The Top 25 Greatest Films Of 2016

2016 managed to be a rough year across the board but despite all that some great films were released. This is a countdown of the greatest films of the year.

Countdown of the Twenty-Five greatest films of 2016

By Carter Bagley

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Last night was the annual ceremony where Hollywood comes together and awards some of the greatest films of the past year. To celebrate the 89th Academy Awards I’ve put together my personal favorite films of the calendar year of 2016.

Movies That Almost Made It

“Indignation” – James Schamus, 2016

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“Zootopia” – Byron Howard & Rich Moore, 2016

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“War Dogs”- Todd Phillips, 2016

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“Sully” – Clint Eastwood, 2016

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“Sully” Review

Now Here It Is, The 25 Greatest Films Of 2016

25. “The Accountant” – Gavin O’Connor, 2016

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A film I didn’t expect to like as much as I did at all was “The Accountant”. It’s the perfect example of what an action movie should be and it gives me hope for the future of the genre. From start to finish it was emotional and exciting and I’m excited to see if this film could get a sequel.

“The Accountant” Review

24. “Star Trek Beyond” – Justin Lin, 2016

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The latest film in the “Star Trek” universe managed to be action-packed while having the same feel and tone as the classic TV series. Justin Lin did an outstanding job on his first film for the franchise and since I had a lot of fun with this one I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

23. “Green Room” – Jeremy Saulnier, 2016

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An amazingly suspenseful and brutal horror film that has one of the most original and terrifying plots in recent years. With a great performance by the late Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart portraying the scary and intimidating bar owner, “Green Room” manages to be intense and memorable.

22. “Snowden” – Oliver Stone, 2016

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This film was bound to be controversial from the moment it came into fruition but I think people overlooked the film way more than it deserved. “Snowden” was a very well made film with an excellent performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

“Snowden” Review

21. “Oasis: Supersonic” – Mat Whitecross, 2016

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An all inclusive documentary on one of my all-time favorite bands so I may be biased here but it’s definitely a powerful and well made documentary.

“Oasis: Supersonic” Review

20. “Doctor Strange” – Scott Derrickson, 2016

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Marvel continues to entertain mass audiences with their crazy visuals and great storytelling. “Doctor Strange” is different than the rest though and manages to stand completely on it’s own as an original and fun film.

“Doctor Strange” Review

19. “Lion” – Garth Davis, 2016

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Another film I saw very recently and I’m glad I caught it in time because it’s a beautiful, tragic and redeeming tale of family that will make anyone tear up just a little.

18. “Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins, 2016

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This film has received a lot of love and praise and took home the statue last night (after an unfortunate mixup) and despite being good I don’t think it’s the greatest film of the year by any means, but that doesn’t take away at all from it’s good qualities.

“Moonlight” Review

17. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” – Gareth Edwards, 2016

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Another year. Another “Star Wars”. This one, however, isn’t another sequel and instead tells an unconventional story that isn’t perfect but manages to be completely thrilling and entertaining.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” Review

16. “The Jungle Book” – Jon Favreau, 2016

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There’s no way in hell I expected to love this film as much as I did. This adaptation of the classic Disney film and novel may be the best one yet and it’s the perfect family movie for anyone to love.

15. “Hell Or High Water” – David Mackenzie, 2016

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An unexpected success story, “Hell Or High Water” is a thrilling and smart heist movie set in small town America and despite it’s small setting and simple premise what it has to say is by no means small.

14. “Don’t Think Twice” – Mike Birbiglia, 2016

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A relatable and simple film set in the world of improv comedy. It doesn’t have much to say but it says what it tries to in such a lovely and entertaining way that it will have a soft place in your heart after you watch it. The cast is fantastic and fun and “Don’t Think Twice” is simply just a fantastic film.

13. “Hacksaw Ridge” – Mel Gibson, 2016

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Mel Gibson’s comeback film that’s brutal yet inspiring and tells the true story of Desmond Doss, a man who’s courage and moral compass is so admirable that you can’t help but at least enjoy this film.

“Hacksaw Ridge” Review

12. “Hunt For The Wilderpeople” – Taika Waititi, 2016

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A film that I didn’t get a chance to see until recently but it was totally worth. It’s quirky and odd but completely deserves your attention.

11. “Everybody Wants Some!!” – Richard Linklater, 2o16

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Richard Linklater’s spiritual sequel to “Dazed and Confused” is just pure entertainment that’s funny, charming and filled with classic music that’ll take you back to a time that’s passed… even if you never lived it to begin with.

10. “Arrival” – Denis Villeneuve, 2016

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Denis Villeneuve is a masterful filmmaker who’s made great film after great film and “Arrival” is no exception. I just can’t wait until I get a chance to see his take on “Blade Runner”.

“Arrival” Review

9. “Midnight Special” – Jeff Nichols, 2016

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Directed by Jeff Nichols who is starting to become one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation after directing “Take Shelter” and “Mud” which are each brilliant in their own right but now he’s topped himself with a compelling modern sci-fi film that proves he’s poised for great things still.

8. “Swiss Army Man” – Daniel Kwan & Daniel Sheinert, 2016

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A movie that must be seen on it’s insane premise alone. It could’ve easily sold itself on shock value alone but instead it uses quirky comedy and the excellent performances by it’s two leads to craft an odd yet effortlessly charming story.

7. “Captain America: Civil War” – Joe & Anthony Russo, 2016

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Another film that’s gotten a lot of hate from the time of it’s release until now but after rewatching it, it still stands as a near perfect blockbuster and one of the greatest superhero films to date.

6. “Nocturnal Animals” – Tom Ford, 2016

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A movie that was a bit divisive in many ways but it’s incredibly clever and packed with powerful performances.

