Photo: Guy Gotto

On Deck: Muna Ileiwat serves up five of her favorite 90s albums

London-based US transplant Muna Ileiwat has just released her debut EP, Twenty-Seven, a four-track collection of stylish modern pop songs about a transitional period in her life. Self-reflective, honest and delivered with natural poise, these tracks are a slick and diverse introduction to the new talent. Although, despite the composed manner of her songs, lyrically she shows she’s not afraid to throw her mess straight into her songs and hash them out in slick and cutting ways.

For her On Deck, Ileiwat has decided to go a bit further back in time than her mid-late 20s. A child of the 90s, she naturally sponged up a lot of the goodness that the decade had to offer in terms of pop music, which can be heard in her own bright and hook-heavy tracks. But there’s also a definite auteur’s craft to Ileiwat’s songs, which is also reflected in her choices for this feature.

You can see her five disc picks below, but first enjoy Muna Ileiwat’s own “Pity Party”.

Muna: Five of my favourite 90s albums. Blast from the past. I grew up in the 90s so I decided to revisit some of my favourite albums from the time.

Hanson – Middle Of Nowhere

[Mercury; 1997]

This is the first album I bought on CD. It makes me feel incredibly nostalgic. Probably goes without saying, I bought it because “MMMBop” was all over the radio at the time.

Years later, I still think this album stands the test of time. Such a fun mesh of bubblegum pop, classic rock and power-pop. The melodies and harmonies are insanely catchy – every chorus is a belter. It’s an album of timeless influences. I’m gonna go ahead and say it –  the 90s version of HAIM. 

Fugees – The Score

[Columbia; 1996]

Shout out to New Jersey. I love this album so much. Music that is socially conscious can resonate in such unexpected ways. This album feels like it’s about the immigrant experience, the experience of being ‘othered’, the idea of people seeking refuge in some form in their lives. The album’s sound is multifaceted but unified in themes and production, which makes it so easy and enjoyable to listen to as a full piece. Lauryn Hill’s singing and rapping is both soft and tough. She’s so cool and collected throughout this album.

TLC – CrazySexyCool

[LaFace/Arista; 1994]

An R&B classic! TLC had such confidence and attitude that paved the way for a lot of girl groups. I loved their music videos and how they presented visually. Every song on this album has a laid-back element to it. It’s all vibe.

Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One

[Matador; 1997]

There is something really cozy about this album. It’s full of gorgeous melodies, reverb-drenched production, fuzzy guitar plus a Beach Boys cover. I love how the vocals sit so quietly in some of the songs. You feel like Ira Kaplan’s whispering in your ear. I’ve always admired how Yo La Tengo are never afraid to expand their sonic horizons.

Spice Girls – Spice

[Virgin; 1996]

The second album I bought on CD! I really don’t know what to say about this album. It feels like no words can justify the Spice Girls’ legacy and how epic this album is. Every song is a banger. The kind of album that no matter where you are, if you heard a track, you can’t help but sing-along.

Muna Ileiwat’s Twenty-Seven EP is out now on fear of missing out (listen/buy). You can find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.