Albums turning 25 in 2022 that everyone should hear
Bob Berg/Getty Images

Albums turning 25 in 2022 that everyone should hear

If done right, an album reflects the world around it while also providing listeners with an entirely new and therapeutic world to escape into and revisit whenever they need. And in that regard, 1997 produced some heavy hitters—some of which weren't appreciated at the time of their releases but have grown into the stuff of legend.

At the time, the term "boy band" was redefined by Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. Mania for the likes of Oasis and Spice Girls was at its apex. The Notorious B.I.G. posthumously surged to No. 1 and left an evergreen influence on hip-hop. Solo debuts were made by Daft Punk, Missy Elliott, and Third Eye Blind, and established musical royalty Bob Dylan, Mariah Carey, and Paul McCartney reminded everyone that they weren't going anywhere. 

Remember it all with the 25 albums turning 25 in 2022 below. 

 
1 of 25

"OK Computer" by Radiohead

"OK Computer" by Radiohead
Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Aside from Radiohead's OK Computer receiving a Grammy nomination for album of the year, the greatest measuring stick for the album's relevance is just how foretelling it was about the way society operates 25 years later.

"Though [frontman Thom] Yorke insists that OK Computer was inspired by the dislocation and paranoia of non-stop travel, it’s now largely understood as a record about how unchecked consumerism and an overreliance on technology can lead to automation and, eventually, alienation (from ourselves; from one another)," Amanda Petrusich of The New Yorker reflected around the album's 20th anniversary in 2017. (Radiohead dropped anniversary album OKNOTOK to commemorate that 20-year anniversary, including both bonus and remastered tracks.)

Read 50 fun facts about the '97 touchstone, courtesy of NME.

 
2 of 25

"Be Here Now" by Oasis

"Be Here Now" by Oasis
Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

Between the fame-induced, cocaine-fueled antics of 1996 and the Celebrity Deathmatch of '98 (h/t Rolling Stone) was Oasis' '97 album Be Here Now

The British rock group, centered around (and torn apart by) at-odds brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, were fresh off of the commercial and global success of 1995's (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, which housed "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back in Anger"—both cracked the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 8 and No. 55, respectively, in '96. ("Wonderwall" was also nominated for a Grammy.) So, needless to say, the stakes were high for Be Here Now.

The 12-track project peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum, while lead single "D'You Know What I Mean?" sold "over 370,000 copies in its first week" and "gave Oasis its first pair of consecutive No. 1s" on the U.K. singles charts, according to Official Charts, which also pointed out the song as that year's fifth-best-selling single. ("Stand by Me," the album's second single, reached No. 2, per Official Charts).

 
3 of 25

"Homework" by Daft Punk

"Homework" by Daft Punk
Marco Piraccini/Archivio Marco Piraccini/Mondadori via Getty Images

It feels particularly wistful to recall Daft Punk's 1997 debut album Homework because the enigmatic French electronic duo, comprised of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, confirmed their breakup in February 2021 after 28 years as musical partners.

Daft Punk was a poignantly slow burn, as Homework only peaked at No. 150 on the Billboard 200, and it would take until 2013 for Random Access Memories to top the chart. Homework tracks "Around the World" and "Da Funk" resonated internationally, with "Around the World" clocking in at No. 61 on the Hot 100, but it wasn't until "Get Lucky" featuring Pharrell Williams (2013) and The Weeknd's "Starboy" featuring Daft Punk (2016) that seemingly every ear in existence had been influenced by them to some degree.

"Around the World" and "Da Funk" were each nominated for best dance recording at the 41st Grammy Awards and 40th Grammy Awards, respectively. Daft Punk won their first of six Grammys with Alive 2007 (best electronic/dance album) and "Harder Better Faster Stronger" (best dance recording) at the 51st Grammys.

 
4 of 25

"Baduizm" by Erykah Badu

"Baduizm" by Erykah Badu
Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Erykah Badu began etching her legacy in soul lore with the February 1997 release of her debut album, Baduizm. As relayed in Billboard's 2017 oral history of the album, Baduizm moved 159,000 copies within its first week and had sold 2.8 million copies up until its 20th anniversary. The 14-track project peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and won best R&B album at the 40th Grammy Awards, where single "On & On" claimed best female R&B vocal performance.

