Your Arsenal (1992) by Morrissey

Categories: 1992 and Music.

I hate Morrissey, both personally, as I find him an objectionable human being and cannot understand why anyone would find him charming, and musically, as I find The Smiths really underwhelming and Morrissey’s solo music (that I’ve heard) to be hilariously middlebrow for someone so full of attitude. Morrissey talks a lot about a certain type of music and then makes music very different from that. He basically doesn’t walk his own talk. And his music is boring. Read More

Danzig III: How the Gods Kill (1992)

Categories: 1992.

I have never heard Danzig before and, to the best of my knowledge, never heard Glenn Danzig before (except maybe on some Misfits song, but I think the only version of the band I’ve heard is one without him in it). And there’s something I am having a hard time shaking, which will likely infuriate Danzig fans – does Danzig ever sound like Ian Astbury. Read More

Diva (1992) by Annie Lennox

Categories: 1992 and Music.

I am generally opposed to albums dominated by “modern” (read: contemporary) instrumentation. I hate bad 80s (and 90s!) synthesizers and generally do not like music that is made primarily by these instruments. Things that sound modern once do not normally sound modern later and that is a huge issue with so much of the pop music that was made between the late 70s and early 90s. Read More

Honey’s Dead (1992) by The Jesus and Mary Chain

Categories: 1992 and Music.

I should never read anything before I listen to a record, especially a record by a band I don’t love. I heard why they called it Honey’s Dead and suddenly my head was filled of dreams of reinvention. But no, it’s still very obviously The Jesus and Mary Chain. Only this time they’ve gone Madchester (I think). Read More

Going Blank Again (1992) by Ride

Categories: 1992 and Music.

I thought I was getting shoegaze, and I do.. But there’s a lot of other stuff going on here that isn’t strict shoegaze. One of the things that I don’t love about some shoegaze is the relentless commitment to one particular style. But there’s enough variety here that I’m kept interested. Also, the songs are pretty good so it’s not just the wall of sound that is appealing. 7/10 Read More

Vulgar Display of Power (1992) by Pantera

Categories: 1992 and Music.

I have not heard Cowboys from Hell but I have a hard time imagining that it’s significantly better than this onslaught of a record. I have no idea if this was is one of the first proper groove metal records (I doubt it) but, listening to it, it’s hard to imagine one that’s more definitive: with the exception of two semi-ballads that briefly suggest we’re in for a break (and then pummel us), this is wall to wall thrash metal with a groove (at times it actually sounds like Metallica with a groove). Also, I hear so many echoes of Read More

Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992) by Aphex Twin

Categories: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, and Music.

I am familiar with electronic music up until a point – that point is somewhere in the very early 80s. I have no idea what happened between then and the music we have today (save for the odd track that gets played too much or turned into stadium music). Read More

Generation Terrorists (1992) by Manic Street Preachers

Categories: 1992 and Music.

What do we do with a record like this? It’s called Generation Terrorists but sounds like it was produced by Mutt Lange or Bob Rock or someone like that. (Well, the production is maybe not that bad.) We have the bizarre amalgam of 80s hard rock (or “cock rock” as some call it) with extremely political lyrics that belong in punk songs. Is the idea to make super accessible and conventional music but to sneak in the lyrics so that young, impressionable youth are converted? I mean, if that’s the goal here, I’m not sure how much it succeeds. How Read More

From the House of the Dead (1980) by Leos Janacek, performed by the Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Staatsopernchor conducted by Charles Mackerras featuring Jiri Zahradnicek, Ivo Zidek, Vaclav Zitek

Categories: 1924, 1928, 1978, 1980, and 1992.

This disc pairs Janacek’s last (and shortest?) opera with two unrelated chamber pieces performed by an entirely different orchestra, grumble. Read More

From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990-2010 (2011) by Iron Maiden

Categories: 1990, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2010, and 2011.

