With the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind just around the corner, the mythology machine has been kicked into high gear, churning out oral histories, round-table retrospectives and vault-clearing reissues with a force comparable to the opening riff of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
And justifiably so; after all, Nevermind was the album that changed everything, bringing the underground to the forefront and making an unwilling icon out of Kurt Cobain (also, it was the reason the Melvins got signed to Atlantic). Twenty years after its release, we’re still trying to come to grips with its influence, a fact that’s just about as telling as any oral history could ever be.
Of course, we’ve been talking about the anniversary for a while here in the MTV Newsroom (there were meetings and everything). And a funny thing kept happening during all those discussions; we couldn’t help but reminisce about just how amazing that era of rock and roll was … and, in particular, the epochal year of 1991: the last time rock truly rocked.
To wit, last week, we rolled out a series of pieces that shone a light on some of the other iconic albums released that year, a list that includes everything from Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion I + II and Metallica’s Black album to Pearl Jam’s Ten and Dinosaur Jr.’s Green Mind. In short, it was the kind of year that probably comes around once in a generation … and 20 years later, we’re still waiting for the sequel.
And now, as we get set for our own tribute to Nevermind (it’ll kick off next week), we figured it was time to put all this 1991 talk to bed … by determining just what is the greatest album of rock’s last great year. And we’re going to let you decide the winner.
But first, let’s take a look at the 10 albums we’ve selected from 1991: the year rock truly rocked.
Guns N’ Roses, Use Your Illusion I + II
Metallica, The Black Album
My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
Pearl Jam, Ten
Primal Scream, Screamadelica
R.E.M.., Out Of Time
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blood Sugar Sex Magik
U2, Achtung Baby
See, classics across the board … but, which reigns supreme? Vote now!
Polls close Wednesday, Sept. 21 at noon! Vote now. Vote often!