“I thought I was ahead of my time,” Badu said of her debut offering for this great The New Yorker profile published April 2016.. “There was nothing like what I was doing—and they agreed, the music business.”

The four-time Grammy winner also reflected on how hip-hop has changed since Baduizm in this somewhat controversial 2018 interview with Vulture: "As much as the people have changed. We’re in such a different place. My son, Seven, the son of Badu and André 3000, Seven Sirius Benjamin is a college student and producer, who has a credit on “What’s Yo Phone Number / Telephone (Ghost of Screw Mix)” from Badu’s last mixtape, 2015’s But You Caint Use My Phone. Seven showed his mom how to use Apple’s GarageBand software., is 19. I’m seeing him evolve into this creature that I never thought I could create. Without even trying, he’s an improvement on his father’s design. His thinking. His logic. His compassion. It’s an evolutionary cycle. People acted out in new ways when rock and roll first came out, and the blues, and bebop. Here’s how I think of it: My favorite cartoon is The Flintstones. It’s the funniest thing to me. But when my children are sitting with me trying to watch it, the whole frequency is too slow for them. Everything has sped up and recalibrated; the children are vibrating faster. They’re way ahead of us. That’s how hip-hop has changed."

Badu hasn't released a studio album since 2010's New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) and hasn't released any original music since her 2015 mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone.

 
5 of 25

"Supa Dupa Fly" by Missy Elliott

"Supa Dupa Fly" by Missy Elliott
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Missy Elliott's trek toward the Hollywood Walk of Fame began in earnest with the release of her 1997 debut solo album Supa Dupa Fly. The four-time Grammy winner had previously laid the foundation as a prolific songwriter in the early 1990s—she later became the first female rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June 2019—but fully stepped into the spotlight with Supa Dupa Fly.

The certified-Platinum and Grammy-nominated project was comprised of such hits as debut single "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)," which introduced Missy as the music video powerhouse we now know her to be, as well as "Sock It 2 Me" featuring Da Brat, "Hit 'Em wit' da Hee" featuring Lil' Kim, "Beep Me 911" featuring 702 and Magoo, and "Best Friends" featuring Aaliyah.

 
6 of 25

"Wu-Tang Forever" by Wu-Tang Clan

"Wu-Tang Forever" by Wu-Tang Clan
Zachary Mazur/FilmMagic

Wu-Tang Clan's lone Grammy nomination came for Wu-Tang Forever , up for best rap album but ultimately falling short to Diddy's (then known as Puff Daddy) No Way Out

Wu-Tang Forever is the monumental hip-hop collective's sophomore album and was intensely anticipated after their 1993 debut studio album Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, home to eternal hip-hop classic "C.R.E.A.M." Wu-Tang Forever was a double-album that was their best-selling work to date as of 2017 (h/t Highsnobiety), debuting atop the Billboard 200. Its staying power was further illustrated by Drake's "Wu-Tang Forever" track on his 2013 album Nothing Was the Same.

 
7 of 25

"The Colour and the Shape" by Foo Fighters

"The Colour and the Shape" by Foo Fighters
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for American Museum of Natural History

A world without The Colour and the Shape may very well have been a world without "Everlong" or "My Hero," and who would want to live in that kind of world?

For NME's "Song Stories" in 2015, frontman Dave Grohl explained how "Everlong" was born organically and almost incidentally between takes of recording "Monkey Wrench" at the Bear Creek studio near Seattle. "You know, the funny thing about 'Everlong' ... people consider that our biggest hit and people consider that album kind of the seminal record, to a certain degree, but at the time, it really wasn't that big of a hit," drummer Taylor Hawkins added, also noting, "It took years to build up the steam that now has become the great 'Everlong.'"

To Hawkins' point, it was "Monkey Wrench" that was nominated (best hard rock performance) at the 40th Grammy Awards, along with The Colour and the Shape (best rock album)—not "Everlong." But it was "Everlong," "My Hero" and "Best of You" that Foo Fighters performed at last year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony as first-ballot inductees.

 
8 of 25

"Come On Over" by Shania Twain

"Come On Over" by Shania Twain
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for ZFF

Shania Twain unseated herself with Come On Over. Prior to its November 1997 release, Twain's 1995 sophomore album The Woman in Me was the best-selling country album by a woman (eight million copies sold); Come On Over went on to sell 17 million by 2000 (h/t MTV). The album's place in history has only continued to expand with time, as seen here and here.

