7 Best Indie Compilation Albums Rated [2023]

7 Best Indie Compilation Albums Rated [2023]

Indie compilation albums let you listen to the very best of 90s music. There were two main musical strands running throughout the decade leading to the millenium – dance and indie. Sometimes they seemed like completely separate genres, while at other times there were significant crossovers. As ably demonstrated on some of these 90s music compilation albums.

I’ve already covered the best 90s dance compilations, so now it’s the turn of grungier stuff. These 90s indie compilation albums will introduce newcomers to the dazzling world of British pre-millenium music, or offer a nostalgic trip back in time for those who were there. Like me – I worked in a live music venue in Manchester during the very nadir of the Madchester era, where Oasis used to rehearse and played their first ever gig. One of the top British bands of the 90s. (Though I’ll never forgive Noel Gallagher for insulting my beloved Michael Hutchence at the Brits, but that’s another story.)

The 90s brought us Britpop, Blur and banging tunes a-plenty. To sample some of the more popular tunes from the best bands and artists of the era, just grab one of these 90s alternative compilation albums.

Click here to see my number one pop pick among 90s indie compilations

Unbelievable is just that – and not only because I’ve owned it since the millenium or before – and it’s still being produced. Its popularity even spawned a follow-up in the form of Unbelievable Too. It’s that good.

As George Michael sang in the 80s – if you were there, you know. These are the top tracks that got the student union jumping back in my undergraduate days. Which could be a good, bad or even terrifying thing depending on how many of the moshing males were wearing DMs. Alas, none on this list of compilation albums contains Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, which made the crowd go wildest of all.

Pick any one of these – the best indie compilation albums of the 90s – and you can imagine you were there too. Or reminisce about how things were in your own versions of the Manchester venue and Liverpool nightclub that defined my student and graduate days. (Nights and weekends, I should say – I had to get the degree and earn the money to pay for my music and nights out sometime.) Here they are – all the best compilation albums with various artists from the 90s. Some even feature noughties tunes too.

Indie compilation albums contents

Best indie music compilation comparison table

See at a glance all the best indie music compilation albums, comparing number of tracks, current score and highlights of each.

NameTracksTop artists & bandsPriceScore
Unbelievable34Happy Mondays, Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, Blur, New OrderClick here4.5
Shine20Oasis, Pulp, Suede, James, Elastica, Green Day, Shed 7Click here4.4
Shine Too20 Paul Weller, Ash, Dodgy, Pulp, Cranberries, Oasis, CastClick here4.7
Best Indie Album Ever60Stereophonics, Keane, Primal Scream, Kasabian, The CureClick here4.5
Best Album Ever40Charlatans, Oasis, Smashing Pumpkins, Levellers, ShamenClick here4.4
Live Forever51Reef, Cardigans, Jet, Dandy Warhols, The Jam, Hard-FiClick here4.6
Unbelievable Too32Oasis, Blur, Prodigy, New Order, Oceanic, Happy MondaysClick here4.4

Best indie album compilation reviews


Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? If you’re going to buy just one of these 90s compilation albums, then it must be this one. I insist. Unless of course you don’t like the Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets or the Charlatans. Or even Depeche Mode or the Smiths, both of which belong in the 80s as much as the 90s. There are some hints of the dance genre here too, thanks to Candy Flip, 808 State, New Order and even EMF. Whose 1990 single inspired the title of these 90s indie albums.

Click here to view the first Unbelievable album

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Forgive the substandard image – Amazon’s finest, I’m sure. Not. As we said during the Friends days. Anyway, one original Shine indie compilation also led to another, as happened with Unbelievable. This, the first Shine compilation, features a Shed Seven track – I once worked and went out with a guy whose cousin was in Shed Seven. (I don’t know which one he was, we didn’t date for long.) Pulp – probably my favourite 90s band – are also here alongside Suede, Elastica, The Wonder Stuff and 16 more of the decade’s most seminal indie tracks. Alongside the Unbelievable duo, this is one of the most iconic 1990s compilation albums.

Click here to see the original Shine compilation

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Shine Too

A better image, for sure. A better album? Well musical taste is clearly all a matter of personal preference, so you have to decide. I’m not sure ‘new brilliant indie hits’ is accurate though, considering some these tracks are 3 decades old. There are some top tunes on this second Shine indie compilation, including the superb Kinky Afro by The Happy Mondays, Staying Out for the Summer by Dodgy and Girl from Mars by Ash. Even the wild man of Woking himself (Paul Weller) is here. Who a friend of a friends used to work for. What can I say, it was like that back in the day. It’s why these 90s indie albums inspire such fond memories.

Click here to view Shine Too

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The Best Indie Album in the World Ever

At first I thought this was an album I’ve also had for ages, but it’s different. This pick among 90s music compilation albums also stands out because it’s got tracks from more recent decades on, as well as the 90s. So the likes of The Fratellis, The Zutons, Kasabian and Keane feature as well as the Manic Street Preachers, Iggy Pop, Sleeper, The Soup Dragons, Republica and the Stereo MCs. It’s like a Who’s Who of indie rock compilation albums, covering the early part of the 21st century too.

Click here to see The Best Indie Album in the World Ever

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The Best Album in the World Ever

Spot the difference. (And I don’t mean the smaller photo.) Only the word ‘indie’ separates this album compilation from the previous listing – yet it is packed with classic indie tracks. The Verve make an appearance on this one, as do Radiohead, Morrissey, The Levellers and The Boo Radleys. I play this one pretty often too, as well as Unbelievable 1 and Too. One of the best various artists albums for giving listeners a true taste of the 90s glory days.

Click here to view The Best Album in the World Ever

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Live Forever – Ministry of Sound

From the premier London superclub comes Live Forever – named, of course, for Oasis’s 1994 tune. This compilation CD (or download) also has some post-90s tracks on it by Kasabian, Travis, The Fratellis, The Vaccines, The Zutons and even The Streets. There are plenty of 90s faves though, such as You’re Gorgeous by Babybird, Slight Return by The Bluetones and There She Goes by The LAs. How spooky to think that George Orwell would probably refer to the club as ‘Minisound’. One of the top indie compilation albums – with 2000s tunes included.

Click here to see Ministry of Sound: Live Forever

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Unbelievable Too

So last – but by no means least in my book – is the equally great Unbelievable Too. The final offering in this list of 90s compilation CDs. Also one of the best indie compilation albums of all. The finest tunes on this one include Saturn 5 by the Inspiral Carpets, Ebeneezer Goode by The Shamen, Girls and Boys from Blur and the original You Got the Love by The Source and Candi Staton. Not Florence and the Machine. I love the 90s version of that best – but of course.

Click here to view Unbelievable Too

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Which of these indie compilation albums will you pick?

Have you found the best 90s albums compilation option for you? I hope you enjoyed this guide to the best indie compilation albums featuring 90s tunes. These alternative compilation albums all give a good idea of what 90s indie music was all about, so you can discover more about the best bands and artists from the decade before the millenium.

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