150 Best Albums of 1992/’93

Clearly the over-riding aesthetic aim of the third and fourth years of the ’90s, as far as I can tell nearly three decades down the line, was filling up your entire damn compact disc. Innovations in music delivery technology can do that. So you had up-and-coming rap groups like Wu-Tang Clan and sort-of-rap groups like the Goats clogging albums’ arteries with so-called skits even more useless now than then (not to mention up-and-coming sort-of-rap group Basehead making pretty much their entire albums really long skits and nothing but), and artists as diverse as synth-disco geniuses Pet Shop Boys and indie-rock guitarist Tara Key and grungewagon-jumpers Stone Temple Pilots (1994 actually, close enough) and sort-of-rapper Justin Warfield following dead space after album-closing tracks with secret hidden post-scripts like studio patter or band rehearsals or gurgling water or clanking silverware or angry answering machine messages from Prince Paul, so as not to waste any precious polycarbonate plastic.

“Sort-of-rap” (call it “deeply hip-hop-infused alternative rock” if you’d rather) was, you’ve already probably concluded, another hot and happening trend — Divine Styler and New Kingdom, like Warfield both in my top dozen for this pair of baseball seasons, also fit the bill. But “sort of” is one thing that inevitably happens when genres mature, and you could just as easily chalk the phenomenon up to the nonstop and repeated bifurcation of hip-hop in general. At the time, I’ll confess, I was mostly oblivious, and in years since I frequently continued to libel the state of rap at the time — Hell, the state of alternative rock, too. Maybe even the state of music in general, give or take the rock en español and other Romance-language music I resorted to when I stubbornly saw stagnation stewing everywhere else. With metal, which I also derided or ignored, I had half an excuse — I’d just published Stairway to Hell: The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe in 1991, so I’d had my fill for a good long while. With hip-hop, I was just….lazy? I dunno.

Point is, the more I immerse myself, the more I’m realizing the ’90s were nowhere near as musically infertile as I’d long assumed. Give me a few more years, and I might well be able to come up with 150 albums each for 1992 and 1993. Even now, I’m well aware of plenty of pretty-good records that didn’t make the cut — including two albums by Basehead (plus more rap by A Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre, Duice, Guru, House of Pain, [Real] Roxanne, Yo-Yo) and one by Tara Key (plus more guitar heroism by Television — sorry, Lindsey Buckingham just had better songs.) The five or so country albums among my Top 150 don’t include Rosie Flores or Shaver or Dwight Yoakam; the five or so r&b albums don’t include TLC or the Bodyguard soundtrack. Nirvana’s B-sides-and-rarities comp Insecticide squeezed its way in near the bottom, but In Utero didn’t — I prefer ’em when they’re having fun. And if I ever do stretch these lists out to 150-per-year, expect to see Robert Ashley, Bikini Kill, Depeche Mode, Everclear, Peter Hammill, Hawkwind, Jordy, the Mekons, Snow, Suede, the 3Ds, V-3, an Amy Grant Christmas album, lots more.

As is, more than 30 albums that could strictly be classified “metal” made my list; if I went by my old own Stairway standards, which defined the genre as broadly as Joe Biden defines infrastructure, there might well be enough loud-riffed alt, grunge, indie, prog, punk and Latin rock albums to double that number. Even then, plenty of contenders I went back and listened to — Almighty, Big F, BulletBoys, Electric Boys, Entombed, Enuff Z’Nuff, Faith No More, Faster Pussycat, Red Dawn, Redd Kross, Slaughter — weren’t quite good enuff. Biggest surprise, rock-wise, was the extent to which I latched onto cult prog-rock revivalists whose existence I wasn’t close to aware of in the early ’90s: Anekdoten and Ånglagård from Sweden, IQ from the UK, and especially Kingston Wall from Finland, who made the list not once but twice and covered Donna Summer! Add a decided prog strain in extreme metal (Voivod, Anacrusis, Coroner, Atheist, Cynic) and alt-ish rock (Už Jsme Doma, Slovenly) and I’m pretty sure you’ve got a few math credits transferable to accredited institutions of higher learning.

As for hip-hop, the 18 rap (including aforementioned “sort-of-rap”pers but not hip-houser Mr. Lee) albums below match my figure for 1988 and well exceed the 13 I picked for more comparable and contemporaneous 1990/’91. The 15 Latin albums — including eight Latin-American rock en español acts and two pop groups from Spain (one of those from Catalonia) — are probably the most you’ll ever get from me in one sitting; French-Mexican-American rapper/Latin Alliance member A.L.T. and Francophoners Dédé Traké, Katee and Indochine up the Romance quotient even more. Techno/rave/tronica is harder to compute — anywhere between five and 13 albums, depending where you slice them, though I assume the jungle/drum’n’bass DJ mixes that still feel more like torture than transcendence to me relied way more on acetate singles than full lengths.

