Category: 1990

1990, Music

Heaven or Las Vegas (1990) by Cocteau Twins

The Cocteau Twins, arguably the inventors of dream pop, have an inimitable sound. On their early records I find that sound a little too reminiscent of Siouxsie and the Banshees but, at this stage of their career, I find that comparison basically useless. Bands with such distinct sounds, who I don’t love enough to listen …

1990, Music

Mama Said Knock You Out (1990) by LL Cool J

Before he was an actor, LL Cool J always struck me as a rapper with less weight. I don’t really know if I heard much of his music beyond the title track here, but the moment I learned what LL Cool J stood for, I smirked and I couldn’t take him seriously. (Not that this …

1990, Music

Jordan: The Comeback (1990) by Prefab Sprout

Note: This album has nothing to do with Michael Jordan. It’s always weird coming to a critically acclaimed album by a band you’ve basically never heard a note of in your entire life. I was like 6 or 7 when Prefab Sprout had their big hit, and it was a hit in the UK. I …

1990, Music

Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990) by George Michael

More than his debut album, this record strikes me as the work of a singer-songwriter, one who also happens to be an incredibly dynamic performer, and a multi-instrumentalist. I’ve only listened to Faith a couple of times, but this feels more personal. And I must say I like it more. As an aside: the fact …

1990, Music

No Fences (1990) by Garth Brooks

I honestly thought Garth Brooks was a songwriter. I have a memory of channel-surfing and finding a show on which he and some other country songwriters were discussing songs they wrote. So I just assumed he wrote all or most of his material. Going by this album, his breakout hit, he doesn’t. (He co-writes 4 …

1990, Music

Persistence of Time (1990) by Anthrax

I have heard so much about Anthrax but somehow never heard them until today. I still remember reading about their debut in my Billboard book when I was a kid (or a tween), about how it was the fastest metal album ever (supposedly…according to Billboard) and not even knowing what metal was, just sort of …

1990, Music

Facelift (1990) by Alice In Chains

Alice in Chains are, to me, the least immediately appealing of the big Seattle grunge bands. I think that’s because they have the least catchy songs – though Cantrell is a good songwriter he is not necessarily a writer of particularly catchy songs. Though I do wonder how much of my experience of this band …

1990, Music

World Clique (1990) by Deee-Lite

Like you, I have heard “Groove Is In the Heart” a thousand times. Whether I want to or not, I know basically every note. But, unlike some (most?) of the people who bought this album I have never been a fan of dance music. And to the extent that I am welcoming of dance music, …

1990, Music

Cowboys From Hell (1990) by Pantera

I know the legend of Pantera but I don’t know their early music. Regardless, it’s hard to believe this band was once a glam metal band. I guess you can hear touches of it here and there if you’re really, really paying attention but, if you listened to this first, and then were told their …

1990, Music

Lights…Camera…Revolution (1990) by Suicidal Tendencies

Back in 2012 I heard Prime Cuts and I was pretty damn impressed. I’d never heard the band before and I was thinking “Where has this been all my life”? But it took me a really long time to hear some more of their music and I must say that I might have grown out …

1990, Music

Goo (1990) by Sonic Youth

Sometime between their earliest albums and Daydream Nation Sonic Youth learned how to write melodies and, as importantly, learned how to swing. (Obviously this happened gradually.) And that development is perhaps nowhere more apparent than on Goo, their most accessible album to date.Sure, calling a Sonic Youth album ‘accessible’ is a relative thing, but it’s …

1990, Music

No Depression (1990) by Uncle Tupelo

There are people who will tell you that this is the first ever alt country album. They are wrong about that. They have apparently never heard of the Jayhawks or any of the alternative rock bands incorporating country into their music in the 1980s. (I just finished reviewing an album also credited with inventing this …

1990, Music

Step by Step (1990) by New Kids on the Block

New Kids on the Block make subsequent boy bands sound sophisticated. Maurice Starr’s songs on their earlier records show a level of contempt for their fans that later boy band songwriters mostly avoided. (Both musically, in how unsophisticated and imitative his songs and musical ideas are and, especially, lyrically, as he realized that teens don’t …

1990, Music

Left Hand Path (1990) by Entombed

The early history and evolution of death metal is controversial. Like many genres of music, it’s possible that it was invented in two different places around the same time. (Or, rather, the sounds that came to be called death metal appeared in two different countries around the same time.) I’ve always found this evolution nebulous …

1990, Music

The Good Son (1990) by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

I love Tender Prey. For me, it’s the culmination of the Seeds through their first era, a powerful combination of punk-influenced music and songwriting well beyond the quality of most punk albums.

1990, Music

Hammerheart (1990) by Bathory

I have read that this is perhaps the second “viking metal” album ever. I really can’t confirm that because, well, I’ve never heard of viking metal before. I didn’t know it was a thing. What I do know is that black metal was definitely not this varied in its early years but I don’t know …

1990, Music

Songs for Drella (1990) by Lou Reed and John Cale

I’m not sure why but I find Lou Reed’s memorial lyrics way too explicit for my tastes. He’s so specific that it removes the universal appeal. I don’t normally have a problem with specificity in and of itself, and with Reed’s other lyrics but, for some reason, when it comes to death, that’s how I …

1990, Music

People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990) by A Tribe Called Quest

As I have said more times than I now count: I sure don’t know much about the history of hip hop. But, to the extent I know much about hip hop, I’m pretty sure I know that there wasn’t much out there that sounded like A Tribe Called Quest in 1990. Obviously I don’t know …

1990, Music

Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches (1990) by Happy Mondays

I’ve listened to a few madchester/baggy albums at this point and it’s safe to say that I just don’t get the genre. Now, I get very few dance-rock hybrids outside of Talking Heads’ version of that kind of thing, but this one I find particularly perplexing.

1990, Music

I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990) by Sinead O’Connor

Sinead’s second album is considerably more self-assured and even than her debut, though it’s lacking a bit of the energy of the debut and, also, the pure shock factor of a woman so young seeming like such a self-assured songwriter and performer. And like the debut, it hasn’t dated that well, but that’s sort of …