My Life in Albums (part 1 83-96)

Yeah, sorry, no more Bumble Rumble. Possibly… ever…? Listen, I’ve pretty much decided that I hate Zero Hour dating- I happen to still believe that I’m relatively attractive, so to have an app on my phone that frequently reminds me that I’m actually not is not good at all for my already inflated yet easily pricked sense of self-esteem. For now, my official stance is that I know that I’m a highly fuckable piece of hunky man meat who could grind genitals with pretty much any woman he wants, but I just choose not to, OK?? The official stance is that I’ve decided to concentrate on the more important things in my life, such as this blog- which has never been more popular- and my actual job- which I’m technically supposed to be doing now*. Remember this blog? It used to be about music, didn’t it? I mean… kinda… Let’s do that again. Basically, it’s time for:

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Just wanted a photo with my eyes in it. Have they always been that colour? More after the jump!!

This was inspired by a video by Alfo Media, which was in itself inspired by a tweet from someone called ‘Jus’, who, I dunno, might be famous, I’m not sure. The idea is to list the greatest album from each year that you’ve been alive. When I saw this, two things immediately came to mind:

  1. That’s a great idea for some all important important Content®
  2. These pricks were born in 1997?? What?? Can people born in that year even walk and talk yet?? Why am I even listening to the opinions of people who weren’t even born when ‘Moseley Shoals‘ by Ocean Colour Scene was released?? How can someone claim to know anything about music if they weren’t even alive to experience the reverberations unleashed around the world by Spaceman by Babylon Zoo??

No, no, no, no no, this will not do at all. Sorry for anyone who experienced those clearly counterfeit and, if we’re being honest, fucking ridiculous lists. Let’s do this properly. I’ve done the actual best albums from each year that the Earth was lucky enough to have me ride it. I know that, officially, I’m twenty nine years old and so was likely born some time in 1991, but for a nice rhetorical exercise let’s pretend that I was born on the 28th December 1983. Y’know, for fun.

And, erm, sorry everyone, but it’s pretty white and very male…

1983

Seriously, what the fuck was happening in 1983? I’m so glad that I only lived in that year for three days, as it obviously sucked. Thatcher’s Conservatives won that year’s election with the biggest majority since the end of WW2, Zimbabwe was in the midst of a brutal civil war, the USA invaded Grenada– Grenada!!- and the biggest film was by far the worst Star Wars movie (at the time). It was also the year ‘Thriller’ released, the album that would eventually ensure that all lists of top selling records would be significantly more problematic. It was an album I never heard at the time though (my parents actually had some musical taste), and by the time I did maybe 20 years later I was emotionally detached enough from it to realise that it wasn’t a great album. So, what do I have to work with? ‘1999‘! Nope! Released in 1982. ‘Nebraska‘? Nope! Released in 1982. Fuck, ‘Hello, I Must Be Going‘? 1982 as well!? 1983 was a bizarre wasteland of any album that I have ever made a proper connection to. The closest I could find was Metallica’s debut. I have gone through several metal phases in my life, but that’s unlikely to be represented on the rest of the list, so I may as well put ‘Kill ‘Em All‘ here to give a a weary and half-hearted shout out to possibly the biggest and most important metal bands of my life time. Y’know, back when they were actually metal…

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1984

OkayNow we’re starting to get somewhere. ‘Purple Rain is of course the obvious choice, and in fact the actual choice. It’s a piece of magic that is perhaps in danger of losing much of its impact due to over saturation, but it’s still worth attempting to place your brain in the space of someone hearing this work of genius for the first time. Try to forget the inescapable standards that many of these songs have become and appreciate just how fucking weird this album is. How experimental, how enterprising, how different much of it sounds now, despite more than thirty years of pale imitations, never mind what a jolt of highly sexualised lightning it must have been in 1984. ‘Born in the USA‘ puts in a worthy showing, but the award has to go to the era-defining album responsible for somehow making the psychosexual drum machine experiment When Doves Cry the year’s biggest selling song.

