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1,001 songs to listen to before you die...


Liam
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771.      

‘Inkanyezi Nezazi’, Ladysmith Black Mambazo (1992)

Famous in the UK for being the soundtrack to a Heinz Baked Beans advert, this naturally isn’t really something I listen to on the regular, yet there is a majesty about the whole song. From the main soaring vocalist to the chorus that supports him to the percussive noises made with entirely with their own voices, it has an allure to it. Lyrically, this is about the three wise men travelling to Bethlehem to meet Jesus, so that’s something new I’ve learned today.

772.      

‘Sodade’, Cesaria Evora (1992)

From Cape Verde, Evora grew up in an orphanage and sang in bars as a teen, creating what the book dubs as a real rags to riches story. This is a morna, a traditional Cape Verde song, whilst sodade is the exile that occurred to many Cape Verdeans. She has a beautiful, evocative voice that – not unlike the previous song – lifts it beyond a novelty song from another culture and into something that stands out above the crowd. Powerful.

773.      

771.      

‘Inkanyezi Nezazi’, Ladysmith Black Mambazo (1992)

Famous in the UK for being the soundtrack to a Heinz Baked Beans advert, this naturally isn’t really something I listen to on the regular, yet there is a majesty about the whole song. From the main soaring vocalist to the chorus that supports him to the percussive noises made with entirely with their own voices, it has an allure to it. Lyrically, this is about the three wise men travelling to Bethlehem to meet Jesus, so that’s something new I’ve learned today.

772.      

‘Sodade’, Cesaria Evora (1992)

From Cape Verde, Evora grew up in an orphanage and sang in bars as a teen, creating what the book dubs as a real rags to riches story. This is a morna, a traditional Cape Verde song, whilst sodade is the exile that occurred to many Cape Verdeans. She has a beautiful, evocative voice that – not unlike the previous song – lifts it beyond a novelty song from another culture and into something that stands out above the crowd. Powerful.

773.      

'Remedy', The Black Crowes (1992)

Influenced by: Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples • Parliament (1975)   

Influence on: Fly Away • Lenny Kravitz (1998)  

Covered by: Matchbox Twenty (2007)   

Other key tracks: Hard to Handle (1990) • Darling of the Underground Press (1992)

Part of me feels that I’ve heard this song before, or at least the guitar riffs that introduce it and punctuate the better bits of the tune. However, I really can’t place it. This feels interesting for largely being out of step with what the prevailing musical trends were: as things moved in a grungier direction, this felt much more 70s rock. The song starts strong, though I never feel it particularly pushes on from that. Saying that, the idea of the female vocalists on the chorus works for me, whilst the crescendo at the end does gives it a little pleasant sting in the tail.

774.      

‘No Rain’, Blind Melon (1992)

Influenced by: Jane Says • Jane’s Addiction (1988)   

Influence on: Interstate Love Song • Stone Temple Pilots (1994)   

Covered by: Dave Matthews Band (2006) • Emmerson Nogueira (2008)

Another song that I will claim an unabashed love for. Sometimes it is where you experience a song that helps that – this was placed on a mix CD that a friend I met at Uni made for me, alongside a number of Ben Folds songs and some other stuff I don’t really remember. From the moment the twangy guitar hits, it has me every time. I can imagine the vocals are a bit YMMV for some people, but I really like the uplifting tone mixed with the melancholy lyrics, words that explore ideas around depression. It also has one of my favourite lyrics of any song: ‘I just want someone to say to me I’ll always be there when you wake.’ – not a hard sentiment to empathise with.

775.      

‘Walk’, Pantera (1992)

Influenced by: Desecrator • Exhorder (1990)   

Influence on: Redneck • Lamb of God (2006)   

Covered by: Kilgore (1998) • Godsmack (2001) • Linkin Park & Disturbed (2001) • Avenged Sevenfold (2007) • Peppermint Creeps (2008)

Ignoring the obvious wrestling links, is there any other mainstream metal song that hits as hard as ‘Walk’ does? Combative lyrics are coupled with a largely straightforward guitar for a song that is primed to make you want to mosh and headbang along. Just as it feels like it might be getting a bit repetitive and losing some of the power, Darrell’s solo kicks things back into high gear. I’m not a huge Pantera fan by any means but this is an absolute banger.

'Remedy', The Black Crowes (1992)

Influenced by: Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples • Parliament (1975)   

Influence on: Fly Away • Lenny Kravitz (1998)  

Covered by: Matchbox Twenty (2007)   

Other key tracks: Hard to Handle (1990) • Darling of the Underground Press (1992)

Part of me feels that I’ve heard this song before, or at least the guitar riffs that introduce it and punctuate the better bits of the tune. However, I really can’t place it. This feels interesting for largely being out of step with what the prevailing musical trends were: as things moved in a grungier direction, this felt much more 70s rock. The song starts strong, though I never feel it particularly pushes on from that. Saying that, the idea of the female vocalists on the chorus works for me, whilst the crescendo at the end does gives it a little pleasant sting in the tail.

774.      

