Sunday, November 15, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (Some Leftovers)

I wanted to take a moment to thank those that took the time to leave a comment during this long countdown. There were times during this thing when I found myself dragging, and it was your feedback that always gave me a much needed second wind. A tip of the cap to FORW, C, Drew, CC, George, Kevinpat, Swiss Adam, Echorich, The Swede, The Robster, Scott, Judge Pop, Ian, McPop, Walter, Brett Alan, Syaver, Dirk, MisterPrime, 1001Songs, postpunkmonk, Seamus and James!

If you're a blogger thinking of tackling a lengthy countdown, my one piece of advice is to make your list and then sit on it for a while. Why? Two reasons: 1) You're bound to have forgotten a song or album that will make you crazy when it's too late to find a spot. 2) You'll be surprised at how stupid you were with the placement of at least one song or album. The mistake will be big, bold and seemingly surrounded by bright blinking lights when you see it. For example, if I had let my picks percolate, Roddy Frame's "Reason for Living" would have fared much better than No. 66. As for the one that got away, about two months ago, I realized I had left off a song that would have easily cracked my top 50. I feel really bad about this one:

"I'm Hardly Ever Wrong"
Artist: The Would Be's
Year: 1990

I have at least 50 candidates that didn't make my countdown. I want to wrap this up tomorrow. So, I'm not going to mention them all, but I thought it might be fun to listen to some of them. I recently learned some of you hate the term guilty pleasure. Instead, I'll just say I love these songs, but I couldn't bring myself to write about them with the passion of a "Blue" or a "Secret Heart." It's time to come clean.

Deee-Lite - "Groove is in the Heart" (1990)
The Cardigans - "Lovefool" (1996)
Ween - "Push th' Little Daisies" (1992)
Depeche Mode - "Enjoy the Silence" (1990)

I could have bent the rules a teeny bit and included these two without you busting my chops too much, but I left them off because with a little digging I realized they were first released in late 1989. "Roam" was released as a single in January of 1990, but 'Cosmic Thing' had been out for a while.

The B-52's - "Roam" (Extended) (1989)
Michael Penn - "No Myth" (1989)

There were at least four songs on the countdown with strong ties to one of my favorite bands of the decade. All I can say is that I had to draw the line somewhere. These are two more branches from the Jellyfish family tree. Jason Falkner was in the Grays, and Andy Sturmer played drums as well as wrote and produced songs for Swedish band the Merrymakers.

The Grays - "Same Thing" (1994)
The Merrymakers - "April's Fool" (1998)

The most effective way for me to keep the number of candidates to a level I could work with was to stick to the rule that I had to know and like the song when it came out. Since I was out of the country for two years and more or less ignored the music scene for quite a few years after that, many great bands I would love later were disqualified. Some of you already know this, but I barely knew the Wedding Present in the '80s, 90s or even the '00s. I bought my first Gedge album only a few short years ago. Gasp! I immediately took to 'George Best' and quickly bought the band's catalog. Here is the song that would and should be on Top 100 Songs From the 1990s:

The Wedding Present - "Dalliance" (1991)

Stay tuned for my list of songs that just missed the top 100.


friend of rachel worth said...

Oh the wonderful hardly ever wrong , great start to a sunday

George said...

Just listening again to the Francoise Hardy version of your number 8 - she could be singing about making beans on toast, she sounds fabulous, who cares?

Swiss Adam said...

This is why I don't think I could ever undertake a list like this.

kevinpat said...

Oooo. Some happy stuff! I like. Cosmic Thing, Groove, Michael Penn(!) & more of the always wOnDerFuL Jason Falkner! Hey man, it's your blog. You can change if you want to. And now it's Kevin's turn to try….

As I mentioned…I like almost all of the tracks you picked here. Added some new musical adventures to my collection too! I must have been in a different place in my 90s. I guess I kinda like my steak a little more raw than you perhaps??

My favorite album of the 90's would be Live Through This by Hole. I just love batshitcrazy I quess. And it's companion piece Niravana's Nevermind. Like John&Yoko, Sean&Madonna, Sid&Nancy. True love & total disfunction.

