Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fifteen Reasons Why 1990 Was A Great Year For Music



  • Public Enemy, Fear Of A Black Planet
  • Rosanne Cash, Interiors
  • Yo La Tengo, Fakebook
  • Lisa Stansfield, Affection
  • Pet Shop Boys, Behavior
  • Brian Eno/John Cale, Wrong Way Up
  • Lou Reed/John Cale, Songs For Drella
  • LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
  • A Tribe Called Quest, People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm
  • Pixies, Bossanova
  • Madonna, The Immaculate Collection
  • Red Hot & Blue: Tribute To Cole Porter
  • Queen Latifah, All Hail The Queen
  • Nick Lowe, Party Of One
  • Sonic Youth, Goo

Not sure why but my current-listening stack of CDs this week seems to favor what I was listening to in the late eighties and early nineties.

In 1990, Robert Christgau turned me on to hip-hop. If protest music assumed folk-music forms in the sixties, Public Enemy transplanted it to white-hot noise-rap in the eighties. LL Cool J, still just twenty-two, was already an old-school legend with several records under his belt. The jazzy and positivist A Tribe Called Quest thumbed their noses at gangsta rap. And the Queen Latifah record bristles with feminist no-nonsense and humor.

Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell split and she made the darkest break-up record I have ever heard. (Don't put it on late at night). Lou Reed and John Cale recorded a touching tribute to former friend and producer Andy Warhol. Both the Lisa Stansfield album and the Madonna compilation are gorgeous, intelligent dance-pop (a feeble and derogatory term that insults their quality). New Order notwithstanding, my favorite techno-pop songwriters Pet Shop Boys made a sonically punchy record thanks to guitars and Johnny Marr.

Brain Eno returned with his first batch of "songs" since 1977's classic Before And After Science. (His next song-oriented album, made fifteen years later, is being released today). Yo La Tengo dug up a handful of warm acoustic covers from their vast LP collections. And Sonic Youth followed up Daydream Nation by going major-label and delivering a perfectly good (and noisy) record that included a sweet, unironic tribute to Karen Carpenter.

4 Comments:

Blogger Ben said...

Number 16: Sinéad O'Connor (?) I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but that album is just so raw and jaw-dropping.

June 27, 2005 7:56 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Excellent point....I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got? With the Prince cover....?

June 27, 2005 8:00 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Indeed. And "Black Boys on Mopeds" and "The Last Day of Our Acquaintance" and "I Am Stretched on Your Grave" and...

June 27, 2005 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Rakesh said...

Greatest albums of the 90's as far as I am concerned

OK Computer - Radiohead
Automatic For The People - R.E.M.
Homogenic - Bjork
Ten - Pearl Jam
Nevermind - Nirvana
Time Out Of Mind - Bob Dylan
Fumbling Towards Ecstacy - Sarah McLachlan
The Bends - Radiohead
Post - Bjork
New Adventures In Hi-fi - R.E.M.
Odelay - Beck
Achtung Baby - U2
Grace - Jeff Buckley
Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette
What's The Story Morning Glory - Oasis

PS: There are lots more but that's all I can think of right now

July 07, 2005 11:01 AM  

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