5. “Deadpool” – Tim Miller, 2016

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A near perfect action-comedy, Ryan Reynolds pushed this thing along for years and it turned out perfectly. If you haven’t seen this film yet, do yourself a favor and go see it as soon as possible.

4. “Manchester By The Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan, 2016

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One of the saddest but most powerful films I’ve seen in a long time. Casey Affleck really amazes here and completely deserves all the praise he’s receiving.

“Manchester By The Sea” review

3. “The Nice Guys” – Shane Black, 2o16

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Hilarious. Entertaining. Overlooked. This film needs more attention because it’s truly amazing and Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make an incredible duo. Go watch “The Nice Guys” if you haven’t already.

2. “Sing Street” – John Carney, 2016

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Horribly marketed by the Weinstein Company upon release and overlooked this is a lovely little film that sadly will be forgotten about. Though to the people who saw it, it left it’s mark and to me it’s simply one of the most personal films I’ve seen in years.

“Sing Street” Review

1. “La La Land” – Damien Chazelle, 2016

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This is one of those films that will get tons of hate for a little while and for some reason it’s kind of cool to hate it. This seems to happen to a couple movies every year but while others are released to praise and later get swallowed by the hate this one will be one to overcome it. “La La Land” is a beautiful and entertaining tale that will one day go down as a Hollywood classic. There’s simply no other film that belongs at this spot.

“La La Land” Review

Top 25 R.E.M. Songs

Out of the band’s enormous discography these are the 25 songs that hit the hardest.

A countdown of the Twenty-Five best songs by pioneering alternative rock band R.E.M.

By Carter Bagley

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I figured to conclude any artist series I should make a list of what I think are that artist’s best songs. So after rummaging through R.E.M. fifteen studio albums and numerous singles and compilations I crafted this list of R.E.M.’s twenty-five best songs.

25. “7 Chinese Brothers” (Reckoning, 1984)

One of the many oddly titled but undeniably charming R.E.M. songs and one that completely defines the sound of R.E.M.’s classic sophomore effort “Reckoning”. It may not be a defining song for the band but it’s definitely a fantastic one.

24. “At My Most Beautiful” (Up, 1998)

A truly beautiful ballad from the band that pairs beautifully with other songs of theirs like “Nightswimming” but this one is tragically unrecognized. It’s really an amazing song and is the best song off their 1998 album “Up”.

23. “Bittersweet Me” (New Adventures In Hi-Fi, 1996)

Probably the most famous song from R.E.M.’s underrated 1996 sprawling double LP “New Adventures in Hi-Fi”. With a rocking chorus, slow breathy verses, and gritty lyrics this song is definitely good enough to be on this list.

22. “Driver 8” (Fables Of The Reconstruction, 1985)

“Fables Of The Reconstruction” is no doubt the most forgotten out of R.E.M.’s 80’s catalog, but the record has some truly great songs on it including this short yet deep and poignant track that’s catchy and memorable and defines this era of R.E.M. perfectly.

21. “Superman” (Life’s Rich Pageant, 1986)

Just a year after “Fables..” came “Life’s Rich Pageant” which is a stark contrast probably because “Fables” didn’t perform as well as they wanted. “Superman” one of the singles and closer of the album sounds like 60’s rock and that marks a new sound for the band and one that makes for a near perfect pop song.

20. “Supernatural Superserious” (Accelerate, 2008)

A late R.E.M. track that’s just as good if not better than many of their earlier songs. Off of 2008’s “Accelerate”, this single doesn’t sound at all like an aging band (which they definitely were) but instead like a young energetic band that still had a lot to say.

19. “Shaking Through” (Murmur, 1983)

A forgotten and unrecognized song of their debut album is one of my favorites because of it’s airtight instrumentation and Stipe’s on point vocals. It’s truly a great R.E.M. song and one that has gone and will continue to go severely underrated.

18. “Gardening At Night” (Chronic Town EP, 1982)

One of the band’s earliest songs yet still loved amongst fans and one of their most critically beloved. This is a very bizarre track with nonsense lyrics and jangly guitar that totally encapsulates the sound of early-80’s R.E.M.

17. “Orange Crush” (Green, 1988)

One of their first big singles that has gone on to become an alternative rock classic this is on their first studio album and might be one of their last early era sounding songs they ever recorded. Nonetheless it’s extremely catchy and incredibly charming.

16. “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” (Monster, 1994)

A true rocker that opens up R.E.M.’s 1994 “big dumb rock album” titled “Monster” and this is undoubtedly the highlight of that record. It was a new sound for R.E.M. and one they never really quite had again and as a single it’s definitely a standout of their 90’s catalog.

15. “New Test Leper” (New Adventures In Hi-Fi, 1996)

Not even released as a single, this is one of those deep cuts that only real R.E.M. fans will recognize. In my opinion it’s one of the best they ever wrote as the lyrics are deeply poetic and Michael Stipe’s vocals are beautiful. This is a song that you will fall in love with and if there’s only one reason to check out “New Adventures…” then this is it.

14. “Find The River” (Automatic For The People, 1992)

The closer to quite possibly the band’s finest album that really doesn’t sound like them at all. “Find The River” sounds a little like John Denver with an alternative twist to it and the R.E.M. penned lyrics are beautiful and much better than the stuff Denver writes. It’s pure and lovely and something you need to check out.

13. “These Days” (Life’s Rich Pageant, 1986)

A short and fast 80’s rocker from another standout R.E.M. record in “Life’s Rich Pageant”. It’s catchy and fun and a song that makes “Life’s Rich Pageant” the damn near perfect album that it is. The oddball lyrics but strong delivery is pure 80’s R.E.M. and it’s brilliant.