At the 41st Grammy Awards, Come On Over earned Twain six nominations: album of the year, Best Country Album, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Song, and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. She won for best country song and best female country vocal performance with "You're Still The One." What's craziest about all of this is that we've made it this far without mentioning the opening track "Man! I Feel Like A Woman," a karaoke staple.

 
9 of 25

"Time Out of Mind" by Bob Dylan

"Time Out of Mind" by Bob Dylan
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for ABA

Perhaps the best modern comparison to Bob Dylan's Time Out of Mind is Adele's 30, in that seven years had passed for Dylan between original music (1990's Under the Red Sky), six for Adele since 2015's 25, and fans were starved to hear from their favorite artist—to receive more guidance from them in how to process the harsher parts of reality.

Time Out of Mind won Dylan three of his 10 Grammys—album of the year, best contemporary folk album, and best male rock vocal performance ("Cold Irons Bound"). More importantly, it snatched Dylan's career from the mainstream jaws of defeat. And while it was relatively underrated at the time—aside from Billy Joel's charting cover"Make You Feel My Love" has endured as a classic romantic ballad that will be covered time and time again until the end of time.

You can read a thorough reflection on Time Out of Mind at Pitchfork.

 
10 of 25

"Flaming Pie" by Paul McCartney

"Flaming Pie" by Paul McCartney
Kevin Kane/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Beatles couldn't have been without Paul McCartney, but Sir Paul McCartney has certainly stood on his own well beyond The Beatles' dissolution.

The Beatles still influenced McCartney on Flaming Pie, though. 

"Having been heavily involved in The Beatles’ Anthology project, Paul had time to reflect on the standards he and his bandmates had set during their career, and applied these to what would become his first album in four years," McCartney's official website explains. "Made in a much more spontaneous style, with songs recorded here and there, mostly on holiday, it's an album that luxuriates in its own sense of fun. Featuring producers George Martin and Jeff Lynne, as well as musicians including Steve Miller, Ringo Starr, and his own son, James McCartney, Flaming Pie would go on to become one of Paul's most acclaimed albums."

Flaming Pie, McCartney's 10th studio album, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in June 1997—kept from the No. 1 slot by Spice Girls' continued reign for Spice. Don't feel too bad for McCartney, as he has eight No. 1 albums to his name, and Flaming Pie landed a Grammy nomination for album of the year. Bob Dylan's Time Out Of Mind ended up winning album of the year at the 40th Grammy Awards, but again, don't feel too bad: McCartney is an 18-time Grammy winner.

 
11 of 25

"Life After Death" by The Notorious B.I.G.

"Life After Death" by The Notorious B.I.G.
Catherine McGann/Getty Images

Life After Death took on a tragically ominous double meaning when Biggie was murdered on March 9, 1997, in Los Angeles. The 24-year-old Brooklyn icon had been planning to drop his sophomore album on March 25, and that release date held despite his unfathomable death.

The project was the follow-up to The Notorious B.I.G.'s 1994 debut album Ready to Die, which was also significant because it served as the first release from Sean Combs' Bad Boy Records. Combs, then known as Puff Daddy, was a producer on the album, too. Ready to Die birthed "Big Poppa"nominated for best rap solo performance at the 38th Grammy Awards—and boasted A-list featured vocalists Diddy, Lil' Kim, and Method Man.

Life After Death, though, earned Biggie two No. 1 smashes on the Hot 100"Hypnotize" (three weeks) and "Mo Money Mo Problems" (two weeks)—and three posthumous Grammy nominations: best rap album, best rap solo performance ("Hypnotize") and best rap performance by a duo or group ("Mo Money Mo Problems").

 
12 of 25

"Dude Ranch" by Blink-182

"Dude Ranch" by Blink-182
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

It's impossible now to remember a blink-182 without Travis Barker, but the punk-pop band was comprised of Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, and Scott Raynor when their sophomore album Dude Ranch arrived. (Barker replaced Raynor in 1998.)

The project went Platinum and is probably best associated with lead single "Dammit," included again on blink's 2005 Greatest Hits compilation album. Stereogum surmised in 2016 that "Dammit" is blink's all-time best song, calling it, "a generational anthem to express the discontinuity between the passage of time in the external world and your own internal hourglass" from a group that made its name on a reputation as "emotionally stunted songwriters who weren’t dangerous enough for punk and refused to 'act their age.'"

