1996 Classic Rock Reviews
1996 Images
We featured albums from the year 1996 during our 20th anniversary celebration in 2016. Here, we have published original reviews of these albums:

Below are further descriptions of each album, in the order that we reviewed them.

May 20, 2016
Bringing Down The Horse by The WallflowersAfter a long dry spell and multiple lineup changes, Th Wallflowers finally released their sophomore album in 1996 and to great critical and commercial success. A fine sonic and compositional effort, Bringing Down the Horse would become one of the brightest musical points of the decade.

Review of Bringing Down the Horse

May 30, 2016
Down On the Upside by SoundgardenDown On the Upside features textured layers of sound and ambitious song structures for Soundgarden. This fifth album by the group would be their final studio release for a decade and a half, closing out the most productive phase of their career.

Review of Down On the Upside

June 4, 2016
Load by MetallicaThe commercially successful Load is a pivotal album in the sound of Metallica, as the band expanded their sonic palette by slightly branching out into alternative, blues, Southern rock, and even country to complement their traditional brand of heavy metal.

Review of Load

June 18, 2016
Odelay by BeckOdelay was the first full-bodied album, major label album by Beck. It features an intricate production style which uses heavy sampling, layered percussion, and features a collage of musical structures and influences from a wide range of genres.

Review of Odelay

August 18, 2016
Beautiful Freak by EelsThe first official album by the newly-formed trio called Eels, the 1996 album Beautiful Freak found a unique blend of moderate pop music with lyrical themes predominantly of melancholy and desperation.

Review of Beautiful Freak

September 10, 2016
Test For Echo by RushRush made a quasi-return to their classic seventies rock on their 1996 release Test for Echo. Musically and structurally, the album is set up to maximize on each member’s skills and the album was the climatic point of their 1990s releases.

Review of Test for Echo

October 1, 2016
Yourself or Someone Like You by Matchbox TwentySetting a new paradigm for the more pop-oriented, post-alternative rock Yourself or Someone Like You was a tremendously successful debut for Matchbox 20. Musically, it blends elements from differing eras of popular rock n’ roll.

Review of Yourself or Someone Like You

October 15, 2016
Billy Breathes by PhishWith their sixth studio album Phish finally delivered a pop-oriented release of Billy Breathes in 1996. Here, the group truncated their jams and focused on concise songcraft which resulted in a commercial success.

Review of Billy Breathes

October 20, 2016
Trial by Fire by JourneyFor their first album release in a solid decade, Journey reassembled their five-man lineup from their most successful phase for the 1996 album Trial by Fire. Although this was a huge commercial success, it proved to be a short-lived reunion by the band.

Review of Trial by Fire

November 5, 2016
American II by Johnny CashAfter 1994’s American Recordings revitalized Johnny Cash‘s career, he decided to do an encore with producer Rick Rubin. The result is 1996’s American II: Unchained which features more richer arrangements in contrast to the solo acoustic tracks of its predecessor.

Review of American II: Unchained

November 25, 2016
Someday Maybe by The ClarksAlthough this major label debut never got its full measure of promotion, The Clarks 1996 release, Someday Maybe, is nonetheless a strong musical statement. The album is a solid and steady effort by the Pennsylvania quartet, full of steady rock/pop tracks crafted in multiple sub-genres.

Review of Someday Maybe

December 31, 2016
No Code by Pearl JamPearl Jam took a major stylistic turn with their fourth album, No Code. Here, they fused their traditional hard rock with elements of blues, jazz, country and world beats to forge their most unique release to date.

Review of No Code

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