39. Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes (Atlantic, 1992)
I fondly remember one summer night, a few years after this album's release. Rather out of nowhere, some friends and I headed down to a secluded, rocky stretch of Lake Michigan's shore. We basked in the moonlight for about an hour and at one point, sang a few Tori Amos songs, all of them from this record. We all didn't know each other that well, but we all knew and loved Little Earthquakes. It was a damn fine and important record, best exemplified by "Silent All These Years", a very particular, private anthem that, nonetheless, spoke to so many people. Certainly the '90s equivalent of Joni Mitchell's Blue, this album's girl-and-a-piano musings endure because their warm settings make the intensely personable so approachable. If Amos' subsequent efforts felt more adventurous and pushed boundaries not within this one's grasp, they didn't solidify or resonate like this one--at least not until Scarlet's Walk a decade later.