In the song, Hoppus laments, "I guess this is growing up," and you couldn't have grown up in the 1990s and early 2000s without bumping into blink-182 somewhere along the way. After Barker joined forces with Hoppus and DeLonge, the punk trailblazers imposed their will in the mainstream with 1999's Enema of the State and 2001's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.

 
13 of 25

"The Velvet Rope" by Janet Jackson

"The Velvet Rope" by Janet Jackson
Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

In 1997, Janet Jackson was 15 years removed from her self-titled debut album—11 years from her groundbreaking Control album—but her relevance hadn't waned at all. (Still hasn't.)

The Velvet Rope arrived in October 1997, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and becoming her fourth No. 1 album since Control. (Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 and janet. were the others, in 1989 and 1993, respectively. She has seven No. 1 albums overall.)

The album's lead single "Got 'Til It's Gone" featuring Joni Mitchell and Q-Tip won best short-form music video at the 40th Grammy Awards, but it was track "Together Again" that made an indelible mark—spending two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 while simultaneously honoring her friends who had died of AIDS (as well as raising awareness for all AIDS victims).

For everything Janet, watch Lifetime and A&E's four-hour Janet documentary.

 
14 of 25

"In My Lifetime, Vol. 1" by JAY-Z

"In My Lifetime, Vol. 1" by JAY-Z
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

For most artists, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 would be a thrilling accomplishment. Not JAY-Z, whose 14 No. 1 albums are the most ever by any solo artist. 

In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 is Jay's sophomore album and arrived just over a year after his debut album Reasonable Doubt. If nothing else, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 set the table for the dizzying success of 1998's Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, which won JAY-Z his first Grammy for best rap album.

Hov is also the winningest hip-hop artist at the Grammys (23), and in 2017, he became the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Jay was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last Halloween, the first living solo rapper to receive the honor.

 
15 of 25

"Butterfly" by Mariah Carey

"Butterfly" by Mariah Carey
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for MC

Mariah Carey is known for racking up 19 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100—the most by any solo U.S. artist in history—but she also has six No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, and 1997's Butterfly is one of them.

The album was seminal, both musically and personally, for Carey. For one, this was the year that she and then-husband Tommy Mottola publicly announced their separation after four years of marriage. Mottola was the chairman and CEO of Sony, where Carey had been signed since her self-titled 1990 debut, so she was starved for autonomy and struck out to reclaim her voice—literally and musically.

"I really meant that album," Carey told Pitchfork in November 2018. "I still remember the sessions from it, and how I was living vicariously through the music, because nobody was there to tell me, “You can’t do this, creatively. You can’t express yourself in this way.” I just did it. I fought for that for so long."

Looping back to Carey's Hot 100 dominance, Butterfly lead single "Honey" debuted at No. 1 and spent three weeks at that position while charting for 20 weeks overall.

 
16 of 25

"'N SƳNC" by *NSƳNC

"'N SƳNC" by *NSƳNC
Sam Levi/WireImage

*NSƳNC changed the course of boy band history with the international release of their self-titled debut album. Following the same blueprint as the Backstreet Boys, *NSƳNC first dropped the album in Europe in 1997, which earned them an American RCA record deal in November and allowed for them to release the single "I Want You Back" as well as the U.S. version of *NSƳNC at the top of 1998.

"A slow burn at first, the album debuted at No. 82 on the Billboard 200, and 'I Want You Back' wasn’t seeing the reaction it received overseas," Taylor Weatherby recounted for a Billboard oral history in March 2018. "But that summer, the guys performed on a Disney Channel concert special, and suddenly the tides turned. *NSƳNC mania ultimately ensued, with the album catapulting to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and selling 10 million copies in the United States alone. The set’s success kickstarted a career for the quintet that led to two more No. 1 albums, countless classic hits, and coming April 30 of this year, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Those subsequent No. 1 albums were No Strings Attached (2000) and Celebrity  (2001), and unfortunately, the latter marked the end of the road for Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Justin Timberlake, as Timberlake jumpstarted his stellar solo pop career with Justified in 2002.

