1990-1991: Simply Loaded

The years of 1990-1991 were musical ground zero for me, kind of like how I imagine ’66-’67 were to the hippie generation. It was a time when I threw my punk pretensions out the window (well, not totally out the window…) and let my guard down long enough to accept new types of music. Granted, most of the exciting stuff was coming out of Britain (doesn’t it always?), but the good old US of A was going through their own little musical revolution, albeit one that I couldn’t really relate to: grunge. If I wanted to hear angst I’d put on my well worn copy of the DK’s Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables. No, the music that spoke to me was the electronic/classic rock hybrid of the Madchester and London scenes. It was druggy, funky, dingy and shiny at the same time, and most of  it sounded completely new. It’s when U2 were still good and released the best album of their career, to give you but one example.

Just one year earlier The Stone Roses released their debut album, but more importantly they released their epic Fools Gold single. For over 9 minutes this band jammed like I’d never heard before. They were funky, melodramatic and had rock attitude to spare, and I think that single is what kicked off the whole movement in GB.

My proximity to great venues in and around the Toronto area also helped solidify my devotion to these bands and their albums. I saw the Happy Mondays a couple of times, Primal Scream, Pop Will Eat Itself (again, a couple of times), Stereo MC’s, Billy Bragg, Wonder Stuff and many more. Granted, given my propensity towards obsession, I saw and bought albums by a bunch of clunkers as well. Some of these bands hold up but some sound terribly tied to their time. Those bands with a reliance on real instruments hold up best. Teenage Fanclub, Happy Mondays, Jellyfish and The Pixies are but a few that don’t sound too dated. I’ll let you be the judge of the rest. When I moved back to California in the early 90’s I kind of lost the plot for a while (partying a little too much to be able to take a chance on a new album by a new band, etc), but picked it back up again at the beginning of the ’00’s.

And, just for Holly, here’s a list of 40 albums from those two short, wonderful years in order of their influence and importance.

Primal Scream, Screamadelica

Happy Mondays, Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches

John Prine, The Missing Years

Teenage Fanclub, Bandwagonesque

Pop Will Eat Itself, Cure For Sanity

Talk Talk, Laughing Stock

Nick Lowe, Party Of One

Orb, Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld

Public Enemy, Apocalypse ’91

KLF, The White Room

Massive Attack, Blue Lines

Jellyfish, Bellybutton

Prefab Sprout, Jordan: The Comeback

Ozric Tentacles, Erpland

They Might Be Giants, Flood

Stereo MC’s, Supernatural

Pet Shop Boys, Behavior

Flaming Lips, In A Priest Driven Ambulance

Pixies, Bossanova

Uncle Tupelo, No Depression

Inspiral Carpets, Life

Depeche Mode, Violator

The Fall, Extricate

Galaxie 500, This Is Our Music

My Bloody Valentine, Loveless

U2, Achtung Baby

…and the rest…

American Music Club: Everclear
Ozric Tentacles: Strangeitude
Nirvana: Nevermind
Dave Edmunds, Closer To The Flame
Mercury Rev: Yerself Is Steam
Pixies: Trompe Le Monde
Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Ice-T: Original Gangster
Urban Dance Squad, Mental Floss For The Globe
Wonder Stuff, Never Loved Elvis
KLF, Chill Out
Public Enemy, Fear Of A Black Planet
Van Morrison, Enlightenment
Renegade Soundwave, In Dub
The Charlatans, Some Friendly
Teenage Fanclub, A Catholic Education