Top 10 Greatest Alternative/Rock albums.
So I’m sitting there with Thomas a few weeks back, and we’re shooting the shit, and the conversation gets to music. This is something both Thomas and I feel very strongly about since our Uni days, and it’s great having these conversations with Thomas, for although we don’t see eye to eye on every single thing, we agree on more than not. We’re coming from roughly the same POV as it where. He’s got hip hop where I’ve got my electronica. What brings us together is the rock element. So the Top 10 question came up, and for once I decided to actually write it all down. This is the list of albums I think everyone should have on their shelf. I explain why they mean so much to me, or where I was when I heard them etc. In no particular order:
  1. Pearl Jam - Ten This is a classic in every way. Obviously the break out song being Jeremy, which is one of the best songs ever written. I’ve played this album to death and yet it still sounds fibrant as ever.
  2. Nirvana - Nevermind Not much can be added to this, except that my favourite line as with many people in the entire album is ‘oh well whatever, nevermind’.
  3. Foo Fighters - Foo Fighters Funny thing about this album, when I first heard it, I hated it. Took me a good few listens, and the fact that it was on the radio and MTV all the time, it grew on me. A year later I couldn’t understand what the hell was wrong with me, and how I didn’t see the genius that is Dave Grohl.
  4. Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine You’re 14, your parents have pissed you off again. You go into your room, SLAM the door and go to track number 5. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go and listen to it.
  5. The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness The greatest double album (and still the most successful) EVER. This was the one that made me sit up and notice the genius that is Billy Corgan.
  6. Radiohead - OK Computer Although ‘The Bends’ has got the better ULTIMATE SONG (Street Spirit), this was just a better all round album. Everything about this album is memorable.
  7. Massive Attack - Mezzanine I can’t help but smile whenever I listen to this album. It’s such a well produced bit of music, it’s sometimes scarey.
  8. REM - Automatic for the People In the same vein as the Radiohead selection, even though ‘Losing my religion’ isn’t on this album, this is another flawless album.
  9. The Offspring - Smash Would you believe that this album actually made me start listening to alternative? Hell yes!!! I was an electronica boy. Now I listen to both, but selective electronica generally speaking.
  10. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication After years of silence, they come back and they completely bring down the house. Final year of University.


  1. I have every one of those with the exception of Offspring. Excellent choices. Regarding your top two (Ten, Nevermind) I and two friends memorized ever word to every song. You have no idea how long that takes when you don’t have the liner notes.

    1 Chris
  2. I pretty much agree with your list, though I don’t really care for Offspring.

    One question though, where the hell is Tenacious D?!

    2 Michael Heilemann
  3. TENACIOUS D!!! YES!!! Can’t you make it a top 11 list? I couldn’t bare for you to delete any that you listed :)

    3 Jennifer
  4. You nailed it. I can’t argue with any of your selections, in fact, my list would probably be a carbon copy of yours ;)

    4 Chris G.
  5. Ha, while Tenacious D are cool, I don’t think they’d go on the classic albums list. On the great album’s list for sure. As for the offspring, man everything about that album was great in my eyes. The songs, the cover, the little talking bits inbetween, the ‘hidden’ song, which yes I know was done by Nirvana and REM before them, but still it was is a….classic album :).

    5 Khaled
  6. Tenacious D would be in an ACOUSTIC Top 10………..there are soo many other bands that J.B. cannot compete with on this level……

    6 Fadi Abou Alfa
  7. Good compromise Fadi.

    7 Chris
  8. Why thankyou Chris :-)

    8 Fadi Aboualfa
  9. Quite welcome. :)

    side note: Since you wrote up this list, Khaled, I’ve been doing nothing but listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Takes this old man back to high school. :)

    9 Chris
  10. Dont remind him of high school……..

    10 Fadi Aboualfa
  11. I don’t know…

    I mean the first three are from my hometown, but…and they all put on a great show. Foo Fighters are one of my all time favs, as is Radiohead.

    And I do like all the albums you mention to some degree, although I’ll be honest, if I never hear Nirvana again I’ll be just fine. They’re STILL played way to much on most radio up here.

    I guess your list is pretty good, I just don’t see any of those artists as “alternative” by the original defintion of the word.

    11 Keith
  12. I guess living in Seattle can have that problem on your perseption of these bands. Still though Nevermind is a classic album anyway you cut it :)

    12 Khaled
  13. The Wall is a better double album and went platinum 23, yes 23, times. So Mellon Collie isn’t near as good, and won’t go 23 times platinum in 60 years.

    13 Ethan