Voice of My Generation: Was 1993 the best year of Gen X’s musical life?

I can’t quite make the argument yet, because my Twitter Pal @Winnerbowzer suggested I also make sure it investigate 1982, 1989, and 1991, but 1993 was, quite possibly, the best year of music in Gen X’s life. I haven’t quite gotten to the investigation yet because I decided to take a bath and listen to Pete Townshend’s autobio and then make a delicious Chicken Chick Pea Stew.

However, earlier this afternoon I noticed that both Uncle Tupelo’s “Anodyne” and Matthew Sweet’s “Altered Beast” came out in 1993. Add that to the fact that I already knew that both Pearl Jam’s “Vs.” and Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyville” were turning twenty that year and you’ve already got at least two albums that would make my Top 10 All Time Favorites list and two more that would give the entirety of rock and roll a good run for their money when it came to the list.

So then after discovering all that greatness came out in 1993 I decided to take a look to see what else came out that year. After you take a look at the list, you could probably make a case for it being the best year of Gen X’s musical life, especially if we think of it in terms of music Generation X was actually making. Here’s a partial list. Also, feel free to think “OMG I’m OLD!” because all these albums will be around for 20 years sometime this year.

  • Where You Been, Dinosaur, Jr.
  • Pablo Honey, Radiohead
  • Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We? The Cranberries
  • Beaster, Sugar
  • Rid of Me, PJ Harvey
  • Exile in Guyville, Liz Phair
  • Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams
  • Altered Beast, Matthew Sweet
  • Debut, Bjork
  • Siamese Dream, The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Become What You Are, The Juliana Hatfield Three
  • Kerosene Hat, Cracker
  • Last Splash, The Breeders
  • August and Everything After, Counting Crows (shut up you know you bought it too)
  • In Utero, Nirvana
  • Anodyne, Uncle Tupelo
  • Gentlemen, The Afghan Whigs
  • Come on Feel The Lemonheads, The Lemonheads
  • Vs., Pearl Jam
  • Fumbling Toward Ecastasy, Sarah McLachlan
  • The Red Shoes, Kate Bush
  • 14 Songs, Paul Westerberg

18 Comments
  • Hotrod
    January 15, 2013

    I gotta admit – that’s a pretty solid list.

    • Jodi
      January 15, 2013

      I was astounded by the list. I have to find some time to check out the other years, but I cannot imagine 1993 being easy to beat.

  • M-----l
    January 15, 2013

    I wish I could say I was listening to Anodyne in 1993, but I didn’t find out about that one for another four years or so. I was mostly listening to Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales.

    *shudders*

    • Jodi
      January 15, 2013

      The only reason I knew of Anodyne in 1993 was because I was the Arts editor of the college newspaper and our regular record review guy was about 182,173 cooler than I was.

      I didn’t put it on the list but the very first CD I ever bought also came out in 1993: Billy Joel’s River of Dreams. So yeah.

  • Hotrod
    January 15, 2013

    1993 also saw the debuts of the Wu_Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg (Dr. Dre’s The Chronic just missed the cut – being released in December, ’92). Elvis Costello went classical with the Brodsky Quartet. Ace of Base saw “The Sign.” Aerosmith released two of three videos starring Alicia Silverstone. Will Oldham became Palace Brothers for the first time. Guns N Roses began their implosion with “The Spaghetti Incident?” And, of course, Bryan Adams rested on his laurels with a well-deserved greatest hits record.

    VERY solid year.

    • Jodi
      January 15, 2013

      Bryan Adams always has been and always will be The Suck. The only worthwhile thing he did was that Glass Tiger song.

      • FS
        January 15, 2013

        You know that’s not really Bryan Adams, right?

        • Jodi
          January 15, 2013

          Who was it?

  • Hotrod
    January 15, 2013

    Okay, Billy Joel.

    • Jodi
      January 15, 2013

      Billy Joel could kick Bryan Adams’ ass and you know it!

  • FS
    January 15, 2013

    I’ll defend that Counting Crows album-I still like it.

    • Jodi
      January 15, 2013

      I haven’t listened to it in ages, but I still love “Mr. Jones and Me.”

  • Hotrod
    January 15, 2013

    Also: U2’s best album – Zooropa – came out in 1993.

  • Doug
    January 20, 2013

    While there’s certainly plenty of noteworthy releases for that year, I must admit glancing at that list of albums does not fill me with a feeling of Oh yeah that was the one. I’m not sure what year I’d tout instead, but then, I’m not really one to do that sort of analysis; however, it does seem like ’91 or ’92 may be slightly more laudable merely because of how that’s when “alternative” crossed over, and arguably that’s what defined music in the Gen X era.

    On another note: The allusion to “14 Songs” did make me think about how I missed out when Paul toured that year, which I expanded upon in this post. Perhaps that’s what colors my impressions of 1993 more than anything that actually came out.

    • Jodi
      January 20, 2013

      I haven’t checked out 1992, but the ’91 release list is filled with the last gasps of 80s pop and just the earliest hints of the coming grunge epidemic.

  • Nstolpy
    July 11, 2013

    You really skimped on hip-hop – Enter the Wu Tang, The Chronic, A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauders”, Digable Planets’ “Reachin'”, De La Soul “Buhloon Mindstate” & Snoop Dogg “Doggystyle”. Classic. And, yeah… I am still loving me some Counting Crows. Top to bottom my favorite album to sing along to as I sob into my pillow like a middle school girl after a soc-hop

    • Jodi
      July 11, 2013

      You have discovered that Hip Hop and Rap are the chinks in my musical armor. While I have an intellectual appreciates of the genres, they aren’t anything I can discuss with any amount of authority or insight.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *