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Old 05-11-2014, 04:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1991, A landmark year in rock.

What was it that made 1991 such a good year for rock music ? Consider this,
Guns and Roses, Metallica and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers would all go onto release albums that would define their career, if not creatively than commercially. Perry Farrell would start Lollapalooza as a show case of alternative music from all the different scenes

Pearl Jam and the Smashing Pumpkins would release debut albums that would eventually make make them household names. Nirvana would release an album that would make them a huge household name and catapult the grunge movement into the mainstream.

As result of all these events the age of poodle perms and spandex was finally over. The likes of Warrant and Poison were left wondering whether to leave the make up in the draw and jump on the grunge band wagon.

In short grunge killed glam and for that I am eternally grateful. What went in music followed in fashion as well.
Women started suddenly looking hotter, teased fringes gave way to long straight hippie hair. Mini skirts and spandex were replaced with floral dresses, jeans and baggy black teas. Stillettos were ditched in favour of Docs and sneakers and women started getting into the mosh pit in a big way as result. All these were good things but the scene started becoming bland fast.

Pearl Jam in particular was to blame for that. Not intentionally I might ad. Its just that their sound was so popular that every to bit wannabe band chasing a record deal started too sound like them. And some in the cases the likes of Live, Stone Temple Pilots and the truly awful "Creed", actually managed to make very successful careers out of it.

1991 had started the decade off to a flying start as far as rock music goes, but by the mid nineties it was all unravelling, Kurt Cobain had topped himself and even more tragic then that, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers were still alive. Its as if no one had the courage to tell them "Blood Sugar Sex Magic" was their finest hour and that they should quit while they are at the top of their game.

As the rest of the decade descended into Girl Power, Boy Bands, Celine Dion worship and every other truly awful music fad you could think of (anyone for the macerena ? )

The one thing still remained, that no matter how dark things became, the true believes could cling to the fact that 1991 was a damn good year in rock !

Last edited by fractalign; 05-11-2014 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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While I agree that 1991 was a time of a big shift in popular rock music, I don't know that it was really a better year than any of the years immediately before it. The Chili Peppers released what, at the time, was their worst album and it became immensely popular for reasons I've never understood. Metallica took the first step down in their career. G'n'R released one great album and one ok album and their career was effectively over, though nobody knew it yet. And of course, most significantly, this was the beginning of the great watering down and popularizing of the "alternative" music that had been more interesting up to that point.

With regards to your comments about the late 90s, I've never understood why people associate pop garbage only with the late 90s but not the early 90s. If you actually look at the charts for the early 90s, they were filled with the likes of Color Me Bad, Mariah Carey and Boy II Men, all of whom were just as bad as their late 90s equivalents. I also generally think the late 90s gets kind of an unfair bad rap. Not only did it see electronica rising to previously unimagined heights, but it was a time of experimentation for a lot of bands, with people blending styles together like never before.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The early 90s charts weren't of the same caliber as the late 90s. You might not like R&B and the new jack swing stuff that came out during that time but it was ace in my books. There are many others that look back fondly on that time as the golden age of R&B. It might just be nostalgia but the songs produced during that time were pretty damn good.

I can't remember why you hate Boyz II Men so much but maybe because they come from your area?

The late 90s having a bad rap is well deserved if you are only looking at mainstream releases and the charts at the time.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fractalign View Post
As the rest of the decade descended into Girl Power, Boy Bands, Celine Dion worship and every other truly awful music fad you could think of (anyone for the macerena ? )

The one thing still remained, that no matter how dark things became, the true believes could cling to the fact that 1991 was a damn good year in rock !
1997

Daft Punk - Homework
Blur - S/T
Pavement - Brighten the Corners
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call
The Charlatans - Tellin' Stories
Supergrass - In It for the Money
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
The Folk Implosion - Dare to Be Surprised
Smog - Red Apple Falls
Faith No More - Album of the Year
Broadcast - Work and Non Work
Tindersticks - Curtains
The Verve - Urban Hymns
Radiohead - OK Computer
Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
Prodigy - The Fat of the Land
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Barafundle
Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole
Death in Vegas - Dead Elvis
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Barafundle
Air - Premiers symptômes
Björk - Homogenic
Mansun - Attack of the Grey Lantern
Super Furry Animals - Radiator
Echo and The Bunnymen - Evergreen
Primal Scream - Vanishing Point
The Dandy Warhols - …The Dandy Warhols Come Down
Belle and Sebastian - Lazy Line Painter Jane
Mono - Formica Blues
David Holmes - Let's Get Killed
Pizzicato Five - Happy End of the World
Guitar Wolf - Planet of the Wolves
Stereolab - Dots and Loops
Teenage Fanclub - Songs From Northern Britain
The Fall - Levitate
Elliott Smith - Either/Or
Jonathan Fire*Eater - Wolf Songs for Lambs
The Apples in Stereo - Tone Soul Evolution
Comet Gain - Magnetic Poetry
Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy
Polvo - Shapes
Grandaddy - Under the Western Freeway
Mogwai - Young Team
Primal Scream - Echo Dek
Beulah - Handsome Western States
Symposium - One Day at a Time
Suede - Sci-Fi Lullabies
Portishead - S/T
Godspeed You Black Emperor! - F♯A♯∞

