Archive for 1991

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

  • First Appearance: November 23, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 1
  • Album: Nevermind
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? Yes.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? Yes.

This album is very good.

The Fly – U2

  • First Appearance: November 9, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 11 (non-consecutive)
  • Album: Achtung Baby
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? No.

The Fly was at the top of the chart for two weeks, while Mysterious Ways (Yes, Yes), topped the chart for nine weeks, spanning 1991 and 1992.

This album is very good. And it’s one of these albums that’s so good, and so popular that I don’t know what I can say about it. It’s certainly worth a listen, because there are a lot of tracks on the album that were not widely played after the early 90s and this was my first listen to it. So I was pleasantly surprised by a bunch of very good U2 songs I’d never heard before.

The Fly was not my favorite song on the album, but it was really surrounded by delightful songs.

Give It Away – Red Hot Chili Peppers

  • First Appearance: October 26, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 2
  • Album: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? Yes.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? Yes.

I have a confession to make. I’ve never enjoyed listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’ve always found them loud and yell-y, and not that interesting musically or lyrically. I do not find them deep, or moving.

This album did not change my mind.

Like, Breaking the Girl is nice, quiet, and heartfelt. But by the Suck My Kiss, a mere quarter of the way through the album, I was already tired of the listening to the same anodyne funk song over and over again.

Flea is a really good bass player though.

So You Think You’re In Love – Robyn Hitchcock

  • First Appearance: September 21, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 5
  • Album: Perspex Island
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? No.

This song is pure brit pop. I also cannot find the album on iTunes or Spotify. So I’m only talking about this song.

It’s catchy, about love, and uptempo. It also comes in at only 15 seconds longer than Roll To Me by Del Amitri, which means that it’s taken WAY longer for me to write this post than it did to listen to the song.

Overall, I liked the song, I’m curious to hear more Robyn Hitchcock, who I’ve certainly heard from (he’s a perennial favorite of NPR music folks), but never really dug into any of his music.

Until She Comes – The Psychedelic Furs

  • First Appearance: September 7, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 2
  • Album: World Outside
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? No.

The Psychedelic Furs win the award for the first band to appear on the chart twice with two different albums.

This album stars off dark, much like the bulk of their last album on the chart. It’s just their thing.

Interestingly, the track Until She Comes once again is brighter than the rest of the album, and sounds a bit like The Field Mice. It’s clear that they had a formula for success.

I will say, by the end of this album, the gloomy songs were getting to be a bit. It may be that it’s a bit gray out today, but I was just a bit over it by the end.

Rush – Big Audio Dynamite

  • First Appearance: August 10, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 4
  • Album: The Globe
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? Yes
  • Have I actually heard this song before? Yes.

This is certainly one of the more iconic songs of the early 90s. Big Audio Dynamite formed in the 80s, but unlike a lot of bands that started in the 80s and had hits in the 90s, this album doesn’t sound like the 80s. It sounds like Big Audio Dynamite.

The album ranges from the songs you know, Rush, The Globe, to sweeter songs like Innocent Child. It’s interesting to hear the softer side of BAD.

Kiss Them for Me – Siouxsie & The Banshees

  • First Appearance: July 6, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 5
  • Album: Superstition
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No?
  • Have I actually heard this song before? Yes.

I’d heard of Siouxsie & The Banshees before, but I’d no idea that’s how Siouxsie was spelled.

I got all the way to the chorus of this song before I recognized it. It was quite the journey. The song starts out sounding VERY 80s, but sheds some of that sound during the first verse. The song still feels very much of its time, or maybe a year or two before its time, but it’s certainly still an enjoyable listen.

The rest of the album is really cool. It veers into dark and almost gothic territory. It’s clear that Siouxsie had a strong influence on a lot of performers who came after her, and you can hear hints of that here.

Get the Message – Electronic

  • First Appearance: June 22, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 2
  • Album: Electronic
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No?
  • Have I actually heard this song before? No.

This band has very bad SEO.

When I wrote that, before I listened to the album, a small part of me hoped that I wouldn’t have anything else to say about the album. That is not the case. The band was formed by former members of New Order and The Smiths, and was active from the late-80s to late-90s.

If you had told me that this band was a cutting edge band from the late 70s I would have believed you. If you’d told me the rode in with new-wave and synth in the mid 80s, I’d have believed you. If you told me this band came out of the early 2010s along with the likes of VHS vs. Beta, I’d have believed you.

Despite being very stylized, maybe even because of it, their music seems like it could have been written nearly any time in the last 40 years.

Getting Away With It may be the more familiar song to you on this album, but it’s certainly worth a listen, assuming you can find it.

The Other Side of Summer – Elvis Costello

  • First Appearance: May 25, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 5
  • Album: Mighty Like a Rose
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No?
  • Have I actually heard this song before? No.

The Other Side of Summer is pretty classic-sounding Elvis Costello. Complete with 1960s sensibilities, catchy hooks, and a multi-layer production. I’m almost surprised I hadn’t heard it before, but it also isn’t quite as memorable as the songs of his with which you are more familiar.

The rest of the album ranges a little further than what you’d identify as classic Elvis Costello with some distinctly weird and experimental moments, but all very listenable-to. It’s an enjoyable and interesting album, and not one I can claim to have really heard anything off of before.

See the Light – Simple Minds

  • First Appearance: May 11, 1991
  • Weeks on the Chart: 2
  • Album: Real Life
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No?
  • Have I actually heard this song before? No.

Just when I thought I was out of the 80s, Simple Minds bring me right back in.

Best known for “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” from The Breakfast Club soundtrack, this Scottish band was a staple of the 80s, and this album feels incredibly 80s. Strong on the synths, and soaring vocals, it’s a stark departure from Out of Time.

The charting track, See the Light, was not particularly more memorable than the rest of the album. It’s interesting that it was chosen to be the single.