12. “Country Feedback” (Out of Time, 1991)

One of the many highlights of R.E.M.’s best-selling seminal album “Out Of Time”. Maybe not the most consistent album they’ve made but one that’s full of poetic and beautiful songs like this that make it understandable that the record got the classic status it has.

11. “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” (Reckoning, 1984)

A song that sounds completely different than the rest of the album it’s at the tail-end of, yet it’s still undoubtedly a standout on “Reckoning”, their 80’s catalog, and their entire discography altogether. Having a very southern country rock sound but with the charm of typical R.E.M. and using jangle-pop vibes that make it an R.E.M. staple.

10. “The One I Love” (Document, 1987)

A fantastic hit single that can and has been interpreted in many different ways. Most people see it as a simple love song but it’s nearly the exact opposite and is layered which you can tell when Stipe wails “Fire!” after the chorus. This is one of the songs that grew the band’s fame and secured them a record deal for their next album, and it’s easy to see why.

9. “World Leader Pretend” (Green, 1988)

Hands down the best song off their divisive first studio album “Green”. Despite the album being divisive this song always seems to be given the accolades it truly deserves. Stipe moodily delivers fantastic lyrics that touched on new ground for the band. If you haven’t heard this song, do yourself a massive favor and go give “World Leader Pretend” a few spins.

8. “So. Central Rain” (Reckoning, 1984)

A song that completely encapsulates the perfect sound featured on their sophomore classic “Reckoning”. The lyrics are beautiful, the instrumentation is catchy, and Michael Stipe’s vocal performance is perfect and all that adds up to an amazing early alternative rock song complete with jangly guitars and moody vocals.

7. “Fall On Me” (Life’s Rich Pageant, 1986)

Probably the band’s first recognizable success came with this single as the video got decent airplay on MTV and it blew up college rock stations everywhere. One of the catchiest songs they ever recorded, “Fall On Me”  highlights one of R.E.M.’s best albums and defines the term college rock.

6. “Nightswimming” (Automatic For The People, 1992)

A truly beautiful ballad accompanied with lovely piano and vocals that make you feel more than you’d like to admit. The all-too-real lyrics and the pure and genuine tone it naturally has cemented “Nightswimming” as a memorable heartwarming song that only gets better the more you hear it. Really go check this beautiful song out as soon as possible.

5. “Radio Free Europe” (Murmur, 1983)

One of the earliest singles the band ever made that still makes you single along to the nonsensical lyrics even after you’ve heard it thousands of times. “Radio Free Europe” is insanely likable and completely defines the sound of the band’s debut album “Murmur”.

4. “Man On The Moon” (Automatic For The People, 1992)

One of the strangest singles from the band, but the song tackles a lot of topics in one song and it seems to do it beautifully. It’s one of those songs with that amazing chorus that just gets drilled into your head the first time you hear it. The performance and the catchiness of this song is what makes it so good especially the chorus which is what makes it such a powerful lovable song.

3. “Talk About The Passion” (Murmur, 1983)

One of the band’s earliest poetic songs and one that features a more laid back sound opposed to most of “Murmur”. This song doesn’t seem to be talked about at all unless by real R.E.M. fans and those are the people who really cherish it. Some beautiful lines mixed with the rawness of the band’s early sound is what solidifies my love for this album.

2. “Losing My Religion” (Out of Time, 1991)

The band’s smash single that broke them into mainstream success still holds up amazingly 25 years after it’s initial release. Now it’s become a rock classic and has retained a status on the same level as other hits of the era. With thought provoking lyrics, angry and raw vocals and layered instrumentation accompanied by one of my favorite music videos of all time, it makes sense why this is the song that brought them universal acclaim. It’s truly legendary.

1. “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (Document, 1987)

There’s an endless amount that could be said about this song and what it means. It’s honestly one of the best pop songs to ever be recorded in my opinion and every single aspect including the fast, rambling verses, perfect backing vocals, catchy jangly guitars and hard-hitting drums along with the political yet smile-inducing lyrics that can only put you in a great mood. All of it leads into one of the best choruses ever put to tape and I truly mean that. Out of the enormous discography from this acclaimed pioneering rock band, this song remains their greatest achievement and has only grown in popularity since it’s release. It’s proved itself addictive and timeless and even if the end of the world as we know it comes, this song will keep us feeling fine.

List: Top Twenty-Five Coming-Of-Age films of all time

“Coming-Of-Age” films are a subgenre that deals with integral parts of life that anyone can relate to.

American Graffiti counts down the the 25 greatest coming-of-age films ever made

By Carter Bagley

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The subgenre of Coming-Of-Age has always been among my favorites as the best movies in the genre tend to last with you for a long time. More than the traditional drama film at least. This is because it deals with themes that are integral parts of life that anyone can relate to and have experienced or seen. This is my opinion so I’m not necessarily counting the films I think are the most well made, but ones for whatever reason clicked with me the most. There’s some downright classics on here and some underrated indie’s so let’s start the list of the 25 Greatest Coming-Of-Age Films of all time.

Movies That Almost Made It

“Sixteen Candles” – 1984, John Hughes

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A John Hughes classic that’s funny, memorable and showed what the filmmaker had ahead of him, although it’s just not quite as good as the others on this list. It might be higher-up if Hughes didn’t make the movies he did later on, but he did so I can’t discount that. It’s still a very goodhearted teen comedy though that deserves your viewing and it still holds up thirty-two years later.

