This week's NME is a celebration of 1994. But what did NME say about the seminal records of the year? Here's a look at the key moments, starting with Hole – 'Live Through This'
What NME said: It wakes rock from its cliché coma, leads it, laughing, to a lake of stinking mud and honey, and there drowns it; quietly, efficiently and with surprising gentleness. 8/10
Morrissey – Vauxhall and I
"It starts with an assertion of life's mad, high-frothing possibilities and finally it staggers home, beat-up and beatific, promising that "in my own sick way, I will always stay true to you". In between, we witness the bombing of children, a skull gets hammered in, a sailor dies... Morrissey's ways are still amazingly, luridly sick, alright." 8/10
Manic Street Preachers – 'The Holy Bible'
"Musically, 'The Holy Bible' isn't elegant, but it is bloody effective. When it comes to stripped-down surges of punkoid fury, this is James Dean Bradfield's baby and he isn't going to water down his curious rottweiller growls and yelps for any financial gain." 9/10
Johnny Cash – 'American Recordings'
"This is such an obvious idea that it's unbelievable that nobody had thought of it before; an album of Johnny Cash stripped bare, just the voice and an acoustic guitar. Simple. The fact that 'hip' 'young' producer Rick Rubin was the man the put this out is all the more remarkable." 9/10
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – 'Let Love In'
"A Nick Cave record that rides the nine circles of hell like a giant red rollercoaster; that wallows and raves and, ultimately, amazes. Just another great Nick Cave record, obviously." 9/10
Nine Inch Nails – 'The Downward Spiral
"'The Downward Spiral' is vintage Trent Reznor but the paranoid rants and serial-killer prowls of 'Pretty Hate Machine' have been blown up to big-budget dimensions. The scale here maybe more cinematic than previously, but Reznor still only has two speeds – menacing croon or demented howl." 4/10
Green Day – 'Dookie'
"Crashing drums, razor-wire guitars, a double helping of fuck you attitude… ah, they don't make 'em like this any more. Crack open a beer and come on in. Being dumb has never been so much fun." 7/10
Echobelly – 'Everybody's Got One'
"A thoroughly decent inauguration to the world of albums, then, scattered with grand statements and shining ambitions. And why not? After all, if everybody else has got one, why shouldn’t Echobelly?" 7/10
Jeff Buckley – 'Grace'
"Few fly so close to the sun as Jeff Buckley. Just for once, the child of a star looks capable of transcending the family legacy. From here on in, the sky's the limit." 9/10
Nas – 'Illmatic'
"Nas' lyrics ache with the language of harsh surroundings: smoke this, bitch that, fuck the other. It ain't pretty, but it seems real. A stunner." 9/10
Huggy Bear – 'Weaponry Listens To Love'
"Huggy Bear have got the aggressive moves and jerky grooves, but they still lack the killer dynamics of, say, Hole, the element that smacks hobs and then shifts 'serious' units." 6/10
Shampoo - 'We Are Shampoo'
"So, Shampoo: 4 Real of 2 Utter Charlatans? Frankly, who cares? This album skips, froths and romps far too fabulously to give a flying Flangebucket for such earthly concerns." 8/10
Dodgy – 'Homegrown'
"Dodgy are the ultimate fans who lovingly and unashamedly steal from everyone. Sharp ears will detect smidgeons of The Small Faces, New Order, Lennon's Beatles, Right Said Fred, The Byrds and hundreds of others." 9/10
St Etienne - 'Tiger Bay'
"Unlike large slices of Saint Etienne's back catalogue, 'Tiger Bay' doesn't mean anything. Just when you hoped that Saint Etienne would finally return to form they've managed to come up with a third album consisting purely of half-singles and utterly anonymous ambient-chicanery." 4/10
Suede – 'Dog Man Star'
"A startling record: an album surrounded by the white heat of something close to genius. Put it down to wild ambition, disdain for the limits that strait-jacket most young people with guitars, a crazed wish to equal the achievements of their forebears." 9/10
Gang Starr – 'Hard To Earn'
"You'll be flabbergasted by the back-to-basics, raw and meaningful nature of the Brooklyn duo's third LP. This is higher ground where the code of the streets is filtered through a Nation of Islam sensibility." 7/10
Nirvana – 'Unplugged In New York'
"As the dust has settled, the last traces of sensationalism have disappeared into oblivion and serious retrospection has begun, this album makes its makers sound legendary. Your hankies should be at the ready." 9/10
Beck - 'Mellow Gold'
'Mellow Gold' actually manages to dress itself up in enough disguises to become genuinely fascinating. Beck refuses to be what you assume he must be (ie, an acid-fried LA novelty) and stretches way beyond all the usual singer-songwriter clichés." 6/10
Pavement - 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain'
"These are New York stories about coming to terms with the city and its excesses, about finding yourself in a world of drug-addled rock piggery and platitude-slinging fools and still, somehow, keeping archly calm." 8/10
Portishead – 'Dummy'
"This is, without question, a sublime debut album. But so very, very sad. These are avant garde ambient moonscapes of a ferociously experimental nature. In other words, seriously spooky shit." 9/10
Massive Attack – 'Protection'
"In 1991, NME asked how on earth Massive Attack could follow-up their epic debut. The answer is that they've simply taken the same equation through to a new conclusion. Glitches aside, this is a sleek triumph of imagination over sloth. Dim the lights and enjoy." 8/10
Oasis - 'Definitely Maybe'
"Oasis have encapsulated the most triumphant feeling. It's like opening your bedroom curtains one morning and discovering that some fucker's built the Taj Mahal in your back garden and then filled it with your favourite flavour of Angel Delight. Yeah, that good." 9/10
Blur - 'Parklife'
"So often cast aside as a joke, a band who would turn up for the opening of a door if the invite included a free can of Heineken, blur have made what will undoubtedly be seen as the greatest pop album of 1994. It is easy to forget that albums can be this fabulous." 9/10
The Prodigy - 'Music For The Jilted Generation'
"A stormy requiem for those under siege by the heavy-handed, almost fascistic Criminal Justice Bill; for those outsiders about to be criminalised for enjoying themselves." 9/10
Beastie Boys – 'Ill Communication'
"Boy, did we need this boot up the backside! 'Ill Communication' is exactly the album we need right now – joyous, celebratory, bursting with life." 8/10