Also high on my list would be some sort of Belly with a nod to Throwing Muses. Although Belly's King is the summer '95 album it still comes along on every long ride in my car. "Superconnected" is partly responsible for any hearing loss I have incurred over the years, but I also really dig "That Dog" from Star.

The Irish rebel in me still finds AniDiFranco's Dilate a masterful collection of self-discovery, anxious love and rage. "Untouchable Face" is just one of 10 classic tracks. Although other's might choose a different album, PJ Harvey's Rid of Me is a freakin' freak out of a womanrage. And Steve Albini's production is an assault on the songs. I like that.

A music story. One Thanksgiving Day my brother made me sit out in his van after we ate. I HAD to hear this guy sing "Hallelujah". It was Jeff Buckley and it was a revelation (hyperbole at it's finest). I couldn't close my mouth and I had tears. Still. Despite the very nice other versions out there that made us all sick to death of the song. Gorgeous voice of a gorgeous man on a gorgeous song. And it could all only end with sudden tragic drama. Grace is a beautiful lasting legacy. Live @ Sin-E flaunts the raw talent. Damn.

Joni Mitchell is only surpassed by Laura Nyro as a songwriter to me. Her Turbulent Indigo reclaimed the greatness that was dry during the '80s. Sad and somewhat angry but on target with ex-lovers, political correctness & Irish Catholic abuse. Fun stuff!!!

Songwriters? Tom Waits has written some of the most someday-to-be classic American songs. Although his delivery is an, ummm, "acquired taste", his arrangements are genius and the songwriting is unparalleled. How's that for blow-hard??? His '90s album are just a sample of his decades long legacy.
Unfortunately, except for "Streets of Philadelphia" Springsteen was asleep that decade.

Bacharaching at it's finest, Aimee Mann's Bachelor #2 along w/Magnolia Sndtrk, Whatever & I'm With Stupid provided pop with punch and poetry.

Liz Phair and all them riot grrrls got plenty of attention from me. "SuperNova" is a perpetual ear worm.
Veruca Salt's "Seether". Juliana Hatfield's "My Sister". Melissa Ferrick's "Happy Song". And a great album that gets even more attention now is Jennifer Trynin's Cockamamie. One of those cheap accidental treasures.

kevinpat said...

(Apparently I talk to much so I had to make two comments….Ha!)

And I still like Pearl Jam, and Beastie Boys, and Beck and Smashing Pumpkins and all that stuff. But Green Day brought out the teenager that was dormant in my 40 year old body. My beloved Ramones were dying off and I had no where to turn. When one of my student teachers showed up wearing a Green Day "Dookie" shirt I had to send him home to change, but I was secretly envious of the cajones or innocence of youth that he had to wear that to my First Grade class. I went home and ordered one for myself, which I never wore to work. Mid-life crisis perhaps, but it was cheaper than a mustang.

And then there's Weezer. Yeah, I see you all rolling your eyes. Ha! But Pinkertown is a freakin' hot neurotic mess. There's no holding back here either. Just a psychotic dump. Like a lot of the raw '90s that I spent so much time with. Yet I was a happy 40 year old husband and dad with a mortgage who got any frustrations out in the car with my '90s mixed tapes. I still drive a 2002 Camry because... well it has a cassette player. Ahhhh. The '90s.

Thanks for letting me dump here, Bri. Hope I haven't over abused my welcome.

kevinpat said...

Oops! I lost my list. Sorry!! But I would be amiss if I missed:

REM Automatic for the People. More eye rolls. K. That's alright.

And I can't not mention the always wOnDerfuL Robyn Hitchcock. A personal favorite for decades. Mossy Elixir or Jewels for Sophia will be fine. Goofy, well crafted joy. Always.


JC said...

Jings. Never saw that one coming!

It's a great song - I've said so on many an occasion - but I don;t even know if its the best WP song of the decade!!!!

Echorich said...

You are so right Brian, if attempting a list of favorites, you have to make the list, sit with it, read it over, listen to it, leave it alone, come back to it and then decide if you still stand behind it. Here are my 25, from THAT decade. I kept House Music off this list or it might not have had much else...I might attempt to get to that on my blog in the near future...

