Sunday, July 27, 2008

BORN IN THE SIXTIES (BUT HATING THE EIGHTIES . . . MOST OF THEM, AT LEAST), AKA, MY LIFE IN MUSIC

So, as you picked up on yesterday, I'm doin' that meme thing, running down My Lifetime In Music. We began with the Golden Years of Music (1967-1969, unable due to my "youth" to include the Golden Years 1965-66), as they glided into those gosh-darn Classic Rock Years, and into the decade-long abyss known as the mid-seventies thru mid-eighties. Picking up where we left off (where Rush, a solid-enough band in its heyday, but hardly a 1st ballot Hall Of Famer took the gold for 1980) . . .

Some of you will point out all the "great music" of the early-to-mid 80s that I've "missed." I hear you, and I know of what you speak. But I have to be honest here. I spent the early to mid 80s in my deepest point of Classic Rock Heaven/Hell. Sorry, I wasn't cool yet. The only "new" music I liked was Rush or The Police. Hell, even early, IRS label REM, which you'll see a bit of below, didn't hit my music collection 'til after-the-fact.

But much as I like certain songs, and respect the bands, there is no Bad Brains, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Minutemen, Fugazi, Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, Robin Hitchcock & The Egyptians in my collection. Never has been. Nor any early XTC or The Jam or Jonathan Richman or any of that. So, if you don't like what you see for the first few years that appear on this list, just remember: I wasn't digging the contemporary music either (just wait til we hit '86 or so . . .)

The Dark Years (Continued):


1981:
Moving Pictures - Rush (Who the hell else am I gonna choose? Joan Jett?)
Runner-up: None

1982: Chronic Town - REM
Runner-up: None

1983: Murmur - REM
Runner-up: Synchronicity - The Police

1984: Reckoning - REM
Runner-up: None

1985: Fables Of The Reconstruction - REM (Listen, I like REM. But the fact that I've picked them four years in a row says more about how much I thought, and still think, music sucked in those years. Meanwhile, something was stirring . . .)
Runner-up: None

The Golden Years (Part II):

1986: The Good Earth - The Feelies (Produced by REM's Peter Buck actually)
Runner-up: Life's Rich Pageant - REM; Camper Van Beethoven - Camper Van Beethoven; Graceland - Paul Simon

1987: Jane's Addiction - Jane's Addiction (XXX)
Runners-up: Document - REM; Sister - Sonic Youth; Come On Pilgrim - Pixies; Joshua Tree -U2

The Golden Core Of The Golden Years:

1988: Only Life - The Feelies
Runners-up: Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth; Nothing's Shocking - Jane's Addiction; Surfer Rosa - Pixies; Truth & Soul - Fishbone; Green - REM; The Trinity Session - Cowboy Junkies; If I Should Fall From Grace With God - Pogues

1989: Beasts Of No Nation - Fela Kuti
Runners-up: Doolittle - Pixies; Paul's Boutique - Beastie Boys; Key Lime Pie - Camper Van Beethoven

1990: Ritual De Lo Habitual - Jane's Addiction
Runners-up: Bossanova - Pixies; GodWeenSatan: The Oneness - Ween; Fear Of A Black Planet - Public Enemy; Reading, Writing, & Arithmetic - The Sundays; A Catholic Education - Teenage Fanclub

1991 (Best Year For Music Ever): Bandwagonesque - Teenage Fanclub
Runners-up: Loveless - My Bloody Valentine; Nevermind - Nirvana; Trompe Le Monde - Pixies; Uncle Anesthesia - Screaming Trees; Gish - Smashing Pumpkins; Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers; Girlfriend - Matthew Sweet; Time For A Witness - Feelies; Reality Of My Surroundings - Fishbone

1992: Check Your Head - Beastie Boys
Runners-up: Dirty - Sonic Youth; Copper Blue - Sugar; Pure Guava - Ween; Dry - PJ Harvey; Dirt - Alice In Chains; Bill - Tripping Daisy

Back To The Non-Core Of The Still-Very-Golden Years:

1993: Exile In Guyville - Liz Phair
Runners-up: In Utero - Nirvana; Vs. - Pearl Jam

1994: Chocolate & Cheese - Ween
Runners-up: Jar Of Flies - Alice In Chains; Mellow Gold - Beck; Dookie - Green Day; Definitely Maybe - Oasis; MTV Unplugged In New York - Nirvana; Stranger Than Fiction - Bad Religion

Back tomorrow with the third and final installment, in which I prove that as I aged my fanaticism for music went the way of the LP and the cassette tape . . .

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13 Comments:

Blogger Toast said...

I find it telling that 1983 was one of the hardest years for me in terms of picking just one album, and yet is was your musical nadir.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

One man's beast is another man's . . .

I just looked back at your list and I see Murmur was among the contenders. I'll admit that I liked selected songs that year from Pyromania and 90215, but I was never tempted to buy them. And since I didn't purchase them in '83, well suffice to say they never snuck into the collection later.

