The 1991-ophilia continues on Friday when PBS airs “PJ20,” Cameron Crowe’s fawning documentary about Pearl Jam’s two decades of existence. (Stay tuned for a review in tomorrow’s Post). And while Pearl Jam’s debut album, “Ten,” is just one of many classic 1991 albums that have been celebrated this year — “Achtung Baby,” “Nevermind,” “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” — plenty of albums released that year have gone overlooked. For this week’s Taking sides post, Click Track’s contributors shine their lights on three unheralded discs that turn 20 this year.
Chris Richards: I wish I was reading more anniversary keystrokes about the KLF’s 1991 album “The White Room.” Before Lady Gaga was being shuttled into the Grammys in an alien pod, the KLF were firing machine gun blanks at awards shows (at the 1992 BRIT Awards) . Before activists were occupying Wall Street, the KLF were protesting capitalism by setting huge piles of cash on fire (the duo burned one-million pounds in 1994). Before Rick Rubin got behind Johnny Cash and Jack White teamed up with Loretta Lynn, the KLF recorded a house music crossover hit with Tammy Wynette. (She stood by the JAMs on “Justified and Ancient,” the second best song on “The White Room” after “3 a.m. Eternal”). And before young America decided to make 2011 the year that EDM broke, the KLF were mixing art, politics and electronic dance music with a fearlessness that still feels another twenty years ahead of its time.
Allison Stewart: I'd have to go with the tremendousness that was Soundgarden’s “Badmotorfinger.” It gets overlooked because, unlike Pearl Jam’s “Ten,” it wasn’t an explosive breakthrough disc, just the latest in a line of solid Soundgarden discs. What's even more remarkable about 1991 is how many GOOD albums there were: Screaming Trees, Hole, Matthew Sweet, the Pixies, Throwing Muses. All near-classic, solid stuff.
David Malitz: It did get the deluxe reissue treatment earlier this year but Material Issue’s “International Pop Overthrow” remains very overlooked. It sounds like it came from a completely different era than the Seattle superstars that released albums later in that year — the last gasp of “college rock” before the big “alt-rock” takeover. Less angst, more longing — the first three songs all feature a woman’s name in the title (“Valerie Loves Me,” “Diane,” “Renee Remains the Same”). And “Valerie Loves Me” was always one of the best songs to randomly hear on WHFS back in the day.