Sunday, August 14, 2011

Top 10 Albums of 1991

20 years ago there were a LOT of solid albums. In fact, when looking back at the 70s to present, I can't think of a better year for music with the exception of maybe 1994 which, while close, still falls short of 1991. It was the year that Nirvana changed the face of music (which that in itself makes it a great year of music). I've listed what I think, in my opinion, are the top albums of that year. Feel free to add your own.

10. Slint - Spiderland: Easily the most unknown album making the top 10 here, but Slint's Spiderland is often considered as revolutionary as Nirvana's Nevermind. Listening for the first time now might not evoke as much emotion as it did when it was first released in 1991, but Spiderland is a chilling record from start to finish.
Best Tracks (in order): Good Morning Captain, Breadcrumb Trail, Nosferatu Man

9. R.E.M. - Out of Time: An album that surprisingly got a lot of negative reviews from critics, Out of Time in my opinion ranks as R.E.M.'s best album besides Automatic for the People.
Best Tracks (in order): Losing My Religion, Shiny Happy People, Radio Song

8. Smashing Pumpkins - Gish: The Pumpkins debut album gets a significantly less amount of attention then their follow up Siamese Dream (which had the huge hit "Today"), but Gish is a great album and an incredible debut. Not as good as Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, but a very good album nonetheless.
Best Tracks (in order): Rhinoceros, Siva, I Am One

7. Cypress Hill - Cypress Hill: There were many good rap albums released in 1991 (including Ice-T's O.G. Original Gangster and Ice Cube's Death Certificate), but the only one to make the top 10 is the best rap release of the year (and maybe the decade); Cypress Hill's self-titled album. It's remarkable how this is a debut album.
Best Tracks (in order): The Phuncky Feel One, Hand on the Pump, How I Could Just Kill a Man

6. Metallica - Metallica: Metallica's Black album was not only their most successful album, but one of the biggest albums in hard rock history. In my opinion, it's not as good as Master of Puppets, but it's the second best album in their entire catalog.
Best Tracks (in order): Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters

5. U2 - Achtung Baby: U2's One from Achtung Baby is often considered one of the best songs from the 90's, but U2's Achtung Baby is a great album as a whole. Not as good as The Joshua Tree or War, but their 3rd best album which, given their extensive catalog, is pretty impressive.
Best Tracks (in order): Mysterious Ways, One, Zoo Station

4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik: The four studio albums RHCP released prior prior to Blood Sugar could no way anticipate people for the brilliance of this album. Although a lengthy album, it never gets tiresome to listen to and remains easily the best album RHCP has ever released.
Best Tracks (in order): Under the Bridge, Give it Away, Breaking the Girl

3. Guns 'N Roses - Use Your Illusion I: The better of the duo (Use Your Illusion I and 2). Not as good as Appetite for Destruction, but a remarkable hard rock album from of the best bands in the genre.
Best Tracks (in order): November Rain, Don't Cry, Coma

2. Pearl Jam - Ten: While Pearl Jam has many good albums in their catalog, none reaches the brilliance of Ten. Ten is a solid hard rock album from start to finish and includes a handful of Pearl Jam's best songs.
Best Tracks (in order): Black, Jeremy, Alive

1. Nirvana - Nevermind: Nirvana's Nevermind changed the face of music by bringing grunge into the mainstream. A lot of albums that are considered "life changing" tend to be slightly overrated and fail to stand the test of time, but Nirvana's Nevermind has held up and is an awesome record that is not only the best of 1991, but one of the best in history.
Best Tracks (in order): Smells Like Teen Spirit, Lithium, Come as You Are

Honorable Mention: Primus - Sailing the Seas of Cheese

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