NME.COM

Spirit of '91 - 20 great albums released 20 years ago

  • 1991 was a vintage year for rock music. So to celebrate we've done a gallery of our favourite albums from those 12 months. Who: Nirvana What: 'Nevermind' Why?: A seminal grunge-pop album that smashed rock in the face and made everyone sit up and take notice.

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    Added: 18 Jan 2011

  • Who: Primal Scream What: 'Screamadelica' Why?: Where rock met acid house and rave hands exploded into the mainstream.

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    Added: 31 Jan 2011

  • Who: The Jesus Lizard What: 'Goat' Why?: Stripped back, produced by Steve Albini and described by one reviewer as "a party in hell".

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Ice Cube What: 'Death Certificate' Why?: Mad, bad and dangerous. Cube continued the bleak rage of NWA and did it in fine, million selling form.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Massive Attack What: 'Blue Lines' Why?: The Bristol collective simultaneously changed the face of mainstream British music and created something timeless in 'Unfinished Sympathy'.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Metallica What: 'Metallica' Why?: Immediate and melodic and immediate, Metallica saw in the new decade by stripping back their sound and creating something universal at the same time.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who:My Bloody Valentine What: 'Loveless' Why?: Two years in the making and almost bankrupting Creation in the process, 'Loveless' was their masterpiece both voluptuous yet ethereal.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who:U2 What 'Achtung Baby' Why?: Reinvented via melodic distortion, an almost unrecognisable new 'U2' was emotionally open as they were anthemic.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who:A Tribe Called Quest What: 'The Low End Theory' Why?: A key album in the alt. hip hop scene that put jazz and hip hop in touching distance to each other.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Throwing Muses What: 'The Real Ramona' Why? Their surrealism was matched by their wicked pop sensibilies, catchy as it was manic.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: The Orb What: 'The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Underworld' Why? It became the defining soundtrack to the ambient house scene. Clever samples met synths nestled in a hazy glow, the highlight of which was 'Little Fluffy Clouds'.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Talk Talk What: 'Laughing Stock' Why? Complex with nods to modern jazz, its influence today (hello Wild Beasts!) cannot be under-estimated with its steering of the delicately intense waters.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Smashing Pumpkins What: 'Gish' Why? Pre-dating 'Nevermind' by a few months, Corgan and co mixed metal riffs with confessional lyrics. It was devestating on tracks like 'I Am One' and 'Rhinoceros' and heralded where grunge would go next.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Slint What: 'Spiderland' Why?: Scary and lurching, this post-rock essential also primed the 'quiet/loud' dynamic for the coming decade.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Sebadoh What: '111' Why? Lo-fi finery before Pavement, this contained naive melodies aplenty with Lou Barlow, Eric Gaffney, and Jason Loewenstein all jostling for emo-indie pole position.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Red Hot Chilli Peppers What: 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' Why? Rick Rubin got RHCP's machismo to blend with their more gentle sides, the result was an album that would define their career.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who:Public Enemy What: 'Apocalypse 91' Why? Relentlessly dark, they dropped the more urban side for more rock-hip hop sounds and the result was harder and faster than anything they'd done before.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Prince & The New Power Generation What: 'Diamonds And Pearls' Why? Prince started the new decade with a new backing band and a funky, jazzy hip hop referencing sound. It was also his most determinedly pop for years.

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011

  • Who: Pixies What: 'Trompe Le Monde' Why? A crushing, rocktacular goodbye from the increasingly tense quartet. Also contained one of their loveliest tunes ('Motorway To Roswell').

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    Added: 14 Jul 2011