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1985

Yeah, this might to get a bit repetitive for a while. Hey, it wasn’t my fault I happened to be born in the middle of the hottest streak of music since Beethoven somehow managed to release Symphony no.1, Symphony no.2, Symphony no.3 and Symphony no.4 in consecutive years! Yeah, I know, Symphony no.5 was hot garbage, but give the guy a break. I consider His personal streak to begin with 1980’s ‘Dirty Mind‘, so the wonderful ‘Around the World in a Day would be symphony no.5. He refused to rest on the laurel’s of the previous year’s biggest album, took his sound into incredible new areas of psychedelia and hippy drum circles, and was promptly rewarded for his ambition with the album selling roughly a tenth of what ‘Purple Rain’ did, and in fact him never selling anywhere near that kind of amount again. But that’s cool, selling records and being successful is for squares and normies anyway, the cool kids like two year old me were just happy with an album that confirmed success wasn’t going to hinder Prince’s artistic development, and that contained what is scientifically acknowledged as the greatest song ever.

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1986

Yeah, here we go again. Listen, ‘Parade‘ is pretty much simply as good as music can ever possibly get, I don’t know what you expect me to do. It’s such an untouchable suite of genius that I sometimes wonder if it’d be a better album without Kiss. In my opinion- which is the only opinion that ever matters- this flowing collection of sweeping orchestration and minimalist funk somehow combined is actually Prince’s artistic pinnacle, where he was tuned in enough to manage to take the listener to places they could never even previously imagine but controlled enough to tightly pack it into a forty minute record rather than releasing seven consecutive double albums over the course of a month.

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1987

I know, you’re all expecting ‘Sign o’ the Times‘ here, aren’t you? While that is an astonishing album, and likely the purest and most consistent example of Prince’s ambition. It was also, sadly, likely the end of hottest streak since Goldberg. Next year’s ‘Lovesexy‘ was… good… it was really good… but He was no longer the genius setting trends and revolutionising music in the same way. Most damningly of all, he was no longer very cool. At the start of the 80s, he was the most shocking and subversive thing in music, literally responsible for first making people realise that songs could end up being so dangerous to children that they’d need their own warning label!! He was so fucking dangerous!! By ‘SotT’ though, he had absolutely sided himself with the establishment. He was no longer gyrating on stage in a trenchcoat and a thong while singing about fucking his own sister or lamenting one night stands with women with pockets full of used condoms. Now, He was the an accepted musical statesmen complaining that “There are 17 year old boys and their idea of fun/Is being in a group called the disciples/High on crack and toting on machine guns‘, like some Reaganite televangelist, just when the music world was about to be turned on its head by these ‘disciples’ becoming the coolest thing imaginable. ‘

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SotT’ is one of the best albums ever, but to me it also sounds a little bittersweet, as it’s Prince’s last brush with wider critical praise but also the first sign that He’s losing his grip on His throne. He was no longer dangerous, He was no longer cool. In 1987, ‘danger’ and ‘cool’ were beginning to start sprouting up in far less expected places- this year saw the release of both ‘Pad in Full‘ and the debut album by the future ‘greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world’-but for sheltered little white boy living in Greater Manchester, true danger and cool came dressed in leather pants and flurry blouses and caked with enough hair spray to be personally responsible for orphaning at least a hundred baby polar bears.

To this day, I don’t feel that I need to give Guns n’ Roses’ ‘Appetite for Destruction‘ a caveat fattened qualified description, whimpering how you’d understand it’s ‘if you heard it at the time‘ or ‘if you can imagine what that sounded like in 1987′. To me, ‘AfD’ still sounds like the most exciting, most dangerous, most debauched and most fricking fun rock album that you’re likely to be hear, even more than 30 years later. It’s a vicious and dangerously exciting record, by a band your parent would hate, and while its impact has seemingly been forgotten because its imitators always failed spectacularly to follow its lead, it should absolutely be looked back upon as the biggest and most exciting/terrifying upheaval of mainstream rock since The Sex Pistol’s ‘Never Mind the Bollocks‘.

