Top 100 Music Albums of 1991 by Repo (2019)
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***Repo's 1991 Hall Of Fame (Limit of 10 per year)****
1. Nirvana - Nevermind
2. MBV - Loveless
3. Slint - Spiderland
4. Massive Attack - Blue Lines
5. A Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory
6. Talk Talk - Laughing Stock
7. Pixies - Tromp Le Monde
8. Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
9. Smashing Pumpkins - Gish
10. Primal Scream - Screamadelica ( but this has aged the worst of this top ten)
1. Pavement - Perfect Sound Forever
2. Dinosaur - Whatever's Cool With Me
3. Blake Babies - Rosy Jack World
4. Slowdive - Holding Our Breath
6. Babes In Toyland - To Mother
7. MBV - Tremolo
8. Ride - Today Forever
1. The Screaming trees - The SST Years
2. Dinosaur Jr - Fossils
3. Scratch Acid - The Greatest Gift
4. V/A - Kill Rock stars
5. Spacemen 3 - Losing Touch with Your Mind
6. Talulah Gosh - They've Scoffed The Lot
7. Saint Vitus - Heavier Than Thou
***Not "Mellow" Enough (i.e. albums I'll come back to next year when I'm younger)
1. The Aints - Ascension
2. Athiest - Unquestionable Presence
3. NoMeansNo - 0 + 2 = 1
4. White heaven - Out - sounds really good, MC5 influence Japanese RAWK
5. Sepultura - Arise
6. Death - Human
7. Drive Like Jehu - Drive Like Jehu (Essential heavy Indie Rock)
8. Ice Cube - Death Certificate
9. Public Enemey - Apocalypse (Not as good as the first two)
10. Leatherface - Mush
11. Motorhead - 1916
12. Nation of Ulyses - 13 Point Plan to Destroy America
13. Jesus Lizard - Goat (Essential Noise Rock)
14. L7 - Smell The Magic (Essential Riot Grrrl )
15. Mr. Bungle - s/t (Essential Alt Metal)
16. Hole - Pretty on The Inside ((Essential Riot Grrrl )
***ALBUMS THAT MISS THE CUT (3+ listens )****
***Just not my thing///
1. Blue Aeroplanes - Beatsongs
2. Sam Phillips - Cruel Inventions
3. Fatima mansions - Bertie's Brochures
4. Caetano Veloso - Circulado
5. Danny Gatton - 88 Elmira Street
6. Crowded House - Woodface
My thing, but just okay or I'm tired of///
1. Metallica - Metallica
2. RHCP - Blood Sex Sugar Magic
3. U2 - Achtung Baby
4. Pearl Jam - Ten
5. REM - Out of Time
6. FSOL - Accelerator (some great singles though)
7. The Cramps - Look Mom, No Head (Simply passed by their imitators even though their influence was massive in '91, sounds a tad uninspired c/w their past and the new class of garage bands of '91)
8. Kitchens of Distinction - Strange Free World
The Ex + Tom Cora -Scrabbling at the lock
Teh Legenderary Pink Dots - The Maria dimension
nusrat fateh ali khan - shahbaaz
- Chart updated: 03/11/2019 00:45
- (Created: 12/19/2017 23:54).
- Chart size: 100 albums.
There are 13 comments for this chart from BestEverAlbums.com members and Top 100 Music Albums of 1991 has an average rating of 93.93012237548828 out of 100 (from 24 votes). Please log in or register to leave a comment or assign a rating.
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Hall Of Fame #1 [First added to this chart: 12/28/2017]
Now this is what I was looking for. Country Blues that is immediate & real & raw. Character sketches that I can relate to. About human fallibility. About our flaws. Real life short stories that show just how little control we sometimes have over our lives & actions. The breadth of country music on display here is staggering and this is easily Gilmore's masterpiece. He's a worthy disciple of Townes Van Zandt, and I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who likes TVZ and his brand of country. This is now my favorite album of 1991. It's just that good. And my kids are memorized by the homespun lyrics. How they speak the simple truths of human nature in just a few lines.
Essential. [First added to this chart: 01/14/2018]
HOF#2 [First added to this chart: 12/28/2017]
Sequencing matters. Especially for the Lo-fi American Underground indie scene of the late 80s/early 90s. Stuff like Zen Arcade, Slanted & Enchanted, GBV’s Propellor, and Sebadoh’s III. These albums wouldn’t have worked half as well if the order of the songs had been different. These albums were not collections of songs. They were sound collages. One song melded into the next. Alone the songs were just neat little snippets of sonic pop experimentation, but they often made little sense isolated and apart from one other. No. It was together - one sound tumbling logically & expectedly into the next - that these lo-fi snippets were weaved into the masterpieces they are now generally recognized to be.
