The Music of ’91

During these past few months, there’s been a flurry of 90’s music reissues. Nirvana released the 20th anniversary, box set edition of their revolutionary album Nevermind. Pearl Jam released Twenty, a book and a documentary film, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Ten. Just a week ago, U2 re-released their album Acthung Baby (my first U2 album). So, lately, it’s been easy for me to feel nostalgic for my youth.

Then, I realized that these reissues have one thing in common: they were released in 1991 and the first albums that I’ve owned.

Coincidentally, a trip further down the memory lane and with the help of Wikipedia, I also found out that all of my first ten albums were actually released in 1991. Here’s the lot of them, in order:

1. and 2. Use Your Illusion I & II by Guns N’ Roses

I bought these two albums in December of ’92, using the money given to me as gifts by my aunts, uncles, godparents and grandparents on Christmas. I wanted to buy Appetite of Destruction at that time, but the store was out. So, I settled on these two. While Appetite of Destruction is still my favorite GNR album, Use Your Illusions opened my world to rock music.


“November Rain” (Use Your Illusion I) by Guns N’ Roses

“Civil War” (Use Your Illusion II) by Guns N’ Roses

3. Metallica (aka The Black Album) by Metallica

The Black Album was my first foray into heavy metal territory. Back then, as a 12 year old kid who didn’t know any better, I thought that listening to metal will make me do evil things. But listening to this album changed my mind, metal isn’t that bad. If there’s anything this album made me do, then, it was trading my G.I. Joes for more tapes and CDs.


“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

4. Slave to the Grind by Skid Row

I didn’t really own any album from any hair metal bands (Poison, Motley Cure, Def Leppard). Skid Row, however, was an exception. Because, for one, they’re heavier than most hair metal bands and they didn’t wear ridiculous clothing. But it was really Sebastian Bach’s voice that made me buy this album. He’s one of my most favorite vocalist of all time.


“In A Darkened Room” by Skid Row

5. Achtung Baby by U2

Like I’ve said earlier, Achtung Baby was my first U2 album. But, honestly, after listening to heavier bands like Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Skid Row, I didn’t like the band or this album at first. It was only years later, when I started listening to alternative music, that I appreciated Achtung Baby and realized that it’s one of the best U2 albums.


“One” by U2

6. Nevermind by Nirvana

Nevermind is pretty much the album that defined the 90’s. It even dethroned Michael Jackson’s Dangerous off the Billboard Charts. When I bought this album, I remember listening to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for hours and hours before finally moving on to the other songs. It was so good, and also liberating, to listen to it. It was the soundtrack of my teenage years.


Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

7. Ten by Pearl Jam

Out of the four grunge bands that came out from Seattle during the 90’s, Pearl Jam was my least favorite of all. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad or anything. Because Ten is one of my favorite albums that came out during the 90’s. “Jeremy” is also one of my favorite songs of all time. Like with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, I also couldn’t stop listening to this song. Eddie Vedder’s voice is just so velvety.


Jeremy” by Pearl Jam

8. Blood Sugar Sex Magik by Red Hot Chili Peppers

I was out to buy Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger when I heard my friend’s brother playing Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik in their house. It was heavy, funky and full of melody at the same time. It blew my mind because I’ve never heard something that sounded like it at that time. So, I bought Blood Sugar Sex Magik instead of Badmotorfinger.


Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

9. Badmotorfinger by Soundgarden

I bought Badmotorfinger after a friend –who also loved Nirvana and Pearl Jam as much as I did– suggested it to me. But, being less accessible and overshadowed by more popular records like Nevermind and Ten, I didn’t like this album, at first. I’ve only begun to appreciate it after I started playing the guitar. Eventually, Badmotorfinger became one of my favorite albums.


Jesus Christ Pose” by Soundgarden

10. Out of Time by R.E.M.

I bought Out of Time out of impulse after I saw their video, “Losing My Religion”, and liked Michael Stipe’s dancing in it. But, even it may be a Grammy award-winning album, I really didn’t like Out of Time. I didn’t like it then. I still don’t like it now. I guess, some music, I’ll just never get.



Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.

So, these are the first ten albums that I’ve owned. Although they were released in 1991, I didn’t had them until in late ’92 and early ’93, when I really started getting into music. While I didn’t like all of them, all of these albums were my gateway to rock music.

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