Also, I really like Terrance Trent D’Arby’s debut, but couldn’t really fit that anywhere into the narrative I’d spun…

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1988

Unbelievably, Prince is barely going to be mentioned from this point forward, so expect all future years to be a lot shorter. In 1988, those kids in gangs called ‘The Disciples’ that Prince had tried to warn us about really started to take over. The incredible ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back‘ was the artistic and cerebral epoch, but the fury and aggressive anger of NWA’s ‘Straight Outta Compton‘ probably made the biggest noise and made the most influential splash (especially if you factor in the careers of Dr Dre and Ice Cube, responsible for later cultural markers such as Snoop Dogg, ‘The Chronic‘, Eminem and ‘Are We Done Yet‘). However, my criminal and unauthorised behaviour was never about being a gangsta or fighting systemic oppression, I was all about sniffing glue in the toilets and passing out through intoxication while knuckles deep inside some girl so high on E that I’d not seen the whites of her eyes since ‘In Too Deep‘ by Sum 41 came on at the start of the night. I want the scuzzy highs, I want the shameful lows, and I want the creamy middles. That cream being, of course, semen. Not your semen, you’ve no idea how it got there, it’s just been one of those crazy nights, officer. ‘Bummed‘ by the Happy Mondays is one of those extremely rare albums that doesn’t quite sound like anything else in the world. Partly because of the hazy and nauseous production by Martin Hannett, partly because of the ridiculous and laughable existence of The Happy Mondays themselves- an egregious gang of scallies and ne’er-do-wells that were saved from a lifetime of poisoning pigeons for fun by Factory Records’ dangerously inappropriate hiring policy. Somehow, it all comes together to produce absolute genius.

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1989

If you’d asked me to make this list any time before maybe 2003, 1989’s entry would have been one of the easiest choices. For a large number of my teenage years, The Stone Roses’ debut record was pretty much all I was allowed to listen to, sing to, reference and even look at. To this day, Manchester clasps this record embarrassingly close to its bosom, telling the world that The Stone Roses were at least as important and as artistically successful as dirty nearby Liverpool’s precious Beatles! And none of The Stone Roses were dumb enough to get shot dead or die from lung cancer, so we might still get another great record!! By now, in short, I am fucking sick to death of these extremely competent but hideously overrated album, and I can’t in all good faith put an album on here which I in all seriousness never want to hear again!!

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If I wanted to be really cool, I might put forward Spaceman 3’s ‘Playing With Fire’, but the sheer crazed pop perfection of Pixies’ ‘Doolittle‘ is impossible to ignore. As a great man once said, ‘Slicing up eyeballs, ar-harharhar, girlie so groovy, ar-harharhar‘.

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1990

Bossanova‘ is a pretty underrated album, but not good enough for me to sully this list with consecutive Pixies albums like some sort of weirdo. You’re not forgiven for becoming so unbearably shit when you came back a few years ago, Pixies. ‘Pills ‘N’ Thrills and Bellyaches‘ is great, but it’s the cleaner, more commercial and more successful Happy Mondays that probably wouldn’t dare share a list with it’s grubby brother ‘Bummed’ as it sticks its head deep between the sofa cushions and sniffs its nose violently as its convinced it dropped a line of speed down there a couple of months ago. Also, two records with Bez would mean this list would be obliged to register with the local police. No, 1990 simply has to be the year of ‘Fear of a Black Planet‘. The band don’t come up much these days, but between the ages of maybe 13 and 19 I was hugely into Public Enemy. I honestly credit them with giving some shy pale northern kid a far wider understanding of the experiences and perspectives of some people that I might not have ever considered until much later. It wasn’t some dull and self-important worthiness that I loved about Public Enemy though- when the height of Britpop fed me a conveyor belt of dul looking indie bands droning on about chasing rainbows up the wonderwall of some girl from Mars’s slight return, this was really exciting music  about really exciting stuff! I fell in love with Public Enemy around the same time I fell for The Manics and for similar reasons- it was music you could throw yourself around to that was concerned with issues worth getting upset over. I loved them so much that I brought every album of theirs that I could get my hand on (basically, every one that Woolworths had in stock) and to this day I’m convinced that their much maligned later work such as ‘Muse Sick n Hour Mess Age‘ isn’t that bad! Come on! Give it Up?! Tell me that doesn’t slap!

