Best of 1991

If you've been paying attention, a little over a month ago I posted my Top 10 lists from the last 10 years. I love lists, and I love favorites. The thing about those lists is I posted them as they were at the time. Well now, finally, I am going to post my Top 10 album lists for every year I have been listening to music. Using the help of iTunes, I have grouped all my favorite albums into years.

I am going to start with 1991. I didn't listen to much music in 1991, but if I did, it was probably Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant and Petra. I didn't truly discover great music until 1993. So what is funny about this is list is that most all of these albums I was not aware of at the time. And the albums I was aware of (U2 and R.E.M.) I had only heard the radio singles. I have just revised this list for the second time because I keep getting release dates confused. I will be sure to get accurate dates before I post my 1992 list. (I originally thought Mortal-Lusis was 1991 [it was 1992] and I had My Bloody Valentine-Loveless for 1992 [it was released in 1991].)

Top 10 Albums of 1991:

1. Smashing Pumpkins- Gish**
I don't even remember the first time I heard this album, honestly it probably wasn't until after 'Mellon Collie...' was released in 1995. I didn't buy it until 1997 or so. Pretty groundbreaking stuff, the layers of guitars are amazing. If I had heard it when it came out I probably would have gone into shock. My 3rd favorite Pumpkins album behind 'Siamese Dream' and 'Mellon Collie.' My first memory of the Smashing Pumpkins was when my friend Gregg on the N.A.C. swim team had one of their shirts and was listening to 'Siamese Dream' at a meet. I can actually picture us listening to the album sitting on the bleachers, but I don't remember where it was.

2. Toad the Wet Sprocket- Fear*
The first girl I ever went on a date with made me a mix that contained several Toad songs, this would have been May of 1995. I know the songs "Come Back Down" and "Windmills" were definitely on the cassette tape. Fell in love with the band instantly and bought both 'Fear' and 'Dulcinea' within the year. I eventually saw them in concert on the 'Coil' tour a few years later. I bought two tickets for the show, asked a couple girls to it, neither could go, I ended up attending the show by myself and gave the ticket to a guy on the street. It was at 328 Performance Hall in Nashville. Not as sad as it sounds, the show was terrific. I can't seem to get into Glen Phillips solo stuff though.

3. My Bloody Valentine- Loveless*
For some reason I always thought this album came out in 1992, but not that I would have known since I didn't hear it until 10 years later. I found it stunning when I did first hear it, and finally understood where shoegazer music came from. Revolutionary.

4. U2- Achtung, Baby*
I am sure I heard "Mysterious Ways" on the radio around the time it was first release, but I don't think I actually listened to this album all the way through until the late 1990s. This is actually the only post-Joshua Tree U2 album I enjoy. (I own all of the 80s U2 on vinyl and love it. The first vinyl album I ever bought was "The Joshua Tree" when I was at a track meet in Auburn in Spring of 1997.)

5. R.E.M.- Out of Time*
"Losing My Religion" was of course the first song I heard from it, as it was for all of you. I also loved "Shiny Happy People" when it was on the radio. I can remember sitting in a La-Z-boy at Aunt Mimi and Uncle Walt's house in Mobile, listening to the radio on a super-old stereo with headphones on and "Shiny Happy People" came on. I bought this album in Fall of 1995. I saw Radiohead and R.E.M. in Birmingham that fall and soon went on an R.E.M. album-buying binge. And yes I memorized all the words to "It's the End of the World as We Know it" before the show.

6. Pearl Jam- Ten*
Pearl Jam is a band I actually have a much greater appreciation for now in 2007 than I ever did 15 years ago. I heard all their songs on the radio and the song "Jeremy" was one of the first music videos I ever saw. My first Pearl Jam memory was also at a swim meet and there was an amazing swimmer on the team (possibly the best on the team) named Jeremy. Because of this they would often play a song for him before he raced at the Tracy Caulkins Nataorium in Nashville. Of course he embraced the Pearl Jam song with his name and this was the song he chose.

7. The Prayer Chain- Neverland Sessions
This is kind of strange choice, but I will put it here none-the-less. Of course I love the Prayer Chain, and there will be much more on them to come, but this is actually just a demo album and was never officially released. Six of the songs were re-recorded and released on the Whirlpool EP in 1992 and then the remaining four I didn't hear until the "So Close, yet So Far" compilation came out in 1998. I don't even own the Neverland Sessions CD ($100 on eBay), but these 10 songs are awesome.

8. Chagall Guevera
Pretty sad that Steve Taylor hasn't released an album in 15 years. This one is definitely one of his best, I would put it 2nd behind "Squint". It used to go for big bucks online, but fortunately I had a friend give it to me in college. He was also supposed to give me a cordoroy Prayer Chain hat, but unfortunately that never happened.

9. The Innocence Mission- Umbrella*
I first heard the Innocence Mission in 1995 (Glow) and thought they were amazing. It took me a couple years, but I was finally able to track down their first two albums- this and 1991's self-titled. I like the self-titled better, but this is also good. Pretty much a preview into how good they would become.

10. L.S.U.- This is the Healing
I only own this album on tape. So many Mike Knott releases in the early 1990s, this is actually one of the weaker ones. But as far as my 1991 collection goes, I like it.