In one of those moments of sublime serendipity, the Random iTunes Fairy has offered up an Aimee Mann track exactly one week after the last random Aimee Mann track. You won’t hear me complaining.
In fact, back before Random Weekends, when I dedicated weekend posts to specific artists (The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello, among others), Aimee Mann was one of the artists I considered. At the time I was looking for artists with voluminous discographies and hers was a little on the lean side, but she easily could have carried several months’ worth of posts.
My second Michael Jackson post in a little over a week, this one comes from Jackson’s classic 1979 album Off the Wall, arguably his overall best release.
Written by Tom Bahler, ‘She’s Out of My Life’ became the fourth top ten single from Off the Wall. Producer Quincy Jones originally intended to give the song to Frank Sinatra but he wanted to see what Jackson could do with a mature ballad. Jackson famously couldn’t help but tear up during the song’s final lines, and you can hear his voice cracking on the final version.
My #6 album of 1991 is the female counterpart to yesterday’s selection of Marc Cohn’s debut album. As with that record, I haven’t spent a lot of time listening to Bonnie Raitt’s Luck of the Draw over the years, but there’s no denying its greatness.
Raitt has such a great voice and sound that you can listen to her singing anything and come away satisfied. One of my co-workers tunes her Alexa to the Bonnie Raitt station every time it rains, and I totally get why.
My #7 album of 1991 is the debut of Cleveland-born singer-songwriter Marc Cohn.
This is a bit of a left-field pick for me because I haven’t given Cohn’s album much thought since it came out. But scanning my music library’s 1991 titles for this week’s posts, I was struck by the greatness of this album. It’s a gorgeous collection of poetic piano balladry.
My #8 album of 1991 belongs to the late, great Tom Petty, recording as he so often did, with The Heartbreakers.
Into the Great Wide Open was the follow-up to 1989’s Full Moon Fever, and can’t help but pale in comparison to that all-time classic. But this is still a very good collection in the same smart Byrds-ian pop-rock vein as its predecessor.
Morrissey kicked off a successful solo career following the disbanding of The Smiths in 1987. He has released 11 albums in the three decades since, though the most interesting output came during the late 80s through mid 90s.
For my money, his best solo albums are his 1988 debut, Viva Hate, and his third album, 1992’s Your Arsenal, easily his best work. Sandwiched between them was 1991’s Kill Uncle, an oddly endearing record that I rank as my #9 album of 1991.
Continuing my look at the year 1991 in music, I’ll now count down my personal top ten albums of that year.
At #10 is U2’s Achtung Baby, the band’s seventh studio album and the first proper follow-up (setting aside the soundtrack album Rattle and Hum) to 1987’s classic The Joshua Tree.
Achtung Baby was a massive hit, with 18 million copies sold worldwide, second only to The Joshua Tree among their discography.