We’re all in agreement over ‘FoaBP’ though, aren’t we? This is scientific genius? It purifies and sharpens it anger, but the music is improved from ‘merely’ state of the art deejaying to borderline avant garde  electronic music, seriously the absolute equal of any experimental present day dance act. This is one of the best albums that you will see on this list.

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1991

know! For the first time I can actually put a Manic Street Preachers album on this list! And I really, really, really want to name ‘Generation Terrorists‘- an album whose brilliance I’ve already eulogised upon before– as my pick for 1991, there just happens to be an absurdly strong collection of era defining albums released this year. Massive Attack’s ‘Blue Lines‘, Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica‘ and even Prince’s ‘Diamonds and Pearls‘ would more likely than not be the greatest album released in any year lucky enough to have them. Then there’s the obvious choice…

This might be the the most controversial thing I’ve said on this blog since I aired my dangerous belief that George W Bush wasn’t responsible for  9/11 and that vaccines don’t cause autism, but I think that, artistically at least, ‘Nevermind‘ is an incredibly overrated album. No, no, no, noListen! I’m not denying its importance, or its influence, and it had a handful of banging pop songs on it, but to modern ears it sounds laughably tame and an all too obvious grasp at mainstream success with production you’re more likely to find coated on top of a Garth Brooks album. It’s a very, very good record, but far from Nirvana’s best and with an importance (correctly) attached to it that might overwhelm its actual quality. Trust me, if Cobain’s turbulent and brief shotgun affair didn’t leave Nirvana’s back catalogue so bare that you’re really forced to appreciate all three records, you’d be embarrassed to admit that you liked this album. As good as it so often is, it’s the unmistakable sound of compromise.

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1991’s true genius came from a record that screamed while it scratched ‘COMPROMISE IS FOR QUITTERS’ onto its perineum with a rusty guitar pedal. The year’s highest point- the highest point of everything up until that point- came with a record that heard your screaming voice in agony as you beg it to go easy only as authorisation to push things harder. We say that this is an ‘album’ with ‘songs’ because our pathetic Earth language hasn’t yet had the chance to conceive of words to properly describe a noise that our puny human brains can never hope to truly comprehend. It’s really good, you guys.

If you catch me on many days, I might tell you that My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless‘ is the greatest album ever. There’s certainly no other record that can inspire quite the same emotions, the same butterflies in my stomach, spleen and groin, movements in my heart, soul and, yes, groin that we don’t even have names for yet. It’s perfect, and it’s really loudly perfect. I dunno, I can relate…

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1992

1992 brings a lot of very, very good records, though ain’t nobody defining eras like they did so easily back in ’91. PJ Harvey enters the fray with ‘Dry‘, an incredible album that loses points for a production that sounds like the potato that made the original recording was forced to recount its memories under oath in a court of law, and you can barely make out its traumatised recollection over the tears that the memories of the experience inspire. The Prince album800px-Prince_logo.svg is perhaps his most unfairly overlooked 90s efforts, but, Jesus fucking Christ, do you know how much of a ball ache it was to even get that symbol once?? I was always a fan of Sugar, but ‘Copper Blue‘, probably their most widely celebrated effort, has always sounded that little too radio friendly to me and actually pales massively next to next year’s ‘Beaster‘. I like ‘It’s a Shame About Ray‘, you like ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’, your great aunt Audrey likes ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’, and she died due to complications relating to vaginoplasty in 1984, but this list isn’t about the hundreds of albums that I merely liked each year, is it?? Also, the best Lemonheads song is the acoustic version of Ride With Me, and that’s not on this album so… No, it is their best song, and I really don’t have time to debate crazy people right now- you’re probably still salty after I claimed vaccines didn’t cause autism.

