Friday, November 13, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 2-No. 1)

100. Die Funf Fruende - JETZT!
99. Save Ferris - Come on Eileen (Night Mix)
98. World Party - Put the Message in the Box
97. Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Merched Yn Neud Gwallt Eu Gilydd
96. The Ocean Blue - Sublime
95. Puffy Ami Yumi - Wild Girls on Circuit
94. The Muffs - Oh Nina
93. Smoking Popes - Need You Around
92. The Feelies - Sooner or Later
91. Luscious Jackson - Naked Eye
90. The Lemonheads - Into Your Arms
89. fIREHOSE - Disciples of the 3-Way
88. The Sugargliders - Letter From a Lifeboat
87. Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks - Orange Crate Art
86. Vegas - Walk Into the Wind
85. k.d. lang - Miss Chatelaine
84. Robert Crenshaw - All I Want to Do Is Be With You
83. The Pretenders - I'm Not in Love
82. Jeffrey Foskett - Thru My Window
81. Superchunk - Slack Motherfucker
80. Blondie - Maria
79. Sloan - Everything You've Done Wrong
78. Brighter - Does Love Last Forever?
77. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - History of Lies
76. Squeeze - Some Fantastic Place
75. Paul Weller - Uh Huh, Oh Yeh
74. Maria McKee - I'm Gonna Soothe You
73. Marine Research - Parallel Horizontal
72. Morrissey - Our Frank
71. Annie Lennox - No More 'I Love Yous'
70. Jellyfish - The King Is Half Undressed
69. The La's - Timeless Melody
68. Jonathan Richman - Surrender
67. Kirsty MacColl - Titanic Days
66. Roddy Frame - Reason for Living
65. The Divine Comedy - Becoming More Like Alfie
64. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Kiss Them For Me
63. Electronic - Get the Message
62. Scritti Politti - Brushed With Oil, Dusted With Powder
61. The Clean - Draw(in)g to a (W)hole
60. The Chamber Strings - Telegram
59. David Bowie - Something in the Air
58. Lambchop - Your Fucking Sunny Day
57. James - Laid
56. Suede - Metal Mickey
55. Blueboy - Popkiss
54. The Sundays - Here's Where the Story Ends
53. Brendan Benson - I'm Blessed
52. The Lucksmiths - Untidy Towns
51. Heavenly - Atta Girl
50. Freedy Johnston - Responsible
49. Neil Finn - She Will Have Her Way
48. Nick Heyward - Kite
47. Bjork - Big Time Sensuality
46. Velocity Girl - I Can't Stop Smiling
45. Buzzcocks - Innocent
44. Aztec Camera - Spanish Horses
43. Sugar - Gee Angel
42. Marshall Crenshaw - What Do You Dream Of?
41. The High Llamas - The Sun Beats Down
40. The Orchids - Peaches
39. Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas
38. Elastica - Stutter
37. Prefab Sprout - Looking for Atlantis
36. Frank Black - Headache
35. The Pastels - Thru' Your Heart
34. Elvis Costello - Sulky Girl
33. The Hit Parade - The First Time
32. Pulp - Common People
31. Portishead - Sour Times (Nobody Loves Me)
30. Supergrass - Alright
29. Robin Hitchcock - So You Think You're in Love
28. The Beautiful South - Old Red Eyes Is Back
27. The Sugarplastic - Radio JeJune
26. Crowded House - Not the Girl You Think You Are
25. Billy Bragg and Wilco - California Stars
24. Doves - Sea Song
23. The Flaming Lips - Race for the Prize
22. The Popguns - Still a World Away
21. Lloyd Cole - No Blue Skies
20. Ron Sexsmith - Secret Heart
19. Pavement - Trigger Cut
18. The Breeders - Cannonball
17. The Beta Band - Dry the Rain
16. Terry Hall - Sense
15. The Lightning Seeds - Change
14. Komeda - Disko
13. Stereolab - French Disko
12. Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You
11. Saint Etienne - Nothing Can Stop Us
10. Jason Falkner - Holiday
9. The Jayhawks - Blue
8. Blur - To the End
7. Epic Soundtracks - She Sleeps Alone
6. Belle and Sebastian - The Boy With the Arab Strap
5. Nick Lowe - True Love Travels Down a Gravel Road
4. Wondermints - Proto-Pretty
3. Lush - Sweetness and Light

2. "Divine Intervention"
Artist: Matthew Sweet
Year: 1991

1. "Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again)"
Artist: Wilco
Year: 1999

Matthew Sweet's 'Girlfriend' and Wilco's 'Summerteeth' are my top two albums from the '90s. So, I guess it's fair to say these are my two favorite songs from my two favorite albums, and they bookend my decade quite nicely. When 'Girlfriend' came out, I was a wide-eyed college student with no real plans beyond how to collect enough cash to get to the next show. As Sweet said on 'Divine Intervention' to open the album, "I don't know where I'm gonna live." What's more, I didn't really care either. I had the world on a string. Every time I hear this song I'm instantly transported to those carefree days, and nearly a quarter century later I still consider this album the quintessential power-pop long player.

By 1999, the world had given me a swift kick in the pants. It felt like my job was rapidly taking years off of my life. Even when I wasn't at work, which didn't seem to be too often, I was always thinking about it. Mrs. LTL was also unhappy with her job, but her problem was not being challenged enough. We had lived in D.C. for almost five years, and it never felt like home. We were going to need to make a change, fears be damned. As Jeff Tweedy sang on today's pick, "we'll find a way." It took until 2000 to get it all sorted out, but the dark clouds seemed to blow away as soon as we made the decision to move back to Chicago... seven long years after leaving the Windy City the first time. We would spend the next 10 years there.

