It's been exactly 20 years since 1991 and here are a list of the 8 Best Albums that were released that year. This list is organized by order of release date (earliest to latest).
Out of Time
Released by R.E.M. in March 1991 by Warner Brothers Records.
It was produced by Scott Litt and R.E.M. and recorded between September and October 1990 at various studios.
It won 3 Grammy Awards: Best Alternative Music Album, Best Music Video ("Losing My Religion") and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group ("Losing My Religion").
It had some really great songs on it although the mere inclusion of the song "Shiny Happy People" nearly knocked this one off of my list entirely.
Singles from the album included "Losing My Religion" "Shiny Happy People" "Near Wild Heaven" and "Radio Song" although my personal favorite on the album is "Texarkana."
It hit #1 on the Billboard 200 and the UK Album Charts and has sold over 4 million copies in the United States alone.
Why Do Birds Sing?
Released by the Violent Femmes in April 1991 by Reprise Records.
It was produced by Violent Femmes and Michael Beinhorn and recorded in 1990.
It included tracks such as "American Music" "Out the Window" and a really good cover of Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?"
"American Music" was the only single from the album and my favorite track from the album.
The album reached #141 on the Billboard 200.
Released by Pearl Jam in August 1991 by Epic Records.
It was recorded between March and April 1991 at London Bridge Studios in Seattle, WA and produced by Rick Parashar and Pearl Jam.
Singles from the included "Alive" "Even Flow" "Jeremy" and "Oceans."
My personal favorite on the album is the song "Black."
It reached #2 on the Billboard 200 and has showed up on several best of lists such as:
#15 on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time.
#207 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#33 on Spin Magazine's Top 90 Albums of the 90s.
#83 on VH1's 100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll.
Trompe Le Monde
Released by the Pixies in September 1991 by 4AD Records.
It was produced by Gil Norton and recorded in 1991 at several studios.
It reached #92 on the Billboard 200 and #7 on the UK Albums Chart.
It produced 2 singles, "Letter to Memphis" and "Head On."
I don't have 1 personal favorite but the highlights of the album in my opinion are "Planet of Sound" "Alec Eiffel" "Letter to Memphis" "Subbacultcha" and "Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons."
Released by Nirvana in September 1991 by DGC Records.
It was produced by Butch Vig and recorded between May and June 1991 at several studios (none of which were in the Seattle area just in case you were wondering).
Honestly, this album barely made this list. Out of all of the albums that Nirvana released, this is probably their weakest one. Quite frankly, the only reason this album really made this list was because of its impact on the music industry when it was released.
Singles that this album produced were "Smells Like Teen Spirit" "Come As You Are" "Lithium" and "In Bloom."
It reached #1 on the Billboard 200, #7 on the UK Albums Chart,
If I was going to pick a favorite on the album it would either be "Something in the Way" or "Breed."
It has also shown up on several best of lists including:
#1 on Spin's 90 Greatest Albums of the 90s (although I would probably disagree with this ranking).
#1 on Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Albums of the 90s.
#2 on VH1's Top 100 Albums.
#3 on Spin's 100 Greatest Albums.
#17 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Released by Soundgarden in October 1991 by A&M Records.
It was produced by Terry Date and Soundgarden and recorded in 1991 mostly at Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, WA (just outside Seattle). Some of the recorded was also done at a couple of studios in Los Angeles.
Singles from this album include "Room a Thousand Years Wide" "Jesus Christ Pose" "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage."
My favorites on the album (because I honestly can't pick one favorite) are "Rusty Cage" "Jesus Christ Pose" "Somewhere" and "Holy Water."
Probably not my favorite Soundgarden album but definitely a great album. Personally, I think out of all of the "Seattle" bands, Soundgarden was the best one.
This album reached #39 on the Billboard 200 and #39 on the UK Albums Chart.
Just like Pearl Jam's Ten and Nirvana's Nevermind, this album also showed up on a few best of lists:
#45 on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time.
#25 on Kerrang's 100 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Released by U2 in November 1991 by Island Records.
It was produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno and recorded primarily at Windmill Studios in Dublin along with a few other studios between October 1990 and Septmber 1991.
Singles from the album were "The Fly" "Mysterious Ways" "One" "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses."
My personal favorites on the album are "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Mysterious Ways."
It reached #1 on the Billboard 200 but only #2 on the UK Albums Chart (weird).
Released in November 1991 by Epitaph Records.
It was a compilation album produced by Bad Religion.
This album actually almost did not make the list based on the fact that it is a compilation album and generally I do not include compilation albums on these types of lists but this specific compilation could not be left out. I mean, it was released in 1991 and it was a really great freaking album so why not?
It includes the entirety of the 1982 album How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, the entire Bad Religion ep which was originally released in 1981 and the entire Back to the Known ep which was originally released in 1985.
It also includes some tracks from a 1981 compilation called Public Service.
The best tracks on this album are "We're Only Gonna Die" "F**k Armageddon...This is Hell" "Yesterday" and "Along the Way."
My personal favorite overall on the album is "Along the Way" which was originally released on the Back to the Known ep.
This album should have been on this list. I can't believe I forgot this one. I was reminded after reading Dave's version of this same post. Anyway, this album definitely belongs on a Best of 1991 list so I am replacing Bad Religion's 80-85 with this one.
Released in by Screeching Weasel by Lookout! Records, it was produced by Andy Ernst and Larry Livermore.
What a great album this was! It included some really awesome songs like "Making You Cry" "Guest List" "Vernoica Hates Me" "The Science of Myth" "and "My Brain Hurts." This is probably Screeching Weasel's best selling album. It was re-released in 2009 on vinyl by Recess Records and a version of the album was covered in its entirety by John Cougar Concentration Camp in 2008.