Robert Christgau halfway facetiously (and halfway not, since Liz Phair/PJ Harvey/ Breeders finished among the top four albums while Breeders and Luscious Jackson cleanly and respectively won singles and EPs) dubbed 1993 “Pazz & Jop’s fifth (or sixth) Year of the Woman,” and my lists carry that weight as well, unless they don’t: Starting with the trio of teenage Ethiopian/Eritrean refugees recording in Stockholm at my chart’s pinnacle, I count 19 records either by solo women or all-woman groups, plus at least another five (Dog Faced Hermans, Santa Sabina, Aterciopelados, Colourhaus, the Daou) by woman-fronted groups or bands, plus coeducationally fronted Ace of Base, Dada, Digable Planets and One 2 One, plus anybody else I might have missed. That’s still nowhere near 50 percent, though. Sorry, I’ll try harder next time.

Finally, I want to thank the world for history-excavating Massachusetts folk-punk oddballs Cordelia’s Dad near the bottom of my top 100 and Europopular biracial New York soul duo Charles & Eddie near the bottom of my top 150, since like King Lear I have a daughter named Cordelia and like ’60s A’s/Mets third baseman Ed Charles I have a Charles and Eddie in my name. I used to own a Cordelia’s Dad T-shirt (wish I still did); have never owned a Charles & Eddie (though I’d proudly wear one). Somewhere deep in my file boxes I saved a page from Bikini magazine (or was it Raygun? One of these unreadably designed ones) where I’m fairly certain How Can I Sleep? and Duophonic (definitely some album by both acts) get reviewed — not by me — within mere inches of each other. It is such charming coincidences that make life worth living.

[A couple minutes of dead space]

Secret Hidden Post-Script: Having been out of the indie rock loop for a generation I forget, is it common knowledge that by far the best melody on Pavement’s alleged masterpiece Slanted and Enchanted — the one in “Trigger Cut” — seems to have been swiped directly from “Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels)” by Jim Croce? And by the way, whenever I play Pavement or the Hold Steady, my 12-year-old daughter asks “Is this the same guy who sings that New Year’s song where he pours champagne on his head?” Which, for those even further out of the loop, would be “The Ice of Boston” by Dismemberment Plan (1998). Folks, I think we may have a genre on our hands.