“A River Runs Through It” – 1992, Robert Redford

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A slow paced family drama that has good themes about family and brotherhood, it takes place in rural Montana and follows two brothers Norman (Craig Sheffer) and Paul (Brad Pitt) and their relationships with each other, their hometown, and their family. Craig Sheffer and Brad Pitt are both fantastic as the brothers and Tom Skerritt does a good job as their strict reverend father. The real beauty of this film though come from Robert Redford’s impressive filmmaking. It’s shot beautiful and has a very carefree and simplistic beautiful tone to it that gives the film a sense of freedom.

“The Kings of Summer” – 2013, Jordan Vogt-Roberts

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A very underrated Sundance film shows a heartwarming story about three boys who escape their mundane lives by building a house in the woods together. Nick Robinson delivers a great standout performance and is definitely a young talent to look out for in the next couple of years. It’s a very lighthearted film and very funny film with some laugh out loud moments and some feel-good ones mixed in there.

“An Education” – 2009, Lone Scherfig

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A different kind of coming of age story, “An Education” dealt with a girl getting an inside look on an adult life that she learns a lot from over the course of the film. It’s truly a great film with complex rounded characters and difficult circumstances throughout it. It’s a slow burn but upon examination this film almost turns into a masterpiece.

“Me and Earl and The Dying Girl” – 2015, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

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A film I was very surprised by in a lot more ways than just one. The writing, the editing, the directing, the performances, the dialouge..it was all so spot on. It was made with great originality and references to countless parts of pop culture, this is one of those films that last with you. I just couldn’t find a place for it on this list.

 

Now Here It Is, The 25 Greatest Coming-Of-Age Films of All Time

25. “Boyz ‘N The Hood” – 1991, John Singleton

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The only film on this list to focus on an inner city story and features an impressive young cast with Cuba Gooding Jr., rapper turned actor Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, and Laurence Fishburne. Chronicling a tragic story of young kids from the wrong side of town just trying to get by in the world they were raised in. All the actors give great performances especially Ice Cube who at the time impressed audiences with his acting chops. “Boyz ‘N The Hood” is by no means the innocent teen comedy like others on this list and instead focuses on real issues in the lives of these kids.

24. “Mean Creek” – 2004, Jacob Aaron Estes

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This brutally raw film is made to feel like it’s really happening to real kids. Full of great child performances across the board with actors Trevor Morgan, Rory Culkin, Scott Mechlowicz, Ryan Kelley, Carly Schroeder, and a baby faced Josh Peck. Sam (Culkin) is getting tormented at school by bully George (Peck) who is dealing with personal issues of his own. Sam’s older brother Rocky (Morgan) hears about the bullying so he teams up with his friends to help Sam get revenge on George during a friendly canoe trip that quickly goes awry. It’s almost painful to see these characters go through this film as they make a series of bad decisions, leading some of the kids to go down different paths than others. It’s a truly remarkable and underrated film that’s horrifying in a very real way.

23. “Moonrise Kingdom” – 2012, Wes Anderson

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Wes Anderson’s most recent foray into the genre of coming-of-age may be his most detailed, and best directed film he’s ever made. It follows a young precocious camper (Jared Gilman) who recently has become smitten with a local girl (Kara Hayward) and they run away together causing many locals to form a search party full of many odd and peculiar characters to find these two young lovebirds. A huge cast including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Frances McDormand, and Harvey Keitel, each of the actors has a great moment especially Bruce Willis and Edward Norton who are beyond fantastic as the local cop and scout master.

22. “Risky Business” – 1983, Paul Brickman

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The breakout film for one of Hollywood’s biggest stars Tom Cruise, “Risky Business” is a downright classic teen film about letting loose and learning how to less self-serious and have a good time. Cruise plays Joel Goodsen, a very intelligent awkward rich kid who’s going to go to a great college. Though one weekend when his parents are away he decides to take advantage of it and have a good time. It ultimately leads to some bad decisions but after years of playing it safe,  Joel is ready for some risky business.

21. “My Own Private Idaho” – 1991, Gus Van Sant

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Gus Van Sant’s indie masterpiece is a fascinating and heart-wrenching character study on Mike Waters, a lost and dazed young male prostitute who suffers from Narcolepsy. All alone not sure of what his future beholds him, his disorder puts him in a constant dream-like state as he’s never really full there. Played wonderfully by River Phoenix, he proves to be a very complex tragic character lost in this complex world not built for a kid like him. He barely gets by on his simple mission of trying to find his way back home, wherever that may be. Gus Van Sant does an amazing job of directing this film with many dreamlike sequences reflecting the characters point of view. It also includes a surprisingly good performance by Keanu Reeves who plays Waters’ friend for a part of the film who tries to help him.

20. “The Last Picture Show” – 1971, Peter Bogdanovich

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The classic black and white film that got Jeff Bridges his big break. It takes place in the small town of Anarene, Texas in the early 50’s gives a unique perspective of small town life and various different characters changing in different ways. Very real and human at most parts, this a movie that is definitely not for everyone for a number of reasons, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s very simplistic and brilliant though. Not flashy or overdramatic “The Last Picture Show” gives a very good look at what life is like growing up in a small town.

19. “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” – 1982, Amy Heckerling

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This hilarious well-paced teen comedy pretty much perfects the genre of the teen comedy. An outstanding cast with Sean Penn in his breakout role, Forest Whitaker, Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Phoebe Cates. The film tackles teenage topics like dating, partying, and immaturity from all walks of life and there’s some truly memorable scenes that will go down in history. Also, Penn steals the show as Jeff Spicoli even though he’s only in it for a small amount of time, and later roles showed how capable this young actor was.