 
17 of 25

"Backstreet Boys" by Backstreet Boys

"Backstreet Boys" by Backstreet Boys
Larry Busacca/WireImage

The United States officially fell under the Backstreet Boys' spell on Aug. 12, 1997, with the release of their self-titled U.S. debut album. The project peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for an eye-popping 133 weeks, including 44 consecutive weeks within the top 10 (h/t Entertainment Weekly).

"As Long as You Love Me," "All I Have to Give," "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" were each massive tunes. "Quit Playing Games" peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart—the highest position of any BSB song to date—followed by "Everybody" (No. 4) and "All I Have To Give" (No. 5). "As Long As You Love Me," meanwhile, hit No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

And it was only up from there for AJ, Brian, Howie, Kevin, and Nick: Millennium (1999), Black & Blue (2000), and DNA (2019) have all gone No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Not to mention, Millennium smash "I Want It That Way" surpassed one billion YouTube views last November.

For more from the BSB themselves, read Billboard's 20-year anniversary oral history of the album here.

 
18 of 25

"Nimrod" by Green Day

"Nimrod" by Green Day
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

Casual music fans may not know what Nimrod is by name alone, but they likely will instantly recognize "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"—Green Day's accidental acoustic smash that softens people's hearts for the punk rockers. It even soundtracked sentimental moments on ER and Seinfeld (h/t Entertainment Weekly).

"Good Riddance" found a place on Nimrod after first taking shape during sessions for 1994's Grammy-winning Dookie.

"Doing something like 'Good Riddance' was terrifying for me, to put myself out there and be that vulnerable," frontman Billie Joe Armstrong told Kerrang! for this August 2020 cover story. "I thought people were probably gonna f—king hate it, you know? But I think the way that it resonated with people, I was able to kind of go, ‘Okay, now I’ve really accomplished something that was a shift.’ And, as an artist, I felt more empowered that I could keep doing my thing without having to feel like I had to please everybody.”

And Green Day did return to their antagonistic roots in full force with 2004's American Idiot, which won best rock album at the 47th Grammy Awards and earned four additional nominations.

 
19 of 25

"Spiceworld" by Spice Girls

"Spiceworld" by Spice Girls
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

It literally was the Spice Girls' world in 1997, so it was only fitting that they named their sophomore album Spiceworld. The 11-track project was bookended by their debut album Spice arriving in September 1996, and their third and final album Forever in November 2000.

In '97, Spice ruled at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for five weeks—it charted for 105 total weeks—and Spiceworld charted for 74 weeks but didn't peak at No. 3 until February 1998. But most importantly, the Spiceworld lead single "Spice Up Your Life" is still echoing around the world.

The Spice Girls embarked on a reunion tour in 2019. Well, Mel B, Melanie C, Emma Bunton, and Geri Halliwell did. Victoria Beckham did not. But last fall, Mel C told People that the rest of them are "working on" convincing Beckham to join them in the future.

 
20 of 25

"Share My World" by Mary J. Blige

"Share My World" by Mary J. Blige
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Diddy executive produced Mary J. Blige's first two albums—What's the 411? (1992) and My Life ('94)—but the two had a falling out before Share My World hit in April 1997.

"The reason we split up is me not understanding the business the way I needed to understand it at the time," the nine-time Grammy winner told MTV in 2003. "He had a label, he had a female artist, he had Biggie, but during the time I was really dogging myself. I was a mess on drugs. Any smart man or businessman would have moved away from me. It felt like he was becoming distant, but looking back, I now understand why. I wasn't delivering properly. I wasn't taking care of my health, so how can he roll his dice on me?"

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul added: "I never doubted myself, but I've always been insecure with my ability to do certain things because I lose some of my vocal abilities from smoking and drinking and doing drugs. It was like, 'You know what, I'm going to go ahead and do it without you.' It was easy, but the streets and everybody's opinions is what made things so hard—'Oh, she's not with Puff no more, she can't do it without Puff no more.'"

Even so, Mary J. earned a Grammy nomination for Share My World (best R&B album), and the project debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It would be a challenge to find anyone now, 25 years later, questioning her ability to succeed on her own.

 
21 of 25

"Everywhere" by Tim McGraw

"Everywhere" by Tim McGraw
Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Long before "Tim McGraw" was Taylor Swift's debut single, and even before Tim McGraw changed the complexion of country music with 2004's Live Like You Were Dying, the three-time Grammy winner released Everywhere in June 1997.

