The album Nevermind by Nirvana and the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chili Peppers hit the music stores.  (For our younger readers, “music stores” were retail locations where one could buy compact discs and tape-recordings of music acts.)  Which one was the better album, and why?

6 thoughts on “Twenty years ago today…”
  1. “Nevermind” is one of the most overrated albums of all time, but it’s still better than “Blood Sugar Sex Magik,” which, like all other RCHP records, was designed for frat boys to sing along to while performing keg stands.

  2. Beyond a doubt “Nevermind,” but I cannot stand the RHCP. Michial, I got to say, to say that this album is “one of the most overrated albums of all time,” seems to me like one of the most overstated statements of all time. Even if you don’t like the music, and I do. It’s cultural significance is almost without rival. It brought rock back into the mainstream when pop and rap were killing it. Sure it inspired some of the worst music of my lifetime, but you cannot blame the album for that.

    While I am not a musician, I do have pretty good taste. I actually think “In Utero” is a better album, but “Nevermind” deserves most of the praise it receives.

  3. I was 11 when those albums came out. I wasn’t exposed to them then but heard them later on in high school. I suppose Nirvana would be more my style (which is a stretch). RHCP’s always seemed obnoxious and lacked any type of riff I would WANT to get stuck in my head. Sure, they had some catchy tunes but none of them were attractive tunes.

  4. Nevermind. A potent mix of Pixies-esque verse chorus verse, and surreal imagery; a scrawny, insecure teenager’s wet dream.

  5. Justin, it’s certainly a good album, with some great songs. I am probably overreacting to a certain trend of the past ten years, wherein “Nevermind” or “Smells Like Teen Spirit” ALWAYS had to top the best songs/albums list of the ’90s and often of all time. That is ridiculous, historical context aside. “Nevermind” isn’t even the best punk-influenced album of 1991–see Uncle Tupelo’s “Still Feel Gone.” Maybe even Pavement’s “Slanted and Enchanted.” (Or was that 1992? I can never remember.)

    But yes, “Nevermind” started some good things–and some very bad things–for rock music. I’m kind of against using historical importance as an argument for greatness, though; otherwise, you’re going to have to praise “Baby One More Time,” which largely brought teen pop back to the mainstream after a decade of shallow Nirvana ripoffs–and on the literary front, you’ll have to argue that “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is a great novel.

    I agree with you that “In Utero” is all around a better and more interesting record. I’m not sure anyone would see them as top 100 material if Cobain hadn’t offed himself, but I’ll at least assent that these are the two best artifacts from the grunge era–even over “Siamese Dream,” “Ten,” and “Superunknown” (all of which I like but find tiresome and humorless–Cobain at least had a sense of humor).

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