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I guess, if I was actually doing this properly, I would hand this year over to Pantera’s psychopathically powerful ‘Vulgar Display of Power‘. Easily one of the greatest metal albums ever made, and one that, at least at one point, had a pretty big effect on my life. Believe it or not, Pantera were one of the first bands that I saw live, and the energy and excitement of pretty much every act I’ve seen in the roughly 25 years since have paled pretty chronically in comparison. Yeah, give it to Pantera…

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…when did I last listen to ‘Vulgar Display of Power’? These isn’t a list of the albums that have had the most effect on me, or the albums that have been particularly significant to me, or the albums linked to particular exciting and/or traumatic memories, such as the record that was playing when I shit my pants on a family holiday to Corfu (‘Beerbongs and Bentleys by Post Malone). These are the best fucking albums released each year!! Even albums that may otherwise be disregarded, because it’s my fucking list!! So, fuck all y’all, I’m picking ‘Gold Against the Soul‘ by the Manic Street Preachers. Yeah. A lot of normies hate this album, thinking it was a lacklustre follow up to a classic debut that seemed far too considered with aping contemporary American rock in some naked attempt at stateside approval. But, as I said, fuck all y’all- I love this album. It’s getting a new reissue soon in the same vein as ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’ 20 anniversary edition in 2018, to celebrate its… 28th birthday…? Who cares, the Manics can do what they want, and you’l get a long read on the record’s undervalued majesty along the same lines of last year’s ‘TIMT’ reappraisal. Again- fuck all y’all.

Gold_against_the_Soul_Album_cover

1993

Peej gets better, Björk pops up and it’s easy to forget quite how big a deal Suede were around the time of their debut album. But 1993 was one of the easiest years to pick a champion of.

I’ve always hated The Smiths. Don’t worry, this isn’t leading to me naming ‘Vauxhall and I‘ as the year’s best album. That album din’t come out until 1994. Be patient. Yeah, as I was saying, I always hated The Smiths. The Smiths, to me, always represented the glorification and normalisation of one of the human race’s least worthwhile and most toxic traits. The Smiths encouraged you to wallow, they taught you to point at the unfair and mean things in life and then simply weep at the unfairness of it all. The Smiths soundtracked Involuntary Celibacy. They were all about going to a club on your own, before you leave on your own, go home and cry and want to die. Of course Morrissey grew up to be a miserable old racist, he was essentially grooming his whole fanbase to join the alt-right his whole career! The Smiths encouraged their fans to wallow in pity at the sheer misery of their own situation, but rarely offered explanations, solutions or even much in the way of optimism. Sooner or later, these people are going to look for simple answers for the malaise you’ve led them into, and do you know what those simple answers are? Yeah, it’s all the fault of the blacks and the gays, isn’t it? Teenagers of the 80s voted for Brexit and Trump a few decades later. I’ve got the statistics to prove it, they’re just in my other trousers, alright?

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Teenagers in the early 90s though, had Nirvana. I’ve already fanned ever so slight waves of ‘pooh-pooh’ in the general direction of ‘Nevermind’, and I stand by how that album’s quality falls far below its importance. But Nirvana were pretty freaking special, and their importance is difficult to overstate. Their music was all about inspiring the teenagers listening, about letting them know that, yeah, life sucks, but there is so much that you can do about that. Even if the lyrics were often nonsensical slogans and enraged bon mots stitched together over simple but clinically effective riffs and explosive drumming, you brought your own meaning, you brought your own inspiration, you brought your own motivation. ‘Nevermind’ was an over simplified but still effective commercial adaptation of Nirvana’s appeal. ‘In Utero‘ is the purest distillation of what made the band incredible. All the things that people may try and convince you are part of ‘Nevermind’s magic are actually weaved into the seams of ‘In Utero’.