During this countdown I have mentioned several times how much I hated the '90s songbook. That's really only part of the story. I just didn't enjoy the '90s, period. Unfortunately, my broken spirit bled into the greatest joy of my life... listening, reading, writing and flat out experiencing music. Obviously, no matter the period, there are always great songs, and I see now the '90s were no different. Sure enough, as soon as Mrs. LTL and I began planning our move, my mojo for music returned, and 'Summerteeth' was the album that grabbed me, heart and soul, and brought me back from my funk. Fifteen years later, I'm happy to report my passion has never waned. So, that's why I'm ending this thing with the optimistic "Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again)." Otherwise, we would probably be listening to "Via Chicago." The title certainly fits, but it's a murder ballad.

I'll have a couple more posts this weekend on some of the songs that missed the list but deserve mention. I would love to hear about some of your favorites too. Help me fill in those huge gaps I have from this untapped (from my perspective) decade.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I have really enjoyed this countdown. I discovered (Oh Nina) and rediscovered (Nothing can Stop Us) some great tracks and bands.

I'm going to spin Girlfriend and Summerteeth today in tribute - cheers!

The Swede said...

Congratulations on the culmination of a marvellous endeavour, rounded off by selections from what were two monstrously important albums for me as well. There are a few songs that immediately come to mind when I think of the 1990's, or at least certain periods of that decade. A couple of the artists appear in your rundown and others don't. I've been sitting on them and the stories involved for quite a while and one of these days I'll get around to writing something down. One of them appears in my long-promised Desert Island Discs feature, for which I know the songs, but lack the time needed to create an interesting run of posts. To quote John Cooper Clarke, 'Time, the old enemy on the wrist.'
I salute your discipline and dedication to this fine series and thank you for introducing me to things I missed and others I forgot. I'm interested to see what crops up in your 'bubbling under' posts.

charity chic said...

An epic series Brian and two crackers to finish off. Some old favourites and many new to me. Thanks a lot for this Brian and the final countdown!

drew said...

God I love Divine Intervention and it's parent album.

Excellent series Brian, and a lot of work!

Swiss Adam said...

Sterling work Brian, a true labour of love. I had a thing for Wilco at this time too

Echorich said...

This has been an enormous and enormously entertaining undertaking Brian! As we got to the Top 10 I knew that if we would reach territory that would be much more personal and individual in your choices. I have to say you did not disappoint. If it seems like I have commented less over the last 10 installments, it was not because I didn't care for the selections or wanted to keep away from disagreeing with their validity. It was because I chose to enjoy the endgame - the completion of your process and take in the what as well as the why of each selection.
I don't know that I could come even close to the effort and care you put into this fascinating list. It would be especially hard as music really sort of let me down in the decade of the 90's - not entirely, but a great deal more than I would have ever have imagined. I turned my back on pop and rock music for the most part and happily slid down the rabbit hole of House Music. Your efforts here have given me a lot of music to investigate that got left behind in this decade and I have to say THANK YOU for that.
I look forward to your "Just Missed" posts and will begin to bring some of what stuck with me through the 90's in return.

friend of rachel worth said...

Really enjoyed the countdown and will miss it now it is over. Wonder what is up next? Whatever it is looking forward to it

kevinpat said...

When I was a kid, not too long ago, I would listen to the NYC top 20 countdown on the AM and anticipate as they got to the top spots. Following here I was reminded of that. I second all the above comments. A great ride through the 90s. Thanks Bri! It's nice to hear from folks who find music as a timeline into their lives with songs that have a personal connection to a moment in their life. One crazy day on a whim (and a few cocktails) my dad brought home 9 baby chicks for Easter. We lived in a postage stamp sized spot on Long Island. Certainly not a place to raise chicks. We kept them down in the basement for the few weeks they lived. Around the same time I saved enough money and purchased The Four Tops single "Reach Out Ill Be There" (w/picture sleeve!!! Ha!). I played it over and over again while I tried to keep the chicks alive. What, 45 years later I can still hear the chicks chirping in the background whenever I hear that classic song. That's what music does. Hahahahahaha. Yup.

Thank you sir.

kevinpat said...

And oh yeah…..Heck to the yay on the Girlfriend!!! Add "Someone to Pull the Trigger" as creme and "Sick of Myself" for the cherry on top and you got a Sweet treat. Dang.

George said...

Brian, it's been like reading a novel in 100 parts, a great achievement. Actually, won't it be 99 parts as nos 1 and 2 come in one post? Once this Fall side has finsihed, Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend album will be coming throught the B&Ws. Once again, well done - you've introduced me to some great music and remnded me of songs I'd forgotten.

Judge Pop said...

I'll just add my thanks for this top 100. Many tunes I know so well but of course it the ones I don't that are most interesting. A great trip.

Scott said...

A fitting end to a terrific series Brian. Great to see some of my own personal faves of the 90's in there, as well as introducing me to many tracks I had not heard previously.

Uncle E said...

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to do this list. I know...it's hard work and can be a bit of a drag sometimes. As all of these comments should attest, though, it was appreciated. You hit many of my hot buttons and gave me a reason or twenty-seven to investigate others I wasn't that familiar with.

And what a great top 2! Although A Ghost Is Born was my introduction to Wilco, Summerteeth becam my favorite and has not been knocked off yet. I might have picked Pieholden Suite as my choice but every song's a winner on that one.

charity chic said...

Brian - I have retained this list for future reference!