18. “American Beauty” – 1999, Sam Mendes

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Instead of coming-of-age from a kid to adulthood, “American Beauty” focuses on the coming-of-age from adulthood to mid-life crisis. Sam Mendes crafted an extremely overlooked masterpiece with this film. The first time I watched it blew me away and I immediately watched it again. Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a middle aged married father who isn’t satisfied with his life. His daughter despises him and his marriage is a sham. Although when the new neighbors move in next door, their teenage son who’s strange and mysterious although extremely brilliant has a profound effect on the family in various ways. This is one of those films that deserves introspection on the film itself and one’s own self after viewing it. It has a lot to say about the world we live in and the way we live our lives that people should give a listen to.

17. “Say Anything…” – 1989, Cameron Crowe

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Excellent performances by John Cusack and Ione Skye and another fantastic film by Cameron Crowe adds to the maturity of “Say Anything…” that other 80’s teen films didn’t have. It’s not quite as charming and entertaining as “The Breakfast Club” or “Sixteen Candles” but it’s human and real and shows realistic portrayals of well-rounded teenage kids while other films had very cliche social roles. This is one of those classic films of young love and the scene where Lloyd Dobbler (Cusack) holds the boombox over his head outside Diane’s (Skye) bedroom is no doubt an iconic Hollywood moment.

16. “Sing Street” – 2016, John Carney

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The most recent on this list for sure and it’s already among my favorites of the year. It seemed to get widely overlooked even though it was written and directed by John Carney and garnered wide critical acclaim. Great performances and truly inspiring and emotional moments make this an instant classic. Click here for my full review of it.

15. “Running On Empty” – 1988, Sidney Lumet

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Maybe the most underrated film of the list which is odd considering it’s a Sidney Lumet film and stars River Phoenix as the main character of Danny Pope. It’s a little hard to find and you may have to go out of your way a bit, but I assure you that it’s definitely worth it. If you want to see my review of the film click here.

14. “The Squid and the Whale” – 2004, Noah Baumbach

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Noah Baumbach has always been an odd filmmaker and despite the very impressive cast with Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Laura Linney and Billy Baldwin this always seemed to be one of those films that I heard was great but never wanted to check it out. I finally got around to it though a few months ago and I must say that I’m glad I did. Daniels and Linney are remarkable as two parents that get a divorce and newcomers Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline portray their two children dealing with it in very different ways. Both of the kids are phenomenal and interesting to watch develop and make some rather questionable decisions throughout. Owen Kline was especially good as the youngest kid and it’s odd to see that he hasn’t done much of anything since as he was so good in this movie. Eisenberg is no doubt probably the heart of the film and he progresses a lot as a character leading up to the very relatable titular concluding scene.

13. “Superbad” – 2007, Greg Mottola

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The most comedic on this for sure as it’s pretty much a straight-up Seth Rogen comedy. Written by Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg and featuring performances by Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Emma Stone that turned them into household names. Hill and Cera play Seth and Evan who are two nerdy high school seniors and trade bits of witty dialogue throughout the film. They’re looking to attend their first big high school party before graduating but it unknowingly turns into a way for the two best friends to spend one more awesome High School night together before going separate ways.

12.”Rushmore” – 1998, Wes Anderson

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Wes Anderson’s first higher profile film was the start of two long-term partnerships with Wes Anderson and actors Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray. Written by Anderson and best friend Owen Wilson and tells a very quirky and different kind of coming-of-age story with a very peculiar protagonist. Schwartzman gives a great performance as Max Fischer, a young prep-school kid isn’t the traditional innocent and naive kid in most coming-of-age films but is instead cocky, persistent and imaginative. His coming of age is one of maturing and seeing that things aren’t always going to go his way in life, which is a very refreshing take on the genre.

11. “Dead Poets Society” – 1989, Peter Weir

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Set in the 1950’s at a prestigious boarding school for boys. Most of these boys were told from birth that they were going to be Doctors or Lawyers and most of them never questioned it, but when their new teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) comes into the classroom things quickly change. Teaching the sheltered boys about poetry and life and following your dreams awakens many of the kids’ eyes and they begin to discover passion, happiness, and how to seize the day. Robert Sean Leonard and a young Ethan Hawke are fantastic as two of his students who learn a lot about life from Keating. Although it doesn’t bode well for the teacher after a horrible tragedy strikes the classroom and blame is falsely appointed, it doesn’t matter because his effect on the boys’ minds will be there forever… no matter how much the prep school despises that fact.

10. “Good Will Hunting” – 1997, Gus Van Sant

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The breakout film for both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck who not only starred in it but also wrote the screenplay. They were best friends through childhood and wrote this film together in a basement in their mid-20’s and struck gold. Extremely impressive that these two young guys made a film like this at that time of their lives as it features extremely well-written characters and dialogue along with monologues that stay with you. It portrays a very tragic look at young life in Boston and has complex characters who have layers as a result of the society they were raised in. Damon gives a great performance as Will Hunting, a troubled genius, along with Robin Williams as his therapist in maybe his best role yet. Affleck is very charismatic as Will’s best friend Chuckie Sullivan who tries to show Will that the whole world is his as long as he wants it.

9. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” – 1986, John Hughes

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Ferris Bueller is one of those characters that every single guy ever wanted to be in High School. He’s endlessly charming, intelligent, quick-witted, confident, rich, and has a hot girlfriend. John Hughes really perfect the teenage comedy with this film and it still stands out as a classic that kids are discovering and enjoying 30 years after it’s release. Perfectly cast with Matthew Broderick as the titular character and also Alan Ruck who steals many scenes as his friend Cameron, Mia Sara as his girlfriend Sloan, Jennifer Grey as his antagonizing sister along with Jeffrey Jones as the psychotic principal Mr. Rooney.