So when the Moles debut material was re-released and expanded as Flashbacks & Dream Sequences, they sort of got the order all wrong. I like it. A lot. It’s a great collection of lo-fi indie rock songs. But, it wasn’t until I recreated the sequencing with a Spotify playlist that I recognized it for the indie lo-fi benchmark it should of been. And album that fits right along with other lo-fi classics of the era such as III, Propeller, & Perfect Sound Forever.
Here’s the track listing I particularly like from he original Australian CD release of this album back in 1991 on Seaside Records...
Bury Me Happy
Tendrils and Paracetamol
This Is A Happy Garden
Breathe Me In
Lonely Hearts Get What They Deserve
the Crown Souls
Europe by Car
Nailing Jesus to the Cross
Grade: A+ Like Pavement, The Moles ably pilfer The Swell Maps (the most underrated but massively influentail band in indie rock I wonder) aesthetic but their DNA is chiefly cobbled from lineage of The Clean and other legends of kiwi rock as opposed to The Fall.
Essential. [First added to this chart: 12/31/2017]
When the Smiths broke up, I remember there being a palpable vacuum. A contingent of goth girls in my high school who all had had their heads shaved on one side went into literal state of mourning. And the music mags were filled with articles about who would be “the next Smiths”. On our shores none materialized. The closet being the Wedding Present. But, they were missing something. That feeling that you were lost in another world. Some insular place where nothing else mattered. That feeling that when they were on your beat-up, beloved walkmen, the rest of the world ceased to exist. Just you and your hopelessly romantic misery. Your heart simply breaking for a love that did not even exist.
Yet, all this time they were there! Hidden from us Yanks as some kind of punishment for not wanting pay our taxes. For telling the emperor that he had no clothes.
The Field Mice are the perfect compliment to what Galaxie 500 were doing on our shores and it seems they have a discography just a bit shorter in length that I’m now delving into with all the winsome excitement of child flipping through the pages of a Toys R Us catalog. Every song something new to get excited over.
Music to get lost in.
Music for overcast days.
Music that feels like a secret. Your secret.
Music for crushes that you do not even have!
Your heart simply breaking for that special girl who just absolutely positively has to be out there somewhere.
Perhaps she’s just been on the other shore.
Essential! [First added to this chart: 01/28/2018]
“This is music for aliens, Dada “ - Genni, age 5 & aspiring music critic
China occupying Tibet. Trump being somehow immune to the #MeTwo movement. Not one of you fucks mentioning Biosphere’s Microgravity on their 1991 lists. Not one of ya! And it’s not just you. Spin. The Village Voice. Pitchfork. Even AllMusic’s exhaustive Allmusic Loves 1991 retrospective failed to give it a mention. I mean what gives. Because it is arguably the greatest electronica album of the entire 90s never mind just 1991
There’s not much I can do about the first two. You know - Tibet & Trump. I’m just a stay at home Dad trying to make ends meet. Trying to decide whether “Natural” Skippy is really worth a buck more than “Regular” Skippy. (Probably not but… it has No High Fructose Corn Syrup. That’s something. That High Fructose Corn Syrup shit will kill ya!) Clipping coupons from the weekly Pennysaver. Making sure my kids have clothes on. You know. The basics. And on the side I do my simple part to fix the great musical injustices of the world. And in 1991, there was no bigger injustice than Biosphere’s Microgravity getting the shaft. The whole world went gaga over The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld. And Microgravity positively DESTROYS the ambient house brand of choice for 1991. The titles is already a tip. Microgravity is far cooler than the super-dweeb sounding Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld. I mean just how stoned do you have to be for that title to sound cool? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
A-side: I do really, really like The Orb’s debut. It will totally make my year chart. Well at least that first disc. I mean, how many of you out there - besides you, BobbyB - actually make it though both discs in one sitting? I thought so! My hunch - and I’m just guessing here - is that Disc 2 of Orb’s double CD extravaganza may just be the least played disc in the entire Pitchfork 100 of the 90s! But perhaps I just need more quality time with disc 2.
Grade: A+. 1991 was a seminal year for IDM and electronica music. With debuts by such electronica greats as The Orbital, LFO, and yes, The Orb. And this is the best of the lot. Easy. And arguably the best ambient house album of all time. No music evokes space so effortlessly. Even my five year old connected to it immediately. And my 8 year old absolutely loves every single song. Racing. Striving. It’s kinetic. Amniotic, alive & pulsating yet cold, pristine & precise. The ambient noises of some futuristic city run entirely by machines. Metal on metal. Strap yourself into a stolen sports car just past midnight next chance you get. Throw this on the stereo. And make sure you’re buckled in (Safety first! I’m a Dad, remember.) . Because this is easily the most exhilarating late night driving music out there. It should come fully loaded with EVERY gaming station’s analogous Pole Position style game. Every single one. Take no substitutes. For the ultimate in gaming & driving pleasure, choose Biosphere next time you want to take a 1991 Ambient House trip. And as Maui says, “You’re Welcome!”