25. French Disko - Stereolab
24. Feel - House Of Love
23. Vapor Trail - Ride
22. De-Luxe - Lush
21. Rise - Doves
20. My Hand Over My Heart - Marc Almond
19. Into Tomorrow - Paul Weller
18. The Life Of Riley - The Lightning Seeds
17. Black Metallic - Catherine Wheel
16. Cowgirl - Underworld
15. Just Can't Say Goodbye - The Associates
14. Dive - Heaven 17
13. Carnival 2000 - Prefab Sprout
12. Enjoy The Silence - Depeche Mode
11. November Spawned A Monster - Morrissey
10. After The Flood - Talk Talk
9. Unfinished Sympathy - Massive Attack
8. A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
7. ...And Stones - The Blue Aeroplanes
6. Two Star - Everything But The Girl
5. Evergreen - Echo + The Bunnymen
4. Sgt. Major - Shack
3. Quick As Rainbows - Kitchens Of Distinction
2. Thalhiem - David Sylvian
1. First Attack Of Love - Terry Hall

I've lived with this short list for about 3 months now. I'm still not sure...

kevinpat said...

Oops. I said I lost my list. How ever did I forget my top 5 Patty Griffin's Living With Ghost? Can't live without it! Okay, I'll shut up now…….

drew said...

Dalliance is a bit special but I know of at least one person who would say Flying Saucer

C said...

I have a lot of catching up to do with your list as I came to it late, but I know it will provide much more of interest that I missed at the time and revive a good few long-lost memories too - thank you.
(I'm just not a list-y sort of person so I couldn't even start to try compiling one of my own!)

Brian said...

FORW, The Would Be's seem like a band you would have really liked. I have a great Japanese import of Silly Songs For Cynical People that include this single and the B-sides. I know George likes them too.

George, The version with Hardy might very well be Mrs. LTL's favorite song. I don't think a week has gone by without me hearing it for almost 20 years.

SA, First, let me say your post today was quite moving. Second, I don't see a countdown of this magnitude in my future either.

Kevinpat, Perhaps you'll consider this a good thing, but there are many names you mention that will appear on my next post, including No. 101. Then again, it might make you mad since they didn't make the top 100, but I promise you I hold these in high esteem. Thanks for sharing your favorites.

JC, You're the last person I will argue with when it comes to Gedge and Co. Your posts, along with FORW's passionate mention during his desert island countdown, are what finally got me to dip my big toe. I have never looked back. So many lost years I could have been listening to the great Wedding Present.

Echorich, I love this list, and you will see a couple of these artists in my next post. Can't help but notice there are more than a few bands here with their legacy firmly planted in the '80s, and I think that's perfectly illustrates how you feel about the '90s. I'm with you, brother. I pulled out the Associates and Terry Hall today in your honor. You'll also be happy to learn I apparently convinced George to give Hall's Home a go. That makes this endeavor worth it right there. By my count nine of your 25 artists also made my top 100. Often different songs, but I would say we're simpatico.

Drew, Certainly nothing wrong with choosing Flying Saucer, is there? I'm a huge Close Lobsters fan, as JC knows, and I was half tempted to go way off the board and highlight Let's Make Some Plans. So impressed with the Wedding Present's covers.

C, So glad you came along for the ride for a spell. I discovered your blogs during this countdown and have enjoyed the experience immensely.

George said...

Brian, I have a (or is it The?) Would-Be's album, so you're absolutely right, I do like them.

George said...

By the way, do you want to see a picture of my mushroom?

Charity Chic said...

I've seen George's mushroom - it is a cracker!

kevinpat said...

Off topic but noteworthy. One of my favorite songwriters passed Sunday, 11/15/15. The great PF Sloan, who wrote "Eve of Destruction", "Where Were You When I Needed You" by the Grass Roots, "You Baby" by the Turtles and "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers. He also was the subject of a song written by Jim Webb called "PF Sloan". Godspeed, sir.