‘No Rain’, Blind Melon (1992)

Influenced by: Jane Says • Jane’s Addiction (1988)   

Influence on: Interstate Love Song • Stone Temple Pilots (1994)   

Covered by: Dave Matthews Band (2006) • Emmerson Nogueira (2008)

Another song that I will claim an unabashed love for. Sometimes it is where you experience a song that helps that – this was placed on a mix CD that a friend I met at Uni made for me, alongside a number of Ben Folds songs and some other stuff I don’t really remember. From the moment the twangy guitar hits, it has me every time. I can imagine the vocals are a bit YMMV for some people, but I really like the uplifting tone mixed with the melancholy lyrics, words that explore ideas around depression. It also has one of my favourite lyrics of any song: ‘I just want someone to say to me I’ll always be there when you wake.’ – not a hard sentiment to empathise with.

775.      

‘Walk’, Pantera (1992)

Influenced by: Desecrator • Exhorder (1990)   

Influence on: Redneck • Lamb of God (2006)   

Covered by: Kilgore (1998) • Godsmack (2001) • Linkin Park & Disturbed (2001) • Avenged Sevenfold (2007) • Peppermint Creeps (2008)

Ignoring the obvious wrestling links, is there any other mainstream metal song that hits as hard as ‘Walk’ does? Combative lyrics are coupled with a largely straightforward guitar for a song that is primed to make you want to mosh and headbang along. Just as it feels like it might be getting a bit repetitive and losing some of the power, Darrell’s solo kicks things back into high gear. I’m not a huge Pantera fan by any means but this is an absolute banger.

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776.      

‘True Love’, Mary J. Blige (1992)

Influenced by: Top Billin’ • Audio Two (1987)   

Influence on: It’s All Gravy • Romeo featuring Christina Milian (2002)   

Covered by: Mike Doughty (2000) • The Twilight Singers (2004) • Toby Lightman (2004)   

Other key track: Sweet Thing (1992)

At the risk of doing Mary dirty, I struggle to really say much for this song outside of her vocals being clearly very impressive in their soulful ease. The album it came from as a whole launched her career and earned her various plaudits, thus earning the song its place on the list I guess. Enjoyable enough, if not something that excites me personally.

777.      

‘Deep Cover’, Dr Dre introducing Snoop Dogg (1992)

This is another song to make the list for what it represents perhaps more than the quality of the song. This was the first song released by Dre following him leaving the NWA, as well as the introduction of Snoop Dogg to the wider world. I hadn’t really thought too much about it until now, but the book made me acutely aware of how different Dre and Snoop’s styles actually are. What this did is set the scene for the future tunes that the two would work on together, stuff that I have always enjoyed even without a particular penchant for rap music.

778.      

‘Out of Space’, The Prodigy (1992)

An absolute favourite of mine. It is a great mix of trance-y sounds and high energy breakdowns that never fails to excite when I hear it even to this day. There is a possibility – I feel at least – that it sounds a little too much of a novelty song in some ways if you listened to it without the benefit of listening to it when it first came out, but to me it will always be a tune with a capital ‘CH’.

779.      

‘Didi’, Khaled (1992)

Of the various examples of ‘world’ music, the ones I’ve been most intrigued by are the songs which clearly lean into the sound of ‘popular’ music whilst retaining some of the old world aesthetic of their culture. That is exactly what ‘Didi’ does: rai is the form of Algerian song Khaled was famous for, but this is a dance song through and through with a pop sensibility from the opening hook. This doesn’t necessarily make it a better song than others that don’t dip into more modern sounds, but it does make it probably the catchiest and more enjoyable thus far.

780.      

‘Animal Nitrate’, Suede (1993)

This is another song which I’ll begin the entry by saying ‘this is another song’, but this is another song that I vaguely feel like I know, but can’t really place. Apparently, Suede were a really big deal off of the back of their first three singles, though it comes just before my interest in music really formed. A song that includes lyrics about illicit drug use and underage gay sex is definitely an interesting one to catapult the band up the charts. It doesn’t sound too much like anything particularly exciting in and of itself, more a transition point towards what Britpop would become.

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781.      

‘La Solitudine’, Laura Pausini (1993)

This was a song that catapulted an 18 year old singer into…well, not exactly stardom, but definitely a wider profile across Europe. A love song that has apparently pretty simplistic lyrics about her heart – the type of words a teen might write about a love gone wrong – it is catchy even when factoring in that it is sung in Italian. Nothing particularly impressive or standing out outside of how good Pausini’s voice is at 18, but a pleasant enough addition.

782.      

‘Rumba Argelina’, Radio Tarifa (1993)

Radio Tarifa, I am reliably informed, is a mix of flamenco, Arabic and Persian influences, in particular mixing chaabi pop music (from Morocco and Algeria) with the lyrics of traditional flamenco songs. I might have already said this, but it is worth reiterating that I do enjoy music with a flamenco flavour to it. I wouldn’t say it is a choice I make often, yet it is a sound I enjoy when it comes to the broader music palette I get exposed to in things such as this. I’m thinking it is the lively guitar work, though the playful wind instruments are pretty fun in this as well.