Anyhow, for guys who were into metal (Brit, American, speed/thrash, etc), then I guess the 80s were bountiful. But since I wasn't a fan . . .

8:05 AM  
Blogger DCup said...

I own a lot of this music. Now I want to go back and listen to it. Time for me to finally get the iPod. My kids don't need to eat this week.

Great list, Mike.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous wfta said...

Wow. Today’s list shows me just how far I diverged from what sold for Rock ‘n Roll. Actually I think we parted company about Led Zeppelin IV.

I will fault you for one glaring omission in ’79: Rickie Lee Jones’s self titled debut album. I reacquired it on disc a few weeks ago and 29 years later and find it even more mind-bogglingly well done.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Motherf......er; I can't believe I forgot about Teenage Fan Club! I remember seeing them on SNL one year (can't remember which one, mid-1990s, I'd suspect) and running out and buying whatever of their stuff I could actually FIND, lol. You have to remember that New Jersey was solidly Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and other more mainstream stuff. Although thank goodness for 106.3 FM and Vintage Vinyl..lol.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

OK, so what your lists so far show me is that our differences are marginal, except for one period -- '87-'94. The period really doesn't excite me very much, with some notable exceptions; but it was obviously Rock Heaven for you. Maybe it's because for half that time, I was an uptight Law School A-hole, while you were actually having fun.

With that, my list...

1981
1. Rush - Moving Pictures;
2. Rolling Stones -- Tatoo You. I think this was the creative-end-of-the-line for the Stones. A bunch of solid rock songs, though they really stretched far back into their rejects to put it together apparently (e.g., disgruntled ex-bandmate, Mick Taylor, actually heard his guitar bits on Start Me Up and sued the Stones);
3. Genesis - abacab. Not a Genesis fan, but this has some good tunes. An obviously week year.
Honorable Mentions: Foreigner - 4 (let the slagging begin); Duran Duran - Duran Duran (let the slagging continue);

1982
1. REM - Chronictown. I love this little gem. REM dominates from here 'til '86 for me, but, as you say, it was more for the period's weakness.
2. Donald Fagen - The Nightfly;
3. Joe Jackson - Night and Day. A college staple during solitary times.
Honorable Mentions: Michael Jackson - Thriller; Roxy Music - Avalon.

1983
1. REM - Murmur;
2. Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes -- the first four or five songs got much airtime during the college years.
3. Yes - 90125.
Honorable Mentions: None -- another weak year.

1984
1. REM - Reckoning;
2. Van Halen - 1984;
3. Echo and The Bunnymen - Ocean Rain (a bit of a stretch, but I'm kinda liking it these days.
Honorable Mentions: See above

1985
1. REM - Fables;
2. Tom Waits - Rain Dogs;
3. Velvet Underground - VU (is this right? Does it count?)

1986
1. REM - Life's Rich Pageant;
2. The Feelies - The Good Earth;
3. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (very uneven, though, IMHO)
Honorable Mentions: Van Halen - 5150; Beastie Boys - License To Ill (I heard it enough to practically have it, but I don't and never did, so I can't put it in top 3); XTC - Skylarking; Peter Gabriel - So (would have been Number 2 back in the '80s but got sick of it)

1987
1. REM - Document;
2. Smiths - Strangeways here We Come (another uneven one, IMHO);
3. Nothing
Honorable Mentions - Fleetwood Mac - Tango In The Night (very Applesaucy, surprisingly).

1988
1. The Feelies - Only Life
2. Janes Addiction - Nothings Shocking
3. The Pogues - If I should Fall...
Honorable Mentions: I think some bands will fill these slots some day, like Sonic Youth, and the Pixies, but I'm just not there yet.I kinda dug the Living Color album.

1989
1. Smithereens - 11 (a gem);
2. The Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique (just started with this one a month or so ago and love it);
3. Stone Roses - Stone Roses (loved by the Brits; unknown over here)
Honorable Mentions: None

1990
All I've got is Jane's Ritual. Again, other bands might get here, soon. Ween, too.

1991
1. Nirvana - Nevermind;
2. The Feelies - Time For A Witness
3. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless;
Honorable Mentions: Blur - Leisure; School Of Fish - School Of Fish; Mathew Sweet - Girlfriend; Smashing Pumpkins - Gish (though I only like Smahing Pumpkins up-tempo -- I mean really up-tempo -- stuff; I hate anything else they do);

1992
1. Pavement - Slanted and enchanted (you oughtta give these guys a go, if you didn't back then);
2. REM - Automatic For The People (was to much like adult contemporary for me at the time, but has grown on me; showed that a great band could dig deep for one, even when they were past their prime);
3. Sublime - 40 oz. to Freedom;
Honorable Mentions: Beastie Boys - Check Your Head.

