My top 50 alternative songs of 1991...There's No Other Way

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 16, 2020 04:40pm | Post a Comment

Top 50 Alternative Songs of 1991...Part V #1-10

I am counting down my top 50 favorite alternative songs of the 90s! This is the final part of 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.

there's no other way

#10 Blur "There's No Other Way" (Food)

Blur seemed to come out of nowhere and into my life like something I never knew that I needed. "She's So High" had come out in 1990 but this was really the song that made me a super fan for life. I listened to this song a lot during the 90s and I never got sick of it. That perfect chorus was sassy and so British and everything I loved. The song really had me hooked. This was the second single from their debut album Leisure released this year. I wasn't full on into britpop until it really took over in the next couple of years but it all started with Blur. And you never forget your first love. I really always wanted to look like Graham and Damon and they had the best hair.

star sign

#9 Teenage Fanclub "Star Sign" (Creation)

Can we just talk about how great this song is. A true gem of power pop greatness. Teenage Fanclub had already been around a couple of years but 1991 and this song was when I found out about them. Bandwagonesque was released in 1991. And it is just one of those classic perfect albums. "The Concept" was another great single from this album. I first heard "Star Sign'" on a mix tape that a friend of a friend had made and I had made a copy of. The song has a shoegaze band sort of video. I love the intro to this song. I love listening to this song over and over again. 1991 was just a magical year and this was one of the reasons why.


catherine wheel black metallic

#8 Catherine Wheel "Black Metallic" (Fontana)

My top ten songs of 1991 are all ridiculously good. That is of course just my opinion. But I really do think that this year was one of the best for music. So many of my favorite bands just getting their start and putting out some of the best music of their career. Catherine Wheel is one of those bands that I can't imagine my life without. I was obsessed with their debut album Ferment that would come out in 1992. But also their second album Chrome from 1994. But it all started with "Black Metallic" in 1991. I had the video taped off of 120 minutes and I watched it so many times. Probably one of my most listened to songs of all time. They fit into the shoegaze genre. But were like a British grunge band into shoegaze.

chapterhouse pearl

#7 Chapterhouse "Pearl" (Dedicated)

This is yet another one of those songs that I was obsessed with after the first time I heard it. A perfect shoegaze classic from their debut album Whirpool. "Pearl" uses the same drum beat as "Kiss Them For Me" by Siouxsie & The Banshees released the same year. I always thought it was a sample but it is just a progammed synthesizer drum beat.  I can remember so many moments in my life over the years listening to this song on my headphones. I would just go back to this song over and over. The song features the vocals of Rachel Goswell of Slowdive. I was destined to love this song! This song was sort of a big deal and I think everyone I know loved this song.

lush for love

#6 Lush "For Love" (4AD)

Lush were another of my favorite bands of the 90s. They had already put out a couple EPs and their debut compilation album Gala. But we got the For Love & Black Spring EPs in 1991 followed by the excellent album Spooky in 1992. I loved that entire album but this was alway my go to song and the first single from the album. If you love shoegaze you most likely love Lush and this song. Another perfect song of 1991. Lush wrote super catchy and absolutley beautiful songs. Miki had that perfect ethereal voice. 4AD was always the right label for them. Their album art was always so great. I loved everythign about this band.

slowdive catch the breeze

#5 Slowdive "Catch The Breeze" (Creation)

Figuring out the order of my final 10 songs of 1991 was not easy. They are all my favorites and could have easily been in a different order. Slowdive released their third EP in 1991 and also their debut album Just For A Day. I am not sure the world was ready for Slowdive in 1991. But I was so into this band from the moment I heard them. So many classics of the shoegaze genre were released in 1991. These were it's best years for sure. This album is the dreamiest of all abums and I spent many a night falling asleep to it. I really do love every song on this album. I can't recommend this band enough. Their first two albums are two of my favorties and I revisit them often.

higher than the sun

#4 Primal Scream "Higher Than The Sun" (Creation)

These final 10 songs of 1991 are really some of my favorite of all time. Like if I could only keep a couple of albums for the rest of my life these would all be the ones I would keep first. I can't remember exactly where I was when I first heard this song. But I do know I loved it since the first time I heard it. Screamadelica was their third album and featured this brilliant song. "Loaded" and "Come Together" were released in 1990 so I was already a fun. But this song was the one that really did it for me. It was one of those songs like nothing I had ever heard before. Dreamy, psychedelic and dancey. Primal Scream would go on to create many great songs after this but it was never really this perfect ever again.

my bloody valentine only shallow

#3 My Bloody Valentine "Only Shallow" (Sire)

My Bloody Valentine was already years ahead of their contemporaries. They had released Isn't Anything in 1988 and basically invented the shoegaze genre. They released Loveless in 1991 and changed many of our lives forever. I only first got into the band with this album and then went back and fell in love with Isn't Anything as well. Loveless is for sure one of the best albums of all time and this single is one of its greatest songs. It was the first song on the album and the only thing resembling a single. Another dreamy classic full of fuzzy guitars and mumbled lyrics. I love it and I love this band. They are not for everyone. But those of us that love them absolutely love them more than anything.

nirvana come as you are

#2 Nirvana "Come As You Are" (Geffen)

Many of my favorite bands of the 90s got their start at the very end of the 80s. Nirvana released Bleach in 1989. But I am not really sure I heard Bleach until a bit later. Nirvana blew up in 1991 and 1992. They released "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as the first single from their second album Nevermind. "Come As You Are" was the second single but it was always my favorite. 1990 and 1991 were the years I learend to love music other than new wave. Grunge, shoegaze and british indie took over my life in theses years. It was really hard to resist Nirvana. They were everywhere but I was a fan for life and will never forget how important they were to me in these years.

ride vapour trail

#1 Ride "Vapour Trail" (Sire)

Ride released their debut album Nowhere at the end of 1990. I was already a fan of them from the previous year. But "Vapour Trail" was the song that really made them the important band that they became. There are a lot of perfect shoegaze albums of 1991 but Nowhere was at the top of the list. This spot could have easily been taken by My Bloody Valentine. But Ride just made the most sense for me. Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the release of Nowhere! I can't really explain exactly why I like this band so much. It just is what it is. You either love them or you don't. I was just so happy to grow up in this era of music and live through it at the impressionable years of my late teens.