783.      

‘Loser’, Beck (1993)

Influenced by: I Walk on Guilded Splinters • Johnny Jenkins (1972)   

Influence on: Fresh Feeling • Eels (2001)  

Covered by: The BossHoss (2005)   

Other key tracks: Beercan (1994) • Soul Suckin Jerk (1994) • Jack-Ass (1996) • Where It’s At (1996)

This is a perfect example of a song that feels like it shouldn’t be as well-regarded as it is…yet it is very good. I possibly dismissed it somewhat as an odd indie-rock style song, though that downplays the mix of hip-hop elements and folkier guitar parts. On top of that, incorporate lyrics that a lot of people could empathise with and you have a huge hit. It is funny to think how lyrically we’ve moved from songs all about sex and swagger and being cool to songs about being a loser. I know which one speaks to me.

784.      

‘French Disko’, Stereolab (1993)

Influenced by: Neuschnee • NEU! (1973)   

Influence on: Wrapped Up in Books • Belle & Sebastian (2003)   

Covered by: Editors (2006) • The Raveonettes (2008)   

Other key tracks: Jenny Ondioline (1993) • Wow and Flutter (1994) • Miss Modular (1997)

This was nothing like what I expected it to be. For some reason, I had always assumed Stereolab were a dance act of some sort, not this alternative pop group. Thankfully, they are all the better for what they are rather than my wrongly conceived ideas. This is a great song – driving and insistent yet with a light touch that makes it a groove. The female vocals over the top aren’t technically anything to write home about, yet there is a pleasantness in their delivery, ably helped by the move between English and French as the song progresses.

785.      

‘Into Dust’, Mazzy Star (1993)

This is a beautiful song. It is one that I’ve never heard before, but it details a collapsing relationship between two people, possibly that of Hope Sandoval and William Reid (the latter of the Jesus and Mary Chain). Sparse is the word here, the guitar doing the support with its melancholy tone, allowing Sandoval’s lyrics and vocals to take centre stage. It is the only song so far in this that I’ve immediately put on once again after listening to it – powerful, evocative, stirring.

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786.      

‘Rid of Me’, PJ Harvey (1993)

I’ve heard a lot about PJ Harvey but have never been compelled to go and check her out. This is definitely an interesting introduction as the first song on her debut big label record and one in which she very openly threatens to torture someone who had done her wrong. Her vocals are completely unhinged in the best possible way, all building up to bursts of frenzied drums and guitars. She apparently aimed to show she was more than just your usual big label female singer – she definitely achieved that.

787.      

‘Laid’, James (1993)

Influenced by: Orange Crush • R.E.M. (1988)  

Influence on: Glass of Water • Coldplay (2008)   

Covered by: Matt Nathanson (2003) • Better Than Ezra (2005)   

Other key tracks: Sit Down (1989) • Come Home (1990) • She’s a Star (1997)

A song about sexual desire and violence, this was a song that saw James have some modicum of success in the US alongside charting in the UK. There is an effortless breeziness to the noise from the moment the initial drums hit and it is all done and dusted at around two and a half minutes making it over before it ever threatens to overstay its welcome. Simply a really good song in my opinion.

788.      

‘Open Up’, Leftfield-Lydon (1993)

Influenced by: Burn Hollywood Burn • Public Enemy (1990)   

Influence on: Firestarter • Prodigy (1996)   

Other key tracks: Release the Pressure (1992) • Song of Life (1993) • Afro-Left (1995) • Original (1995) • 21st Century Poem (1995)

I’ve already mentioned how I don’t particularly care too much for Lydon and his vocal stylings, yet they do really work when placed alongside Leftfield’s electronic onslaught. There is a dancey groove underpinning everything, though the waves of noise begin to approach the tone of alternative/rock songs, making this another interesting collaboration between styles. The best thing Lydon has done on the list by my reckoning, though I might be on an island with that suggestion.

789.      

‘Possession’, Sarah Maclachlan (1993)

Influenced by: Desire • Talk Talk (1988)   

Influence on: You Oughta Know • Alanis Morissette (1995)   

Covered by: Transfer (2001) • Evans Blue (2006) • Smile Empty Soul (2007)

As much as this song is really good in and of itself, the story that goes alongside it is interesting. Rather than a song about love, this is about a stalkerish fan, based off of letters that Maclachlan used to get from some of her more unhinged supporters. This even saw one of the kill themselves not too long after this song was released. The video was also banned in the US, though I can only assume it was a different one to the video in the link… Pleasant female singer/songwriter fare.

790.      

‘Cannonball’, The Breeders (1993)

Another tune here that I vaguely recognise – I think it is the guitar line as much as anything – yet I can’t entirely place it. I’m assuming it ended up on a film soundtrack as it has 90s teen comedy written all over it. In some ways, that feels like damning with faint praise, yet I feel it is the fun vibe that is created within the song that leads to that belief. If not, this joins ‘Waterfall’ by The Stone Roses as a song that needs to be used on an opening montage to something. A real mix of musical moments, discordance and melody, though they all come together to create a really catchy song.