  1. Midi Maxi & Efti Midi Maxi & Efti (Columbia ‘92)
  2. Už Jsme Doma Hollywood (Rachot/BMG Czech Republic ’93)
  3. Bloodstar Anytime, Anywhere (Red Decibel ‘92)
  4. Voivod The Outer Limits (MCA ‘93)
  5. David Murray Quartet Shakill’s Warrior (DIW/Columbia ’92)
  6. Divine Styler Spiral Walls Containing Autumns of Light (Giant ’92)
  7. Caifanes El Silencio (RCA/BMG Latin ’92)
  8. Justin Warfield My Field Trip to Planet 9 (Qwest ’93)
  9. Freestyle Fellowship Innercity Griots (4th & Broadway ’93) 
  10. Dédé Traké Dédé Traké (Select Quebec ’92)
  11. New Kingdom Heavy Load (Gee Street ’93)
  12. Anacrusis Screams and Whispers (Metal Blade ’93)
  13. Cybotron Empathy (Fantasy ’93)
  14. The Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (Delcious Vinyl ’92)
  15. Love/Hate Wasted in America (Columbia ’92)
  16. Randy Weston The Spirits of Our Ancestors (Antilles ’92)
  17. Inner City Praise (Virgin ’92)
  18. Loco Mia Taiyo (Sony Discos ’92)
  19. Fobia Mundo Feliz (Ariola Latin ’93)
  20. Utah Saints Something Good  (London EP ’92)
  21. Dog Faced Hermans Hum of Life (Konkurrel/Project A Bomb ’93)
  22. Lil Louis & the World Journey With the Lonely (Epic ’92)
  23. Shanté The Bitch is Back (Livin’ Large ’92)
  24. Henry Threadgill Too Much Sugar for a Dime (Axiom ’93)
  25. Katee Plus Fort Que Moi (Select Quebec ’92)
  26. Slovenly Highway to Hanna’s (SST ’92)
  27. Captain Hollywood Project Love is not Sex (Imago ’93)
  28. Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth Mecca and the Soul Brother (Elektra ’93)
  29. Dance Mix USA (Radikal/Quality Special Products ’93)
  30. Kingston Wall Kingston Wall (Trinity Finland ’92)
  31. Indochine Un Jour Dans Notre Vie (BMD France ’93)
  32. Sophie B. Hawkins Tongues and Tails (Columbia ’92)
  33. Dada Puzzle (I.R.S. ’92)
  34. Xuxa Xuxa 3 (Globo/BMG Latin International ’92)
  35. Pet Shop Boys Very (EMI USA ’93)
  36. Ace of Base Happy Nation/The Sign (Mega Europe ’92/Arista ’93)
  37. De La Soul Buhloone Mind State (Tommy Boy ’93)
  38. The Ex + Tom Cora The Weathermen Shrug Their Shoulders (First Puppet ’93)
  39. The Prodigy Experience (Elektra ’92)
  40. The Auteurs New Wave (Caroline ’93)
  41. Monster Magnet Superjudge (A&M ’93)
  42. Cerati/Melero Colores Santos (Sony Discos ’93)
  43. Galactic Cowboys Space in Your Face (DGC ’93)
  44. Caroliner Rainbow Wire Thin Sheep Legs Baking Exhibit: Strike Then Hard Send Them to Church (Nuf Sed ’92)
  45. Edelweiss Wonderful World of Edelweiss (WEA Germany ’92)
  46. Santa Sabina Santa Sabina (BMG/Culebra Mexico ’92)
  47. Anekdoten Vemod (Virtalevy Sweden ’93)
  48. Paulina Rubio Paulina Rubio (Capitol/EMI Latin ’92)
  49. Moonshake Eva Luna (Matador/Atlantic ’93)
  50. Einstürzende Neubauten Tabula Rasa (Mute ’93)
  51. Liz Phair Exile in Guyville (Matador ’93)
  52. Garth Brooks The Chase (Liberty ’92)
  53. Urge Overkill Saturation (Geffen ’93)
  54. Mariah Carey MTV Unplugged EP (Columbia EP ’92)
  55. Guns N’ Roses “The Spaghetti Incident?” (Geffen ’93)
  56. La Castañeda Servicios Generales II (BMG/Culebra Mexico ’93)
  57. The Notwist Nook (Big Store Germany ’92)
  58. Ramones Mondo Bizarro (Radioactive ’92)
  59. The Young Gods Live Sky Tour (Interscope ’93)
  60. Warrant Dog Eat Dog (Columbia’92)
  61. Caroliner Rainbow Susans and Bruisins: The Cooking Stove Beast (Nuf Sed ’92)
  62. Yothu Yindi Tribal Voice (Hollywood ’92)
  63. Coroner Grin (Futurist ’93)
  64. Neurosis Enemy of the Sun (Alternative Tentacles ’93)
  65. Tom Zé The Hips of Tradition – Brazil 5: The Return of Tom Zé (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros. ’92)
  66. Cathedral Soul Sacrifice (Columbia ’92)
  67. Aterciopelados Con El Corazon En La Mano (BMG/Culebra Latin ’93)
  68. My Dying Bride Turn Loose the Swans (Peaceville UK ’93)
  69. Colourhaus Water to the Soul (Interscope ’92)
  70. Banda Vallarta Show Esa Chica Me Vasila (Fonovisa ’92)
  71. Trouble Manic Frustration (Def American ’92)
  72. Lax’N’Busto Qui Ets Tu? (Disc Medi Blau Spain ’93)
  73. Angel’in Heavy Syrup II (Alchemy Japan ’93)
  74. Smegma Ism (Tim Kerr ’93)
  75. Diamond Head Death and Progress (Bronze/Fort Chessington ’93)
  76. IQ Ever (Giant Electric Pea UK ’93)
  77. Fu-Schnikens F.U.: Don’t Take it Personal (Jive ’92)
  78. Atheist Elements (Metal Blade ’93)
  79. Warrior Soul Salutation for the Ghetto Nation (DGC ’92)
  80. Sheryl Crow Tuesday Night Music Club (A&M ’93)
  81. Cafe Tacvba Cafe Tacvba (WEA Latina ’92)
  82. David S. Ware Flight of I (Columbia/DIW ’92)
  83. Cracker Kerosene Hat (Virgin ’93)
  84. Metal Church Hanging in the Balance (Blackheart ’93)
  85. Vijaya Anand Asia Classics 1: Dance Raja Dance (Luaka Bop ’92)
  86. Lords of the Underground Here Come the Lords (Pendulum ’93)
  87. Urge Overkill Stull EP (Touch and Go EP ’92)
  88. Lindsey Buckingham Out of the Cradle (Reprise ’92)
  89. Kingston Wall II (Trinity Finland ’93)
  90. Gang Starr Daily Operation (Chrysalis ’92)
  91. Ånglagård Hybris (Mellotronen Sweden ’92)
  92. Bruce Cockburn Christmas (Columbia ’93)
  93. Skyclad A Burnt Offering for the Bone Idol (Noise International Germany ’92)
  94. Cordelia’s Dad How Can I Sleep? (Okra/Omnium ’92)
  95. Suzanne Vega 99.9F° (A&M ’92)
  96. Steely & Clevie Play Studio One Vintage (Heartbeat ’92)
  97. The Cactus Brothers The Cactus Brothers (Liberty ’93)
  98. Wildside Under the Influence (Capitol ’92)
  99. One 2 One Imagine It (A&M ’92)
  100. Gin Blossoms New Miserable Experience (A&M ’92)
  101. A.L.T. & the Lost Civilization Another Latin Timebomb (Atco ’92)
  102. Cynic Focus (Roadrunner’93)
  103. Clutch Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes and Undeniable Truths (EastWest ’93)
  104. Robert Plant Fate of Nations (Es Paranza ’93)
  105. Celine Dion Celine Dion (Epic)
  106. Boy Krazy Boy Krazy (Next Plateau ’93)
  107. La Derecha La Derecha (BMG Latin ’93)
  108. The Wildhearts Earth vs. the Wildhearts (EastWest ’93)
  109. Bigod 20 Steel Works! (Sire ’92)
  110. Rancid Rancid (Epitaph ’93)
  111. D.A.D. Riskin’ it All (Warner Bros. ’92)
  112. Billy Squier Tell the Truth (Capitol ’93)
  113. Neneh Cherry Homebrew (Virgin ’92)
  114. John Anderson Seminole Wind (BNA ’92)
  115. Kris Kross Totally Krossed Out (Ruffhouse/Columbia ’93)
  116. Lost Breed Evil in You and Me (Hellhound Germany ’93)
  117. Only for the Headstrong: The Ultimate Rave Compilation (FFRR ’92)
  118. Drivin-N-Cryin Smoke (Island ’93)
  119. Brooks & Dunn Hard Workin’ Man (Arista ’93)
  120. The Coup Kill My Landlord (Wild Pitch ’93)
  121. Digable Planets Reachin! A New Refutation of Space and Time (Pendulum/Elektra ’93)
  122. Raging Slab Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert (Def American ’93)
  123. The Goats Tricks of the Shade (Ruffhouse ’93)
  124. Barrington Levy Turning Point (Profile ’92)
  125. Souls of Mischief 93 ’Til Infinity (Jive ’93)
  126. Tony Toni Toné Sons of Soul (Wing/Mercury ’93)
  127. Masters of Reality Sunshine on the Sufferbus (Chrysalis ’93)
  128. The Bunny Brains CD*1993 (Bunny Brains ’93)
  129. Wu Tang Clan Enter the Wu: 36 Chambers (RCA/Loud/Wu Tang ’93)
  130. P.J Harvey Dry (Island ’92)
  131. 2 Unlimited Get Ready (Critique/Radikal ’92)
  132. Pavement Slanted and Enchanted (Matador ’92)
  133. Mr. Lee I Wanna Rock Right Now (Jive ’92)
  134. Counting Crows August and Everything After  (DGC ’93)
  135. Underground Resistance Acid Rain EP (Shockwave EP ’92)
  136. Junkhouse Strays  (Epic ’93)
  137. Kik Tracee Field Trip (RCA EP ’92)
  138. Saigon Kick The Lizard (Atlantic/Third Stone ’92)
  139. El DeBarge In the Storm (Warner Bros. ’92)
  140. The Afghan Whigs Uptown Avondale (Sub Pop EP ’92)
  141. Debbie Gibson Body Mind Soul (Atlantic ’93)
  142. The Daou Head Music (Columbia ’92) 
  143. Billy Ray Cyrus Some Gave All (Mercury ’92)
  144. Madonna Erotica (Maverick/Sire/Warner Bros. 92)
  145. Nirvana Insecticide (DGC/Sub Pop ’92)
  146. Killer Dwarfs Method to the Madness (Epic ’92)
  147. Charles & Eddie Duophonic (Capitol ’92)
  148. Gloria Trevi Me Siento Tan Sola (BMG Latin/Ariola ’92)
  149. Soul Asylum Grave Dancers Union (Columbia ’92)
  150. Stacy Earl Stacy Earl  (RCA ’92)


