Ben’s Brilliant Best Albums of the 1990s, a sort of introduction

So you know that Picky Bastards, with the podcast and the website with the reviews and that? Well I was going to write some reviews for them but when I tried, I couldn’t do it. The words wouldn’t work for me. I didn’t have the vocabulary. I sounded like some bloke bloking on about stuff he only kind of knew about. I couldn’t convince myself anyone wanted or needed my take on the latest Giggs album. Because, what do I know? Eh?

It caught me by surprise because having opinions on things… I’m usually pretty good at that. It’s kind of what I do. And I used to talk about music a lot. I used to talk about music all the time. But now, all of a sudden, I couldn’t even write four hundred words on the new Little Simz album. I could write three – “it’s very good” – and I could stretch that out to four – “it is very good” – without too much effort. But four hundred? Nope. Nothing.

And I couldn’t have that.

So I thought I would persevere. Not on Picky Bastards time, because they are busy, but my own. I would relearn how to write about music. And I realised that the best way to do it would be to give myself a project. Ben’s Brilliant Best Albums of the 1990s was born.

I am going to write one piece a week, about one of what (I think) are more-or-less the best albums of the 1990s. ‘More-or-less’ because I set myself a couple of rules that will affect the make up of the final hundred. Most pertinently, I limited myself to a maximum of two albums by any artist so that the chart wouldn’t get cluttered up by a handful of people*.

(One of my other rules is that the 1990s is the years 1990-1999. I know that some people will have a problem with that; their argument being that because there was no year 0, the first decade is 1-10, the second was 11-20, and the 1990s were 1991-2000. But that’s bollocks, isn’t it? Sure there wasn’t a year zero but there wasn’t a year 1 either, was there? We just assigned the years numbers after the fact. In my opinion, the 90s are the years with a 9 at the front. If you can’t get with that, you are just going to have to get to fuck. Soz.)

I know what the hundred albums are but I don’t know yet what order they will be in. I want to work that out as I go along. With one or two (planned) interruptions the whole process should take about two years. Just think how much rage you will be able to build up in that time waiting for, oh I don’t know, the fucking Longpigs** or something to turn up and then them never doing so. Won’t that be delicious? It will be like tantric clickbait. Lovely. I’ll stick a page on the front of the website that tracks the countdown so you can keep up with it all.

And we start tomorrow, when I will be revealing what was almost certainly the 100th best album of the 1990s. What will it be? Will it be Longpigs?*** You’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out…



* actually, this isn’t too much of a problem in the 1990s, when the brilliance was spread pretty evenly, but I wanted to future-proof the system. Who knows what decade I will do next.

** I’m being a bit mean here, for comedic effect. Sorry, Longpigs. They were actually very good indeed when I saw them play at some festival or other in the mid 90s but I never fell in love with their albums in the way some people did.

*** I think we have established that it won’t be, and again, I would just like to apologise for being mean about Longpigs, who were a good band, just not my sort of thing. I should have probably said Boyzone instead of Longpigs. Too late now I suppose.