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1991

It's impossible to overstate the impact of Smells Like Teen Spirit. We've listened to a lot of great artists up until and heard a lot of great songs, but few of them ahad the impact that Nirvana had. For my generation, Nirvana was our Elvis Presley or The Beatles. The book has gone to great lengths to show there was more to 90s music than grunge, but I think they could have included a few more songs to reflect how big it was. I suppose any generation that was on the ground floor of a music movement would feel the same. I may be overstating how important grunge was in the long run, but it was an important chapter in the history of rock music and should have been represented as such. One Pearl Jam song and it's Given to Fly?

Before Smells Like Teen Spirit hit, it seemed like Shoegaze was going to be the next big thing. The three big acts were My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive, but there were plenty of other groups making similar music. This time of music always struck me as the natural marriage of Dream Pop and Jangle Pop.

Here is a bunch of other stuff from '91 -- some of it features on the list later on like Pavement and PJ Harvey. A lot of this stuff reminds me of listening to college radio for the first time. 

Spoiler

 

More indie pop and things:

Spoiler

 

Last batch:

Spoiler

 

 

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As for metal, Metallica went mainstream and Ozzy had his biggest solo album, which the list reflects. I have little interest in either of those. 1991 is the year metal returned to the underground with Death Metal records by Death, Dismember, Autopsy, Atheist, Carcass, Suffocation, Entombed, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Pestilence, and other bands with ridiculous/awesome sounding names. 

Here's one for the romantics:

 

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791.      

‘C.R.E.A.M.’, Wu-Tang Clan (1993)

I don’t know too much about the ins and outs when it came to rap from different places in the US, but the book suggests that this was a fair step away from what Dre and Snoop were beginning to offer from California. Sparser, bleaker, less about the bitches and bling, it was earthier in nature. I do particularly like the repeated sample and piano that sets the backdrop for a tale about drug dealing and its necessity as a means for some to survive days on the street. I may not know much, but I do know I enjoyed this.

792.      

‘Because the Night’, 10,000 Maniacs (1993)

It is odd to see a cover version from an Unplugged set make its way onto the list, but there is little denying that it is a great song, both before and after this version. Written by Bruce Springstreen and tinkered with by Patti Smith, this was then 10,000 Maniacs biggest hit. Natalie Merchant has a vocal style that I enjoy, which the acoustic setting naturally allows to shine, alongside the quality of the original song. Everything builds into a really thumping chorus that loses none of its power by removing the electric element.

793.      

‘Ching söörtükchülerining yryzy’, Huun-Huur-Tu (1993)

live version

Tuva throat singing is next on the list and it is a selection that is here primarily to showcase the broad spectrum that music has to offer outside of the popular music charts. Your mileage may vary about whether you enjoy the song or not, but the mix of skill and tradition is laudable and engaging in equal measure for me.

794.      

‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’, Nas (1994)

In my brief dalliances into rap, Nas has always been a rapper that I have particularly enjoyed. I’m not entirely sure why, but there was a mixture of an impressive rapping ability and judicious use of samples and backing music that probably did it for me. This was apparently his first real hit at the age of 20 and includes a sample from ‘Human Nature’ by Michael Jackson for good measure. He has better songs, yet this is nicely representative of what he was capable of at a young age.

795.      

‘Inner City Life’, Goldie presents Metalheads (1994)

This is the official music video version, though the song on the album is turned into a 3 part, 21 minute long piece. As a UK music fan, I’ve always somewhat wonder what Goldie ever actually did to become famous or to have such longevity. This at least goes some way to helping me understand as this is a banger of a tune. Goldie sought out to create a drum and bass sound that was more uplifting than the darker stuff that was in the scene at the time and the mix of strings and soaring female vocals does just that.

Edited by Liam
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 796.      

‘End of a Century’, Blur (1994)

Influenced by: End of the Season • The Kinks (1967)   

Influence on: Modern Way • Kaiser Chiefs (2005)  

Covered by: Squeeze (1995)   

Other key tracks: Popscene (1992) • For Tomorrow (1993) • Girls & Boys (1994) • This Is a Low (1994) • To the End (1994) • The Universal (1995)

This feels somewhat like a deliberately controversial choice when ‘Girls & Boys’ seems like the song you’d expect from Blur and this album in general. However, this song’s popularity on places such as last.fm are cited as a reason as to why it was chosen, alongside the subject matter – the mundanity of a relationship towards the end of a century. To give them their credit, they make it sound more fun than it is as the tune is uplifting even as the lyrics don’t always paint the prettiest picture.

797.      

‘Connection’, Elastica (1994)

Influenced by: Three Girl Rhumba • Wire (1977)  

 Influence on: Sing Back Connection • Moloko vs. Elastica (2007)  

Covered by: Talbot Tagora (2008)   

Other key tracks: Stutter (1993) • Line Up (1994) • Waking Up (1994) • Car Song (1995)

Oh, it is this song. I couldn’t work out what the song was from the title or the band alone, yet the moment the guitar kicked in at the start, it was clear. Apparently there was a fair bit of controversy about the possible plagiarism within this song as Wire’s publishers sued and were given an out of court settlement before the song was released. Noisy, but with pop sensibilities, it isn’t hard to see the allure of this song and why it has ended up on a million TV shows and adverts in the years that followed.

