns was the record that really saw Richard Ashcroft’s band come of age. Bitter Sweet Symphony, Sonnet, The Drugs Don’t Work, Lucky Man… they all feature on Urban Hyms, which has to go down as one of the greatest British albums of the 90s.
Oasis – Be Here Now
Oasis were the biggest band on the planet by the time they released Be Here Now. Many have dismissed the band’s third record for being overblown, too long, and sounding like a coked-up band believing their own hype. Twenty years on though, many music fans believe it to be one of the most misunderstood albums of the decade.
Blur – Blur
Oasis’s arch-rivals Blur also had a record out that year. Their self-titled fifth album features classic tracks Beetlebum and Song 2, which reached number and number 2 in the UK singles charts respectively. It remains one of the band’s strongest offerings to date.
Portishead – Portishead
Portishead released their self-titled second album in 1997, and cemented their place as the most important Trip-hop band of the decade. It’s a downbeat collection, that capitalised on the success of their critically acclaimed debut Dummy a few years before.
Spiritualized – Ladies & Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space
Spiritualized are fondly remembered by fans as one of the most influential bands of the 90s, and Ladies & Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space remains a cult favourite to this day. They made have been slighted overlooked by the likes of Radiohead, Oasis and Blur, but the band’s third album is arguably one of the most underrated British albums of the decade.
Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole
People often forget that two years before The Chemical Brothers released their classic album Surrender in 1999, the pair had a number one hit with their second collection Dig Your Own Home. Noel Gallagher features as a guest vocalist on the album, and opener Block Rockin’ Beats remains one of their biggest hits twenty years later.
Foo Fighters – The Colour And The Shape
Three years after the tragic death of Kurt Kobain, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl released The Colour and the Shape – his second album as frontman of Foo Fighters. The album marked a clear step-up from their ’95 debut, and featured the classic tracks Monkey Wrench, My Hero and Everlong.
Daft Punk – Homework
A whole decade and a half before their smash-hit Get Lucky was released, Parisian EDM duo Daft Punk were cutting their teeth with their debut album Homework. Around The World was the albums’ s standout track, and helped set the ball rolling on a hugely successful career.