125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years

SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985.

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years
WRITTEN BY
SPIN Staff

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years - SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985
60 Fugazi 13 Songs
"This Is Not a Fugazi Article" reads one of many sub-headlines in what is most definitely a Fugazi article from SPIN in 1991. Call it a suitable kind of skewed justice for a polemical punk band, led by Ian MacKaye from Minor Threat and Dischord Records, that made a career of calling everything into question. Fugazi's 13 Songs compiled two EPs and introduced a heavy, heady process that involved, as SPIN's Charles Aaron wrote years later, "codifying avant-punk moves...into broadside ambushes."

SPIN Archive on Google
- Fugazi profile (September 1991)
- In on the Killtaker review (September 1993)

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years - SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985
59 Belle and Sebastian If You're Feeling Sinister
This album is so twee that Zooey Deschanel may never have been invented without it. Ana Marie Cox approvingly called the band "the Carpenters with a mean streak," in the October 1997 issue of SPIN, summarizing the album as "death-by-comfort-chair" and full of a "morbid complexity." Singer Stuart Murdoch vamps as a tough wimp on tracks like "Seeing Other People" and "Mayfly." The magazine named the album one of the Top 20 of 1997, dubbing it "teensy, but not a toy, not half as frail as their willowy music seems."

SPIN Archive on Google
- Album review (October 1997)
- Best Albums of the Year (January 1998)

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years - SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985
58 DJ Shadow Endtroducing
Less an innovator than a wild-eyed exploder of convention, DJ Shadow's debut full-length invented new labels. As a review in SPIN's January 1997 issue noted, this Californian sampled, tweaked, and chopped beats all the way to his own singular category: "urban classical music." Electronic music's renaissance wouldn't come from where you expected. As SPIN said in 1999, when naming Endtroducing one of the best of that decade, "The most unlikely DJ savior of the '90s was a 23-year-old white kid from Davis, California, with a B.A. in communications and a record crate deeper than the San Andreas Fault."

SPIN Archive on Google
- Entroducing review (January 1997)
- Greatest Albums of the '90s (September 1999)

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years - SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985
57 White Stripes Elephant
"The White Stripes' Elephant is not a good record," SPIN coyly wrote in 2003. "It seems like one for the first eight songs, but then you get to a song called 'The Hardest Button to Button.' This is when you realize that Elephant is, in fact, a remarkably good record, quite possibly a great record, and certainly the sexiest divorce-rock album since Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville." And the magazine paid the ultimate back-handed compliment when naming Elephant the year's best: "White is simply the best derivative songwriter of his generation."

SPIN Archive on Google
- Elephant review (May 2003)
- Album of the Year (January 2004)

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years - SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985
56 Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works 85-92
"There's no such thing as a shit sound. You can take anything and build around it." That's Aphex Twin talking to SPIN in 1993, a little after he put out the gently pulsing Selected Ambient Works and became "the techno guy it's okay for indie kids to love." The decidedly not-shit sounds he built around were drawn from a well of vintage Detroit techno and offshoots of the burgeoning movement of rave — and all without what the magazine called, in a different context, his occasional habit to show "as much contempt for his audience as Don King."

SPIN Archive on Google
- Aphex Twin profile (July 1993)
- Come to Daddy EP review (January 1998)

Continue on next page →

00:00 00:00 No Song Selected More info
00:00 00:00
placeholder
Now Playing
  • 1 Parkay Quarts — Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth " 06:27
  • 2 Digitalism — Second Chance " 04:53
  • 3 Bob Dylan — 900 Miles from My Home " 02:14
  • 4 Run The Jewels — Oh My Darling Don't Cry " 03:35
  • 5 Angel Olsen — May As Well " 02:39
  • 6 SQÜRL — Francine Says " 04:06

SPIN is a member of SPIN Music Group, a division of BUZZMEDIA