My top 50 alternative songs of 1991...Three Strange Days

Posted by Brad Schelden, September 10, 2020 04:50pm | Post a Comment

Top 50 Alternative Songs of 1991...Part II #31-40

I am counting down my top 50 favorite alternative songs of the 90s! This is part two of five parts for 1991. In case you missed the last entry you can find it here. Come join me as I continue my journey through the greatest decade in alternative music.

nitzer ebb

#40 Nitzer Ebb "I Give To You" (Mute)

I got to see Nitzer Ebb and Electronic open up for Depeche Mode at Dodger Stadium in 1990. It was my first big concert and one of my favorite memories. I had seen a Nitzer Ebb sticker on a fellow students car. But I had not really listened to them. I was super into them at the show and became a fan of "Join in the Chant" & "Hearts & Minds." Ebbhead came out in 1991 and featured "I Give To You" & "Godhead." I thought these guys were the coolest. Industrial bands were always obessed with machinery and leather and they always seem to feature shirtless dudes rolling around on wet concrete in their videos. I was a fan. I loved this video and was hooked on danceable industrial music. It was speaking to my angsty self brewing inside of me.

ministry jesus built my hotrod

#39 Ministry "Jesus Built My Hotrod" (Sire)

I was really obsessed with the Ministry synth pop album With Sympathy from 1983. That album still stands up over time. But this band changed their sound more than any other band I liked at the time. However I still did love some of their songs over the year. "Jesus Built My Hotrod" was the first single from the album Psalm 69. This song was crazy and unlike anything I had ever heard before. It was like a rockabilly industrial mash up and I was hooked. Sometimes a song just speaks to you and you get obsessed and you can't really explain it. This song was for sure one of their most popular and also had a great video. Videos were still so important in the early 90s and this one for sure got me hooked on this song.

fishbone sunless saturday

#38 Fishbone "Sunless Saturday" (Columbia)

Fishbone were just one of those Los Angeles bands like Jane's Addiction that I feel like you just couldn't avoid if you lived down here in the late 80s and early 90s. You would just hear these songs on the radio, blasting out of people's cars or at house parties. I always loved this song from their third album The Reality Of My Surroundings. I didn't really think about their genre at the time. I just liked this band and this song. But they were awesome for combining so many genres and creating their own unique sound. A fusion of ska, funk, metal, punk & rock. And this song had another great video!

curve coast is clear

#37 Curve "Coast Is Clear" (Anxious Records)

Curve released three singles in 1991 before their debut album the following year. Doppelgänger is still one of my favorites of the decade and was often in my disc changer. "Frozen/Coast Is Clear" was the second single from this super cool British band. I would go on to love Toni Halliday and Curve throughout most of the 90s. They were another of my favorite alternative shoegaze bands. They were a sort of goth electronic shoegaze band and all my goth friends loved them. Their songs were super dark and sensual and totally captured a great moment in time for music.



#36 Dramarama "Haven't Got A Clue" (Chameleon Records)

Dramarama released their fourth album Vinyl in 1991. Their first album from 1986 featured the song "Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)." This song was everywere that year and KROQ played it like 10 times a day. The song was also featured in Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. "Haven't Got A Clue" was a bit like an alternative country song. The video even featured Rodney Bingenheimer as probably a thank you for helping them get popular. They reminded me of bands like Cracker and Soul Asylum. This song captures another specific sound of the early 90s and takes me right back to that time.

alison moyet

#35 Alison Moyet "It Won't Be Long" (Columbia)

I still remember the first time my cousin played Yaz for me in her car. Upstairs at Eric's had just come out earlier that year but I had never heard the album. I was obsessed from that day forward. She had one of those deep and powerful voices that was always instantly recognizable. She has had a long solo career after only two Yaz albums. I was too young to see them in the 80s. But I got to see her and Vince Clark reunited a couple of years ago and it was fantastic. Hoodoo was her third solo album and one of my favorites. I love "It Won't Be Long" and "This House." The B-side of this single was "Mr Right a.R.M." And that actually might be my favorite of her solo songs. She moved away from her synth pop roots a bit but remained a unique and fascinationg artist.

field mice

#34 The Field Mice "September's Not So Far Away" (Sarah Records)

Indie Music had been around for a while already. But I didn't really hear the term until the early to mid 90s. Alternative music sort of became mainstream and Indie music really became a thing in the next couple of years. Bands like The Field Mice and the label Sarah Records were the first time I remember hearing "Indie Music." I only later discovered the C86 comp and all the British indie music of the late 80s. I had really been listening to major label alternative music only up until this point. This band's third album For Keeps came out in 1991. But they put out many great singles over the year including this one. Robert Wratten's voice is something I fell in love with immediatley. A pefect band that only lasted a couple of years.

blueboy clearer

#33 Blueboy "Clearer" (Sarah Records)

Blueboy were probably my favorite band on Sarah Records. They came a bit later than The Field Mice and had three amazing albums between 1992 and 1998. "Clearer" was their first single in 1991. These guys are completely hearbreaking. I get so emotional as soon as I start listening to them. I really just want to escape into their albums and live there forever. They somehow combine a melancholy aching sadness with some of the most beautifully arranged songs I have ever heard. They have a cool 60s British feeling to them but are also so very early 90s British indie. The singer passed away in 2007. But they have always remained one of my all time favorites.

school of fish

#32 School Of Fish "Three Strange Days" (Capitol)

This song was a KROQ staple of the early 90s. I actually remember being in the car with my mom when I heard it for the first time. I still remember that feeling of hearing a song for the first time and getting hooked. Sometimes it took me months to find out who the band was. I had to wait until the DJ finally called out the band name. Sometimes I would ask a friend if they knew the song. This was one of those songs. I never knew much about these guys. They were another LA alternative band. The singer passed away in 1999. But this song has always stuck with me over the years. I love going back to it. Takes me right back to that feeling of falling in love with a song on that first listen.

kristy maccoll

#31 Kirsty MacColl "Walking Down Madison" (Virgin)

Kirsty MacColl was a back up singer with many of my favorite artists over they years. She sang on The Smiths song "Ask." She dueted with Shane MacGowan on The Pogues song "Fairytale of New York." And she wrote and orginally recorded the song "They Don't Know About Us." Made famous years later by Tracy Ullman. Her third solo album Electric Landlady was released in 1991 and featured the single "Walking Down Madison." The song was cowritten by Johnny Marr of The Smiths! It's a great song and was a different more modern direction for her. It featured dance beats and hip hop vocals. It really worked great with her vocals and become one of her most popular songs. Kirsty died in a tragic boat accident in 2000.