I made a 100-song playlist to argue that 1994 was the best - or at least one of the very best - years for music ever. I was 14 at the time, so I’m a little biased.
I was 20, so I’m even… I don’t know. Would that make me more biased or less biased? No idea, but ‘94 was a big music year for me, too, for many of the reasons Matthew listed. To the artists featured on his playlist, I’d add Shudder to Think (Pony Express Record), Freedy Johnston (This Perfect World), Brainiac (Bonsai Superstar), Richard Thompson (Mirror Blue), Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (Let Love In), and Jawbox (For Your Own Special Sweetheart).
And, to be pedantic, I have to question whether a few of these qualify. To mention a couple, the Counting Crows album and single were released in late ‘93, and the Cowboy Junkies’ cover of “Sweet Jane” originally came out in ‘88 and was much better before it got Natural Born Killer-ized in ‘94 with all of those dialogue snippets.