Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nineties Blogfest: 1991

Apparently, this blogfest was just one day (yesterday) but I somehow thought it was one year a day for 10 days. So, here you get another day, and probably a few more of '90s-tastic pop culture chattiness.

Nineties Blogfest: 1991

Billboard's Top Song this week in 1991: Emotions: Mariah Carey
I was a huge Mariah fan. Still have this cassette!

Yesterday I mentioned how pop-metal got ditched for grunge when Nirvana hit the scene. It's pretty incredible how Nirvana rose to fame so quickly. It was like the 90s decided it was done with the manufactured overly-sincere rock of the mid-to-late 80's, and everyone embraced a more ironic, eff-you sensibility that grunge and lots of indie rock encompassed. All that music was there already, not just in Seattle, although that scene was massively exploited, but bands like Pavement and Social Distortion and the Pixies were around, just not in the mainstream.

It's weird to me that Nirvana became so commercial. People have obsessively speculated, in books, articles and even a documentary or two, that fame added to Kurt Cobain's depression which ultimately led to his suicide. I remember, in 1994, hearing about his death on MTV News and knowing it was huge. Back then, that collective understanding of a popular moment in culture came slower--I wonder what Rolling Stone will say?--whereas now news is so instant, a celebrity death is instantly a world-wide story.

Besides Nevermind, 1991 was the year grunge really got going in the mainstream. I always preferred Pearl Jam over Nirvana, and Ten was one of my most listened to albums in the early 90s; it technically came out in 1991 but didn't really hit big until 1992. I admit, I had an Eddie Vedder poster in my room.

Noteworthy albums of 1991, that again, I most likely was not listening to at the time but in the few years following:

Pixies: Trompe le Monde

I think this one is known as their least best album, but it's the one I had and listened to a zillion times. Any project that came after the Pixies broke up--Frank Black's solo stuff, the Breeders, I was all over. I still think they're one of the most original bands and I can't think of another band to compare them to. Punky surf rock that felt like it didn't care had fun anyway. I was "thisclose" to seeing their reunion tour in the 2000s, but had to sell the tix after my wedding date changed and well, you know. Must make the family happy with the revised wedding date!

My Bloody Valentine: Loveless

Although I listened to a lot of shoegaze and indie rock, I didn't discover this gem until college. Ask any 90s indie fanboy/fangirl about Loveless and you'll probably get an earful. You'll hear "masterpiece" and "Kevin Shields is a god" and how incredible it is on vinyl. It was reissued this year and the band is reportedly touring in 2013. Here's some updates via Pitchfork.

Other albums: Red Hot Chili Peppers': Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik, Gn'R Use Your Illusion I & II (they were so epic then), Smashing Pumpkins: Gish.

1991 TV Factoids: The Comedy Central channel is developed; Blossom debuts; Nickelodeon shows three new series: Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy and Doug.

Speaking of grunge, RELEVANT: Portlandia's Dream of the '90s. So true!


  1. Doug! Ren & Stimpy! My significant other and I reference those shows a lot.

  2. Also love Loveless. It's quite a different album than my original call of The Dream Academy for 1991. Suppose I can go back and name two great albums for the year? I will have to include Loveless.

  3. This was great, I think I like your 'one year a day' style better. Lots more detail.

    Nirvana was the story of the year in music, but you mentioned a lot of other great albums - I had both GNR cd's and Pearl Jam's 'Ten'. SP's 'Gish' is a great record as well, but I didn't discover that until '94.

    Can't wait to read your faves from '92, '93, and on! :)

  4. The Nineties were a great decade. I remember Clarissa and the Rugrats. Thanks for sharing.


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