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
55 Hole Live Through This
Consider how hard it would be for Kurt Cobain's wife to transcend the simple fact of being Kurt Cobain's wife, and then consider how effectively Courtney Love did exactly that. She was always shadowed by suspicions of being, as SPIN put it, "a star-fucking careerist." But she was also an agile artist who, as the review of Live Through This noted at the time, "Plays patty-cake with the idea that she deserves everything she gets, good or bad, snagging slurs...and slinging them back with gleeful rage."

SPIN Archive on Google
- Live Through This review (May 1994)
- Hole cover story (February 1995)

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years - SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985
54 Dinosaur Jr. You're Living All Over Me
"I'm kinda glad they had to stick 'Jr.' on the end of their name, because it makes them sound like kids who discovered that big noisy guitars were just as fun as tadpoles." That's SPIN's Erik Davis in a review of Bug, the follow-up to Dinosaur Jr.'s awesome 1987 fuzz-fest You're Living All Over Me. He was onto something with the tadpole thing. J Mascis' guitar was already cutting through the underground muck decisively in 1987, and thanks to You're Living songs like "Little Fury Things," it wasn't long until a 1989 issue of SPIN declared Dinosaur Jr. the "best independent band in America."

SPIN Archive on Google
- You're Living All Over Me review (September, 1987)
- Dinosaur Jr. profile (August, 1989)

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years - SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985
53 The Cure The Head on The Door
In a discography dotted with flashpoints and swerves, the Cure's The Head on the Door stands as a major change-agent. The group all but swoons through pop-minded melodies in the album's opening notes (for "In Between Days," a total Cure classic), but it's not long before they dive deep into murky underworld matter — only to come up again, many, many times. SPIN called the Cure "the most unlikely pop band of the eighties," and Jon Dolan, later assessing The Head on the Door's reissue, imagined mopey Robert Smith "ripping the black duct tape off his bedroom windows to let the sun shine in."

SPIN Archive on Google
- Cure profile feature (July 1987)
- Reissue review (September 2006)

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years - SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985
52 Kanye West The College Dropout
It's hard to remember — before the Daft Punk sampling, the culture-nerd blogging, and the infamous interruption of Taylor Swift — that at one point in time Kanye West was an unproven element. SPIN caught up with him in February 2004, ready to release his debut album and move beyond production credits for Jay-Z and company. "I want people to scream these songs back at me," he told the magazine. "I want to bring back the feeling for people. Like the feeling I had when I had Saturday detention and I would pop in [A Tribe Called Quest's] Low End Theory."

SPIN Archive on Google
- Kanye West profile (February 2004)
- Best of The Year (January 2005)

125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years - SPIN's editors rank the top releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985
51 Rage Against the Machine The Battle of Los Angeles
Melding the instrumental fury of rock and metal with the lyrical activism of early hip-hop, Rage Against the Machine hit their angry stride in 1999. "The funk is deep and the rock is brutal," guitarist Tom Morello told SPIN in 2005. The Battle of Los Angeles was their finest moment, as the magazine described in a March 2000 article detailing Zack de la Rocha's personal connections to Mexican politics and the Zapatista rebels in Chiapas. The album "is Rage's great stage dive forward. It depicts cities and suburbs, ghettos and malls, factories and fields, caught up in a constant power grab."

SPIN Archive on Google
- 100 Greatest Albums (July 2005)
- Rage Aginst the Machine feature (March 2000)

Continue on next page →

00:00 00:00 No Song Selected More info
00:00 00:00
placeholder
Now Playing
  • 1 Chris Brown & Trey Songz — Tuesday (Remix) " 04:26
  • 2 Buzzcocks — "It's Not You" " 02:46
  • 3 The Drums — Magic Mountain " 04:05
  • 4 Jessie Ware — Kind Of...Sometimes...Maybe " 03:46
  • 5 Flying Lotus — Coronus, the Terminator " 02:40
  • 6 JEFF The Brotherhood — Gouge Away " 02:52

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