The album garnered a Grammy nomination for "It's Your Love" featuring Faith Hill (best country collaboration with vocals), and enjoyed 11 weeks atop Top Country Albums (104 weeks total) and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

 
22 of 25

"The Dance" by Fleetwood Mac

"The Dance" by Fleetwood Mac
D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Fleetwood Mac released The Dance in 1997, and by 1998, they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Sheryl Crow.

For context, courtesy of Genius: "The Dance is an electric mix of Fleetwood Mac’s best. Their 1997 tour was a bit of a reunion, as the band’s personal turmoil had been in full effect. The album remains an iconic example of their creativity and absolute star power as a group over their many years (when the lineup was Nicks, Buckingham, John McVie, Christine McVie, and Fleetwood)."

The Dance came 20 years after Fleetwood Mac's Grammy-winning, world-beating Rumours, which spent 31 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, charting on the Billboard 200 for 456 weeks overall. (How is that number even real?) The Dance also enjoyed one week at No. 1 on the chart.

 
23 of 25

"My Way" by Usher

"My Way" by Usher
Robert A. Reeder/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

Usher's self-titled debut album dropped in 1994, but the megawatt multi-hyphenate truly debuted with My Way in 1997. The sophomore album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200—a meteoric rise from Usher's No. 167 chart position. That leap was at least in part made because of lead single "You Make Me Wanna..." The infectiously melodic pop/R&B ode streaked to No. 2 on the Hot 100 and earned a Grammy nomination for best male R&B vocal performance.

Since then, Usher has put out four No. 1 albums—the most recognizable, of course, being Confessions—and nine No. 1 singles, beginning with My Way track "Nice & Slow" in January 1998.

 
24 of 25

"Evolution" by Boyz II Men

"Evolution" by Boyz II Men
Fred Duval/FilmMagic

Nobody had a better pulse on '90s R&B than Boyz II Men. We can't dig into 1997's Evolution without first paying homage to their 1991 debut album CooleyHighHarmony and subsequent II ('94) album. "End Of The Road," anyone? Please. "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday"? Clutching my heart just thinking about it. Not still worshipping "I'll Make Love to You" and "On Bended Knee"? Couldn't be me!

And then came Evolution, Boyz II Men's third studio album. The project went double Platinum and was up for best R&B album at the 40th Grammy Awards—II had won that category at the 37th Grammys—and singles "4 Seasons of Loneliness" and "A Song For Mama" each earned Platinum status. "A Song For Mama" was also nominated at the 40th Grammy Awards, for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal.

As for the charts, Evolution debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, their second No. 1 album after II. "4 Seasons" and "A Song For Mama" hit No. 1 on Adult R&B Airplay and stayed there for eight and seven weeks, respectively. "A Song For Mama" clocked in at No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, with "4 Seasons of Loneliness" peaking at No. 2.

 
25 of 25

"Third Eye Blind" by Third Eye Blind

"Third Eye Blind" by Third Eye Blind
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

You could say Third Eye Blind's self-titled debut album was actually titled "Semi-Charmed Life," and most anyone would believe you. The real irony, though, is that it was physically impossible to turn a blind eye to Third Eye Blind throughout 1997 and into '98 because of the album's sticky singles "Semi-Charmed," "Jumper" and "How's It Going To Be."

To start, "Semi-Charmed" owned the top spot on Alternative Airplay for eight weeks, and even more impressively peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100. "Jumper" and "How's It Going To Be" separately peaked at No. 9 on the Hot 100, and those three songs together enjoyed 115 total collective weeks on the chart.

The instantaneous fame and success were astounding, and Third Eye Blind parlayed it into opening on tours for U2 and The Rolling Stones in late '97.

This 1998 interview between Rolling Stone and frontman Stephan Jenkins is particularly fun to look back on, too.

Megan Armstrong (@megankarmstrong) is a writer with previous work appearing in places such as Billboard, Bleacher Report, GQ and others. She's most interested in writing about people and how they live their lives, through the framework of music, entertainment and sports.

More must-reads:

Customize Your Newsletter

+

Get the latest news and rumors, customized to your favorite sports and teams. Emailed daily. Always free!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.