  1. Amazed by how many of these I think I remember, from the half of the 90s before I started working in a CD etc. store. Lists schmists, but I can’t resist picking some of these, mainly from the anything-but-rock-most-of-the-time jaundice of recent years (though butt rock could be okay, butt there’s none on here, that I recognize). Voivod would prob make it if I remembered ever hearing this one, ditto this particular Už Jsme Doma, Hollywood (Rachot/BMG Czech Republic ’93) You and Frank got me to actually go out and buy Midi Maxi & Efti Midi Maxi & Efti (Columbia ‘92), but I thought they sounded too ‘luded out (girls on ‘ludes I found disconcerting back during the Age of ‘Ludes, and ‘ludes themselves, the existence of them, creeped me out; I was more into organics by then)for the most part, though got excited by the speedy “Ragga Dub”—maybe I was too picky, the several times I listened, maybe I’ll try again someday, but meanwhile, these are the pastes:
    David Murray Quartet Shakill’s Warrior (DIW/Columbia ’92)
    The Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (Delcious Vinyl ’92)
    Henry Threadgill Too Much Sugar for a Dime (Axiom ’93)
    Pet Shop Boys Very (EMI USA ’93)
    De La Soul Buhloone Mind State (Tommy Boy ’93)
    Tom Zé The Hips of Tradition – Brazil 5: The Return of Tom Zé (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros. ’92)
    Cafe Tacvba Cafe Tacvba (WEA Latina ’92)
    David S. Ware Flight of I (Columbia/DIW ’92)
    Vijaya Anand Asia Classics 1: Dance Raja Dance (Luaka Bop ’92)
    Neneh Cherry Homebrew (Virgin ’92)
    Digable Planets Reachin! A New Refutation of Space and Time (Pendulum/Elektra ’93)
    P.J Harvey Dry (Island ’92)
    Madonna Erotica (Maverick/Sire/Warner Bros. 92)
    Nirvana Insecticide (DGC/Sub Pop ’92)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. via facebook:

    Steve Alter
    That’s a delightfully divergent list, Chuck Eddy.

    Christian Iszchak

    Steve Kiviat
    Great diverse list . Re how you feel about it You say: “Point is, the more I immerse myself, the more I’m realizing the ’90s were nowhere near as musically infertile as I’d long assumed.” So by immerse, did you listen to some of these 150 albums several times ( plus ones that didn’t make list)? Just curious about the approach for deciding.

    Chuck Eddy
    Nah — But over the past few years, I’ve revisited every one of them, most recently streaming whichever ones I don’t own hard copies of. If they’re not on Napster or Apple, I listen to them, sometimes piecemeal, on youtube.
    The first couple top-150 lists I blogged, though, it didn’t occur to me to stream (especially on youtube), so I was ranking several LPs by memory. It’s possible at some point I’ll go back and re-do those ones, years from now.

    Kevin Bozelka
    OMMFG!!!!!! Your #1 is one of my VERY favorite albums of the 1990s!!!!! Midi Maxi & Efti ftw!

    Chuck Eddy
    It might be my very favorite, period — way the hell up there, at least.

    Kevin Bozelka
    Chuck Eddy is this #3?

    Chuck Eddy
    No, though that looks great! Mine was taped off a cassette by Frank Kogan decades ago; maybe the series was different in different Asian countries? Definitely get the idea these compilations circumvented copyright laws. Thing is, I just realized that the first side of mine has five tracks off the Off album that I put at #2 in 1988, which means it’s only half new material at very most (and probably less), so I may need to remove it from this list! The “On” (i.e., not “Off”) side goes “Money In My House”/”Rejecto”/”Pump Up The Jam”/”Don’t It Make You Feel Good”/”Wanna Make You Mine.” Forget how I determined it was a 1992/’93 release; might well be a few years off on that. Removing it might make room for Suede or Sheryl Crow, hmmm…

    Kevin Bozelka
    Chuck Eddy will investigate further.

    Chuck Eddy
    Fixed it.

    James P. Fahy
    Two Urge Overkills!!! (I back this, btw)

    Chuck Eddy
    Well, one and a half, anyway.

    James P. Fahy
    But Supersonic Storybook is my fave.
    But I revisited those listed recently and found that I still adored them both — especially Stull.

    Chuck Eddy
    Proud residents of Guyville that they seem to be, there’s some kind of poetic justice for them landing two records on the same list with Liz Phair’s debut. Supersonic Storybook’s on this one, for what it’s worth:

    150 Best Albums of 1990/’91

    James P. Fahy
    I saw them twice during the Saturation tour. As restrictive as my folks could sometimes be, for some reason I was able to get away with seeing concerts in Atlanta. They were great both times. Wish I still had my medallion.