Essential. [First added to this chart: 12/28/2017]
Essential [First added to this chart: 01/08/2018]
I have no idea what this is. What genre it belongs to. But I know where it’s from. That’s obvious. TEXAS. In big capital letters. I didn’t have to look at no stinkin' biography. I didn’t have to read about his influences. Because this is Texas rock through & through. And by all rights, it should have been HUGH in 1991. Because It’s Country Blues Roots Rock that’s not really that far removed in a lot of respects from what was going on in Seattle. It’s raw. It’s naked. It’s confessional. It does for country and roots rock what grunge was doing for heavy metal. Strips away the artificially and 80s production, to reveal something naked, raw & vulnerable but ironically all the stronger & tougher for it. It seems to have been spawned from the the land. The Texas dirt itself. If Chris Whitley had been born in the pacific Northwest instead of Texas, it is easy to imagine that he could have been spearheading some grunge band. With both vocals and guitar. I’m so glad he was from Texas instead.
Grade A: ESSENTIAL. This easily deserves a spot on the 1991 dais. As one of its best albums. It’s an oddity. Firmly planted in Texas’ Country Blues lore, yet with its own singular vision and style. It’s an impassioned record. Naked and raw like some of the other best music of this year. Far, far removed from the "Nashville" country of this period.
I remember back at the time seeing it in a bunch of year end lists, but my tastes were too far removed from roots rock, blues, and country then. But, now I clearly see why. And it takes the first spot (for now) on my first year chart on this first day of this new year.
Blood Simple (Country That Bleeds)
This isn't Alt country. This is country that bleeds. That from the dirt streets. It kind that belongs in Blood Simple that movie by the Cohen brothers. [First added to this chart: 12/28/2017]
aka Speedballing Down The Interstate
I’m just telling you what I remember. It’s not much. Mostly a blur. A memory of a memory. Faded and bleached. By the years. By the drugs too, I guess. But mostly by the years.
It was 1991. I was young. Headed off to Manhattan to conquer the world. I was already a music junkie by them. Hell. I had been for years. I headed to CBGBs as I did pretty much every night. Picked up a 40 oz of Olde English (my favorite back then) at one of those no-named Asian convenience stores that dotted the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I’m sure they’re probably all gone now. You’d always pop in there before going out to pick up a forty. They’d put it a paper bag for you so you could drink while taking the subway or even just walking the streets. Great way to get a buzz for like two dollars in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Anyways, this particular night stood out…
Remember moshing? Well I was a professional. I could just give my body over to the pit. That was the secret. Become this rag doll. It’s not like I was afraid to push back or anything. I was pretty built back then. But that wasn’t the point. The point was to relax and just let go. Become this happy bouncing electron careening about. Driven by forces outside of you and in you. That’s where the high came from. You see people forget. Moshing brought you closer to the music. It was the ultimate surrender. The music would come off the stage and just take over you. And the crowd. The best thing was just to let go. And smile.
And Swervedriver concocted some of the best music I’ve ever moshed to. The guitars would seemingly ping-pong back & forth and ricochet every which way. Pushing the crowd this way and that. Adam Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge, the guitarists, were like the greatest marionettes ever.
As I said, the memory’s mostly gone. But, what was clear was that Swervedriver ROCKED that night. But, let’s be fair. Almost all the shoegaze bands back then rocked pretty hard. Ride. Lush. MBV. They all kicked serious ass in concert. (Well except for Slowdive. They decidedly did NOT rock. But, they were great in their own way) No. What made Swervedriver different, what made them stand out, was their ginormous debt to the American indie scene. They were easily the most American of all they peers. Sure. My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anyting may have been the most important album in their record collection. But sitting right next to it - in plain sight - was Dinosaur Jr.’s Your Living All Over Me.
Ok. Here it goes. Laugh if you must. But due to Adam Franklin’s laid back vocals and dreads, I always thought of Swervedriver as “that shoegaze band fronted by that reggae dude”. He was like some kind of California surf rat. It always sounds like he had just took a long drag on some spliff. Eternally stoned. And THAT was their secret ingredient. Swervedriver were like the ultimate speedball. Heroin + cocaine. Franklin’s lysergic vocals buried underneath all those swirling, driving guitars. It was like every single receptor of my cortex was being fed with something. Gaba. Beta. Alpha. Lol. Clearly it was like the best Greek party ever going on in my brain. Every single receptor being landed on & triggered at once resulting in the quintessential high.