Also, Every Day is Like Sunday is better than any Smiths song. Ouch! These takes are so hot they’re burning my motherfuckin’ fingers!!

In_Utero_(Nirvana)_album_cover

1994

Holy moly, this year is just busting at the seams with ‘best ever’ contenders. To show how serious I am, know that ‘The Holy freaking Bible‘- the scientifically proven greatest album by my favourite ever band- is not the greatest album of the year. Even though ‘THB’ is easily one of the most important albums of my lifetime, one that I can recite from ‘For sale/Dumb cunts same dumb question‘ to ‘Pass the Prozac/Designer anesia-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaac‘, an album that has played a large part in creating his marvelous person that you see sat before you. The thing is… a lot of 1994 albums did that!!

First, let’s get some Oasis love quickly out the way: I understand how Oasis are likely thought of now as a laughable Dad rock band who are still all that Uncle Carl listens to.

Manchester City v Stoke City - Premier League

Never got married, did he, Uncle Carl? Yeah, there was Wendy, wasn’t there? Whatever happened to Wendy? Oh yeah, Mum said we were never to mention Wendy, didn’t she?

I imagine that someone in their 20s now will think of Oasis in the same way I used to think of bullshit old bands like Dire Straits, Bon Jovi and Queen. Oh yeah, we all fucking hated Queen, because we all had two ears and a brain. The idea that we’re somehow supposed to admire this shitty band is a relatively recent development. My girlfriend has never even heard of Oasis! Mind you, she’s only 4 years old. In human years, I mean. The fact that she’s a Yorkshire terrier means that she’s totally legal in dog years.

But ‘Definitely Maybe‘ was… amazing. It was brutal, it was exciting, it had an astonishing grip on melodies, it made everyone in Britain want to join a band. I can’t speak to how big Nirvana were in the US, but their influence and the frenzy surrounding them could’t possibly have been as big as the national shitfit that Britain through over Oasis. From 1994 until the fucking atrocious 1997 comeback, Oasis weren’t just the biggest band in the country, they were fucking everything. ‘Definitely Maybe’ has to be ranked among the greatest debut albums ever, especially considering that it soon became apparent- despite the next album selling roughly 17 and a half billion- that this was all the band had. And still this isn’t 1994’s album!!

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Another for the ‘any other fucking year!!’ pile is the astonishing ‘Music for the Jilted Generation‘ by The Prodigy. One of the greatest albums ever from a band I would have likely named as my favourite for a year or two in the 90s. Listen to Break and Enter and tell me that you’ve heard a better dance track in the 25+ years since*. And then- holy motherfucking shit!- we’ve got Hole’s ‘Live Through This‘. My favourite hot take is that it’s a better album than ‘Nevermind’, but I’ve barely got time to mention that in 1994! Also, notice how this countdown is turning into a bit of a hot dog vender? Yeah, turns out I barely listened to any women until roughly the 21st century. Yeah. It doesn’t get much better, I’m afraid. But, like, 1994’s album is by a pretty feminine guy, yeah? So it kinda counts, no?

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(*you can’t! Is the point I’m making. Do you see?)

Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace‘ isn’t just an album to me. For years, it was my everything. I formed a dangerous emotional symbiotic attachment with this record. It’s my emotionally abusive husband that I can’t leave because I love him so much. It’s the father of my children. It was the soundtrack to my life. It was the backing music to my daydreams. I got married to Mojo Pin. I cradled my my lovely daughter Erica while the title track played in the background. I wept at my wife’s side when the Digicancer 2000, a new futuristic disease that would wreak havoc in the near future- took her closer to death as we listened to Last Goodbye. My… my daydreams were a bit weird… I see that now.

In the mid 90s my Mum brought a big book of music recommendations from HMV, which highlighted five albums of all time that you should buy. Yadda yadda, Beatles, waffle waffle, Stevie Wonder, blah blah… Jeff Buckley?? Who the fuck was Jeff Buckley?? Intrigued, I bought the album. Soon afterwards, the fucker died!! That was my teenage years! That’s what my major malfunction is!!