You're right, the late 90s sucked.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The early 90s charts weren't of the same caliber as the late 90s. You might not like R&B and the new jack swing stuff that came out during that time but it was ace in my books. There are many others that look back fondly on that time as the golden age of R&B. It might just be nostalgia but the songs produced during that time were pretty damn good.

I can't remember why you hate Boyz II Men so much but maybe because they come from your area?

The late 90s having a bad rap is well deserved if you are only looking at mainstream releases and the charts at the time.
I don't "hate Boyz II Men so much", they're just another bland early 90s pop group to me. And I'm not from Philly originally, so they aren't from my area. Bel Biv Devoe are from my area, and I actually kind of like them.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I always find it funny when people claim that the rise of Nirvana and grunge in 1991 made rock dominent again and killed off cheesy pop music. Not so long ago I was looking at the list of Irish number one singles in 1992, 1993 and 1994 and you had artists like Snap!, Wet Wet Wet, Right Said Fred, 2 Unlimited and Whigfield dominating the charts

I think the really innovative albums of 1991 were outside the realms of hard rock and metal.

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Massive Attack - Blue Lines
Slint - Spiderland
Primal Scream - Screamadelica
Talk Talk - Laughing Stock
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I love the stuff Creation and 4AD were releasing back then and I should ad that I have albums by artists including MBV and Primal Scream and I have seen both and Massive Attack live. But because this is rock and metal section that is what my post mainly deals with.

In my first paragraph I mentioned GnR, Metallica and Red Hot Chilli Peppers releasing albums that defined their careers, for some reason I overlooked U2, but when I say these albums defined their careers, I do not mean that they were their best albums, merely that they were their best known albums, due to album sales.

I actually don't own albums by any of these artists but I am so familiar with all of them for the fact that they were releasing up to 4,5, and 6 singles per an album. I loath the self indulgence of the GnR Use Your Illusion albums and to a lesser Degree Metallica's Black
album but obviously their fans did not.

While opinion is strongly divided on what was each artist's best album, the consensus is that after 1991 they failed to deliver better albums than these ones.

The Chilli Peppers in particular took "Breaking the girl" and "Under the bridge" and made them the template for every thing that followed "Blood Sugar Sex Magic" a successful formula but a formula never the less. Their out put post 91 is at best mediocre and at worst
truly awful and no better than the like of Celine Dion or N Sync.

When I said the late nineties became a mediocre time for music, I was again referring to popular music. There has always been good alternative music if i can still use that word and the late nineties were no exception, but the impact the first big wave of indie and grunge bands had had earlier that decade was long gone.

By the late nineties my taste in music had changed completely, I was still going to see bands but not very often. The Big Day Out, a larger version of Lollapalooza with many international bands had finally finished up so I was bummed.

And to top it all of The Verve, a band i really admired had gone from releasing gems like "Storm in Heaven" to "Urban Hymns" an ode to all things Oasis. The strangest thing was hearing "Now that drugs don't work" well that was apparent when you compared Urban Hymns with "Storm in heaven".

Yes there was lots of exiting music being made by this stage but it was definitely more electronic based than rock based.

The kind of new music that I am hearing in 2014 excites me far more than what i was hearing in the late nineties and across far more genres than I could ever have imagined back then. I will admit I was pretty jaded back then and pretty narrow minded too.

Middle age has made me far more accepting of new sounds thanks in part to the internet I am more excited about music than at any other time in my life.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Popular rock was atrocious by that point. My top 5 of that year:

Yume No Oka (Dream Hill) - Kenso
The Spirits of Our Ancestors - Randy Weston
Beyond Nature - Phil Keaggy
L'heure bleue - Franz Koglmann
2 - Banda Elástica
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Old 05-15-2014, 02:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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1991 was a great year to be 13 and discovering rock n roll...
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Old 05-15-2014, 03:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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1991 was a great year to be 13 and discovering rock n roll...
That's how I feel about 1971
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