To be honest, I loved this album so much, I had the hardest time getting into Mescal Head when it came out. It just seemed like Raise Lite. I still prefer Raise today.
From what I remember.
Grade: A+. Essential. LittleM nailed it. It’s the perfect mix of shoe gaze and grunge. I never thought of it that way. To me it was just shoegaze. Shoegaze fronted by that reggae dude. lol. It’s only now in retrospect that I realize how much of the American Underground those cats were taking in. And sure. My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless is the best shoe gaze album of 1991. I’ll give you that. But this is number two. [First added to this chart: 12/28/2017]
I don’t care what anyone else says. The Screaming Trees were one of “The Big Four” of grunge. Call it the Big Five if you have to. Knock out those pussies in Pearl jam if you have to. I really don’t care. But they belong. They were there from the start. Cranked out SEVEN consistently good grunge albums staring all the way back in 1986. The first to sign to SST - THE American indie label back then YEARS before anyone had even heard of Sub Pop. They looked like lumberjacks before anyone else did. They sounded like lumberjacks before anyone else did. And most importantly, they concocted their very own mutated strain of hard rock mixed with psychedelia that could only have been coined grunge in retrospect. I mean nothing else quite fits. Mudhoney, Soundgarden and The Screaming Trees were the three bands that literally defined what was possible for the grunge sound back in the late 80s. Back when Kurdt was nothing more than the biggest fanboy of King Buzzo (All hail his lordship!). And this - Uncle Anesthesia- is arguably The Screaming Trees best. I mean it’s really hard to decide. They were that consistent. But this one definitely rocks the hardest of any of their major label offerings. I have no idea why this album languishes at the bottom of the BEA charts. Why no one but the wise & all knowing Dihansse even mentioned it on any of their best of 1991 lists. But, I can assure you of this - It Belongs.
Grade: A+ ESSENTIAL. Easily one of the best grunge albums of 1991. It should be mentioned in same hallowed breath as Badmotorfinger, Nevermind, and Mudhoney’s Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (whose review will be forthcoming). For whatever reason, the marketing boys at Epic records really dropped the ball on this baby. Because it should have been huge. But who cares about marketing? Fuck those guys. Anyone looking for one of the best grunge albums of all time, simply needs to drop the needle on this massive platter of tripped out fuzz. It’s grunge rock _________.
A-side: I’ve always wondered if the production on this held the album back somewhat. Anyone more versed on the production side of things please comment. I'd love to get your opinion. Enquiring minds want to know. Because these songs are amazing! But I do think the production maybe a bit on the murky side. But perhaps that’s its charm. I ask - You Decide! [First added to this chart: 12/28/2017]
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Top 100 Music Albums of 1991 composition
|The Field Mice||2||2%|
|The Magnetic Fields||1||1%|
|Robyn Hitchcock And The Egyptians||1||1%|
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This chart is rated in the top 1% of all charts on BestEverAlbums.com. This chart has a Bayesian average rating of 93.9/100, a mean average of 97.3/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 98.3/100. The standard deviation for this chart is 5.9.
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congrats Tilly: one of those charts you keep coming back to!!
Great information. I'll come back to this again and again.
Wow! So detailed!
How could I give this any less than 100? As with all your Mellow Zone lists, this chart is a comprehensive snapchat for that year in music without losing any sense of your own personable charm.
You may have come across it anyway, but I'd thought I'd recommend the Les Razilles Dénudés bootleg, '77 Live, released in 1991 as something worth checking out. It's an album with a bit of a cult following and also a personal favourite of mine, catchy garage rock bass riffs overladen with screeching feedback. Let me know your thoughts on it!!
May not dig the albums that much, but descriptions are fine as ever.
great chart great year
Great choices and even better commentary. You've given me a lot to discover so thank you! "Who cares about marketing? Fuck those guys..." you rock
Almost unparalleled year in music.
A truly Awesome 1991 chart; encompassing a nice diversity of genres!
Looking forward to explore a bunch of those unfamiliar titles... *especially* because of the excellent descriptive commentaries!!! I agree with baystateoftheart, would be interesting to see where your Hall of Fame items drop in. But either way, great job on this one!! A++
Can't say I agree with the hall of fame policy - I would like to see where those albums fit into your accounting of the year, especially since you have a second chart for honorable mentions. But nothing less than a perfect score is in order, because this has been a great journey to follow and the chart is awesome!
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