34. Neil Young and Crazy Horse, 'Sleeps With Angels'
Bob Dylan? Not alternative. Paul McCartney? Not alternative. Eric Clapton's laid-back unplugged "Layla?" Come on, now. But Neil Young, whose Eighties output was a spotty as any Sixties rock icon's, rebounded into punk relevance once a new generation of noisemakers admitted to his influence. Nineteen-ninety's slovenly Ragged Glory was "grunge" before that marketing term stuck, his 1991 tour openers Sonic Youth inspired him to release the noise composition Arc, and Pearl Jam backed Young on 1995's Mirror Ball. But Sleeps With Angels is the ornery coot's most coherent recorded message to the kids. Though only the title track was written after Kurt Cobain's suicide, that event lends an elegiac tone to the album, especially its centerpiece, the extended workout "Change Your Mind," a pricklier counterpart to R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts." Keith Harris