Various Artists

Billboard Top Modern Rock Tracks 1991

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Considerably more uneven and unfocused than its predecessor, Billboard Top Modern Rock Tracks: 1991 contains the last gasp of the pre-grunge/pre-dance era of alternative rock. While Primal Scream's "Movin' On Up" points in the direction that English alternative rock would follow over the course of the decade, most of the record is comprised of hits and also-rans from staples of '80s college-radio -- Siouxsie & the Banshees ("Kiss Them for Me"), the Divinyls ("I Touch Myself"), INXS ("Shining Star"), Daniel Ash ("This Love"), and Big Audio Dynamite II ("Rush"). While all of those selections are wise choices, as is Material Issue's terrific "Valerie Loves Me," the rest of the record is a bit puzzling -- nobody has memories of Tin Machine's "One Shot" or the Fixx's "How Much Is Enough," and they also aren't good representations of alternative rock in the early '90s. However, this confused song selection on 1991 demonstrates why modern rock radio was ripe for a breakthrough on the level of Nirvana.

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