1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year

Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and 35 other bands who made the word "alternative" lose all meaning

16

Blur, 'Parklife'

Blur Parklife
Courtesy of Food Records

For American Anglophiles, it was wonderful being in a neutral country during the great Oasis/Blur wars of 1995. The proper warm-up for Team Blur was 1994's Parklife: All snot-nosed, neo-mod, track-jacket guitar-pop proudly in the tradition of the Kinks, the Jam and anything ever described as "cheeky." Conceived by Damon Albarn as a concept album a bit like Martin Amis' novel London Fields (its working title was "London"), Parklife was a zippy reminder that middle class didn't necessarily mean middle-brow. In spite of four hit-in-England singles (and one minor U.S. hit with "Girls & Boys"), Pulp went on to do all of this about a billion times better the following year on Different Class. Still, it's one of the most London-y albums that ever Londoned. Joe Gross

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