1993
Boy this is a tough one for me. Almost nothing. I'll just throw out some props to In Utero (wasn't crazy about it) and Stereolab - Transient Random Noise Busts With Announcements (I dig the Lab, but this was just before they were ready for prime time);

1994
1. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain;
2. Stereolab - Mars Audiac Quintet (for me, this is when they hit their stride);
3. Blur - Park Life
Honorable Mentions: Beck - Mellow Gold; Weezer - Weezer; Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand (I can't believe I like this; I could see someone saying "this is God Awful" and I couldn't disagree); Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot (see above Pumpkins comment);

So I left out Ween, which I like, but in an iTunes random play way, the Pixies, Sonic Youth, etc. These bands will displace some players on the above-list -- most notably [the?] Smashing Pumpkins.

Also, no Pearl Jam here. Just didn't dig them and I still don't, except for a song here and there.

Applesaucer

10:06 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Sauce, your 1991 intrigues me. I thought I was the only School of Fish fan in the world, lol. And Weezer, too, of course, one of the most underrated bands to come out of the 1990s, imho. The Sweater Song, in particular, is one of my faves, one of my "stuck in repeat mode" songs of all time, lol.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Deb -- yeah, I'm rediscovering that School Of Fish CD. Really "underknown" so to speak.

Oh, and a MAJOR OMMISSION ALERT. REM's Green. It would be Number 1 album for 1988! I don't know how I missed it.

I think this project wore me down to the point where I got really sloppy.

Applesaucer

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Deb, one more thing: I love the "Sweater Song," too, but it sounds suspisciously like the Pixies' "I Bleed" off of Doolittle.

If you have Doolittle, check it out.

Applesaucer

10:54 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Yeah, well, everything good that came out of that era is basically a Pixies ripoff...lol.

And where is my mind, anyway? lol

11:02 AM  
Blogger George said...

No Husker Du or Replacements? And then no Yo La Tengo or Pavement?

And only "Fear of Music" from all that wonderful Talking Heads output?

I have to get around to doing my own list. But I'm still stuck doing the films of my life list, so god knows when I'll get to this. If anyone suggest we all do this with books I'll bonk him or her in the head with a library.

In the meantime, go get Richard and Linda Thompson's "Shoot Out the Lights" and you'll have a second album for 1982. One of the best albums period.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Smitty said...

Teenage Fan Club. Wow. I totally forgot about them in all of the "Nirvana is the best band of the 90s" hype. Gonna have to seek them out on iTunes.

I'd have to put the Police over REM, but that's just me. SOmething about Michael Stype irks me, I just can't put my finger on it.

Ah, 1990. Been caught stealin'. Once. When I was 5. A song that starts out with syncopated dog barks is truly going to be a winner.

1994: I loved me some Jar of Flies. Alice in Chains was, in my opinion, the most talented (musically) of the Seattle scene.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Rickie Lee Jones’s self titled debut album

I remember hearing that a bit with my mom when it came out. She loved it; probably a bit over my head as an 11 year-old. But I liked "Chuckie's In Love."

I forgot about Teenage Fan Club
Teenage Fan Club. Wow. I totally forgot about them

Seems to be a theme here. Spin chose "Bandwagonesque" -- contemporaneously -- as the best album of 1991. A lot of filks laughed at them then for that choice; imagine how they'd laugh at me now, 17 years later.

Stone Roses - Stone Roses

There are some great songs on this album, but overall I don't see the brouhaha. I don't think it compares to Jesus & Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, Blur, etc. I guess they get credit for starting the movement.

School Of Fish - School Of Fish
I thought I was the only School of Fish fan in the world

I own this. I bought it for "Three Strange Days," which was a staple on WDRE in late '91. In the 17 years hence, I don't remember any song other than that one.

And, then we have "Three Days," which is on the same album as . . .

Been caught stealin'. Once. When I was 5. A song that starts out with syncopated dog barks is truly going to be a winner.

Funny shit, Smitty. "Syncopated Dog Bark" had me laughing yesterday when I read this.

"Sweater Song," too, but it sounds suspisciously like the Pixies' "I Bleed"

Good call there.

everything good that came out of that era is basically a Pixies ripoff

And there too.

No Husker Du

Nope. Own three discs; don't like em enough to put em here.

or Replacements?

Nope. Fuck Minneapolis

(Just kidding. Actually weent to the twin cities -- twice -- in '92-93, and I liked it a lot. Heard "Shiela Na'gig" for the first time, on the radio there."

And then no Yo La Tengo

Nope. Don't like em.

or Pavement?

I own Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (or is it Slanted & Enchanted? Or is it both?) but while I like it, I don't like it enough for the list.

And only "Fear of Music" from all that wonderful Talking Heads output?

That was yesterday, George. We have a statute of limitations around here.

I loved me some Jar of Flies. Alice in Chains was, in my opinion, the most talented (musically) of the Seattle scene.

Underrated album (EP?). I just love the mood of that one.

7:15 AM  

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