A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Friday, October 20, 2006

Take this thread and just walk away...

Janet over at The Art of Getting By continues her musical foray, this time into the 90s. So, who are my favorite 90s artists?

1. Radiohead. "When I am king, you will be first against the wall." If that's not the 90s, what is? I am more OK computer than Kid A, but it matters little. (And the video to Pyramid Song is full of beautiful heartbreak.)

2. Nirvana. Kurt Cobain was a shattered, twisted, damaged genius.

3. Indigo Girls. Is there a bad Indigo Girls song from the 90s? Even "Chicken Man" eventually grew on me. Actually, their 80s stuff was wonderful, too. I do wish I could go to a concert of theirs again, but certain members of the crowd could not behave themselves. You know, I don't care what you do in the bedroom, but you blocked my view of Amy and Emily's guitar playing.

4. Weezer. Dear Rivers Cuomo: while I greatly admire your ethic regarding meditation, could you please change your mind and crank out a few new songs? Thanks. P.S.- I forgive you for "Beverly Hills." Please don't let that happen again.

5. Mary Chapin Carpenter. 1992: Come On, Come On. 1994: Stones in the Road. 1996: A Place in the World. MCC really hit her stride in the 1990s, and her genius came through in amazing songs like "Why Walk When You Can Fly," "The End of My Pirate Days," John Doe No. 24," "Stones in the Road," and "He Thinks He'll Keep Her," not to mention her hilarious "I Feel Lucky" and "The Bug." Her Cover of Lucinda Williams' "Passionate Kisses" is also a wonderful way to learn to appreciate the gifts of Lucinda Williams, since her actual singing makes me want a good strong drink.

6. Pearl Jam. The original grungers. Stone Temple Pilots wanted to be Pearl Jam. They did not succeed.

7. Sarah McLachlan. I actually started following her career in the 80s, when I heard her sing "Vox." She is amazing, and if you get the chance you need to see her in concert. She also deserves props for being the force behind Lilith Fair.

8. Barenaked Ladies. "I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono" by Dar Williams had to be in response to the Ladies' "Be My Yoko Ono."

9. Tracy Chapman. Even if she had only "Fast Car' to her credit, she would more than deserve her place on my list. But she has done much much more.

10. Bonnie Raitt. Her long overdue 1990 Grammy for Album of the Year makes her a 90s artist, although those of us who have admired this guitar goddess since the 70s know she's timeless.

11. Toad the Wet Sprocket. Worst band name since The Strawberry Alarm Clock, but I still loved their music.

12. Travis. Who can't identify with "Why does it always rain on me?" Fran Healy is a just wonderful.

Now, 90s musicians that I absolutely LOATHED:
1. Smashing Pumpkins: Billy Corgan's singing makes me want to call the Humane Society, because he sounds like a sheep being tortured.

2. Michael Bolton. Let the Office Space jokes begin.

3. Celine Dion. Someone get her a sandwich. If she's chewing, maybe we won't have to know aboout her heart going on. And how dare you butcher a Cyndi Lauper (Roy Orbison) song, you scarecrow?

4. Mariah Carey. This Diva needs a straightjacket. It would cover up her cha-cha's, too.

5. Puff Daddy. If only he was a tenth as good as the hype. He is the Paris Hilton of hip-hop.

6. Britney Spears. A pedophile's fantasy. Ewwww.

7. Jane's Addiction. Perry Farrell. That's why.

8. Lenny Kravitz. He married Lisa Bonet; ergo, I cannot take him seriously. Not to mention his stupid ripping off of The Guess Who.

9. Marilyn Manson. I think Chris Rock said it best after observing Manson perform: "RUN to church! Run to church and PRAY!"

Well, what do YOU think?


At 10/20/06, 7:35 PM, Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

My daughter used to volunteer at a cat shelter where they played the radio all day on the easy-listening station. She came home once and walked over to me, gripped my upper arms in her hands, looked me in the eye, and said, "MY HEART WILL GO ON." I said, "I feel your pain."