    Patrick Brown
    Boy Krazy – nice one. They performed in ’93 at a club I used to frequent – which amounted to lip syncing their club hit and maybe one other song – and then hung out at the club with us gays. My ex- and I were headed to a rave/warehouse party/whatever-you-wanna-call-it later in the night and I chatted with one of the gals to see if they wanted to join the gay guys at the fun after party. She said she thought it sounded like fun, but they needed to ask their manager, which I knew would be a big no. A shame, as partying after hours with one-hit-wonder Boy Krazy would have been a better story than asking them to party after hours.
    Props for that Randy Weston too – it’s terrific. I also happen to be listening to Evan Parker’s 1993 solo release Conic Sections right now and wondering if you ever heard it?

    Chuck Eddy
    Not that I remember, but maybe I’ll look it up!

    Patrick Brown
    Chuck Eddy It’s solo soprano sax with long winding lines and him doing circular breathing and never taking a break. So if that sounds like something you’d enjoy, go for it. If not, it’ll be a hateful 70 minutes or so.


  3. via facebook:

    Nora Hollywood
    I love lots of things here — I, too, love Urge Overkill and Randy Weston. But some stuff I just can’t believe: have you really listened back to Drivin and Cryin and placed it over, say, Liz Phair and Pavement?

    Chuck Eddy
    It’s 67 places *below* Liz Phair! And yeah, I’ll take Drivin N Cryin’s most rocking album over Pavement, who should just be happy they made the list, after I’ve spent decades dissing everything they did after their first 3 EPs.

    Nora Hollywood
    Chuck Eddy 🤪
    · Reply · 23h

    Chuck Eddy
    Which is to say, at least I gave Slanted & Enchanted a chance. It’s fine! But darned if I could remotely hear the work of genius people claim is there.

    Nora Hollywood
    Chuck Eddy I loved the idea of drivin and crying at the time, but when I listened back, they suck, whereas pavement sound even better than I remember

    Nora Hollywood
    And I saw both live, and listened to both a lot. Drivin and crying were the epitome of reactionary southern rock

    Nora Hollywood
    Crappy emoting!

    Chuck Eddy
    Politically reactionary? Or just, like, being a rock band reactionary? (If the former, I had no idea. If the latter, guess I don’t really mind.)

    Nora Hollywood
    rock band reactionary!
    Powerhouse? Straight to Hell? Fly Me Courageous? Scarred But Smarter? They got worse as they went along.
    I once saw Kevn Kinney play a show with Peter Buck at the Paradise Lounge in SF — and Peter Buck had the same shirt as me. We chatted about it afterward. I think Nikki Sudden was there too.
    Urge Overkill — I remember playing Sister Havana for a gal I was in grad school with, and she said, I might come around to your way of thinking, if I could figure out what it was…

    Chuck Eddy
    Thing is, “Sister Havana” sounds like ’70s rock! The early ’90s are probably close to a last gasp for the stuff — diminishing returns ever since — but Drivin N Cryin are hardly the only straight-up hard rock band on that list. And I’m not sure how Pavement-style indie rock is/was any *less* reactionary. It’s not like I hear them breaking any particularly new ground by 1992/93 either.

    Nora Hollywood
    Basically the lyrics were funny and insightful, rather than Drivin and Cryin’s lameass self pity.

    Chuck Eddy
    I’m not sure I’ve ever listened that close to either band’s words, to be honest. (And Urge O mean much more to me anyway, as should be clear by the list.)

    Nora Hollywood
    Ah well! I saw Randy Weston play a couple times, and both shows were magical — he plays simple melodic lines, but they feel thoughtful and thought-out.

    Johnnie B. Zip
    Having recently seen Kevn Kinney with Michael Stipe’s old backing band, I can tell you not to miss R.E.alMost if it comes to your town. Which it won’t.


  4. via facebook:

    Tom Hull
    I tried finding one of the earlier lists recently, and was flummoxed by no obvious way to scroll to earlier posts (most blogs have “older” links and archives widgets). Were you deliberately trying to bury your writing? I figured out today that Search works (e.g., “150 best”), but Post Menu doesn’t. Also found a category that helps:

    Chuck Eddy
    I’m absolutely *not* trying to hide any of what’s on my blog, Tom — Just the opposite, which is why I created that category. I’m new to this, though; if you have any other hints re: searchability etc., by all means let me know!
    I do feel like the 150 Best lists should be chronologically listed and available via some kind of Index; just haven’t taken the time yet to figure out how.