8. “The Graduate” – 1967, Mike Nichols

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An iconic Hollywood classic and the breakout role for Dustin Hoffman and got him his first Oscar nomination. At the time of release the film was very controversial and had a lot of ideas about youthful rebellion that were very risky in ’67. It also pretty much created the modern idea of a “milf” and like many others on this list, it featured a great soundtrack made by Simon & Garfunkel. The conclusion of the film is also an iconic hollywood scene that tosses out the traditional happy ending for one that makes you reflective and a little unsettled.

7. “American Graffiti” – 1973, George Lucas

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George Lucas’ film that proceeded “Star Wars” which definitely overshadowed this little film but it doesn’t mean this film isn’t a damn near perfect film about growing up. Another fantastic soundtrack and excellent writing and characterization, maybe the best straight up filmmaking Lucas ever did although “Star Wars” was much more creative and imaginative this film made up for in skill and raw easy-going talent. Also the amazing title of the film led to me naming my band after it and in turn this very blog, so it also gets points for that.

6. “Boyhood” – 2014, Richard Linklater

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Pretty much THE coming-of-age film as it’s the only film where someone literally comes to age. Richard Linklater’s 12 year epic follows Ellar Coltrane as the character of Mason who we watch actually grow up before your eyes. You almost as if you understand this family on a personal level and although it may not be showy or super dramatic, it’s one of the most human films I’ve ever seen which is an astonishing compliment for any film.

5. “Almost Famous” – 2000, Cameron Crowe

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One of the most underrated and under-appreciated on this list is Cameron Crowe’s 1970’s set coming-of-age epic about a young teenage boy who gets the chance to write an article for the fictional Zeppelin-esque rock band “Stillwater”. An original story with original characters and tons of heart and spirit gives this gem an energy that will last with you after just one viewing.

4. “Dazed and Confused” – 1993, Richard Linklater

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Richard Linklater’s breakthrough film and after all the classics he’s made since this still stands as one of this best. With an impressive cast of young actors who went on to have huge careers (Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Rory Cochran, Mila Jovovich, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Cole Hauser) and one of the greatest soundtracks of all time, “Dazed and Confused” might not have much of a plot or even story, but the characters and circumstances are very relatable.

3. “The Breakfast Club” – 1985, John Hughes

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One of the most famous films of the 1980’s and John Hughes’ best work. The Breakfast Club totally captured the drama in 80’s teenage social life and separated the differences we think are there but aren’t. Emilio Esteves, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald all delivered great performances for memorable characters and filled with classic moments, great dialogue, and a great soundtrack “The Breakfast Club” might be a little dated but it’s a classic nonetheless.

2. “Stand By Me” – 1986, Rob Reiner

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Another one of my all-time favorite films and it stars one of my favorite actors as well: River Phoenix. Pretty much the quintessential coming-of-age tale based on the novella “The Body” by Stephen King and directed to perfection by Rob Reiner. This film just got everything about childhood friendship right, the young cast was beyond amazing and pulled off fantastic performances. Almost everyone involved with it was either a big name or became a big name after this film was made. Like the four main kids Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, River Phoenix, and Jerry O’Connell along with other actors like Keifer Sutherland and Richard Dreyfuss, even John Cusack appears in a few scenes as Gordie’s dead older brother. This film is absolutely timeless and a story that any boy from any generation can relate to deeply.

1. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” – 2012, Stephen Chbosky

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Most people truly do not agree with me when I say this is the greatest coming-of-age film of all time. This is my personal opinion however and I must say this is 100% my favorite film of all time. Most people won’t disagree that this a great film, but when I say it’s my favorite people seem to get weird. It really is a masterpiece that is the definition of underrated. Logan Lerman gives an excellent breakthrough performance as Charlie along with Ezra Miller who steals many scenes. Written and directed by the author of the book himself, this film knows exactly what it is and everyone should go check it out as soon as possible.

List: Top Twenty-Five Albums of the 1990’s

A very diverse era full of unique sounds and the first time when alternative rock ruled the billboard charts.

American Graffiti’s countdown of the best albums of the 90’s

By Carter Bagley

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For my first list on this website I decided to do a countdown of some of my favorite albums from one of my favorite decades for music: the 1990’s. A very diverse era full of unique sounds and the first time when alternative rock ruled the billboard charts. A time when people from all across the spectrum could pursue music unlike decades before. Before I get a bunch of hate, I want to clarify that these are my personal favorites so if some of your favorites aren’t on the list it just means I didn’t necessarily like them as much as these for any number of reasons. Here’s my countdown of the twenty-five greatest albums of the 1990’s

Albums That Almost Made It

There were quite a few that I had a hard time not putting on the list. So here’s only a few that I would consider to be honorable mentions.

R.E.M. – “Out of Time” (1991)

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The album that turned R.E.M. into one of the most popular and richest bands of the 90’s isn’t as fantastic as many of their others as it has a lot of flaws despite the highs being so good with songs like “Losing My Religion”, “Shiny Happy People”, and “Country Feedback”. Click here for my full review of it.

Semisonic – “Feeling Strangely Fine” (1998)

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A lot of people might not agree with me here, mostly because Semisonic is pretty much the definition of one hit wonder with their song “Closing Time”, but their album “Feeling Strangely Fine” is fantastic outside just that one song.

My Bloody Valentine – “Loveless” (1991)

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I really do enjoy this album as it’s such a unique and important album. Although it’s never had the effect on me that’s it had on others.

Jeff Buckley – “Grace” (1994)

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Jeff Buckley is another singer-songwriter tragedy like Elliot Smith was. His magnum opus “Grace” is nothing short of fantastic, it’s just that I couldn’t find a place for it on my top 25. His music is so personal and transcended the decade even and I have a feeling many people would get mad at me for only putting it here.

