My easy pick for the best album of 1993 is August and Everything After, the debut release by Counting Crows. I’ve talked about doing a theme week (or two) on great debut albums, and this one would surely be near the top of that list as well.
The California-based band had formed just a couple of years before this album’s release, and sparked a bidding war among major labels who heard their demo tapes. They landed T Bone Burnett as producer and knocked out this collection of literate folk rock tunes. The album sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. and placed three singles on the Hot 100 (including ‘Mr. Jones,’ which reached #5).
My #2 album of 1993 is Aimee Mann’s solo debut, Whatever. This record followed a five year absence from recording for Mann as she battled legal issues with the label of her former band Til Tuesday.
Mann recorded three albums with Til Tuesday in the mid to late 80s, the best of which is 1988’s Everything’s Different Now. The band broke up after that release, largely because Mann wanted to take her music in a more acoustic, less New Wave, direction.
John Mellencamp’s Human Wheels, my #3 album of 1993, was the roots rocker’s 12th studio release. And he’s recorded 12 more since, during a career that has now spanned more than 40 years.
That’s quite a legacy for a man whose first album was released (without his knowledge) under the name Johnny Cougar, sold just over 10,000 copies, and prompted his label to drop him.
My #4 album of 1993 is Sting’s fourth solo record, Ten Summoner’s Tales. While 1987’s …Nothing Like the Sun holds the title as my favorite Sting album, this one is right up there with it.
An Album of the Year Grammy nominee and triple Platinum seller, this album didn’t produce any runaway hits but it is Sting’s top-selling album. Singles ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith in You’ and ‘Fields of Gold’ reached #17 and #23, respectively, on Billboard’s Hot 100.
I like doing the Decades series because it exposes me to new music I’ve missed over the years, but that’s just half the appeal. I’m equally happy to revisit albums I haven’t listened to in ages and remember how much I love them.
Jackson Browne’s I’m Alive has climbed up my 1993 list to #5, after starting toward the bottom half of the top ten when I first started planning these posts. All it took was for me to listen to the damn thing again.