686. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
1. Smells Like Teen Spirit
2. In Bloom
3. Come As You Are
7. Territorial Pissings
8. Drain You
9. Lounge Act
10. Stay Away
11. On A Plain
12. Something In The Way
Now we come to the year that Punk broke, and there is no more appropriate album to start the year off than what is probably the most famous and instantly recognisable album of that decade, let alone that year.
Nevermind by Nirvana is one of those albums whose influence and importance is universally recognised, that most people will like but that I don't think many people listen to frequently anymore. It hasn't aged as well as it's importance would demand, but then this is true of most grunge.
That said it is a revolutionary album, not necessarily because it sounds very different than what came before, but because it propelled alternative rock into the mainstream like a rocket. From this album on charts would NEVER be the same... well at least until the mid-90s.
1. In Bloom
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit
3. Come As You Are
Nevermind not only popularized the Seattle grunge movement, but brought alternative rock as a whole into the mainstream, establishing its commercial and cultural viability. Nevermind's success surprised Nirvana's contemporaries, who felt dwarfed by its impact. Fugazi's Guy Picciotto later commented: "It was like our record could have been a hobo pissing in the forest for the amount of impact it had. [...] It felt like we were playing ukuleles all of a sudden because of the disparity of the impact of what they did". In 1992, Jon Pareles of The New York Times described that in the aftermath of the album's breakthrough, "Suddenly, all bets are off. No one has the inside track on which of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of ornery, obstreperous, unkempt bands might next appeal to the mall-walking millions". Record company executives offered large advances and record deals to bands, and previous strategies of building audiences for alternative rock bands had been replaced by the opportunity to achieve mainstream popularity quickly.
Michael Azerrad argued in his Nirvana biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana (1993) that Nevermind marked the emergence of a generation of music fans in their twenties in a climate dominated by the musical tastes of the baby boomer generation that preceded them. Azerrad wrote, "Nevermind came along at exactly the right time. This was music by, for, and about a whole new group of young people who had been overlooked, ignored, or condescended to." Rolling Stone wrote in its entry for Nevermind on its 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, "No album in recent history had such an overpowering impact on a generation -- a nation of teens suddenly turned punk -- and such a catastrophic effect on its main creator."