November 27 — BREED, Nirvana (1991)

img_1415What is my favorite year in rock music history? It’s a question worthy of a ridiculous amount of thought, but the hosts of the podcast “Dad Rock” chose 1966 and 1991. The latter was of particular interest, because it’s the only one I actually experienced (at least as an adult); it was later heralded as “The Year That Punk Broke.” Alternative or “college rock” had been chugging underground for at least a decade, with plenty of interesting music coming out of the fringes. Even as 1990 arrived, a handful of independents were beginning to see airplay on commercial radio and MTV — Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But the broader audience was left believing that the musical universe revolved around “Cherry Pie” and Bon Jovi and Mariah Carey. So when this seemingly insane album somehow broke through, firing off heavy rounds of screeching, distortion, aggression and intensity — and dislodging Michael Jackson’s “Bad” from the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s album chart — the gentrified crowds in suburban America must have wondered what had plowed them over. Music hasn’t been the same since. Thank God.




One comment

  1. I remember I stayed up all night to catch “Smells like teen spirit” on MTV. They were only playing it in the middle of the night as it hand’t broke yet. I didn’t know the name of it or the band that did it but I knew what the video looked like and that I really really liked it. The second night I committed it all to memory and I remember distinctly that I misheard the chorus as “well the lifestyle…it’s a statement”..and had this whole explanation of what the meant, of course it all turned out to be wrong but obviously inspired something in my nonetheless. I tried to get the record at Starship but they didn’t have it yet.. but I was dating a girl from New Jersey at the time and her mom was good enough to buy the CD there (they were apparently more progressive than Oklahoma, imagine that) and send it to me. Literally days later it was huge. The funny thing was I’d been listening to punk for a lot of years, so the guy in the Bad Brains shirt wasn’t any sort of revelation but I thought it was cool that some of “our” stuff was getting on MTV


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