Tag: Alternative

1999, Music

Californication (1999) by Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Scar Tissue” was everywhere in the summer of 1999. The radio was always on at my work and so the song was always on. I fell in love with a girl at my work who loved “Scar Tissue.” And so I found myself torn between my love for this girl, who would sing along to …

1989, Music

Street Fighting Years (1989) by Simple Minds

Simple Minds is one of those bands that put out an absolute ton of music but which I was only aware of due to their biggest hit. Until 2018 or 2019 I had never heard a single album of there’s. That one album sounded too much like U2 to me, but mostly because of Kerr. …

1999, Music

The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (1999) by Ben Folds Five

For most of my adult life I’ve been only vaguely aware of Ben Folds and his band. I think he had a hit or two I heard of and many years ago I managed to listen to their reunion album but it apparently made no impression on me. Despite sort of bemoaning the death of …

1989, Music

Full Moon Fever (1989) by Tom Petty

For years, my only real experience of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was their 1993 Greatest Hits record. That record contained the three big hits everyone knows from this solo album, though I wasn’t too concerned that these were ostensibly solo singles on a record collecting the band’s hits. I also wasn’t particularly concerned, at …

1994, Music

Troublegum (1994) by Therapy?

When I first heard “Knives” I thought “YES!” and figured I had just found a new favourite band. But that track turns out to be the album’s most immediate track – it’s a smart thing to lead off with in some respects but a bad idea in others.

1984, Music

The Smiths (1984)

The British music critic establishment and whomever else greeted this band as saviours must have been so desperate for guitars to greet this band – this jangle pop music – as the thing to deliver them from synthesizers, instead of something louder or more interesting (or both). The Smiths are one of those mystifying bands …

1999, Music

14:59 (1999) by Sugar Ray

I hated Sugar ray. I hate “Fly.” I hate “Every Morning.” I hate Mark McGrath’s flat singing and his fame-whoring. I hated their super poppy “fusion” thing which seemed like some weird kind of experiment of what would happen if a generic “alternative” pop rock band tried to incorporate hip hop like it was nu …

1989, Music

Technique (1989) by New Order

The fusion of alternative and dance was such a big thing in the late 1980s in the UK. But it’s not something I really get because, well, I don’t like dance music. But I wish I could appreciate it more, because there are all these bands, with all these acclaimed albums, and I listen to …

1998, Music

Supposed Form Infatuation Junkie (1998) by Alanis Morissette

My biggest problem with Jagged Little Pill is its faux grunge (what we would now call post grunge) production; there’s this veneer of trying to make Alanis fit in with alternative rock bands, but it’s clearly the work of someone who was never in an alternative rock band and is just trying to create a …

1988, Music

Mutations (1998) by Beck

I can imagine that, had I paid attention to Beck more when he first became popular, and only heard Mellow Gold and Odelay, and not his earlier “anti folk” records, this record might have knocked me on my ass. In retrospect it has far more in common with Sea Change than it does those records …

1998, Music

1965 (1998) by The Afghan Whigs

I did not particularly enjoy the critically acclaimed Gentlemen and I think so much of that has to do with when I heard it, in my late 30s. I suspect had I heard it when I was, say, 22, I might have really liked it a lot. It’s still a fine record but, as a …

1993, Music

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1993) by Sarah McLachlan

This is the Sarah McLachlan I was too young for; the kids at my school weren’t into this music when it came out and I don’t think she was big enough in the States yet to make it on MTV when I got the chance to watch that at my cousins’. I say this because, …

1993, Music

Gentlemen (1993) by The Afghan Whigs

Expectations are a terrible thing. I had none the first time I listened to this record. But, not really getting how it had made it on to my list of major album anniversaries for October 1993, I looked it up and started reading all the praise out there. So by the second time I listened …

1988, Music

Fisherman’s Blues (1988) by The Waterboys

I listened to the Waterboys’ debut a while ago, and grudgingly acknowledged it was probably a pretty big deal in the UK music scene at the time – it might have been the first record you could call “alternative” instead of post punk for all I know – but I didn’t love something about it, …

1988, Music

Ultramage OK (1988) by Soundgarden

Chris Cornell apparently didn’t like the production of their debut and I must say that, as someone who is really familiar with their ’90s efforts, this doesn’t sound like Soundgarden to me. Even Cornell himself doesn’t quite sound like himself. I’m not sure how much that can be blamed on the production, how much it …

1998, Music

El Oso (1998) by Soul Coughing

Members of Soul Coughing are quoted in The Secret History of Rock, the pre-internet guide to weird and rarely heard rock music which was my bible for a long time. I made it my mission to listen to all the bands that were featured in that book, but I also made it my mission to …

1998, Music

Is This Desire? (1998) by PJ Harvey

If you spend too much time reading music magazines – do people still do that? – or you spend too much time on the internet, it’s tempting to see Is This Desire? as the flip side of The Boatman’s Call, or a direct response to it or some combination of the two. The easiest thing …

1998, Music

How It Feels to Be Something On (1998) by Sunny Day Real Estate

Apparently these guys were one of the original Midwest Emo bands. I did not know that; really I knew nothing at all about them before listening to this record.

1993, Music

Judgment Night Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1993)

I know this record was a big deal to fans of these bands at the time, but I had literally no idea about it until an anniversary of it maybe 5 years ago. I had low expectations, despite how many of these rock bands I like.

1993, Music

Cure for Pain (1993) by Morphine

The thing that makes Morphine so unique is, in some ways, the thing that keeps them from ever being a band that I will truly love. That’s not their fault, of course, but it does make them one of those bands who I like more or less depending upon the quality of their songs.

1993, Music

August and Everything After (1993) by Counting Crows

I was talking to a guest of the podcast a few episodes ago and I described how my “alternative” junior high school had been just full of alternative rock, pardon the pun, even though I was firmly into “oldies.” I mentioned the grunge usual suspects, which I do remember hearing for the first time at …

1993, Music

Into the Labyrinth (1993) by Dead Can Dance

Though I have heard a lot about Dead Can Dance over the years, like so many bands it has taken me forever to hear them. And like so many bands that it has taken me forever to hear, I found myself surprised.

1993, Music

Post Historic Monsters (1993) by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine

Though this band were a really big deal in the UK when I was young, I don’t know that they made much of an impact across the pond. I don’t remember anything about them except their name. And even then, I don’t really remember why I remember their name, just that I heard it somewhere.

1998, Music

Psyence Fiction (1998) by UNKLE

I know next to nothing about ’90s electronica or the individual scenes at the time. So it is a shock to me at how this weird, all star album exists. Because this is some kind of line-up of guest vocalists for a group that, as far as I can figure out, had released a single …

1998, Music

Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998) by Liz Phair

Phair is a strong songwriter, she writes catchy songs with lyrics that are above average. (I often liken her to PJ Harvey at times, given both have a penchant for writing lyrics from the perspective of other people. Sure, many lyricists do that but they are explicit about it.)