We all know that Jeff Buckley’s best song is the unreleased What Will You Say though, right? That’s not on this album, so, I dunno, loses points.

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1995

4’709 words. Don’t think I’ll make it to 2020 in this post. 1995 gave us a great deal of accepted ‘classics’. Pulp’s ‘Different Class‘ has to be considered just for how that chorus hits in Underwear:

Radiohead release their first worthwhile album in ‘The Bends‘, which now sounds curiously prosaic in places considering the places they would soon go with their music. Bit of a spoiler alert, but this won’t be the last time we hear from them. Björk released her second extremely worthwhile album with ‘Post‘, but this is obviously a boys club so her genitals sadly deny her. Seriously, Alex, this is why no girl spoke to you until 2014. And obvious shout out to Spiritualized, who were seriously neck and neck with Radiohead in the 90s in terms of expansive and experimental rock music, but I worry are in danger of being forgotten. The wonderful ‘Pure Phase‘ was my first introduction to their unique and dilatant kind of love. However, 1995 has to be awarded to a man who knows a lot about expanding your mind and sharing the love. Jesus Christ, we’ve only just started yet both Shaun Ryder and Bez have been featured twice. Call the cops.

Black-Grape

Scientifically, Black Grape make no sense. Splintered parts of a band that had recently imploded in a hideous house fire of studio purchased heroin. Instead of simply dying- which most reputable estimations had both walking flunitrazepam baggies Bez and Ryder doing in late 1994- the two ex-Happy Mondays burnouts enlisted crazed sidekicks called ‘Kermit’, ‘Psycho’ and ‘Dirtycash’ (on the fucking ocarina) and decided their new band would deal more in rapping, sampling and Madchester influenced funk rock. Nobody wanted to look, this was going to be horrifying.

And yet… ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah‘ is somehow one of the greatest albums ever released. Lightning in a bottle was somehow contained, then shot straight up your nostril and slaps your brain’s mesolimbic dopamine system so hard that your clattering nucleus accumbens simply merge with the record’s production. I’m scared to analyse this record too deeply, because mathematically it just doesn’t make fucking sense, and I’m scared that if I think too hard about it then it will be revealed to be a figment of my imagination. This. Is. Life.

BlackGrape_GreatWhenYoureStraightYeah

1996

OK, so it’s half past ten, I am certainly not finishing this countdown (countup?) today, but I feel it’s a good place to stop as I take us up to those disgustingly fresh faced pricks being born in 1997*. And you all know what I’m going to name as my 1996 champion, right? I spend roughly 64% of this blog eulogising and fellating The Manic Street Preachers, and 1996 saw the release of the World** Conquering comeback album ‘Everything Must Go‘, so it’s a fucking open and fucking shut fucking case, right? I’ve already told you how much I love this album!! Well, ladies and gentlemen, get ready for a Russo level swerve!!

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(*how dare you be younger than me and remind me of both my increasing years and life’s inevitable and sad mortality?! Be born earlier!! Fuckers…)

(**UK)

Firstly, I need to bring attention to Sepultura’s ‘Roots‘, one of the greatest, most experimental and most effective metal albums you’re ever likely to hear, and one that I worry doesn’t get enough love. And 1996’s greatest album is perhaps even more cruelly overlooked. The Auteurs’ ‘After Murder Park‘ is one of my lifetime’s greatest distortion and subversion of what rock music even is. It’s a dark and complex dissection of the wider effects and psychological torment behind death and murder, that still manages to tie such weighty themes to certified bangersLight Aircraft on FireChild Brides, Unsolved Child MurderAfter Murder Park… Much as I love the craft and the narrative behind ‘Everything Must Go’, rock music simply doesn’t get better than this.

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OK, the history lesson is over, shit’s about to get serious. Part two… soon… hopefully…

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “My Life in Albums (part 1 83-96)

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