We'll just come right out and say it: 1994 was a motherfucker of a year in music. The last great, definable decade raised its sonic footing in '94, taking grunge, alternative rock, and malls full of suburban punks to mainstream audiences while hip-hop sharpened its voice and Britpop ruled across the Atlantic. The volume of classic LPs birthed in this year is staggering, so much so that a few single dates on the calendar stack the classics in ways unimaginable to the modern-day release schedule (For example: March 8 unveiled Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral and Soundgarden's Superunknown; May 10 gave us both Weezer's The Blue Album and Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary). Soundtracks like Reality Bites, Pulp Fiction, and The Crow offered star-studded compilations, and Nirvana's MTV Unplugged album gave record stores a Kurt Cobain feature just months after his death. Dance music, metal, and what would eventually become known as "indie rock" all shined on compact disc, and the mere slotting of these album covers alone should transport you back to a nostalgic time. Here are 94 essential albums turning 25 in '94, in order of release date -- some have endured as classics, others have faded from popular view, but we pretty much owned them all back in the day. And they still sound absolutely essential (well, most of them do) as we enter 2019.