Urban Hymns (1997) by The Verve

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I have made no bones about my dislike of Oasis, a band nearly everyone else seems to love (or at least enjoy). I don’t like their songwriter’s songs, I don’t like their sound and I find their biggest hit to be poorly produced. So what the hell am I supposed to do when I have an instinctive liking for a band that is clearly just second-rate Oasis? Dammit. Read More

Homogenic (1997) by Bjork

Categories: 1997 and Music.

It’s been a while since I sat down and listened to all the Bjork records I own at once time so you should really take what I say with a grain of salt because, maybe if I had done that recently, I wouldn’t be so damn blown away by this record. But, without having listened to the other records in some time (except for the two preceding this one), I am very, very tempted to acclaim this one as her very best. Read More

When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997) by Cornershop

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I really appreciate the genre-bending of this record. Even though mixing Indian music with western popular music was a thing a full thirty years before this record came out, it feels like that part of psychedelia was the least popular (or accessible) to all the bands that were influenced by the genre. For the most part, western and Indian fusion has been rather scarce since then, at least within western popular music. So I really do appreciate these guys, who dive right in, with a new mixture of sounds, and relying on Indian popular music instead of classical. I have Read More

Fabulosos Calavera (1997) by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

Categories: 1997 and Music.

In 1997, I fell in love with Grosse Pointe Blank, the only romantic comedy that was violent enough for my 15 year old soul to feel okay about liking. I liked it so much I went out and bought the soundtrack. (Well, the first soundtrack as there’s a Volume 2 I never purchased.) It was the one of the few contemporary albums I owned at the time (everything else was Beatles). On that CD was a song called “Matador” by this band. Read More

The Fat of the Land (1997) by Prodigy

Categories: 1997 and Music.

Like everyone on the planet I have heard the three singles more times than I can count. The only reason those tracks don’t sound so dated is because I’ve heard them so much; they were so much a part of my late ’90s high school life even though I didn’t even understand what electronic music was. Read More

Glee (1997) by Bran Van 3000

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I love genre-bending. A number of my most favourite bands are bands that can play a wide variety of genres well, and make these genres sound like their own (or, alternatively, convince you they are an entirely different band). So I should like this. I should like this even though it is based in music I don’t personally love (electronic, hip hop). Read More

Full Circle (1997) by Pennywise

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I don’t love 90s punk, I generally find it too polished and too formulaic for my tastes. I’m not sure what it adds to the legacy of hardcore and frankly it’s all too one note. You can get away with one-note when you’re doing something brand new, but when you are doing a slightly more polished version of something that is, at this point, nearly two decades old, it’s kind of tiresome (to me). Read More

Dig Me Out (1997) by Sleater-Kinney

Categories: 1997 and Music.

The songwriting has improved here – the arrangements feel tighter and the hooks are  arguably stronger. This is only the second record of theirs I’ve heard, so I’m not sure I can argue that it is their best (I believe it has that reputation) but if you are looking for 90s punk that still feels like punk (as opposed to some bleached, broish imitation of punk), this is where you should go looking for it. Good stuff. 8/10 Read More

Her Point of View (1997) by Olga Konkova

Categories: 1997 and Music.

Konkova takes aim at a number of jazz standards and reinvents them and makes them her own. She makes them sound of a piece with her own compositions. And this is what I like about jazz: fresh interpretations of old music so that it sounds more modern, with plenty of improvisation to go around. (As one critic noted, Konkova doesn’t introduce the melody and then improvise – she starts improvising on these standards from the get go.) Read More

Either-Or (1997) by Elliott Smith

Categories: 1997 and Music.

The problem with hype is that it makes you have expectations that can never be met. And, for some reason, the the death of someone just makes this so much worse, but in retrospect. Once a beloved musician dies, everything they ever made becomes a masterpiece and must be held up as proof as the dead musician’s genius that was cut short by their death. Etc. I have been hearing about how amazing Elliott Smith is for probably 15 years. Fortunately for my expectations, I have been hearing less of that in the last 5-10 than in the first 5. Read More

Brigthen the Corners (1997) by Pavement

Categories: 1997 and Music.

A kinder, gentler Pavement. With hindsight I think we can say this is the first record where it really sounds like Malkmus is writing songs for himself, rather than the band. I’m not sure that’s fair, but I sure feel like this has more in common with his solo career than with Slanted and Enchanted. It’s still recognizably Pavement, but a far mellower one. Read More

Chile, la memoria obstinada (1997, Patricio Guzman)

Categories: 1997 and Movies.

This is an interesting, albeit sort of confused, film based around the decision of exiled director Patricio Guzman to bring his Battle of Chile back to Chile to show it to audiences who had never seen it (as it was banned by Pinochet’s government and, according to Guzman, no theatres were interested in showing it). Guzman oddly chooses to have people reenact some things and have people march down the street playing an old revolutionary anthem. I’m not sure what the point is, though the reactions in the crowd are kind of incredible. The film is scored by Guzman’s old Read More

Psycho (1997) by Bernard Herrmann, performed by the Royal Scottish Orchestra conducted by Joel McNeely

Categories: 1960, 1997, and Music.

The score to Psycho is one of the most iconic film scores ever and, at the film’s release, probably was the most iconic film score for a Hollywood or even English language-film. (Searching my memory, I can only think of The Third Man as an earlier English language-film that got this much attention for its score. There were, of course, plenty of non-English language-films with heralded scores prior to Psycho‘s release.) And it remains among the most famous to this day, only equaled in fame by Jaws, Halloween, Star Wars, Superman, maybe The Exorcist. That in itself is an impressive Read More

Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino)

Categories: 1997 and Movies.

I saw this years and years ago, and I didn’t like it. I don’t know why. I guess it was just the stubborn thing for me to do. I didn’t like Pulp Fiction the first time, either. I guess I can see why people thought of this as some kind of misstep from the wonder boy, because it’s certainly way less ambitious than his last film. But I think it’s certainly underrated. It may be his weakest feature – and that’s debatable – but it has held up much better than True Romance, the film that launched his career and Read More