How Good Was The Year (in music) - 1991?

HGWTY leaves 1981 behind and turns the dial ten years forward to arrive at 1991, the year that grunge hit the mainstream and Bryan Adams topped the UK charts for 16 weeks for you, personally.

A reminder of the premise of the thread

After a number of days of posting and reminiscing, we’ll be rating the music of the year out of ten, based on the albums, singles, gigs, whatever that stand out for you that year, and voting for our favourite nominated albums and songs.

Everyone can nominate one album and one song from the year which will then be collated into side-polls two days before the thread closes - please make it clear when you post a nomination for the poll (as opposed to just posting clips or lists of songs and albums you like, which are very welcome).

Rank Year Rating Top Album Top Song
1 1997 8.60 Radiohead - OK Computer The Beta Band - Dry The Rain
2 1967 8.48 Love - Forever Changes Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Some Velvet Morning
3 1992 8.29 Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted Pulp - Babies
3 2013 8.29 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street
5 2019 8.14 Self Esteem - Compliments Please Big Thief - Not
6 2004 8.10 Madvillain - Madvillainy / Arcade Fire - Funeral The Walkmen - The Rat
7 1981 8.06 The Cure - Faith New Order - Ceremony
8 2014 7.69 FKA Twigs - LP1 FKA Twigs - Two Weeks
9 1970 7.61 Neil Young - After the Goldrush Curtis Mayfield - Move on Up
10 1976 7.47 David Bowie - Station to Station Bob Dylan - Hurricane
11 1986 7.42 Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle
12 2005 7.39 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Amerie - 1 Thing
13 1965 7.38 The Beatles - Rubber Soul Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)
14 2009 7.10 Fever Ray - Fever Ray Animal Collective - My Girls
15 1974 6.95 Neil Young - On The Beach Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - The Bottle
16 1985 6.53 Tom Waits - Rain Dogs Prince and the Revolution - Raspberry Beret
17 1961 5.16 John Coltrane - My Favourite Things Roy Orbison - Crying

1991 was the year the first website was published, the Gulf War was won by UN coalition forces, South Africa repealed apartheid laws, the Soviet Union was dissolved, $500m of paintings were stolen from the Van Gogh museum but found within the hour, and Alan Partridge made his debut, on On The Hour.

We said goodbye to Freddie Mercury, Miles Davis, Dr Seuss, Serge Gainsbourg, Graham Greene and Oona O’Neill and hello to Ed Sheeran, Tyler the Creator, Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Pixie Lott.

How good was the music?

You have until Sunday 15th May to nominate one album and one song which will then go into a poll along with a number rating poll for year overall out of 10, which will close on Tuesday 17th.

Some lists for inspiration:

Best Albums of 1991 : Best Ever Albums
Best albums of 1991 - Rate Your Music
100 Greatest Albums of 1991
NME's best albums and tracks of 1991
The 50 best albums from 1991 | Kerrang!
BBC - 19 albums that define 1991
100 Greatest Songs From 1991
The 30 best songs released in 1991

Nominations will be tallied here as the week goes on:

Album Nominations

Track Nominations

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Nominate Album: Slint - Spiderland

Absolute all timer for me. Love this album. Blows my mind they were still kids when they made it.


Nominate Album

Julian Cope - Peggy Suicide


Good year imo.

@hanshotfirst beat me to the punch for the one album I was going to nominate so will probably pick one later out of this lot:

R.E.M. - Out Of Time
Nirvana - Nevermind
Uncle Tupelo - Still Feel Gone
Metallica - s/t
Massive Attack - Blue Lines
Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque
Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Superchunk - No Pocky For Kitty
The Wedding Present - Seamonsters

and some others I reckon.


And Screamadelica, and Foxbase Alpha.

Definitely a vintage year


Nominate album: Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque

The big crunchy jangle, the harmonies, the matching haircuts and 90s shitty video production values are all present on what’s (probably) their best album. I just never get tired of the sound they nailed on this one.


May I shock you?

I dislike Screamadelica.

Theres a few others that might sneak in too but it looks like there’s a few absolute classics in 1991 but not a lot just outside that level really (for me personally).


Nominate album




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Always knew you were a good lad Funky :+1:

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I really don’t like Primal Scream.


I have liked a few tracks by them but considering theyve had a 30+ year career and I like less than 5 tracks thats hardly an endorsement.
Can’t get on with Screamadelica at all.

  • by like I mean “they’re okay
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Someone is going to need to nominate some of the big-hitters and that’s why I’m here:

Nominate song REM - Losing My Religion


Nominate album: Nirvana - Nevermind


This very nearly got my vote tbh


Nominate Track:


Good year imho. Lots of good ones already mentioned, plus:

Low end theory
0+2 = 1
Yerself is steam
Step in the arena
De la soul is dead
Apocalypse 91
Temple of the dog
Steady diet of nothing
8-way santa
Hate songs in e minor
The white room


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Gateway year for me really. Gradual transition from wonderstuff/carter/jesus jones/milltown brothers to nirvana/metallica/public enemy

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