1991 & Opinions on Smith Westerns and Wanda Jackson

Twenty years later, Jim and Greg look back at 1991, the year that gave us Nirvana, Guns N' Roses and Lollapalooza.

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It's hard to believe, but it has now been two decades since 1991, a year Jim and Greg believe to be as influential and significant as 1964, 1976 and other great rock years. 1991's artists, albums and events made way for big changes in the music industry, and the sounds of that year continue to be referenced today. Just look at recent guests Teenage Fanclub and Superchunk, who both released major albums in 1991 and are still filling our playlists in 2011. While Bryan Adams and Garth Brooks topped the charts, they don't tell the true story of this year. For Jim and Greg, 1991 was all about:

  • Nirvana and the birth of grunge
  • My Bloody Valentine and the growth of shoegaze
  • Lollapalooza and the rise of the Alternative Nation
  • N.W.A. and the reign of gangsta rap
  • Massive Attack and the birth of trip-hop
reviewDye It BlondeDye it Blonde available on iTunes

Smith Westerns Dye it Blonde

Chicago trio Smith Westerns have released their second album, Dye it Blonde, and Jim and Greg are happy to hear that these relative youngsters haven't shied away from their innocence. Their sweet love songs come out of a great tradition of Midwestern power pop. Plus, adds Greg, when you factor in the guitars and keyboards, the music gets taken to a higher level. He admits there isn't a lot of drive in the rhythms, but on the basis of melody alone, he gives Dye it Blonde a Buy It rating. Jim also admires the band's songwriting chops. But while the first release was a little too lo-fi, this one is a little too polished. Jim says Buy It, but would tell the Smith Westerns to go for more grunge next time.

reviewThe Party Ain't OverThe Party Ain't Over available on iTunes

Wanda Jackson The Party Ain't Over

In the '50s, Wanda Jackson was the "First Lady of Rockabilly" and a girlfriend of Elvis Presley. Today she's partnered up with musician and producer Jack White. White previously collaborated with Loretta Lynn, and now he's again aiming to bring one of his idols into the 21st century. Jim explains that Jackson has still got her signature voice, but everything else about The Party Ain't Over does not work. He disagrees with the song selection and holds White to blame. Jim says Trash It. Greg agrees that this record is a disappointment. He wishes White had just let the singer be herself. The modern touches are too forced. But for one track alone, "Blue Yodel #6", Greg says Burn It.


Featured Songs

  1. Bryan Adams, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, Waking Up the Neighbours, A&M, 1991
  2. Garth Brooks, Rodeo, Ropin' The Wind, Liberty, 1991
  3. Spin Doctors, Two Princes, Pocket Full of Kryptonite, Epic, 1991
  4. Nirvana, Lithium, Nevermind, DGC, 1991
  5. Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nevermind, DGC, 1991
  6. Slowdive, Catch the Breeze, Just for a Day, Creation, 1991
  7. Ride, Vapour Trail, Nowhere, Creation, 1990
  8. My Bloody Valentine, Only Shallow, Loveless, Creation, 1991
  9. Guns N' Roses, November Rain, Use Your Illusion I, Geffen, 1991
  10. Jane's Addiction, Jane Says, Nothing's Shocking, Warner, 1988
  11. Rollins Band, Hard, Hard Volume, Texas Hotel, 1989
  12. Nine Inch Nails, Head Like a Hole, Pretty Hate Machine, TVT, 1989
  13. Butthole Surfers, P.S.Y., Piouhgd, Rough Trade, 1991
  14. Pearl Jam, Alive, Ten, Epic, 1991
  15. N.W.A., 100 Miles and Runnin, Niggaz4Life, Ruthless, 1991
  16. Ice Cube, Steady Mobbin', Death Certificate, Priority, 1991
  17. De La Soul, Let, Let Me In, De La Soul is Dead, Tommy Boy, 1991
  18. Massive Attack, Safe From Harm, Blue Lines, Virgin, 1991
  19. Smith Westerns, Still New, Dye It Blond, Fat Possum, 2011
  20. Smith Westerns, Weekend, Dye It Blond, Fat Possum, 2011
  21. Wanda Jackson, Thunder on the Mountain, The Party Ain't Over, Nonesuch, 2011
  22. Wanda Jackson, Shakin' All Over, The Party Ain't Over, Nonesuch, 2011
  23. Wanda Jackson, You Know That Im No Good, The Party Ain't Over, Nonesuch, 2011
  24. Wanda Jackson, Blue Yodel #6, The Party Ain't Over, Nonesuch, 2011
  25. Bullion, You Drive Me To Plastic, You Drive Me To Plastic EP, Young Turks, 2011
  26. New Edition, Mr. Telephone Man, New Edition, MCA, 1984
  27. Public Enemy, Fight The Power, Fear of a Black Planet, Def Jam, 1994
  28. Electric Wizard, Dopethrone, Dopethrone, Music Cartel, 2001


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