798.      

‘Confide In Me’, Kylie Minogue (1994)

Influenced by: Justify My Love • Madonna (1990)   

Influence on: Stronger • Sugababes (2002)   

Covered by: The Sisters of Mercy (1997) • Nerina Pallot (2006) • Angtoria (2006) • Noël Akchoté (2007)  

Other key tracks: If You Don’t Love Me (1994) Nothing Can Stop Us (1994)

I genuinely don’t believe I’ve ever heard any Kylie outside of her first lot of incredibly poppy tracks, and her comeback when she was ‘Spinning Around’. This is a world away from her initial pop songs, moving towards a more trip-hop styling, mixing dark and brooding backing music with her high pitched vocals (I stole a lot of the sentiment of this from the book, I’ll be honest – it explained it a lot better than I could). It was definitely a fair bit more ‘artistic’ than what had come before, yet she wasn’t really much of a single/album seller again into 2000. The song is interesting more than exciting as far as I’m concerned – it also has that slightly Bond-esque element to it that I quite enjoy.

799.      

‘Your Ghost’, Kristin Hersh featuring Michael Stipe (1994)

Influenced by: Hymn • Patti Smith Group (1979)   

Influence on: E-Bow the Letter • R.E.M. featuring Patti Smith (1996)   

Covered by: Paul Durham (2003) • The McCarricks (2007) • Greg Laswell (2009)

The tone from the moment the song begins is ominous and menacing – Hersh apparently sang notes that didn’t necessarily go with the notes she was playing. The addition of Stipe came from their friendship and his role as a musical overseer of this solo project. Apparently, a rough recording of the song was playing in the background as they were talking, and Hersh realised that Stipe’s vocals were the missing ingredient. It never quite hits the heights for me, though I do like the darker feeling that it evokes with simple vocals, guitar and cello.

800. 

‘Doll Parts’, Hole (1994)

I think I’ve only ever heard ‘Celebrity Skin’ from Hole, so this is at least a chance to delve a little further into that particular band’s output. This was actually written in 1991, a point the book makes to quash suggestions as to Cobain’s influence on the song. It does feel very grunge-y considering that was largely passé at this point, yet it also be why I quite like it. A mix of quiet and loud, vocals that build ever angrier, and a possible commentary on celebrity as a whole lyrically make this a fine piece of music.

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Okay so I listened to Illmatic in the car like I said today and picking the last song on the record, which definitely isn't as great as the others, is disappointing. There are just too many other good songs on a murderer's row of a record. My personal pick would be "Halftime" probably. 

 

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801.      

‘7 Seconds’, Yossou N’Dour featuring Neneh Cherry (1994)

This has a sneaky outside bet to be one of my favourite songs of all time, which kinda feels weird to say. It falls into that category of tune which I sometimes forget about – it falls outside of the ‘usual’ music I listen to – but it is so good and every reintroduction is an enjoyable moment. The vocals from both are really strong, the incorporation of multiple languages is effective and promotes Dour’s cultural identity alongside this song that explores the innocence of the first seconds of life. There is a moody and sultry feeling to the overall tune that I’ve always really dug, creating an overall package that I’ve never failed to enjoy.

802.      

‘Live Forever’, Oasis (1994)

Influenced by: Shine a Light • The Rolling Stones (1972)   

Influence on: Club Foot • Kasabian (2004)   

Covered by: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1997) • Joe Dolan (1999) • Counting Crows (2000) • MGMT (2009)

I was always more of a Blur man in the moment and a Pulp man after the fact, but Oasis were definitely a band who knew how to put together (or steal the main parts of) a catchy tune or two. ‘Live Forever’ is quite low down on my list of their songs – it is always one that it takes me a little while to remember, even though it is very indicative of what they offered. This being their first top 10, it isn’t overly surprising that it ends up on the list ahead of some other choices, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more stuff from them pop up at some point.

803.      

‘Cut Your Hair’, Pavement (1994)

Influenced by: So You Want to be a Rock ’n’ Roll Star • The Byrds (1967)   

Influence on: Could You Wait? • Silkworm (1997)  

Covered by: Airport Girl (2003)  

Other key tracks: Gold Soundz (1994) • Grounded (1995) • Shady Lane (1997) • Stereo (1997)

This seems to make the list as an example of a band who were touted for big things but never quite realised their potential. Having been touted as the ‘next Nirvana’ of all things, the lyrics for ‘Cut Your Hair’ were the band’s attempts to get their head around the musical merry-go-round as they were thrust into the limelight. It is a fairly decent alternative rock/pop song, though it doesn’t do much more than that for me. The singer/writer even stated that the song wasn’t quite the anthem they needed in order to push the band further into the public conscious, so I’m not alone in feeling a little nonplussed.

