I definitely prefer the rap and hip-hop artists of the 80s and 90s to the ones we hear today. I regret not being more into the genre back then, because every time I spend a little time with what are now considered throwbacks, I love it.
A Tribe Called Quest released their second album, The Low End Theory, in 1991, to critical raves. The Queens-based trio took hip-hop in a new direction, introducing elements of jazz to their low-tempo sampled beats and call-and-response lyrics. It’s a great sound.
Massive Attack released its debut album, Blue Lines, in 1991, essentially inventing the trip hop genre. The British band’s music is a blend of hip-hop and electronica with a dash of soul. It’s quite an adventurous mix.
While this sort of music isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I totally see the appeal. Unlike heavy metal, exemplified by yesterday’s featured Metallica album, I find this interesting and ground-breaking and actually listenable.
After counting down my own favorite albums of 1991, I’ll now turn my attention to the years’ most celebrated and important releases that somehow escaped my radar.
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.
Today’s random selection is the third track from Al Green’s 1973 album Call Me. I’ll get around to 1973 in my Decades series pretty soon, and this album will definitely make an appearance.
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.
1991 was the year before I met my future wife, but my #2 album of that year earned its spot on this list mostly because of her.
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.