    1. via facebook:

      Tom Hull
      I thought I wrote a response, but it doesn’t seem to be here. Basically: You’re using WordPress. I’m not an expert, but have set up several WP sites, so know a thing or two. The website layout is controlled by whatever theme you’re using. You can experiment by changing themes from the Control Panel. Most of the themes can be customized, which includes columns and adding widgets to the side and/or bottom of the page. The themes are designed to primarily work with blogs. Each item in a blog is called a Post, and they are presented most recent first, oldest last, some number you can set per page. WP also has something called a Page, which is intended for more/less permanent pages. Pages aren’t included in the blog roll. They have to be linked explicitly. Given that your blog isn’t working right, it’s possible that you put your content into Pages instead of Posts. If that’s the case, you may have to copy the content to new Posts (you an set the date to match the Page), set Tags and Categories, then delete the old Page. On the other hand, you might use a Page for an index to the 150 Best lists, in any order you like. If you have any questions, let me know (preferably email). I’m happy to consult, or even fiddle a bit.

      Chuck Eddy
      Thanks, Tom. My content is definitely all in Posts — I absolutely understand that distinction. I only have a couple “Pages.” which I think of as something like a cover or title page of a book. Every post is tagged, at the bottom, with “categories” (such as The Best of Whatever Year one, but also applicable decades, genres, publications and a “Singles Going Eddy” tab); they seem perfectly visible to me, though I *don’t* get what the difference is supposed to be between “Categories” and “Tags” — aren’t they basically the same thing? The widget stuff is beyond me, too; guess I need to bone up more. But I’m still confused about why you claim the blog “isn’t working right” — what, exactly, isn’t working? And what gives you the idea the content is hidden? There *is* an obvious way to scroll to previous posts — mainly via categories at the bottom of each post (maybe there’s a way to make those more visible?), but also directly — each post, at the bottom, links directly to posts immediately before and after. Again, if I could create a page listing all the categories, that might help; just not clear on how to do that. (I’ll check out “Themes,” too; I get the idea they’re an overarching design element?)

      Tom Hull
      By “isn’t working right” I mean there’s no obvious way to scroll through the time-ordered posts. You’re showing three recent posts, but no link to go further back. I’m not sure how to fix that. (I just updated notesoneverydaylife.com to WP 5.7, and at the moment I’m finding lots of things confusing.) You are right that once you go to a post, the Category links at the bottom of the page will get you an index of more pages in that Category. You can think of a widget as a space or slot in the page layout which runs a special chunk of code. There is a “Categories” widget, which will give you a full or partial menu of Categories. Categories are hierarchical, dividing into sections and subsections, like a Table of Contents in a book, while Tags are atomic, like the terms in a book index. They have the same effect: to generate indexes of pages.

      Chuck Eddy
      Great — Just tried to install a “theme,” and all the categories and comments disappeared. This is why people like me hate technology. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s apparently no easy way to uninstall the damn thing.

      Chuck Eddy
      Okay, managed to revert to a new default theme setting. Whew.


  5. via facebook:

    Scott Seward
    that is a very cool list. i will never listen to a Cracker album though. I used to come home from my graveyard shift job and watch Xuxa’s u.s. show which didn’t last long. It was completely insane. Cheech Marin was in an episode and Xuxa kept yelling “Cheeechie Mareeeeeen!!”

    Scott Seward
    And Daniel Seward made the cut?! That must have been a clerical error.

    Scott Seward
    this was a strange time for me. i will admit to buying on CD: a Big Head Todd & The Monsters album. A Brother Cane album. And a Jackyl album. Sunrise on the Sufferbus though, sheesh, i played that a lot. My most played albums though were Meantime and Laughing Stock. And Divine Styler on promo vinyl thanks to my brother! Giant Records promo action. what a weird time. Living in a Bunny Brains house at high grunge. That CD is better than their Matador album. Everyone can agree to that.

    Chuck Eddy
    I still don’t get Helmet or Talk Talk. And Lord knows I’ve tried.

    Scott Seward
    That’s okay. They understand. i love Helmet’s drummer so much. That’s probably half my enjoyment of that album and the riffs are the other half. He’s a seriously swinging drummer! I’ve listened to that album a million times and I don’t even know his name. He’s in the band Battles which unfortunately does not have anyone else in the band anywhere near as talented as the Helmet drummer. Talk Talk I’ve been a fan of since I first heard “Talk Talk” on a “new music” radio show that the local foghat station aired on Sunday nights.

    Chuck Eddy
    Fun fact: “Talk Talk” actually made the top 50 songs of all time list I sent Rolling Stone a couple weeks ago (in 50th place no less)! Except I’m sorry to say it was the Music Machine version. (I also like the Alice Cooper version.)

    Scott Seward
    k.d. lang’s ingenue too. i loved it. played it on my discman walking to work at night. over and over and over. i was in a thing with a girl at the time….

    Chuck Eddy
    Never got k.d., either — at least after her early, semi-cow-punkish stuff.

