Nevermind Nostalgia:

The Music of 1991... 20 Years Later

By PopMatters Staff

26 September 2011

From Touring Carnival to Destination Festival: Lollapalooza at 20

When Lollapalooza disappeared from view in 1997, it seemed that a good idea had run its course. But the end of the road for Lollapalooza as a tour turned out to be just the first part of its story.

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Lollapalooza 1991: The Underground As a Community

Originally conceived of as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction, Lollapalooza turned into something even grander: Woodstock for Gen X.

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More Than Music: How Going Underground Kept Punk From “Breaking” in 1991

From pivotal, iconic venues in New York and California and the ubiquity of the house show, to the dramatic, intentional divorce from the highly lucrative hardcore/metal crossover scene, 1991 saw numerous DIY punk rock groups reinterpret a 14-year-old subculture with new and urgent relevance.

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True to the Game: Ice Cube’s ‘Death Certificate’

It was during the period between the Rodney King beating and subsequent court verdict that Ice Cube cut Death Certificate, a chilling glimpse into the anger and frustration South Central Angelinos were feeling.

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‘Screamadelica’ and the Altered State

In the context of Primal Scream's prior and subsequent career, Screamadelica is a miracle.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll with Chinese Characteristics: Nirvana Behind the Great Wall

Like pretty much everywhere else in the pop music universe, China's developing rock scene changed after Nirvana. It's just that China's rockers didn't get the memo in 1991, nor would've known what to do with it, then.

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The Album That Changed Everything: Massive Attack’s ‘Blue Lines’

Even now with all our understanding and acceptance of genre-mashing, Massive Attack’s opening salvo remains as bold and eclectic, as utterly assured a musical message as it was upon release.

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“Something in the Way”: ‘Loveless’ and the Un-Invention of Cock Rock

My Bloody Valentine's Loveless stands as an album of (at least) equal importance to Nirvana's Nevermind, garnering a great deal of its importance for the way that it offers a gender-bending sonic style that severed the entrenched connections between the electric guitar and masculine phallic power.

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It’s All Right, It’s All Right, Alllllll Right: U2’s ‘Achtung Baby’

Pretty much everyone under the age of 35 views U2 as a bunch of overzealous assholes, but this 25-year-old can't help but still blast the group's 1991 masterpiece.

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An Album Found in a Trashcan: De La Soul Is Dead

Listening to De La Soul Is Dead means immersing oneself inside a funny but terrifying universe, where brutality and self-destruction exist side by side with smart-ass jokes and sex talk and good music.

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New Jack Black: Contemporary Urbanity and Blackness in New Jack City

Hood films are a jarring eviction notice for traditional Civil Rights rhetoric and, possibly, leadership -- in other words, "What has the Civil Rights movement done for me lately?"

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New Jack Swing Forever: How a Movement Redefined an Era

New Jack Swing was the soundtrack to young America of the late 1980s and early 1990s in the same vein that Motown was the soundtrack to young America of the 1960s.

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High Flying: Pop Goes Country

1991 was a significant, even historic year, for country music, giving a strong indication of the direction it would take from then on to now.

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Exquisite Corpse: Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Use Your Illusion I and II’

If there was a gravestone for MTV-style '80s metal, it would probably be Guns N' Roses' 1991 opus Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II.

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Was Grunge the Last American Musical Revolution?

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten. In revisiting the grunge genre which altered the musical landscape two decades ago, the question arises: was this our last musical revolution?

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Right There, Right Then: Jesus Jones’ Alternative History of 1991

Twenty years ago, there was no question about who one of the most talked about bands of the time. So yeah, let's talk about Jesus Jones, then.

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The 20 Most Memorable Songs of 1991

In a year when so much remarkable music was released, it's hard to choose just 20 memorable songs without a few omissions. Still, you'll be hard pressed to quibble with the picks of the PopMatters music staff and guest contributors.

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The Year Alternative Went Massive and Defined a Decade

Above all else, musically 1991 will forever be remembered as the year alterna-rock conquered the masses. PopMatters explores how alternative became the dominant form of rock music in the '90s.

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Nirvana: Nevermind (Deluxe Edition)

Over time, it has become clear that this is an album about the feelings of one man (not a generation), and his struggle between rock purity and pop sensibility is what makes this classic.

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Id N’ Ego Killed the Pop Metal Star… and the Alternative Rocker, Too

Grunge didn't kill pop metal, it merely succeeded it as the genre of choice as part of a logical progression. To understand the emergence of alt-rock, we need to examine why the tide turned against a wave of music that had once been so popular.

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Michael Jackson, Dangerous, and the Reinvention of Pop

Nirvana and company may have killed off '80s rock. But if pop was dead, its "king" had successfully created alternatives.

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Smells Like MTV: Music Video and the Rise of Grunge

MTV’s central role in delivering grunge to a national audience in the early 1990s demonstrated the network’s power as a creator and definer of culture, and the reaction of many of grunge’s iconic figures against the video medium revealed the gulf between principle and reality.

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Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten’, 20 Years On

Released alongside Nirvana’s Nevermind, the importance of Pearl Jam's Ten has been somewhat overshadowed by that record. Here is a young band, barely together for a year, yet confident enough in it style and aware of its strengths to release a cohesive debut album that would serve as a fine indicator of its potential.

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Between the Grooves of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’

Our stable of writers undertakes a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the last 20 years, from the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be included on your copy of the record.

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A Chat with José González at Newport Folk Festival

// Notes from the Road

"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.

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