Kicking things off is Metallica’s self-titled fifth studio album, often referred to as The Black Album. This record is considered one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time, and is one of the best-selling albums of all time. In fact, only Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Carole King’s Tapestry have spent more weeks on the Billboard 200.
I was shocked to discover that, before today, not once in nearly 4,000 Songs of the Day have I featured The Animals. It’s not that they’re a favorite of mine, but you’d think through years of Random Weekends and the fact that they do have a handful of very special songs, they would have made the cut at least once.
‘I’m Crying’ was a top ten hit for the British band in both the U.K. and Canada, and a top 20 hit in the U.S. It was their second U.S. hit after ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ reached #1 earlier the same year.
One interesting aspect of this soul classic is that two of its nine tracks started as country tunes: Hank Williams’ ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ and Willie Nelson’s ‘Funny How Time Slips Away.’
Funny how opinions change over time. I’ve written about R.E.M.’s Out of Time a few times before but never in a very positive light. In posts eight and nine years ago I described it as one of the band’s weakest efforts.
Yet here I am in 2019, naming it as my #1 album of 1991. And it wasn’t even a tough decision.
Both Alexandra and I were fans of Toad the Wet Sprocket’s album Fear when we met, and it became a bonding element for us. It’s funny that she and I have very little musical overlap in general but managed to find a few artists who meant a whole lot to both of us. Although I probably would have faked liking these guys if it meant spending more time with her.
My #3 album of 1991 is admittedly a bit of a cheat, as most of its songs were recorded decades earlier. But Bob Dylan’s The Bootleg Series, Vol 1-3: Rare & Unreleased 1961-1991 marked the first time most of these outtakes and demos were officially released.
This three-disc set covered Dylan’s earliest years up through his spotty 80s output, and found hidden gems throughout. Incredible songs inexplicably left off of mediocre albums, alternate takes of all-time classics, demos recorded before anybody knew the name Bob Dylan.
Ranking this one was tough. I had to balance the warm bath of nostalgia with the sobering effects of time, then sprinkle in a dash of ‘one amazing song lifting up a whole album.’ Given all that, fourth place feels about right.