Alt-rock Celebrates Big Anniversaries This Year

Blood Sugar Sex Magik by The Red Hot Chili Peppers (Sept. 24, 1991)

Album cover for Red Hot Chili Peppers' album Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.

It isn’t hard to deny how great The Red Hot Chilli Peppers are. After more than 30 years of performing and releasing records, they’ve tweaked their sounds and gone through minor lineup changes but the spirit of what makes them special is still very much alive.  

Their success can be traced back to the year 1991. Already four albums into their discography, they released a fifth LP that year. Blood Sugar Sex Magik is what brought the manic Los Angeles quartet to the public eye.

Under the supervision of veteran producer Rick Rubin, the album gave listeners a more focused and concise side of the band. Earlier albums combined the genres of punk and funk rock into a messy (though cool) grab bag of sounds.

In Blood Sugar Sex Magik the Peppers experimented with different sounds to create their most deeply personal album ever. Well, as personal as they can get with sexual innuendos and loud, bombastic riffs. It’s an alt-rock classic that ranks among the greatest releases of the ‘90s.

Best songs:

“The Power of Equality” An anti-violence, racist  and sexist anthem that lead singer Anthony Kiedis sings over a funk-infused bassline.

“Under the Bridge” A deeply sentimental and personal ballad that details Kiedis’ dependence on drugs and his experience with heartbreak. One of their earliest and softest tracks.

Nevermind by Nirvana (Sept. 24, 1991)

Album cover for Nirvana's Nevermind album.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GEFFEN RECORDS

With an album as iconic as their cover, Nirvana’s Seattle trio never set out to the change the landscape of rock music in the early ‘90s.

Responsible for bringing grunge music to the mainstream, Nevermind is easily one of the best records in the genre. Distorted guitar riffs, Dave Grohl’s frantic drumming, and frontman Kurt Cobain’s trademark, pitch black and humorous lyrics made this album a masterpiece that was way ahead of its time.

It contains mainstream interest with tracks like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “In Bloom” while its deep cuts boast some of the group’s most memorable moments.

With the release of Nevermind, Pearl Jam’s Ten and Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger, the Seattle music scene exploded in a way that no music fan could have predicted. Music was changed that fateful day in 1991, and it was for the better.

Best songs:

“Lithium” A showcase in Dave Grohl’s skills as a drummer. Kurt Cobain’s vocals and guitar work also make this song cut shine.

“Come As You Are” A cello-laden track with an eerie chorus that deserves more credit than the lead single.

Pinkerton by Weezer (Sept. 24, 1996)

Album cover for Weezer's album Pinkerton.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GEFFEN RECORDS

In the saddest story of rock music history, Weezer’s sophomore effort, Pinkerton, received less than stellar reviews upon its release. Coming off of a major success with their debut album, The Blue Album, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo channeled his biggest fears and struggles with depression into an interestingly dark album.

Pinkerton deals with Cuomo’s struggle as a rock star and how he navigates a world of groupies, loneliness and the probability of obscurity. The result was 11 tracks that took influence from other bands and even classical Japanese theater. Deeply misunderstood at the time, Pinkerton is the greatest album the band released.

It may not have the pop appeal that their other LPs possess, but it is truly something special from a band that received the short end of the stick throughout the ‘90s.

Best Songs:

“The Good Life” The ultimate song about not wanting to grow up, Cuomo’s lyrics about wanting to live the rest of life as a rockstar will resonate with anyone wanting a taste of the past.

“Falling for You”  A loud and disoriented song about love and distrust, it will make those who fall in love too quickly think twice about who they want to be with.

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Ciro Salcedo

Ciro Salcedo, 19, is a mass communications major at Kendall Campus. Salcedo, a 2016 graduate of Felix Varela Senior High School, will serve as A/E editor for The Reporter during the 2017-2018 school year. He aspires to become a screenwriter or filmmaker.

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