tender age baby jails
20 faves #18: hüsker dü, new day rising

music friday: 1991

Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". I saw Pink perform this song earlier this year. She did a very straightforward version, which only shows that the original is already perfect.

The Geto Boys, "Mind Playing Tricks on Me". As important to rap music as "Teen Spirit" was to grunge.

Bonnie Raitt, "I Can't Make You Love Me". 1989's Nick of Time was supposedly her comeback, and it did indeed reach #1 and win a lot of Grammys. But Luck of the Draw was a much better album.

The Feelies, "Sooner or Later". I preferred their previous album, Only Life, but I saw them in 1991 (second time, first being in '89), so they're just fine right here.

A Tribe Called Quest, "Scenario". Ladies and gentlemen, Busta Rhymes.

Saint Etienne, "Nothing Can Stop Us". I'm not entirely sure how two songs from the same album ended up on two different Music Friday lists, but whatever. This was their first release with Sarah Cracknell.

fIREHOSE, "Flyin' the Flannel". They headlined that 1991 show with The Feelies. I think the wrong band was headlining.

Naughty by Nature, "O.P.P.". Even with all of the other great songs from his year (including a few on this list), I'm not sure any record puts us right back in 1991 better than this one.

Eg & Alice, "Indian". Confession: I've never heard of these folks.

My Bloody Valentine, "Only Shallow". If we're to believe Christgau, this was an almost-great band. His grades for their first four albums (one an EP): A- A- A- A-.

Spotify playlist ... a couple of songs weren't available, so I added two surprises. 


Charlie Bertsch

1991 was a really good year. And this is a great list. And My Bloody Valentine was a great band. There was an exchange in The Village Voice about them back then -- not involving Mr. X-gau -- in which Greg Tate expressed very eloquently that hip-hop needed to learn from My Bloody Valentine.

Steven Rubio

It seems weird to me that it took My Bloody Valentine another 22 years to release another album.


In 1991 I was elected to this student government position in college making me responsible for throwing the official parties and music events with student government funds. I was usually fed bands by the president, who was in a band himself. My first solo organizing gig was fIREHOSE. I didn't know anything about punk, had never heard of the Minutemen, knew nothing about Mike Watt. I got to meet them all, of course, and then was there for the show. We had maybe 40-50 people show up with room for 100 but for fuck's sake they played for those 40. Hard. My most enduring memory is while in a song Mike Watt broke a string on his bass and he restrung it while still more or less playing his part.

Steven Rubio

Mike Watt is a legend amongst bass players. I didn't dislike fIREHOSE, but I loved The Feelies.

Charlie Bertsch

There's a whole crazy story about why MBV imploded. Some argue that they took down the entire Creation Records label. I'm happy that they came back to do shows, but the "album" was a major disappointment. Loveless, however, is a masterpiece.

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