Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nineties Blogfest: 1992 - 1994

As mentioned before, I didn't realize the blogfest hosted by Dave Wrote This was just one day and not this whole THING that I've extended for days. So, today we squash a few more years together to get caught up on the decade. Today: 1992-1994

Top Billboard song this week in 1992: 
Boys II Men: End of the Road. This song stayed #1 on the Top 100 for almost 3 months, beating the record held by Elvis.
Top song this week in 1993: Mariah Carey: Dreamlover
Top song this week in 1994: Boys II Men: I'll Make Love to You
Mariah and Boys II Men dominated '90s mainstream radio!

1992: U2: Achtung Baby

I already considered U2 the coolest band in the world, and Achtung Baby was a huge shift--dark, arty with an industrial edge. Could they get any cooler? (The answer is no, as their coolness degraded from here on out, with a slight spike in 1997 with Pop, but it was over after that). I'm still in love with the cover art and videos from this album, it was this brilliant package of dirty uber-Berlin-tinged sound, even if "Mysterious Ways" overstayed its welcome on mainstream radio. "The Fly" went where I always wished U2 would go but never knew they could (my husband, the musician, would remind me it's my preference for delay and distortion). Ya'll, this is the 20th anniversary of Achtung Baby. I feel old.

1992: Beastie Boys: Check Your Head

Bought, loved it, had the t-shirt (still have the t-shirt). As a white girl in the not-quite-suburbs (mid-sized midwestern city) I ate this UP. This is when the Beasties moved from beyond the joke; they were always in on their own joke, but now they put a little more thought into their lyrics while still having a boatload of fun. This and Licenced to Ill were like my high school soundtrack. "So Whatcha Want" holds up as an iconic '90s video. MCA: RIP.

1992 TV Factoids: Jay Leno begins his reign of unfunny-terror when he replaces Johnny Carson; The Real World debuts, which preteens like me ate up, but it ruined TV for everyone else; Who's the Boss? ended and I'm not sure the question was ever answered. (My answer: Mona).

1993: Women invade indie rock

The mid-90s saw a bit of an uptick in female-fronted bands and women making more headway outside of traditional pop-vocal music (like Mariah Carey, who continued to dominate the Billboard charts). As a budding feminist, I searched out female artists, although I wasn't going to listen to music only based on gender; I never could get into Tori Amos or Ani Difranco. Given I lived in the midwest in a pre-internet era, I wasn't exactly connected much with the riot grrl movement, but I listened to a fair amount of related bands: Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear, later Sleater-Kinney. I remember feeling like this was the beginning of it all, when women would really take over with a more steady presence in rock. Sadly, this was not the case, and even the majority of my favorite bands in the following years were mostly male-dominated. Women definitely shine in pop music, which I guess is cool, but little indie-rock Steph was a little disappointed when riot grrl faded out and nothing took its place.

1993: The Breeders: Last Splash

Remember I said I loved the Pixies? Kim Deal of the Pixies already had this project going, and her sister Kelley joined in for this album. "Cannonball" was the MTV hit, but the rest of the album is what kept me listening. Hard driving, distorted rock with those cool, easy vocals. They kept a little bit of Pixies vibe with "No Aloha" but this was definitely a different sound. They weren't riot grrrl with a message, they just rocked out.

1993: PJ Harvey: Rid of Me

I think I first heard PJ Harvey on some indie radio show I used to listen to on Sunday nights. I randomly found the station, it wasn't local. PJ Harvey appealed to my arty side. She's this weirdly confident rocker who sings like a banshee one minute and turns sweet the next. She plays on feminist themes quite a bit on this album. She's had minor commercial success, but I think she's been an indie darling-mainstay with the critics since the early '90s. I used MeJane, one of her song titles as a username on a few web forums in the early 2000s.

More noteworthy music of 1993: Mazzy Star: So Tonight That I Might See (LOVE this, still), Ace of Base: The Sign (so catchy!), Bjork: Debut, Blur: Modern Life is Rubbish, Catherine Wheel: Chrome (I devoured this album in college), Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream.

TV Factoids from 1993: The X-Files debuts. Changes TV forever. FOREVER! I really liked the show, OK?

1994: Weezer: The Blue Album

Still such a great album! Infectiously catchy and they hit at just the right time by offering an alternative to grunge with a little, dare I say, earnestness? Heartfelt power-pop, but self-aware enough to not feel embarrassing. Also, they weren't afraid to rock out. When I added this to my ipod a couple years ago (transferring all my CDs is quite a process) I found I listened to this as regularly as I did back in the '90s. Pinkerton is the critic's darling, but the blue album will always be my favorite. My Name is Jonas is probably my favorite. I'm humming it now.

More noteworthy music of 1994: Such a great year! Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Green Day: Dookie, Hole: Live Through This (my favorite of theirs), Beastie Boys: Ill Communication (because you can't, you won't and you don't stop!), The Jesus and Mary Chain: Stoned and Dethroned (not their best but my sentimental favorite), Beck's "Loser" from Mellow Gold,  The Notorious B.I.G., which I didn't listen to by choice but everybody at school did so I heard it by default, and Dave Matthew's Band: Under the Table and Dreaming. This was also the year of Hootie and the Blowfish, another radio-mainstay you couldn't get away from if you tried!

TV Factoids of 1994: My So-Called Life airs for its only season; omgjordancatalano!; In Living Color and Aresenio's talk show end, taking with it most of TVs  minority representation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.