Sometimes, one year can have so much good stuff that it may be considered the best by those who experienced it. I wasn’t alive in 1991, but its lineup sounds amazing. It brought us the three original Nicktoons, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and the Super Nintendo. In addition, it had an amazing musical lineup. New groups were put on the map, and established acts also had hit releases. Today, I’m going to count down my ten favorite songs from albums from 1991.
#10: “Yesterdays”- Guns N Roses
Guns N Roses have had plenty of memorable songs, and some of them can be found in both of their Use Your Illusion albums in 1991. The strongest of these is “Yesterdays,” with Slash’s powerful guitar and Axl Rose’s powerful vocals leading the way. It’s always nice when hard rock bands go softer for a song.
#9: “Black or White”- Michael Jackson
Honestly, Michael Jackson’s music speaks for itself, but I’ll try to describe this song regardless. Equality is something that needs to stick more than ever, and this song teaches that well. Its poignant message combined with the catchy guitar and Jackson’s amazing voice make for a great song. That music video was also pretty neat for 1991.
#8: “Check the Rhime”- A Tribe Called Quest
I like me some old school hip hop, and this song is just that. The horns combined with the beat and rapping create a very unique song for 1991. It’s catchy, and it’s fun. Two things I like in a song.
#7: “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver”- Primus
Les Claypool can sing and he can play one heck of a bass. Both of those things combined with the killer guitar and drumming create a song that I’d describe as tight. The lyrics are as silly as Primus can be, but honestly, who cares if the lyrics are a little dumb if you’re having fun listening to it.
#6: “Outshined”- Soundgarden
This song is pure grunge goodness. The sick guitar riff, Chris Cornell’s singing that never fails to disappoint, and everything else in this song are just great. It also has one of the catchiest choruses of any rock song I’ve ever heard. This song never has me feeling Minnesota, and it is the highlight of Badmotorfinger.
#5: “One”- U2
At the time Achtung Baby was being recorded, tensions between U2 were skyrocketing. There was even a possibility of the band breaking up. Lead singer Bono wrote this song to express his feelings on the tension. Thankfully, the band patched things up, because this song brought in a new era for the band. I love this song’s softness illustrated with The Edge’s riff and Bono’s excellent vocals. It’s poignant and it sticks with me.
#4: “Losing My Religion”- R.E.M.
Even if you’re not familiar with R.E.M., you’ve probably heard this song. Peter Buck’s mandolin is always pleasant to the ear, as is Michael Stipe’s passionate singing. It was an excellent evolution of the “jangle pop” sound they were known for prior to Out of Time.
#3: “Come As You Are”- Nirvana
You probably expected me to put “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on this list, but I prefer “Come As You Are.” I feel like it has a more memorable sound, and I feel it builds up better than “Teen Spirit.” It’s no secret that Kurt Cobain’s songwriting and guitar playing are masterful, and this song is no exception. In addition, Krist Novoselic’s bass and Dave Grohl’s drumming are also ace. Everything just comes together in this song brilliantly.
#2: “Under the Bridge”- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Lead singer Anthony Kiedis was feeling alienated from his bandmates while he was clean during the production of Blood Sugar Sex Magik. He expressed his feelings in a short poem entitled “Under the Bridge.” Producer Rick Rubin loved it, and he encouraged Kiedis to share it with the rest of the band. They dug it, and the song as we know it was created. John Frusciante’s iconic opening guitar sequence, Chad Smith’s excellent drumming in the climax, and Flea’s subtle bass all complement the lyrics’ heaviness perfectly. It’s easy to see how this song, combined with “Give it Away,” launched the Chili Peppers into super stardom.
#1: “Jeremy”- Pearl Jam
After singer Eddie Vedder saw a newspaper report on a school student committing suicide in a classroom, he wrote this song. In my opinion, it is the best song that Pearl Jam has ever recorded. The guitar, lyrics, singing, and everything else are just perfect. It also has one of the best climaxes of any song I’ve ever heard. Anyone who calls themselves a music fanatic needs to hear this song.
“Enter Sandman”- Metallica
“Down With the Bass”- fIREHOSE
“Hunger Strike”- Temple of the Dog
“A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays”- De La Soul
“Into the Great Wide Open”- Tom Petty
“Son of a Bitch”- Kyuss
“The Choice is Yours”- Black Sheep
Thanks for reading!