Ah, 1993. It was a time of ubiquitous flannel and burgeoning coffee shops, grunge and Princess Diana. The first Jurassic Park broke box office records and Shane Warne delivered the “Ball of the Century”. What a time it was.
A lot of great music was also released that year, and some of the biggest albums of the entire decade were born in 1993.
So, are you ready to feel old? Take a look below at five incredible albums celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, from a country crooner’s debut offering to a grunge trio’s final record.
Mariah Carey – Music Box
The pop superstar released her third studio album in 1993. It was, to say the least, a monstrous hit. Number one in 15 countries; sold more copies worldwide than Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album; certified diamond in the US.
Music Box remains Carey’s biggest-selling album to date – a casual 28 million copies – and also remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. Not bad for a record that initially divided opinion due to having so many mellow ballads on it.
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Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way
People probably recognise the title of Kravitz’s third studio album from the timeless track of the same name, but the wider album was just as alluring and cool. The genre-hopping artist channeled Jimi Hendrix on the famed title track, inserting a fierce 70s rock element into a 90s anthem.
Elsewhere on the album, Kravitz looked to Prince and The Beatles for inspiration, and all his influences had a huge impact: Are You Gonna Go My Way earned him his first top 20 position on the US Billboard 200 (it also topped the ARIA Albums Chart).
And how could anyone forget the simply iconic music video for the title track, which featured Kravitz and his band rocking out in a massive circular arena.
Nirvana – In Utero
Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic released their final album together in 1993. Did it signal the end of grunge? Not quite, but the genre wouldn’t be the same ever again.
Nirvana joined forces with renowned producer Steve Albini for their third album, aiming to concoct a more complex sound. The decision paid off and In Utero was widely acclaimed for its cathartic lyricism and ferocious rhythms.
It was raw, honest rock ‘n’ roll music, and tracks like “Heart-Shaped Box” and “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” have remained favourites with Nirvana fans.
Just one year later, Cobain would be dead aged just 27; how sad to think about where Nirvana’s sound could have went on a fourth album following In Utero.
Janet Jackson – Janet
By her fifth studio album, Janet Jackson knew her worth. She was one of the biggest global pop stars, so it only made sense to have her new album be self-titled. Just Janet. Only the biggest and best get to release two self-titled records (following 1982’s Janet Jackson).
All major players in the music industry were desperate to sign Janet back in the early 90s, with Richard Branson’s Virgin Records eventually securing her signature in a $40 million, three album deal.
Branson needn’t have worried about the expenditure: Janet by Janet sold 20 million copies, spawned multiple hits, and topped charts around the world.
Interestingly, the album title was actually stylised as janet., the artist making a brave statement that she was simply herself, dissasociating herself from her famous family. Before her unfair treatment in the 00s, Janet reigned supreme in the 90s.
Sheryl Crow – Tuesday Night Music Club
Crow’s debut album eventually became a fan favourite, but it definitely wasn’t a hit right away. Her first few singles, “Run Baby Run”, “What I Can Do for You”, and “Leaving Las Vegas”, bombed on the charts.
And then “All I Wanna Do” arrived, changing everything. The instantly iconic country pop anthem was one of the biggest breakthrough hits of the entire decade, earning Crow the 1995 Grammy for Record of the Year.
If you go to any karaoke bar to this day, “All I Wanna Do” is not far from being gleefully covered. The track managed to pull listeners into the rest of the album, and Tuesday Night Music Club became a top three hit in the US and Australia.
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