Think back, way, way, back to the '90s, when music albums were often nothing more than cassette tapes that had to have the art squeezed onto the front of a tiny plastic rectangle that cracked when you opened it too fast. *Sighs* Now, I'm getting myself all worked up. The point is, though we all seem to appreciate all that the '90s gave us, particularly on the music end of things, I feel like we don't talk about '90s albums as a whole enough, regardless of their frustrating packaging and ill thought-out mechanics. There were so many '90s albums that shaped our childhoods, and it's time we give them the credit they deserve.
While I have a lot of mixed feelings over the tapes that housed these albums, I can acknowledge that this technicality was out of the artists' hands. It's just that I'm getting flashbacks to all that tangled and unwounded tape and it's distracting, you guys. But, I promise, now I’m more focused on the important things — like the compilation of songs that entertained us or introduced us to our more sensitive selves through deeper thinking, heightened emotions.
Here are 17 '90s albums that most definitely shaped your childhood in one way or another.
1. TLC, CrazySexyCool
This album also serves as a fairly effective time machine. TLC was everything and this album served as the background to many a car ride long before I was old enough to have my own walkman.
2. Spice Girls, Spice
Spice not only shaped my childhood, but my outlook on life forever. One does not easily forget the concept of "girl power" once it's introduced.
3. John Mayer, Inside Wants Out
I'm including this, despite it being released at the tail end of 1999, because I think I can attest that for many, Mayer was their first foray into the more ~alternative~ side of the pop music scene. A gateway drug to, no pun intended, heavier things.
4. Britney Spears, ...Baby One More Time
I mean, obviously. For instance, this album shaped my 1999 Halloween costume and my years-long B.Spears obsession.
5. En Vogue, Funky Divas
*Dusts off cassette tape* Yes, remember this?! Funky Divas had timeless tunes, a kickass sound, and enough good music to raise my expectations for all other girl bands since.
6. Backstreet Boys, Backstreet's Back
Whether you fell on the Backstreet or NSYNC side of the '90s boy band war, you have to acknowledge that the Backstreet Boys, with the help of albums like Backstreet's Back, were a force to be reckoned with.
7. *NSYNC, *NSYNC
How could the album that made me into a fangirl not shape my childhood?
8. Third Eye Blind, Third Eye Blind
This album undoubtedly served as my first true ~emo~ music experience. Also, I still remember every word to "Semi-Charmed Life" by heart.
9. Usher, My Way
Back when my moral code was still quite black and white, Usher opened my eyes to the world of gray. I mean, You Make Me Wanna is the ultimate head vs. heart conundrum. It caused me to really see the world as it truly is... messy.
10. Brandy, Never Say Never
Oh, the drama. Who didn't listen to this album and unabashedly weep over their first, unrequited crush? I know I did... *Hides head in shame* Never Say Never just got me.
11. Jewel, Pieces Of You
Admit it. This album inspired you to beg your parents for guitar lessons that you went to exactly three times before quitting and decided it was best that you stick to listening to acoustic songs rather than try to play them.
12. No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom
This. Album. Opened. My. Eyes. Exhibit A as to why, is right above.
13. Shania Twain, Come On Over
I didn't even realize I liked Country music until I found myself listening to all of Twain's songs on Come On Over on loop.
14. Mariah Carey, Daydream
I have my mother to thank for the Mariah Carey indoctrination at such a young age. Though, I have to admit, the sobering fact that I couldn't even come close to hitting one of the star's high notes ruined my dreams of being a professional singer.
15. Celine Dion, Falling Into You
True story — my class sang "Because You Loved Me" with choreographed, lyrical dance moves at our Kindergarten graduation. But the true pièce de résistance on this album is "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" which made me love ballads above all other kinds of songs.
16. Whitney Houston, My Love Is Your Love
This album was, in one word, epic. It was the background to all of my dance class warm ups. It got you pumped up, you know?
17. K-Ci & JoJo, Love Always
Don't pretend like you didn't designate some of these jams as your future wedding songs, because you totally did. Love Always had me feeling emotions for someone I still don't even know yet.
*Wipes tear* What? You try listening to all these songs and reminisce and not get emotional about your younger days. It's impossible.