by Neil Kenny
I wanted to be cool with this list, but once I realised that I had all of these on cassette and not vinyl I realised the game was up. I really wanted to put My Bloody Valentine and Orbital in, but I wasn't listening to them the year they came out. They were retrospective pleasures. Here is a snapshot of what I was listening to in 1991. Hopefully it'll set off a few memories for you too.
Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing
This was like nothing else on MTV at the time, brassy, cheap, fuzzy, with those hollering dogs. This was the sound of American rebellion; terribly alluring to a 16 year old suburban Irish kid.
Saint Etienne - Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Languid and beautiful, with that evocative intro on the Foxbase Alpha album of French football commentary, this was a love song as statement of cool. Bob Dylan meant nothing to me; Saint Etienne did. Particularly as I'd gone on French exchange to St. Etienne the year before and seen Eric Cantona play for Les Verts.
Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Maybe we misunderstand him by making him an MTV messiah, but this was spine-tingling. In those pre-YouTube days I'd stay up for hours waiting to see it come on again.
Electronic - Get The Message
I'd missed them the first time, a late-comer to English 'Indie' music, (as my Ma would call it) so New Order/The Smiths/Joy Division were all still unknown pleasures to me, but in the wake of the Stone Roses this shimmering slice of summer sent me back rediscovering 1980's Manchester.
The Shamen - Move Every Mountain
Every Saturday night we went to the one pub in Dublin that never asked us for ID, drank small amounts of cider because we couldn't hold our drink and played this on the jukebox.
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Summertime
Rap was supposed to be all about posturing, and Ice-Ts O.G. that year opened my ears to Gangsta' but this was absolute warmth. If most of the songs on this list seem like an endless summer, then this and the next one were the ones that still herald the first sunshine of the year for me now
Primal Scream - Higher Than The Sun
I still don't know what Andy Weatherall did on this record but he was a superstar, he DJed at the first rave I ever went to and he had a hand in this on one of my all time favourite albums.
REM - Losing My Religion
I'm sure there are people who hate this song, but I've never met any of them. This was the song that everybody loved; the cool kids, the buskers, the butchers, our mothers. It was everywhere and it is brilliant.
A House - Endless Art
A group whose every song sounded like it was made by a different band (both a good and bad thing), this was their one hit that properly crossed the Irish Sea. When it got single of the week in NME it seemed like some sort of validation. U2 were set to go around the world swinging their Trabants from the roofs of stadiums, but this was the sound of Irish indie.