1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge
2. Pearl Jam - Jeremy
3. The Cure - A Letter to Elise
4. Nirvana - Come As You Are
5. U2 - One
6. Toad the Wet Sprocket - All I Want
7. Shakespear's Sister - Stay
8. Pearl Jam - Even Flow
9. Morrissey - Tomorrow
10. R.E.M. - Drive
11. James - Born of Frustration
12. Sugarcubes - Hit
13. The Cure - Friday I'm in Love
14. Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike
15. L7 - Pretend that We're Dead
16. Peter Gabriel - Digging in the Dirt
17. The Charlatans - Weirdo
18. Cause & Effect - You Think You Know Her
19. Annie Lennox - Why
20. Alice in Chains - Would
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge
Things had not changed much from 1990 to 1991. I was still obsessed with all things British. Still listening to a lot of Depeche Mode and The Smiths. Still very much living in the '80s. I had only just been introduced to Morrissey the year before. I listened to Viva Hate and Bona Drag all the time. I was a fan of Morrissey first since The Smiths had broken up before I even knew who they were. So it was fun to go back and discover The Smiths' albums for the first time. I started with Louder Than Bombs which was a fantastic way to introduce myself to the band. I then went back and discovered their studio albums one by one. Queen Is Dead, Meat Is Murder, Strangeways Here We Come and then The Smiths. I was hooked on Morrissey and The Smiths and there was no going back. I became a vegetarian in 1991. I started reading magazines more obsessively and trying to find out as much as I could about my favorite bands.
Both Morrissey and Erasure had new albums in 1991. These albums would both be a big part of my life that year. I can't really think about 1991 without thinking about Kill Uncle and Chorus. Nirvana released Nevermind in 1991. This album would change everything. Not everything exactly, but it did change a lot! I still remember my dad having the conversation with me about grunge. He asked me if I was "grunge." I probably answered "sort of." It was like me coming out of the closet. I also listened to so much Erasure in high school that I should have never really had to come out to my mom! I was still very much obsessed with my British bands. I was still into the goth, shoegaze, grebo and indie bands of the UK. But I also became a huge fan of Nirvana. I really had no choice. I didn't really notice Nirvana until Nevermind came out. But I listened to this album probably more than anything in 1991. Although I was probably still a bigger fan of my UK favorites then all the bands coming out of Seattle. Brit pop was just around the corner and would completely take over my life in the years that followed. But it was nice to actually be into a band from the US for a bit. Nirvana are actually one of three bands on my top ten of 1991 from the US. But the other two I actually always thought were British! They may have come from the US but they fit more into the British sound of the era. Nirvana sort of don't really fit in. But this album was too big to ignore and not put on this list. I couldn't deny its place on this list. I was quite obsessed with it. A lot of us were.
I have been thinking about the early '90s a lot lately. I graduated from high school in 1992, and that was 20 years ago! So I have been all sorts of nostalgic this last year about my formative music years. I was born in the '70s. But I really grew up in the new wave '80s. 1984 - 1986 were really the years that I first remember getting obsessed with music. These are the early years of MTV and the years I fell in love with new wave and all things British. The B-52's and Berlin were probably the only bands that I loved that actually came from the United States. Most of my favorite bands and albums throughout the '80s and '90s came from England.
My favorite bands in 1984 are pretty much my favorite bands today. I can't imagine my life without New Order, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Smiths, Human League, Pet Shop Boys, Ultravox, Talk Talk & Bauhaus. These bands have been a huge part of my life. My British obsession would only get bigger over the years. I got deep into shoegaze and dream pop in the early '90s. Which then led me into Britpop and British dance music in the mid '90s.
I have been obsessively making lists and CD compilations of each year of the '80s and '90s. I have made a playlist for each year and a list of my 10 favorite albums from each year. I will slowly be sharing these with you over the next couple of months. I am going to start with the early '90s since these are the years that have been on my mind the most lately.
I got my musical start in the '80s. But it was really the early '90s when I started to get obsessed with actual bands and albums. I feel like that period in your late teens is the most important time for your musical development. That period when you are 15-20 years old. It was not just watching music videos and listening to songs on the radio anymore. This is the period when I first got a job and starting buying records! These were the albums that I went out and bought for myself.
Selected Ambient Works Vol. II by Aphex Twin has finally gotten officially reissued on LP this week. Moby Ambient was probably the first album that got me obsessed with ambient music. It came out in 1993. Selected Ambient Works Vol. II came out in 1994. Two years after Selected Ambient Works 85-92. I got into both these albums eventually. But it was really Vol. II that got me obsessed with Aphex Twin. I am not really sure that I could have handled these albums in high school. But I was full on ready for them in my early 20s. I really couldn't even believe that music like this existed. I remember being so excited at the time to hear these albums for the first time. They really did change my life. They sort of became my thinking music. I spent countless hours listening to them on my headphones or listening to them before I went to sleep. Every time I listen to these early Aphex Twin recordings they take me right back to that point in my life. I can't even really describe the feeling. But I cherish these albums. I seriously have some crazy obsession with them. They helped me through some tough emotional times. So I sort of feel grateful to them. Like I owe them something in return. The label 1972 has just reissued Vol. II as a gatefold triple LP. And I hope that Selected Ambient Works 85-92 will soon get an official reissue as well. It looks fantastic and sounds just as amazing as it did the first time I listened to it. I only ever had this album on CD. So it was exciting to hear it on vinyl for the first time. This album is tragic and heartbreaking and beautiful and dreamy all at the same time. I can't get enough of it. Aphex Twin went into some different directions throughout the rest of the 90s. Some of it I liked and some of it I did not like. But these albums will always be close to my heart and near the top of my list of my favorite albums of all time.