The Magnetic Fields – “69 Love Songs” (1999)

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The Magnetic Fields have always been on those low profile indie bands but they created a somewhat classic of the indie genre in “69 Love Songs”. With such an interesting concept you can hear songwriter and primary lead singer Stephen Merritt searching his heart and putting his soul into this record and it works out as because of the length you begin to not focus on the individual songs or words, but the feel of the whole album.

 

The Stone Roses – “Second Coming” (1994)

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The second studio album by The Stone Roses took a long time to hit the shelves, too long even. Legal disputes troubled them but they finally got around to releasing their follow-up in 1994. It took many off guard with it’s loud lead guitar and songs that sounded more like 70’s rock than the jangle britpop from their debut. This didn’t make it bad by any means as it’s actually quite great but it was too different and too late and many didn’t give it a chance.

Here it is now: The Top 25 Albums of the 1990’s

25. Cast – “All Change” (1995)

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Cast was a band that was created after the singer songwriter of The La’s, Lee Mavers, left the band and the remainders of the group formed a new one. Their debut “All Change” came out after Britpop exploded in the U.K. and it was the genre The La’s helped create and it’s only fitting that Cast’s debut would be amongst the best records of the era.

24. Wilco – “Being There” (1996)

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Like I said on my review for Wilco’s “Schmilco”, I have yet to fully delve into their discography. Although when writing that review I totally forgot about their sophomore effort “Being There”. This being my favorite album out of the one’s I’ve heard from the band is saying a lot because I also quite love “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”. “Being There” is a double album and the songs split up into what sounds like two complete albums. The songs “Misunderstood”, “Outta Sight (Outta Mind)”, and “Sunken Treasure” from iy should also be heard by everyone.

23. Neutral Milk Hotel – “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” (1998)

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Neutral Milk Hotel has always been their own band. They have a unique folk-indie rock sound and great strained vocals by Jeff Mangum combined with some truly fantastic lyrics that made this record such a success. “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” is definitely not for everyone, but I can guarantee first hand if you do like it on first listen, it will only grow on you more and more from then on.

22. Radiohead – “The Bends” (1995)

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The album that came before “OK Computer” would’ve been the best for most bands and you can hear how it prepared the band to make their 1997 classic. Still though, “The Bends” has some beautiful moments on it and is a phenomenal album all on it’s own. This is also the album with “Fake Plastic Trees” on it which is no doubt one of the best from the band.

21. The Verve – “Urban Hymns” (1997)

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Maybe the last britpop album ever made if you ask me, as everything that came after never had the same feel. This album made The Verve a recognizable name amongst most music fans as this was definitely their most marketable album they’ve made. Although the success of their single “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was unprecendented (as it is a really great song) but “Lucky Man”, “The Drugs Don’t Work”, and “Sonnet” are also fantastic songs.

20. Nirvana – “In Utero” (1993)

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The third and last studio album by grunge band Nirvana differed from it’s predecessor in many ways and although it’s not nearly as consistent as Nevermind, the highs are just as high with songs like “Serve The Servants”, “Pennyroyal Tea”, “Heart-Shaped Box” and “All Apologies” and the lows are also not very that low but admittedly they’re still present.

19. Guided By Voices – “Alien Lanes” (1995)

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90’s indie darlings Guided By Voices always had their unique vision on alternative rock. “Alien Lanes” is my favorite album by the band and it consists of 28 shortened songs written brilliantly by Robert Pollard (despite a few of the tracks by other members) that run together almost like Side 2 of The Beatles “Abbey Road” famously did. This unique trait is what really makes “Alien Lanes” feel like a true cohesive gem with underrated tracks like “A Good Flying Bird”, “Game of Pricks” and “Closer You Are”.

18. Pulp – “Different Class” (1995)

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Pulp’s “Different Class” is a pure britpop album that might not have worked in any other era. Looking back at it though it still holds up as being consistently great all the way through and Jarvis Cocker’s breathy vocals, retro pop instrumentation and exhilarating lyrics still make it pretty fantastic. It’s really an album that’s unlike any others and I advise you all to give it a chance.

17. Pavement – “Slanted and Enchanted” (1992)

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The first studio album by indie rock band Pavement. It’s more jumbled than “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” but that’s what also gives it some charm. The critical success of this album is also kind of bizarre because Stephen Malkmus has never had the best voice and the lyrics also trail off sometimes. Overall though that’s what made Pavement such a unique band with endless charm. Besides, the songs “Here” and “Zurich Is Stained” are both very personal songs to me.

16. Blur – “13” (1999)

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Blur’s last album with guitarist Graham Coxon who besides Damon Albarn was definitely a creative force in the band. It also happened to be their last album of the decade that made them so famous. From beginning to end “13” is a very fascinating, original album with some immense creativity put into it. Also, “Tender” is definitely one of the greatest songs of the decade if you ask me.

15. The Smashing Pumpkins – “Siamese Dream” (1993)

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Billy Corgan and co. had a very good album streak in the early to mid 90’s and this is the pinnacle of all that. With almost a post-grunge sound “Siamese Dream” stands out as a truly unique and spectacular album. Anyone who ever gives The Smashing Pumpkins shit just play them “Today” or “Disarm” and I can guarantee it will shut them up.

14. Nada Surf – “High/Low” (1996)

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“High/Low” is a very very very criminally underrated album. Produced by Ric Ocasek and released by Elektra records “High/Low” should’ve been a massive success although Nada Surf tragically fell into the one hit wonder category with their hit MTV video for “Popular”. Because of that their tremendous very 90’s sounding debut album sadly got overlooked by many.