804.      

‘All Apologies’, Nirvana (1994)

The book does very specifically list the Unplugged version of this song, whilst the song had been kicking around in some form or other since 1990, putting paid to suggestions it acted somewhat like a suicide note considering it came at the end of ‘In Utero’. It is definitely one of my favourite Nirvana songs as it best realises the more accessible sound that Cobain was able to achieve whilst still retaining the rawer edge that made it appeal to alternative music fans. The Unplugged version is a good version of a good song – not much more I can add about that choice.

805.      

‘Hurt’, Nine Inch Nails (1994)

Surely this is all about the impact the song has at the end of ‘The Downward Spiral’ moreso than the quality of the individual song? Not to knock it – it is a good song – but it is the spiral that the album takes you on and this as the end point that makes it so effective as a piece of music. As I’ve said before, I write these as I listen to them, and maybe the opening has somewhat underplayed the power within the song. The emotion is so raw, the lyrics so bleak, the tone so unrelenting even without the usual sonic assault that NIN were known for. Maybe it deserves a fair bit more credit than I gave it.

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1992

These early 90s picks have been strange, to say the least. Almost like a bizarro world version of the music I grew up with. I can't figure out whether the authors are fond of early 90s music or think it's completely overrated.

There were some positives, however. I liked that L7 song enough to listen to the record it came from. Plus, I hadn't heard Cesaria Evora before and definitely want to listen to some of her records. And the chorus to Motorcycle Emptiness is beautiful. 

The worst pick was that Was (Not Was) track for the simple fact that they were actually a pretty decent group, but the book makes them seem like a joke. 

I would have included Dreams because I think it's a beautiful song.

I would have also included something from Tori Amos. I know they include her later, but 1992 was the year she burst on the scene like our generation's own Kate Bush.

I thought it would have been interesting to some shoegaze era Verve as well:

And I really like what Nick Cave was doing around this time:

I was surprised they didn't include any of Tom Waits' stuff from Bone Machine. But the biggest omission seems to be Alice in Chains. I was never really into them as a teenager outside of watching their music videos on television, so I was surprised to discover how critically acclaimed they are. 

Some other songs:

Spoiler

 

These guys actually dressed like Mummies.

I went to a lot of live gigs in my teenage years. These were two of the best:

 

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As for hip hop, T.R.O.Y. should have been in the book.

I would have also put something from The Chronic over that movie soundtrack (although that track was supposed to be on the Chronic but was too controversial.)

Why is there no Ice Cube in the book? 

Hip hop was amazingly great in 1992:

Spoiler

 

A few more:

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by ohtani's jacket
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Looking at a Wiki list, I've got a few favorites. 

Spoiler

Certainly the craziest album they ever made and one of the most insane in death metal period. Apparently they actually SLOWED DOWN from how they originally played it, if you can believe that. 

This gets slept on a lot. Christian from Count Raven was a fill-in singer before Scott Reagers came back to the fold but he's perfectly fine. What really stands out about this one is the rap-level bass on the recording that will make the mirrors in your car shake like a leaf. 

The second Samael. Before they got into keyboards and techno and whatnot they were a slow, mesmerizingly simple black metal band in the Frost/Hellhammer vein. This is another one that doesn't get a lot of credit being sandwiched between two classics as it is. The closing bassline on "Macabre Operetta" is one of the most beautifully desolate things ever written.

Speaking of ancient black metal, WOW this is a killer. Greece has its own style, more traditionally metal sounding and slower with an epic feel. The playing is a bit sloppy on here but the feel is what matters. Necromantia only has guitars for solos and is otherwise a four string and an eight string bass player (RIP Baron Blood). 

THIS album is tremendous. The prior LP, Hell Symphony, is my favorite but this is probably second. Trying to explain it is almost impossible. Melodic but with sudden turns down a dark alleyway into crushing, evil speed. Singer Big Boss is one of the most unique and operatic in the genre to this day and dare I say is a genius. 

I could go on and on but some other favorites are Grave - You'll Never See, Danzig - III: How the Gods Kill (my personal favorite Danzig album), Sinister - Cross the Styx, Von - Satanic Blood, Sodom - Tapping the Vein (my first Sodom album so sentimental), the first Brutal Truth, Amorphis, Edge of Sanity and Incantation albums, Disgrace - Grey Misery, Impetigo - Horror of the Zombies, Running Wild - Pile of Skulls (hey! A plain old heavy metal record for a change!), At the Gates - The Red in the Sky is Ours (only one I ever liked), Demolition Hammer - Epidemic of Violence, Dismember's Pieces EP, Dehumanizer by Sabbath, and, I must grudgingly admit, the first Burzum record.

 

Edited by Curt McGirt
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The posts have been and will be sporadic as my wife is due to give birth tomorrow, so my attention (unsurprisingly) will be elsewhere.

806.      