I accidentally picked this up thinking it was a compilation of their ’80s music. Ah well. I learned a couple of things from this record: First, Iron Maiden has a formula and they stuck to it (at least on the songs considered their “best”). Second, I should never get a live Iron Maiden album. It’s pretty clear from listening to this record that Maiden is just milking their sound for all its worth. Sure, some of these songs are pretty catchy and everything is very professional and competent, but so many of these songs follow the exact same formula. And Read More

Janacek: Taras Bulba, The Fiddler’s Child, Jealousy (Overture), The Cunning Little Vixen Suite (1992) by Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jiri Belohlavek

Categories: 1894, 1912, 1915, 1918, 1921, 1923, 1992, and Music.

This is a collection of orchestra works by Janacek; two standalone works, one overture extracted from an opera, and a suite of instrumental pieces from one of his operas. Taras Bulba is an extended symphonic poem that is a little more programmatic than most of the ones I’m used to. (In this way, I believe it reminds me of Elgar…) It’s a full blown Romantic piece, with echoes of folk melodies and oodles of feeling. It’s a nice piece and enjoyable music, but I find it a tad too traditional to rave about it. “Fiddler” is a pleasant and engaging Read More

Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992, Nick Broomfield)

Categories: 1992 and Movies.

This is a fascinating and outrage-inducing film about the exploitation of Aileen Wuornos after her arrest and conviction by the police, her adopted mother and her lawyer. The film doesn’t seek to prove that Aileen didn’t do it – like most films of this type – but rather raises questions about the severity of her sentences and about the conduct of both the police investigating her and the lawyer and adopter mother supposedly on her side. Regardless of the crimes she committed, she was not treated fairly or properly by the system. And this film – like many great true Read More

Baraka (1992, Ron Fricke)

Categories: 1992 and Movies.

This is one of those non-narrative “documentaries” in the grand tradition of Koyaanisqatsi, which are really just beautiful film sequences compellingly edited together and scored. It should come as no surprise that the director of this film was a cinematographer on Koyaanisqatsi. And like that film, this one appears to be making a similar point about how certain forms of human life are destroying the planet. The thesis appears to be that our spiritual traditions are better at caring for the earth than the rest of us, but I could be projecting. If that’s true, it’s a simplistic idea and Read More

Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn (1992) by Joe Henderson

Categories: 1992 and Music.

People are weird. Apparently Henderson toiled in relative obscurity for decades and then one day, in the early ’90s, people lost their shit over him, though stylistically he is, you could argue, a pre-Trane player, or a least one who never followed Trane through the door when Trane finished removing the frames around it. So, the good: Here are some imaginative covers of Strayhorn’s work, many of which rethink the originals in new and exciting ways. The band clearly reinterpret the music; they are not content, like so many others, to replicate the tracks and just change up the solos. Read More

Classic Trumpet Concerti of Haydn/Hummel (1992) by Gerard Schwarz, Y Chamber Symphony of New York

Categories: 1992 and Music.

The trumpet has always been a jazz instrument for me. I guess that’s in part because I came to jazz before I came to concertos and solo pieces from the classical repertoire and because there really aren’t many trumpet pieces out there. It’s an under-utilized instrument, for sure. The trumpet always sounds regal or martial to me in Classical and Romantic music and I don’t particularly go for that. Prior to 1770, the trumpet couldn’t hit a wide range of notes. The keyed trumpet was invented around then and allowed for the instrument to express a greater range. The result Read More

Alice (2002) by Tom Waits

Categories: 2002 and Music.

So expectations were going to be high for something like this; a “lost” album from a theatrical production ten years earlier. No doubt many people came to this expecting the “lost masterpiece” that we almost always associate with the work major artists don’t record / release. Well it’s not that, but the idea that it’s bad, as some recent RYM reviewer’s allege, is equally preposterous. It’s certainly a major change in tone from the incredible Bone Machine, which was released only a few months after the show premiered. But that shows off Waits’ versatility, if anything, and that’s something he Read More

Symphony No. 3 (1992) by Henryk Gorecki, performed by Dawn Upshaw, London Sinfonietta conducted by David Zinman

Categories: 1992 and Music.