At 10/20/06, 8:32 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

IMO, the 90's were not good for music. Maybe I'm *stuck* in the 70's and early 80's when it comes to "rock" or pop tunes. Where does Guns & Roses fit in ?

At 10/21/06, 3:29 PM, Blogger Diana said...

It seems that some of the best bands of the time were relatively unknown. Do you have to be "big" to be "great"? It seems we're in a bit of a bind either way, but I'd say no.

At 10/21/06, 4:07 PM, Blogger Janet said...

I loved He Thinks He'll Keep Her, even if I've never really been a country fan. I also loved Indigo Girls. Ghost and Least Complicated remains two of my favorite songs, ever. Tracy Chapman was so much more than Fast Car. I loved a little known tune of hers called Smoke and Ashes.

As you'll see tomorrow, the nineties were a lot harder to write about then I would have guessed:(

At 10/22/06, 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if she's nineties, but consider listening to Alison Kraus if you don't already do so. My favoritea are So Long So Wrong and their live CD.

At 10/22/06, 7:53 AM, Anonymous maine-ahh said...

Ms. C, I'm with you for most of your journey through the 90's. I draw the line at the grunge bands, though. I'd rather listen to Lucinda's voice! I've been to several Indigos shows, which hints at my tolerance level. It remains the only show where the women actually outnumbered the men in the line for men's room; they had no concern for the gender of the next stall's occupant. Luckily, we had the urinals to ourselves. But I digress. I'd add Gin Blossoms, The Story/Jonatha Brooke, Susan Werner and Patty Griffin to your list. If I could only take one CD to the proverbial desert island, it would be REM's "Automatic for the People - the only CD that's always in my rotation.

At 10/22/06, 5:44 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

laura, I love the cat shelter story. I once provided guitar accompaniment to the middle school choir, and we went to a couple of nursing homes to play, They also did that song, which did not utilize guitar, but none of the sopranos came, so I had to stand behind the girls (where no one could see me) and sing that stupid song.

polski, you're just an old codger, whereas I am *hip.* (smirk) Seriously, though, if you look at my list, you'll see that the stuff they played on the radio mostly got my thumbs down. But there were plenty of people making good music then-- you just didn't hear them on the airwaves.

diana, I think it's because of the format that ruled radio back then. MTV went south and took everything down with it-- the good stuff didn't make the cut.

janet, I don't really consider myself a country fan, either, although I like female bluegrass artists, and people like MCC. MCC is more of a folkie to me who gamed the system to get her music on the air.

nyc, Alison Krauss? Are ya KIDDIN' me? I LOVE her-- but I started following her in the 80s, too. Her last album was also very good-- I think I have them all.

maine-ahh, I also am very, very fond of Patty Griffin, but I got into her around 2001, so I don't think of her as 90s. The Gin Blossoms, while fine, seemed more like 1-album wonders. They broke up too soon to make the cut for me. But those others on your list intrigue me. Must learn more....

At 10/23/06, 6:50 AM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

I am TOTALLY with you on your likes and most of the hates- esp. Celine Dion and Michael Bolton.
I have to admit that I actually like (liked?) the Smashing Pumpkins and "Jane Says" is one of my all time favorite songs.
Thanks for the list- and the trip down memory lane.

At 10/23/06, 3:12 PM, Blogger MommyProf said...

I know someone who briefly lived next door to Michael Bolton, if you can believe that. He lives in the same Connecticut town as Martha Stewart, which seems fitting somehow...

Note the new blog address...

At 10/23/06, 8:23 PM, Blogger quakerdave said...

"Worst" list? SPOT ON! Outstanding. Every last one a total loser, especially Celine and Lenny. Who ever thought that guy was any good? At anything other than jingles for commercials, I mean.

Indigos? Awesome. And I loved the Toad boys. Can we throw Midnight Oil into the '90s, even though their best was in the previous decade?

At 10/26/06, 3:44 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Oh, and on the worst list, I forgot matchbox twenty. Another sheep-singer.

At 11/1/06, 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend walked in when my roommate was playing Smashing Pumpkins and asked whose cat was dying... brilliant!


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