‘Black Hole Sun’, Soundgarden (1994)

Influenced by: Tomorrow Never Knows • The Beatles (1966)   

Influence on: Blown Wide Open • Big Wreck (1997)   

Covered by: The Moog Cookbook (1996) • Judith Owen (2003) • Rachel Z (2004) • Copeland (2006) • Tre Lux (2006) • Peter Frampton (2006)

I’ll preface this by saying that Chris Cornell probably sits second on my list of favourite singers of all time, nestled in behind Mike Patton. When I think about that, it does surprise me in some ways as I’ve never been the hugest fan of all the bands he has been attached to. I’ve liked a number of songs individually, yet rarely spent too much time on Soundgarden/Audioslave’s albums. Pushing that aside, this is probably the ‘best’ Soundgarden song – overplay has probably lessened its impact, but it is the one that most fully realised their poppier sensibilities alongside their noise. I’m not sure it would sit high in a Soundgarden fan’s list of top songs due to the aforementioned overplay, but for many it is THE Soundgarden song.

807.      

‘Interstate Love Song’, Stone Temple Pilots (1994)

Influenced by: I Got a Name • Jim Croce (1973)   

Influence on: My Own Prison • Creed (1997)   

Covered by: Hootie & the Blowfish (1998) • Velvet Revolver (2007) • Brad Mehldau (2009)   

Other key tracks: Plush (1992) • Lounge Fly (1994) Vasoline (1994) • Sour Girl (1999)

I love this song personally, but when your main ‘influence on’ is a Creed song, I can see why people’s mileage will definitely vary. Whatever thoughts are about STP and Scott Weiland, this to me is just a really good rock song with lyrics that speak to a tortured man battling his demons. The issues of their debut and suggestions they were a Pearl Jam rip-off or grunge wannabes aren’t completely put to bed by this song, yet it is enough of a departure to show they had some chops of their own. I’m also a pretty big fan of Weiland’s voice and he carries his end of the bargain throughout the song, moving from raspier rock to a croony chorus.

808.      

‘Waterfalls’, TLC (1994)

Influenced by: Waterfalls • Paul McCartney (1980)   

Influence on: Stole • Kelly Rowland (2002)   

Covered by: New Mind (2000) • Steve Poltz (2003)   

Other key tracks: Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg (1992) • Creep (1994) • Diggin’ on You (1994) • No Scrubs (1999) • Unpretty (1999)

This is one of the earliest songs I remember knowing. I would have been around eight at the time, so I’m sure I knew songs before this but there a few that I have such a distinct memory of hearing on the radio from time to time. More emotional than sexy when compared to their other songs up to this date, ‘Waterfalls’ presented TLC as a potentially more mature act who had a wider emotional reach, whilst lyrics about not getting involved in ganges and practising safe sex showed them trying to be role models for their young fans. Guest vocals were provided by CeeLo Green apparently, something I very much had no idea about. A song of my childhood that is good anyway, but gets the old nostalgia bump that is for sure.

809.      

‘Cornflake Girl’, Tori Amos (1994)

Influenced by: Hounds of Love • Kate Bush (1985)   

Influence on: Fidelity • Regina Spektor (2006)  

Covered by: Jawbox (1996) • Tripod (2007) • Imogen Heap (2010)   

Other key tracks: Sister Janet (1994) • Daisy Dead Petals (1994) • All the Girls Hate Her (1994)

A song that I have been aware of by name, yet I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually listened to it. This feels very otherworldly, from the jangly percussive moments to the higher pitched chorus vocals, whilst the lyrics tackle weighty issues such as female genital mutilation and how women can let other women down in society. Notwithstanding what could be a challenging topic, this is quite enjoyable all in all, with some excellent piano throughout.

810.      

‘Hallelujah’, Jeff Buckley (1994)

There is a debate that could be thrown out there that ‘Hallelujah’ as a song is one of the best of all time. That it has been covered so many times, with lyrics that allow myriad different takes and interpretations, only serves to bolster that potential theory. This was my first version of the song and the one that still retains its place as my favourite. It is a showcase for Buckley’s voice, sitting amongst a number of other excellent songs on ‘Grace’, one of my personal favourite albums of all time. However, the kudos also needs to go to Leonard Cohen, for creating a song that feels so timeless and moving.

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No baby yet and I can't be in properly until active labour due to COVID, so here is another 5 songs:

811.      

‘Red Right Hand’, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1994)

Nick Cave is someone I really feel like I should have listened to a lot more in my time checking out music – I probably own a fair few of his albums, yet rarely really listen to them. However, I am a huge fan of this song. I don’t think I can remember a better song for getting the malevolent nature of the protagonist so in sync with the music, or I guess more the other way around. Apparently, the lyrics were largely ad-libbed with the title and the narrative being the main thing that Cave knew when going in to create the song. Lyrically, I love some of the individual snippets, such as being a ‘microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan’ – chilling.

812.      

‘Sabotage’, The Beastie Boys (1994)

Influenced by: Waiting Room • Fugazi (1988)   

Influence on: Break Stuff • Limp Bizkit (2000)   

Covered by: Phish (1999) • The Bosshoss (2005) • Beatsteaks (2007) • Cancer Bats (2010) • The Penelopes (2009) • Switchfoot (2010)

For me, and without a lot to base it on, this is probably the best realisation of the Boys’ love for hip hop and punk rock, creating a three minute blast that hits the ground running, whilst the stop/start nature of the song has it lurching its way to the finish line in a way that is nothing if not glorious. It’s arguable that riffs and scratching never sounded so good together.