13. Elliott Smith – “Either/Or” (1997)

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Elliott Smith probably came the closest to being considered the Bob Dylan of his generation than anyone else. His melancholy raw writing style is fantastic and the tragedy of his death years after this release only elevated the sadness of his entire discography. Elliott Smith was a true genius lyricist with a very recognizable voice and “Either/Or” is a singer-songwriter classic for any music fan to listen to.

12. Oasis – “Definitely Maybe” (1994)

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The debut album by rock band Oasis is truly amazing for a debut album. “Definitely Maybe” is extremely confident showing that Oasis knew exactly how great they were before they even released anything. I mean, put this in perspective. Two poor brothers and their friends from Manchester weren’t complaining about their lives like other bands were at the time, instead the first song on their first album singer Liam Gallagher  was confident enough to scream that he was a rock n roll star in the chorus. Sure the Gallagher brothers are cocky assholes 99% of the time, but in the end isn’t that what rock n roll has always been about?

11. Blur – “Parklife” (1994)

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Being an American myself I can only get an understanding of the Britpop movement in Britain from what I read online. Although I’ve often understood from what I’ve seen and heard is that Blur’s “Parklife” did for Britain what Nirvana’s “Nevermind” did for America. It’s an endlessly catchy and creative masterpiece and maybe one of the greatest straight-up pop albums I’ve ever heard.

10. Pearl Jam – “Ten” (1991)

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There’s not much more I can say about Pearl Jam that hasn’t already been said. They’re simply one of the  biggest bands of the past quarter century and “Ten” is a grunge classic that came out the same year as Nirvana’s “Nevermind”. It made Pearl Jam the Rolling Stones to Nirvana’s The Beatles. Fighting for the number one I’d say Nirvana came out on top but it easily could’ve went the other way. Either way “Ten” is still considered a classic rock record these days as it deserves, right up there with “Nevermind”.

9. Weezer – “Pinkerton” (1996)

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The sophomore follow-up to “The Blue Album” was a commercial and critical flop at the time of release. Which I can understand because it’s much different with Rivers Cuomo singing about depression and loneliness. It is much less fun than their debut although it makes up for it with it’s pioneering emo undertones. It acts as a confessional for singer-songwriter Rivers Cuomo and has since become an undisputed classic.

8. Pavement – “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” (1994)

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The second album by indie rock band Pavement is what brought them to a wider audience and rightfully so. “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” is a tremendous indie rock classic that was a critical and commercial success. Filled with some bizarre songs that are endlessly catchy like “Gold Soundz”, “Cut Your Hair”, and “Range Life” it’s really a record everyone should give a listen to.

7. R.E.M. – “Automatic For The People” (1992)

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R.E.M. was one of the most prevalent independent bands of the 80’s and also a pioneer of Alternative rock. Their 7th studio album “Out Of Time” made them a massive rock band which nobody saw coming, although the follow-up “Automatic For The People” is the one where they really found their footing with the major label. With several classics like “Everybody Hurts”, “Man On The Moon”, and “Nightswimming”… “Automatic For The People” is truly one of the bands best work. Click here for my full review of it.

6. U2 – “Achtung Baby” (1991)

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The follow up to “Rattle and Hum” came in ’91 and instantly became one of their greatest albums. With a new sound the band previously didn’t have, “Achtung Baby” is one of the albums that made U2 one of the biggest bands on the planet. Front to back original and powerful with so many great songs on it that you almost forget how it’s not a greatest hits album. Everyone knows classics like “One”, “Even Better Than The Real Thing” and “Mysterious Ways” but one of my favorites is the lovely album closer “Love Is Blindness”.

5. Oasis – “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory” (1995)

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Yes, this is the album with “Wonderwall” on it. It is probably the only song most people outside of Europe know from Oasis, but they were always so much more than that. The majority of the album is just hit single after hit single including one of my favorite songs ever is track 4 on the album “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, which everyone should check out. Besides that the album runs together really well with little 40 second instrumental segments sprinkled through that makes it feel as if it’s a massive show being broken down by intermissions and the whole thing is closed with the 7 minute masterpiece “Champagne Supernova”.

4. Green Day – “Dookie” (1994)

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“Dookie” is what turned Green Day into the international success that they are known to be today. It’s simply just an extremely phenomenally fun rock record that has such an amazing energy to it. 90’s staples like “Basket Case” and “When I Come Around” and others that influenced a whole new generation of punk bands to come after, whether what for better or worse still doesn’t take away the greatness that is “Dookie”.

3. Nirvana – “Nevermind” (1991)

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Easily one of the most influential albums ever made and probably the album most people would pick for Number One. Nirvana left an unmistakable mark on the music world and this is the album that caused it. Almost every song on it is a downright classic and this is one of those classics that will never be forgotten, and a new generation of teenagers will always find it and fall in love with it just like they did when it came out.

2. Radiohead – “OK Computer” (1997)

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“OK Computer” is one of those albums that’s just so beautiful to listen to. Out of all of Radiohead’s stellar discography this one stands out as their greatest achievement. Beautiful melodies mixed with Thom Yorke’s lovely vocals turn the record into a true creative masterpiece. Almost every single damn song on it is just so good and most may know the singles but please give a listen to underrated tracks like “Let Down”, “Exit Music (For A Film)” and “Climbing Up The Walls”.

1. Weezer – “Weezer (The Blue Album)” (1994)

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Starting off I didn’t think this would be my number one. Although after thinking about it I honestly couldn’t think of another album I’ve gotten into more than Weezer’s debut. It’s easily one of my favorite albums of all time and it never seems to get old or lose it’s effect on me. It’s just so fun all while being so perfect in almost every way. Very few albums have ever been as air tight as Weezer’s debut, and I mean ever. Click here for my full review of it.