With the turn of the decade often comes changes, and 1990 proved to be a year where rock albums began to transition in terms of its power dynamic.

Hair metal ruled the rock landscape, with some of the second and third generation of hair metal bands starting to make their impact after being scooped up by major labels looking for the next big thing. But as we’d discover a year later, the next big thing had a different sound, a more raw sound that was starting to emerge.

While Nirvana’s Nevermind is often credited with starting the grunge era, there were signs of what was to come arriving in 1990 with Alice in Chains and Soundgarden leaving their imprint on the year. The college rock boom was also threatening to break through with acts that would pave the way for the ‘90s alt-rock explosion.

In addition, while punk had gone more underground, there are also signs in 1990 of acts that would lead to the genre’s return to prominence later in the decade. So join us as we reflect on the 25 Best Rock Albums of 1990 in the list below.

25 Best Rock Albums of 1990

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