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

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The Cranberries, 'No Need to Argue'
Courtesy of Island Records38/40

38. The Cranberries, 'No Need to Argue'

Aided by longtime Smiths' producer Stephen Street, this Irish band went unexpectedly multiplatinum with the well-tooled dream-pop of Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? in 1993. Just a year later, with Street still onboard, Noel Hogan's guitar jangle was both edgier and spookier and Dolores O'Riordan's ethereal swoop was deeper and harsher — whether she was implanting a hooky protest of IRA bombings in your hey-ee-ay-ead ("Zombie"), feeling set adrift in the loneliness of early adulthood ("Ode to My Family"), or mooning with pretentious abandon at "Yeats' Grave." O'Riordan proved a key transitional figure as Sinéad O'Connor's proud yelp evolved into the Lilith Fair lilt, the stepmother to mid-Nineties commercial breakthroughs like Sarah McLachlan's swoon or Alanis Morissette's quirk. Keith Harris

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