The Fall – 'Extricate'. NME rarely gives 10/10 reviews but here's the 1990s LPs we deemed perfect in the 1990s, starting with The Fall's 'Extricate' in February 1990. "Mark E Smith may have been resting on his reputation for a while but once again his music and not his conversation has delivered the strongest statement possible. NO ONE MESSES WITH THE FALL!"
Public Enemy – 'Fear of a Black Planet'. This LP was given 10/10 in April, 1990. "I honestly didn’t believe that any current group could survive the slings and arrows that have rained down on Public Enemy and yet forge on at the suicidal artistic pace that they have always set themselves. I have been proved utterly and conclusively wrong."
The Neville Brothers – 'Brother's Keeper'. In August 1990, NME's reviewer wrote: "They seem to have naturally evolved to the symbolic position once held by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Bob Marley."
Dream Warriors – 'And Now The Legacy Begins'. The first 10/10 in 1991 was awarded to Canadian hip hop duo Dream Warriors. "Now that Ivan Berry's studio is upgrading two things could happen: either Dream Warriors will discover technique and lose their raw charm, or they'll find deeper channels to furrow. My bet is on the latter."
Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – '30 Something'. Carter USM's second album was released in 1991. "This brilliant, bold record will still be among the best 10 albums of the year come the end of '91: testimony to how Carter, the unlikely lads of the past two years, have nailed down their instinctive feel for pop with a hookline and point of view."
REM – 'Out Of Time'. "Contrary to the record's title, REM are not out of time," read NME's review of Michael Stipe and co's seventh studio album, released in 1991. "They've gone through a carefully planned period of transition to keep things interesting for themselves, and their time is about to start again."
Massive Attack – 'Blue Lines'. Massive Attack's landmark debut was given 10/10 April 1991. NME's review declared: "After 'Blue Lines' the boundaries separating soul, funk reggae, House, classical, hip-hop and space-rock will be blurred forever."
The Fall – 'Shiftwork'. It's another perfect album for The Fall, with their 1991 LP 'Shiftwork'. "Look beyond the non-conformist national institution: Britains coolest band are still attacking the War Against Intelligence with every weapon they muster. Join the resistance."
Primal Scream –'Screamadelica'. The Scottish band's third album was a blistering departure from their previous sound. "'Screamadelica' will be recognised as a musical benchmark for these times and all the weeboys and copycats will tremble in their pants," said NME. "Ground control to Major Bob, you've really made the grade."
Neil Young And Crazy Horse – 'Weld/Arc-Weld'. The 'Arc' portion of this double-disc consisted in its entirety of a sound collage of guitar noise and feedback, with 'Weld' an album of live recordings. "As the '70s progressed and punk took a hold, Neil Young & Crazy Horse surprised the world again by embracing the 'enemy' at their door," said NME.
Lou Reed – 'Magic And Loss'. This LP was rated 10/10 January 1992. "It is the fitting climax to a record which dares to look straight into the face of the unknown and the unthinkable. A record which will keep you awake at nights. This is Lou Reed's long-awaited masterpiece."
Manic Street Preachers - 'Generation Terrorists'. NME were full of lavish praise for the Manics' 1992 debut. "The first thing to acknowledge about 'Generation Terrorists' is that the Manics have done it, they have pulled it off, they've released the debut double album they’d set their black rock’n’roll hearts on all along."
Spiritualized - 'Laser Guided Melodies'. Not strictly a perfect score for Jason Pierce and co's masterpiece, but it did receive a '9.99 recurring' review from NME. "One man and his band's trip into deep inner space has rarely been as intoxicating as this. Beautiful, just beautiful."
REM – 'Automatic For The People'. REM's rich run of form in the 90s gave them their second NME-approved 10/10 album with 1992's 'Automatic For The People'. "The music alternates between pastoral and heavy drums from Bill Berry before a continuation of sorts is made with Peter Buck's guitar both framing and cutting a swathe through 'Ignoreland'."
Duran Duran – 'Thank You'. A bit of a coup here for Simon Le Bon and pals, who received a whopping 48/10 for their April 1995 LP 'Thank You'. "This album is not so much a barking dog as a whimpering poodle locked for three days in a broom cupboard with no food or water,” said NME, but added: "The jury gives them a monster (48) out of ten for just making us so very, very happy."
Flaming Lips – 'Zaireeka'. NME were stunned by the four-disced charms of 'Zaireeka' in 1998. "Mad, you say? The maddest aspect of 'Zaireeka' is surely that a Time Warner company sanctioned its creation in the first place. That and the fact that the band have released arguably their most beautiful music and ensured that relatively few people shall hear it. A work of genius."
Groop Dodgrill – 'Half Nelson'. Doncaster rockers Groop Dogdrill released 'Half Nelson' in 1998. "It'll make you want to shag the ceiling till the plaster cracks," read NME's review. Enough said, eh?
Various – 'DJ Pogo Presents The Breaks'. "Some of the finest music ever made, much of it available for the first time in the UK, at a fraction of the price collectors have been paying for the last decade," said NME's 10/10 review in August 1998. "That's what I call a (lucky) break."
Radiohead – 'OK Computer'. "Virtually every track is driven by a feeling of impotence with the world around it," crowed NME of the Oxford band's 1997 masterpiece. "You can gaze out of your window, flick on a TV or read a newspaper, but there's no way you can alter your surroundings. And that's the realisation which makes 'OK Computer' one of the most startling albums ever made."
Black Grape – 'It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah!' Shaun Ryder's Happy Mondays follow-up band released a straight-up classic in 1995. "There are strange noises, insane trains of thought, crushing melodies, superb addled babble and tremendous grooves aplenty," said NME. "They’ll roast eternally in Hell for this bleeding classic, but what a lovely way to burn."
Help – 'A Day In The Life'. Radiohead, Blur and loads more joined forces for this 1995 charity album. "Ultimately, of course, it doesn’t matter whether 'Help' is any good or not," said NME. "It's the thought that counts, the effort that went into making it and part of your spending plays in the process of saving lives."