The '90s were never really known as a time to be all that polished. After the hair metal waves came and went, a lot of the newer music out of the alternative sphere tended to cater to songs that deliberately messed with the usual system for commercial singles. Even in an era that discordant though, there were still those few albums that managed to hit every single right note.
Outside of the usual bar band stuff, these albums don't have a single bad track between them, with every song going off like gangbusters from the moment they start playing. More than just your average collection of songs, these are the kinds of albums that manage to take you on a journey across their runtime and make you feel like you live in a different world by the time that you're finished.
Even with the invention of the CD and the bigger runtimes, these albums don't waste a second of time throughout and always make you feel invigorated for having taken the journey along with the artists. Although there are always pros and cons that come with every single album, best of luck finding any holes in the armor with these records.
10. Automatic for the People - R.E.M.
In the world of rock and roll, the only villain tends to be age. As the clock keeps ticking, artists usually find themselves worrying about keeping up their stamina and still having something relevant to say to their audience that will last beyond the summer jams. While most bands fade into obscurity once they outlive their 20s, Automatic for the People is what happens when things start getting a little more introspective.
At the time, there was probably no other artist who could pull something like this off except for R.E.M. These were the guys who had started the alternative wave back in the early '80s, so to hear them talking about growing into adulthood felt like your edgy older brother telling you that things were going to be alright. They don't shy away from any of the hard stuff though, with songs like Sweetness Follows and Try Not to Breathe showing the cost of living with your own mortality.
Even though the grunge movement was still in full swing, tracks like Man on the Moon and Nightswimming made R.E.M. the poster children for alternative's golden age, with classical production being brought into the mix for the hell of it. Growing up sucks, but when you have songs like this to hold on to, it doesn't necessarily have to be all bad.