There are many here among us who don't want to think of 1990 as a time from long ago. For if we admit it was 20 years ago, then we must admit we've advanced those 20 years as well. Imagine what this does to people who remember the year 1970. Life is filled with reminders that time marches on and sometimes it runs. The best way to slow down time? Find an absolutely terrible job and stay at it for years. You'll feel every moment. People who spend all their times on drugs and with hookers feel as if life is going by too fast. The Who should've sung: Hope I die before I realize I've gotten old.
Anyhow, here is Part One of the year 1990. An odd year, pre-Nirvana, when no one was actually sure what "alternative rock" was anymore. Which made it more interesting, kinda. Well, maybe not. Come join me and find out.
The Breeders--Pod: This is before they had an actual hit. A hit--still sounds like an impossible feat given the industry in question. However, it was interesting to see people digging a side-project more than the actual band. (The Breeders being an offshoot of the Pixies.) This would encourage Kim Deal to strike out on her own, setting the stage for a Pixies reunion where the band is now more popular than they were the first time around.
24) LL Cool J--Mama Said Knock You Out: It seems so quaint to think there was once a time when LL Cool J was considered relevant. This was before reality TV could resuscitate your career. You had to keep making albums. Cool J decided to start new businesses, realizing that hip-hop would always be about replacing the old guy. Even if said old guy is like 30.
Paul Simon--The Rhythm Of The Saints: Having had so much fun with the music of South Africa, Paul Simon decided to sing over the music of Brazil. Simon is the best evidence yet that short people, like myself, do have a reason to live. We can rip off taller people!
22) Robert Forster--Danger In The Past: Not the actor, but the Australian musician from the Go Betweens who decided to record his first solo album with members of Nick Cave's band, since Australia only has like five musicians. Ten tracks in under 40 minutes. Heaven! No 70 minutes of unending self-indulgence. Wow, if we could only pass laws to ensure this type of thing.
20) Neil Young--Ragged Glory: Personally, I never cared much for this album. It's all-digital sound is a bit grating, in a bad way. It lacked the warmth of Young's earlier amp-blowing episodes, but there were plenty of people who felt differently and really liked this album, so that's fine by me. Play it on your stereo. Don't come over and play it on mine. Thank you, the Management.
Jane's Addiction--Ritual De Lo Habitual: I guess these days you can't really have a controversial album cover since everything is downloadable mp3 files. But once upon a time...
18) Lou Reed And John Cale--Songs For Drella: Here's an odd confession. I've never listened to this album. I used to see it real cheap in used CD stores, but I never wanted to know whether it was any good. Some things are best left as a concept.
Ice Cube--AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted: Before he became one of America's most lovable actors, Ice Cube was tearing up stuff with rhetoric that shows you what a real radical would be up to. I have this album somewhere on cassette. The record company sent it to me that way. Couldn't they have thrown in the boombox to play it on as well? I have a Pearl Jam album somewhere that's rubber cemented into a CD player! Thanks Sony!
16) Marianne Faithfull--Blazing Away: I saw Marianne Faithfull perform around this time. It was much better than most of the other bands I was used to seeing. This live album makes the case for older people who actually improve with age. To think, she's still a kid in Leonard Cohen's eyes.
Pixies--Bossanova: It's no wonder that Kim Deal ended up working with the Breeders. Black Francis took complete control of the Pixies. The band had hits on the "Modern Rock Tracks" chart, which sounds a bit like Rand Paul setting up his own organization to pass his lacking medical credentials. At this point, without Kurt Cobain hailing the Pixies as a great rock band, they were considered merely above-average. Legacies are fun this way. The Doors' legend grew with time. Tommy James And the Shondells' did not. Why? Discuss.
14) The KLF--Chill Out: I have absolutely no idea what this album sounds like. But if I had to pick one album that was sitting in my promo pile back when I first began this professional writing thing that represents an album that I could tell I would not like just by looking at the cover, it would be this one. This snap-judgment would help me later in life from listening to many other promotional items that would only waste what little time I have left on this rotting, festering earth. How do I know, you ask? Well, from time to time, I get asked to review albums that have already made my beneath-contempt pile and I put them on and have my suspicions confirmed. Wouldn't it be a kick if this and the seventh Michael Bolton album were actually really really good?!
The Black Crowes--Shake Your Money Maker: I can never fault a band for wanting to be the Faces or the Rolling Stones, regardless of how I feel about the actual band in question.
12) Happy Mondays--Pills N' Thrills And Bellyaches: I remember when the Happy Mondays were supposed to be the next wave of music. Or something like that. Turns out they're just one more British band who Americans refused to like.
Uncle Tupelo--No Depression: At the time when this was first released, there was no "alt.country" movement. There were just bands who played a sorta country rock. You had the Long Ryders, Jason And The Scorchers, the Knitters and a few others. There were no magazines for this stuff. World Music was all the rage among critics who were looking to jump ship from this rock n' roll kid stuff. Me? I was planning my career as a financial planner. Then I went broke.
10) Sinead O'Connor--I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got: Sinead's always been a frustrating case. She has a voice like no other, but her musical direction has been confused and confusing. She's a genuine star who has chosen the path of cultdom. She has a nose for controversy and an emotional constitution ill-suited for the ways of fame. She should make records with Van Morrison.
Ani DiFranco--Ani DiFranco: No matter how you feel about Ani DiFranco's music, you have to admire anyone who stays true to themselves and turns that into the media hook. I'm in no position to criticize. You should see the things that I've done for money!
8) Brian Eno And John Cale--Wrong Way Up: Unlike the Lou Reed collaboration that I never got around to listening to, this Cale-Eno match-up eventually caught my ears. Not bad! Cale is "classically-trained" and Eno is "theoretically-based." Put the two together and you've got a hardcore, b****-slapping partay like no other!
William S. Burroughs--Dead City Radio: It only took William S. Burroughs to the end of his life to become a marketable hero. I can only hope that the older I get, the more friends I have who want to pay me to do stuff.
6) Deee-Lite--World Clique: "Groove Is In The Heart" was the single. Lady Miss Kier was the reason most guys noticed them. They had the career we expected out of them. Which isn't to negate their contributions. It is better to be known by one major hit than by none at all. And they did have several more dance hits, so the hardcore were rewarded as well.
4) Cocteau Twins--Heaven Or Las Vegas: Maybe I'm not as much of a fan of ethereal music as I think. Because it takes this album, the CT's "pop" album to get me interested. Then again, maybe everyone likes this album the best out of all of them and I'm just like everybody else.
Sonic Youth--Goo: There was a time when moving to a major label seemed like either a sell-out and/or a sensible career move. Nowadays, you'd be better off driving a truck.
2) Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds--The Good Son: I remember reading a review of this album that misquoted the lyrics, claimed it was the greatest album of that month, year, decade, all-time and was filled with many other hilarious inaccuracies. That review was mine. I stand by every word. Except the ones I didn't write. And even those. Sometimes. Maybe never.
Public Enemy--Fear Of A Black Planet: The title has turned out to be pretty dead on. After all, I don't remember people needing to take the country back when it was in the hands of old dead white guys.
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