20 Years Later: The 15 Best Albums of 1991

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In last week's edition of our regular feature, The Conversation, Pete Freedman and Daniel Hopkins debated on whether 1991 or 1994 was the greatest music year of the '90s. It was an interesting read for sure.

And, since this week marks the 20th anniversary of the release of both Nevermind and The Low End Theory, we figured it fitting to put together a list of 1991's top 15 releases. Because whether you're on Team '91 or Team '94, it doesn't matter: '91 will still forever be considered one of the best years in music history.

After the jump, we prove once and for all just why it is and will forever be considered so damn great.

Innuendo - Queen

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The 14th full-length from the band was also the last released with singer Freddie Mercury, who died only ten months later. While not one of their biggest hits, the title track was the longest single Queen ever released (35 seconds longer than "Bohemian Rhapsody") and eventually helped the album move 11 million units.

Niggaz4life - N.W.A.

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Though the album suffered due to the departure of Ice Cube, Niggaz4life still featured Dr. Dre's groundbreaking production. As the controversial group continued their battles with the PMRC (the parental advisory folks) the album still managed to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and was instrumental in bringing gangsta rap into the mainstream.

Use Your Illusion I & II - Guns N' Roses

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GNR's third and fourth studio efforts, released months apart, are often viewed as the double album that allowed the band to really show off their versatility; the album features tinges of country, blues, prog, and classical. Spastic frontman Axl Rose even manages to stop snake-dancing long enough to sit down at the piano for several tracks.

Temple Of The Dog - Temple Of The Dog

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Though it didn't blow up until the 1992 reissue, the project featuring Soundgarden members Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron (who would also later drum for Pearl Jam) and future Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready,and Eddie Vedder was first released in April 1991. Only after Pearl Jam's Ten and Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger dropped later in the fall did folks truly grasp the magnitude of the collaboration.

Naughty by Nature - Naughty by Nature

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While the '80s were welcomed in with the question "Who shot JR?," the '90s officially began with us wondering not only just what was an O.P.P. was, but fearing we just might be one. Other people's pussy? Other people's property? We're still not 100 percent sure, but time has proven Naughty by Nature's self-titled second album to be one of the best rap albums of all time, fueled largely on the strength of one of the greatest rap singles of all time.

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34 comments
Bethwinermanagement
Bethwinermanagement

Also check out 1991 release from  Urge Overkill's  "The Supersonic StoryBook" on Touch and Go Records, in the Top 20 of 2011 from Spin Magazine.Dallas, thanks for the love on their 2011 action -  "Rock&Roll Submarine" - great new album!

Berniemccool
Berniemccool

Use your illusion I & II were released on the same day

Matt
Matt

Talk Talk - Laughing Stock

Terrence Persaud
Terrence Persaud

Dude, not bad.

However, you chose to put NWA's worst album over Geto Boys classic that helped jump start the Southern Hip Hop movement.  WTF!

This must be a Dallas vs. Houston thing or something.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Man what a time to grow up ! Im very thankful to be born in 1974 and have the right amount of angst to come online at just the right time

Hard to believe it was all in one year, there has to be a few hundred million albums on that list

Milwaukee tools
Milwaukee tools

God I HATE Sandman. At first watching people jamming out hard to it was amusing but the years stuck listening to clearchannel "The Eagle" playing it again and again more then trashed even that.

What a stupid-ass horrible song.

Electronic Cigarette
Electronic Cigarette

God I HATE Sandman. At first watching people jamming out hard to it was amusing but the years stuck listening to clearchannel "The Eagle" playing it again and again more then trashed even that.

Sncyth
Sncyth

The Mainstream Approved Top Albums of 1991 sure...but not the best albums of 1991.  I figured the DO would be a bit more adventurous than every other publication, but this list is a snooze.  

Sam M.
Sam M.

Not sure what's worse--that you got the release info wrong about the Use Your Illusion albums (they released on the same day, and were the only two albums by one artist to ever debut as 1 & 2 on the charts the same week), or that you PUT THEM ON THE LIST. But, then, the latter is the whole linkbait appeal of these lists, so I'll just stick with complaint #1.

primi timpano
primi timpano

Bob Dylan's phenomenal Bootleg Series was issued in 1991, Also Primal Scream's Screamadelica.

Aaron White
Aaron White

what an spine-chilling nightmare of a year of music to highlight. just gives me the willies. fuck.

Sybils_Beaver
Sybils_Beaver

man that was a great year of music, I was in middle school, but I could still listen to everyone of those albums from fron to back.  Maintstream music just sucks these days

Steve
Steve

Neil Young:  WELD.

Sure it's a live album, but it kicks the shit out of everything on this "list."

Matt
Matt

No Geto Boys - "We Can't Be Stopped" ?

brooks & bungle
brooks & bungle

blue lines,de la soul is dead,green mind & the reality of my surroundings

Jasun Lee
Jasun Lee

Slint - SpiderlandFugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing

Rhynog33
Rhynog33

GREAT list. Except that Michael Jackson is rated higher than Pearl Jam.

nipper
nipper

the DO? "more adventurous?? you must be joking..

nipper
nipper

oh, will you??? my, how terribly interesting... and they forgot blur's debut... 

Boxtop
Boxtop

haha my thoughts exactly, wasn't there anything else that period ? Because I think I would puke if this is all I had to listen to. to be fair I will go back and listen to all of these ,but I'll keep the bucket handy . I do agree with Johnny Rotten U2 should go away.............'holds up shield to deflect hate from keyboard commando fanboys' .......

Sean Dove
Sean Dove

Great picks.

Also:Drive Like Jehu - s/tSuperchunk - No Pocky For KittySoundgarden - BadmotorfingerJesus Lizard - GoatTeenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque

Noah W. Bailey
Noah W. Bailey

Sorry dude--had to make room for Dangerous. You gotta be kidding me.

Bill Hicks' Brain
Bill Hicks' Brain

I know... I can't believe they didn't put "Badmotorfinger" on the list. It would have also been nice to see R.E.M.'s "Out Of Time"

Cory
Cory

Badmotorfinger IS on the list...

Jasun Lee
Jasun Lee

eh. i don't have a problem with this list in the least. i love dangerous. i was just tossing in a couple of my faves. 

Cory
Cory

 But come on, MJ would still be higher than Pearl Jam though, right?

nipper
nipper

yeah.. sure you were...

Pete Freedman
Pete Freedman

I assumed it wasn't in particular order. Did you write it that way? Related: Is this Cory Graves?

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