20 Years Ago — 5 Important Albums from 1992

As we turn over our calendars to 2012, it’s a time of anticipation. In the music world, a new year is always exciting because it means new albums, new tours, and hopefully new artists will breakthrough. A new year is also a great time to examine the past, and take a look at what’s come before.

A lot of people know how important a year 1991 was. It was the year that “Grunge Music” exploded onto the scene with the help of bands from Seattle like NIrvana and Pearl Jam. But the year that followed 1991 saw it’s fair share of extremely important albums, and here are five of the most important albums released in 1992.

“Kerplunk” by Green Day – Released on January 17th, 1992, “Kerplunk” is the last indie label record that Green Day put out before “Dookie,” the album that broke the band into the stratosphere. It’s still considered to be a punk rock classic, with even some of the band’s harshest critics admitting that it’s a pretty fantastic record. You can hear all of the elements of the band that made them so appealing to the masses just a couple years later: catchy lyrics and melodies, a pop sensibility and great playing ability. Songs like “2000 Light Years Away” and “Christie Road” are still played by the band at their live shows to this day.

“No Doubt” by No Doubt – Just like “Kerplunk” was for Green Day, “No Doubt” was the last album that Gwen Stefani and company released before they broke through not long afterward. The album is much more deeply rooted in Ska than “Tragic Kingdom” would be, and it still features songs written and performed by Gwen’s brother Eric. While the contents of “No Doubt” didn’t exactly set the world on fire, it was an important final stop before mega-stardom.

“Body Count” by Body Count – The Ice-T fronted heavy metal/rap band dropped a two megaton bomb of cultural impact and commentary when they released their self-titled debut. Furor over the albums original title, “Cop Killer” caused so much controversy that the late Charlton Heston even read lyrics from the album in front of Time Warner shareholders and demanded a boycott. The central theme to much of the album’s content was police brutality, and its effect on the African-American culture. “Body Count” remains to this day a brilliant reflection on the times, and a landmark on the way to hip-hop truly crossing over into the mainstream.

“New Miserable Experience” by GIn Blossoms – Though they never reached the heights of Pearl Jam or Nirvana, Gin Blossoms were still a vital band in breaking “alternative” music into the mainstream, and this was the album that put the band on the map. It featured two of the bands biggest hit singles, “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You.”

“Dirty” by Sonic Youth – Hailing from New York City, Sonic Youth are one of the most influential bands of the era. Many fans and critics alike consider “Dirty” to be among their finest work. Tracks include “100%” and “Youth Against Facism,” which while they did not particularly burn up the charts, are still well-loved and respected by the band’s loyal fans and journalists.

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