2. The Chemical Brothers, 'Dig Your Own Hole' (Astralwerks, 1997)
Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons' game-changing second album had a simple conceit: what if dance music hit as hard as the fiercest hip-hop and rocked with the visceral force of your favorite guitar banger? And they nailed it. The gut-punch bassline on "Block Rockin' Beats" is up there with the riff to the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" in the Ass Kicking Intro canon; "Setting Sun" (featuring Noel Gallagher) kicks the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" into the 21st Century; "Where Do I Begin," with vocals from alt-folkie Beth Orton, matches Ren Faire whimsy and South Bronx beat science. Throughout, the Chems prove themselves master composters, crafting songs that dip and slide with a corner-hugging, rollercoaster intensity – whether it's the nine-minute trance-out "The Private Psychedelic Reel" or the three-minute low-end rattler "Elektrobank." Now, it sounds as much like classic rock as classic EDM.
• The 100 Best Albums of the Nineties: The Chemical Brothers' Dig Your Own Hole
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