1991: Optimal year for rock music

Especially for heavy metal and hard rock as can be heard on the following albums: Alice Cooper’s Hey Stoopid, All About Eve’s Touched by Jesus, Armored Saint’s Symbol of Salvation, Cannibal Corpse’s Butchered at Birth, Cerebral Fix’s Bastards, Dark Angel’s Time Does Not Heal, Death’s Human, Entombed’s Clandestine, Lita Ford’s Dangerous Curves, Metallica’s black album, Morbid Angel’s Blessed are the Sick, Motörhead’s 1916, Mr. Bungle’s self-titled début, Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears, Paradise Lost’s Gothic, Prong’s Prove you Wrong, Queen’s Innuendo, Savatage’s Streets: A Rock Opera, Skid Row’s Slave to the Grind, Sepultura’s Arise, Suffocation’s Effigy of the Forgotten, Tesla’s Psychotic Supper, Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and White Lion’s Mane Attraction (a surprisingly cool album).

As for other bands releasing singles without having to record an album of original material, the following is worthy of recognitionAnthrax’s Bring the Noise (a rap metal cover), Faith No More’s Perfect Crime, Perfect CrimeMegadeth’s Go to HellMötley Crüe’s Primal Scream and Ratt’s Nobody Rides for Free (my favourite). To emphasize the eventful nature of 1991, three of these singles were on soundtracks whose movies (one of them being Point Break) starred Keanu Reeves (the other was Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey).

If that’s not enough rockage for you, there’s Use Your Illusion by Guns ‘n’ Roses, Notorious by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the self-titled album of Cycle Sluts from Hell, Wretch by Kyuss, Sailing the Seas of Cheese by Primus, Out of Time by R.E.M. along with Superstition by Siouxsie and the Banshees. It speaks volumes about 1991’s magic that Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger, Nirvana’s Nevermind and RHCP’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik (sic) were released on the same date: September 24. Third time lucky.

You would think that 1990 would have been the best year for rock music with so many people in 1989 wanting to start the decade with a big bang. As for other rock albums that were released in 1991, the year was rounded out by Blur’s Leisure, The Cult’s Ceremony, NOFX’s Ribbed, Fishbone’s The Reality of my Surroundings, Firehouse’s Flyin’ the Flannel, Hole’s Pretty on the Inside, Jaxbox’s Grippe, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless (ethereal elegance), Pearl Jam’s Ten, The Scream’s Let it Scream, Temple of the Dog’s eponymous album, Transvision Vamp’s Little Magnets Versus the Bubble (their coolest album) and U2’s Ashtung Baby.

1991 was the best example of the stars aligning for the genre (even Billy Corgan described Gish as a very spiritual album for The Smashing Pumpkins). Not only was 1991 the apotheosis, it was the coolest year for the genre. If I had to pick the coolest record, it would be the first and last album of Nymphs. As such, it was the last golden year.


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