I think this is the ‘Adagio for Strings’ of the Polish avant garde / Holy minimalist schools, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s obvious why its popular (well, if you put aside its length) and its also obvious why so many music nerds hate its popularity or even hate it: it’s too easy to love for something written by a guy who’s supposed to be “avant”. I really like it, but I understand why it isn’t exactly forward-thinking. As someone else commented, ‘sometimes beauty transcends reason.’ Couldn’t say it better myself. 8/10 Read More

Baseball (1994, 2010 Ken Burns, Lynn Novick)

Categories: 1994 and TV.

Burns and co.’s constant mythologizing is a lot more appropriate here than it was in The Civil War, and as such I feel like this effort is the more successful one, despite the greater historical importance of the first series. And to their credit, they only mythologize about certain things: for examples, the game’s ludicrous origin myth is thoroughly destroyed, as is the idea that the best players of all-time played in the early 20s when Blacks weren’t allowed. But the program is a little myopic given its length: though some local focus is necessary this documentary is far too Read More

The 1960 Birdland Sessions (1992) by the Bill Evans Trio

Categories: 1992 and Music.

As much as this contains some pretty great music from one of the era’s greatest piano players, I have to think it is only worthwhile for devotees. The music is great but the sets are short – and there is a great deal of repetition between them – and there is an absolute ton of background noise. It doesn’t really take away from the pretty awesome music, but it is distracting. 8/10 Read More

Difficult Loves (1992) by Weddings Parties Anything

Categories: 1992 and Music.

Canadian music is usually ignored by American and British music critics (at least prior to the recent Canadian music explosion into respectability). Music critics from the two countries which have produced the most great rock music seem genuinely surprised when something from Canada stands up their own music. Prior to the recent explosion of Canadian music, there were few Canadian groups to get recognition outside of Canada. We had the Guess Who (who may have been overrated by American critics), the Band (who everyone consistently mistakes for American), Rush and maybe a few others (this is excluding the one-hit wonders). Read More

Black Water (1992) by Joyce Carol Oates

Categories: 1992, Books, and Fiction.

This seems to be Oates attempt to tell a story purely of someone’s life flashing before their eyes. It is loosely – and clearly – based on an incident that happened to a certain member of the Kennedys and a girl he was pursuing an affair with, but that’s really neither here nor there. The novella jumps between the tragic accident and various parts of the girls’ life. Some of it is written somewhat conventionally, but as it progresses it becomes more and more stream of consciousness (due to the changing circumstances of the girl). The novel reminds me of Read More

Pole to Pole (1992)

Categories: 1992 and TV.

This remains the definitive Michael Palin travel documentary and probably the best series of its type at least until the Long Way Round. Palin seems more honest and human here than he does in later series; less like a host and more like a traveler. It’s an incredible journey that is not without its problems; he takes some pretty incredible risks by the end. And his reflections are, though hardly philosophical, at least thought-provoking and universal. Watching this, I feel like Palin is the Theroux of TV. 9/10 Read More

The Larry Sanders Show

Categories: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and TV.

Having recently (re)watched The Larry Sanders Show: I think The Larry Sanders Show is one of the great American television programs and one of the great comedy programs of all time. Though it was certainly not the first TV show to parody TV, nor was it the first show to be about talk shows, it was the first laugh-track-less American comedy I know of (setting the stage for the numerous laugh-track-less comedies we have now) and it was about as dark and outrageous as anything then on television. The acting is so good that you sort of forget it’s a Read More

90s Movies

Categories: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and Movies.

Again I need to warn you about my ratings. In many cases the one and only time I watched these films was in high school, when I was far less discerning. In other cases, I really liked a movie then, then watched it 5 to 10 years later and saw that it was mediocre or bad and got embarrassed and my rating is often a reaction to that feeling, meaning I am subsequently harder on a film if I liked it the first time and I now see it for what it is. I have added asterisks to movies I don’t Read More