Our Best Rock Albums Of 1996 list looks at the start of the second half of the decade when we see many changes happening in the world of rock music and pop culture. The impact of artists like Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette continued to have an impact on rock and roll. While Alanis did not release any new music, Sheryl Crow followed up her Grammy Award-winning Tuesday Music Club album with her sophomore album which was even better than her debut. D\Grubge still played a role in rock but was beginning to start to date. Still, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden returned with strong efforts to keep the genre alive even as the sounds of those bands were evolving more towards mainstream rock. On the flip side, things were getting heavier on the Eastern Side of the Atlantic with some of the best metal albums coming out of Germany and other European counties.
# 50 – The Jester Race – In Flames
# 49 – Grom – Behemoth
# 48 – Billy Breathes – Phish
# 47 – Fever In Fever Out – Luscious Jackson
# 46 – Dusk and Her Embrace – Cradle of Filth
# 45 – Lay It Down – Cowboy Junkies
# 44 – Bringing Down the Horse – Wallflowers
# 43 – Chaos and Disorder – Prince
# 42 – Recovering the Satellites – Counting Crows
# 41 -Call the Doctor – Sleater-Kinney
# 40 – Load – Metallica
# 39 – Everything Must Go – Manic Street Preachers
# 38 –Fire Garden – Steve Vai
We could listen to this album 100 times in a row and still discover stuff we never heard before.
# 37 – Genius of America – The Tubes
# 36 – Gravity Kills – Gravity Kills
# 35 – Trailer Park – Beth Orton
# 34 – Great Southern Trendkill – Pantera
# 33 – New Adventures in Hi-Fi – R.E.M.
# 32 – Tidal – Fiona Apple
# 31 – Pinkerton – Weezer
# 30 – Arena – Asia
# 29 – Boys for Pele – Tori Amos
# 28 – Golden Heart – Mark Knopfler
# 27 – Fairweather Johnson – Hootie & the Blowfish
# 26 – Naughty Little Doggie – Iggy Pop
# 25 – Looking East – Jackson Brown
# 24 – Dust – Screaming Trees
# 23 – White Light, White Heat, White Trash – Social Distortion
# 22 – Susanna Hoffs – Susanna Hoffs
# 21 – Life Is Peachy – Korn
# 20 – If You’re Feeling Sinister – Belle & Sebastian
# 19 – Razorblade Suitcase – Bush
# 18 – Emancipation – Prince
# 17 – All This Useless Beauty – Elvis Costello
# 16 – Guitar Slinger – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
# 15 – Reject All American – Bikini Kill
# 14 – Antichrist Superstar – Marilyn Manson
Can you say intense?
# 13 – Broken Arrow – Neil Young & Crazy Horse
# 12 – Overnight Sensation – Motorhead
# 11 – Evil Empire – Rage Against The Machine
# 10 – Set the Twilight Reeling – Lou Reed
Opening up our top 10 section of the best albums of 1996 is the legendary Lou Reed
# 9 – The Burdens of Being Upright – Tracy Bonham
Newcomer Tracy Bonham released one of the most exciting debut albums of the 1990s. Fresh rock and roll full of substance and fun.
# 8 – Aenima – Tool
# 7 – Crash – Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews captured many of the older rock and roll fans of bands like The Grateful Dead while turning on an entirely new audience to music fueled by the 70s while creating the sound of 90s jams bands to commercial acceptance.
# 6 – Signify – Porcupine Tree
If Steven Wilson’s Porcupine Tree had released albums like this in the 1970s they would have been just as big as Pink Floyd….maybe?
# 5 – No Code – Pearl Jam
It’s the 1990s, it’s Pearl Jam, no more questions.
# 4 – Mercury Falling – Sting
Sting has put out a lot of great albums throughout his career starting with the Police and all his wonderful solo albums. This is probably his most underrated. An emotional ride through Celtic sounding takes of betrayal, divorce, regret and a whole lot more.
# 3 – Sheryl Crow – Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow’s second album proved she was no one hit album wonder. In many ways, her second album may just be the best album she has ever released. Loaded with great rock and roll pop songs like “If It Makes You Happy,” “Everyday Is A Winding Road,” “A Change Would Do You Good,” this was rock and roll meets pop perfection.
# 2 – Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop – Stone Temple Pilots
This may have been the band that could have gone further than any of the other grunge rock bands of the 90s. Like Guns N’ Roses, they screwed it all up
# 1 – Down on the Upside – Soundgarden
Our favorite rock and roll band since Led Zeppelin. Their 90s output is unmatched by any other rock band of the decade.
The year 1996 also saw the release of the second and third Anthiologys; by The Beatles. Since these were recordings that had been mostly recorded in the 1960s and early 1970s, we kept these two double cd albums off the main list which was pretty much all new recordings. Nonetheless, since these were released in 1996 with great fanfare, especially to Beatles Fans, we wanted to list them here.
Anthology Volume 2 – The Beatles
Anthology Volume 3 – The Beatles
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