813.      

‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World’, Prince (1994)

Influenced by: Takin’ Me to Paradise • J. Raynard (1983)   

Influence on: Take It from Here • Justin Timberlake (2002)  

Covered by: Raheem (2008)  

Other key tracks: Alphabet Street (1988)

I was completely unsure as to why this song made the list – it is a great song, but Prince does great songs – but after reading the little biography that comes alongside it, it all makes a lot more sense. This was during his ‘The Artist’ phase, with this song released independently at a time when he was at loggerheads with Warner about his creative freedom. Couple with this being a song for his soon-to-be wife, there are layers to the behind the scenes narrative that make this a viable member of the list. That, and it is a really good song; not something to forget.

814.      

‘Sour Times’, Portishead (1994)

Influenced by: Danube Incident • Lalo Schifrin (1968)   

Influence on: Teardrops • The 411 (2004)   

Covered by: The Blank Theory (2002) • Bryn Christopher (2008)   

Other key tracks: Glory Box (1994) • Numb (1994) • All Mine (1997) • The Rip (2008) • We Carry On (2008)

Whilst I went back many years later to check out Massive Attack, I never really got around to listening to any Portishead, or at least not knowingly so. I initially expected ‘Glory Box’ to be the song that ended up on the list what with it being the one song I could name from the band, yet when this slunk its way out of my speakers, I vaguely recalled hearing it in my relative youth. Not that it means it should make the list, more that it might have had some success that made it noteworthy. For a chilled out band, this is quite a creepy song with the quick bursts of strings and the sparse instrumentation making it feel like the soundtrack to a western. That a part of the song was lifted from ‘Danube Incident’, a song composed by the man who did the soundtrack for Mission Impossible, Dirty Harry and Bullitt may explain that filmic feeling that permeates through the song.

815.      

‘Army of Me’, Bjork (1995)

Influenced by: Dig It • Skinny Puppy (1986)   

Influence on: Love Again • Baxter (1998)   

Covered by: Helmet (1996) • Beanbag (2001) • Powerman 5000 (2004) • Abandoned Pools (2005) • Caliban (2006) • Drama (2010)

Written in 1992, this was apparently considered too aggressive for the overall feel of Bjork’s debut album. However, it fit in much more with the tone that was set for her sophomore effort. Industrial, electronic, powerful, the tune is powerful throughout. Bjork clearly wasn’t someone to mess around with. This for me was her at a point where there was experimentation, yet she still had a discernible pop sensibility. I doubt she wrote for the charts per se, but underneath the song’s aggression, it bops.

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@LiamAccording to other sites, song 787 should be Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen. Laid should be 788.

1993

I liked most of their picks for '93, especially Stereolab, Mazzy Star, PJ Harvey, The Breeders, and Wu-Tang Clan. Laid is one of James' better songs, and I don't mind Loser. Beck fell off my radar a long time ago, but I remember everyone fawning over him at the time.

I was surprised they didn't include any Bjork. I know she appears soon, but similar to Tori Amos, I feel she made the biggest impact with her debut. Also on heavy rotation in '93 but not in the book -- Today by The Smashing Pumpkins and Sober by Tool. 

Personally, I would have gone for some Yo La Tengo.

Tindersticks:

And this amazing lost Irish shoegaze group:

Some other stuff I dig:

Spoiler

 

I was really into Porno for Pyros in '93. I remember seeing them play a small live gig before a festival and being in awe of Perry Farrell. 

 

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Wu-Tang Clan was the right pick for '93 if you were picking one hip hop track. 

This is a classic too:

ATCQ had a huge follow up to Low End Theory. I remember Tribe really popular with guys who didn't listen to a lot of hip hop:

Snoop could have easily made the list.

WOOP! WOOP!

Some more:

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by ohtani's jacket
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@ohtani's jacketIt is a bit weird because it is in the final list of 10,001 songs that the publisher leaves you with and it has the number 698 next to it which might indicate something but no hyperlink like all other songs covered in both lists. When you search for it (or Springsteen, or Philadelphia, or anything else), it doesn't pop up anywhere but that section of the book. Very confusing. Perhaps it is in the physical copy but somehow missed out the digital one?

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Phish covered "Sabotage"? I'm not gonna look it up but that is weird. 

There were a couple stone classics (Rotting Christ, Varathron, Eyehategod) and well-regarded records (Type O Negative, Sepultura) from metal in '93. My top three are probably Morbid Angel - Covenant, Darkthrone - Under A Funeral Moon, and Immortal - Pure Holocaust. But probably the best metal song of '93 were from a band on their way out, starting to be influenced by another band (Megadeth) and losing their original sound. S. Craig Zahler once referred to this as a "$20 song", where you'd pay at least that much for the damn thing. He's not wrong. 

 

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