    Scott Seward
    Ingenue is just so beautiful. I never liked anything before or after it anywhere near as much.

    Chuck Eddy
    Frank Kogan quote, from Radio On sometime in the early ’90s (I’m paraphrasing, don’t have the exact words in front of me): “If k.d. lang is ‘torch,’ Sophie B Hawkins is a conflagration, and Teena Marie is a holocaust.”


    Rolf B. Bloodstar
    Wow… Thank you! 🙂

    John Ned
    Fascinating article. I have to wonder what some Marxist theoretician/ pop critic would make of this era. CDs definitely changed the culture industry. There were other factors at work, but it could be seen as the record industry’s last hurrah. Spending money like there’s no tomorrow in search of the next big thing. Little realizing that Napster would be the great disruption heading towards it like a Death Star.

    Steve Crawford
    John Anderson’s second wave of fame was a blast. Remember hearing “Straight Tequila Night” on the radio and was shocked he was back in the mainstream. Saw him play a weird gig at a Portland dog track a few months later. By the next year, he was a legit headliner again.

    Jaz Jacobi
    Yes, the Pavement/Croce thing was common knowledge in 1992, but probably not among the later Pavement fans too young to know about the 1970s

    Jaz Jacobi
    Oddly, while I might go so far as to suspect 1992/93 were my peak of music buying [to an extent that I certainly could have separate lists of my own for these years, without need of merging them], I actually felt surprised at how few of these I have–though my overlap improved as the list went on–I made it out of the top forty here feeling like I had merely one of these releases [Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth]!

    Mike Freedberg
    This is by far the sharpest 1992-93 list I have ever seen, featuring terrific albums from all over the genre map. Including house !!
    Kudos fir embracing Lax n Busto !
    Though I’m less of a Celine Dion fan than this. If I have to like a Quebec theatrical chanteuse, I’m with Diane Dufresne…

    Edd Hurt
    I rank Threadgill above David Murray’s “Shakill’s” even though Murray does quote “The Candy Man.” “Too Much Sugar” is amazing. George Jones’ “Walls Can Fall” holds up, and Bobbie Cryner’s first album. Not as good as her 1995 album. Pete Rock and CL is a record I still play a lot. His Name Is Alive made one of their 2 good records. It goes on too long for sure. I love the Chills’ “Soft Bomb.” Freedy Johnston made his best record, which I like for its heart, don’t really listen to it any more. I like the Luna records a lot, minor pleasures, not as deep as the Chills.

    Chuck Eddy
    Whatever the year, I’m sure there’s a George Jones album I missed.


    Steve Pick
    There’s a baseball game to watch in a couple minutes, so I have to postpone making a deep dive into your list, but I can see right away that the only three albums in your top 35 I loved at the time (and still enjoy) were all jazz, with David Murray’s Don Pullen-on-organ-fueled Shakill’s Warrior being among my very favorites ever. I also still love that Television album, and as it gave them an excuse to actually play in St. Louis so I could see them live, I love it even more. That would be in my top ten, I’m sure. Others you mention that didn’t make your cut that I know would make mine are Tribe Called Quest, Rosie Flores, Dwight Yoakam, TLC, and Redd Kross. I do want to think back on those years when I have more time, and check out the rest of your list. Stay tuned.

    Steve Pick
    Hey, where’s Janet Jackson? I bet that was my most played album of those two years. Of course, I didn’t even vote it in as one of my top albums of ’93, so what do I know? Actually, those two years I remember as being at least as good for singles as for any LPs. As CDs got longer and longer, it seems artists really concentrated hard on putting a couple of good songs on each of them – maybe that was the last hurrah of MTV at work.

    Chuck Eddy
    Janet Jackson has never put out an album I’ve played much. My problem, not hers — and I have liked-not-loved occasional singles now and then — but I attribute a lot of it to her teensy weensy singing voice, and the fact that she was never as pathologically weird as her most famous big brother. (Favorite song by a Jackson sister, for what it’s worth: “Centipede,” by Rebbie.)


    1. Welp—speaking of Drivin N Cryin, they can still be good when you want some fairly plain post-“Fly Me Courageous” fare to keep you going,, like the album mentioned in my 2009 preview, when they was drivin to Cowtown Columbus OH:
      Drivin N Cryin
      Friday @ Headliner’s
      “There’s always a chance/ To get restarted/To a new world/New life/Scarred but smarter.” That last line is the title of Drivin N Cryin’s 1986 debut LP, and its sudden final twist, cutting deeper than irony, still sums up (and still sharpens) DNC leader Kevin Kinney’s outlook. Not that Kinney settles for summing up, especially on DNC’s new Great American Bubble Factory. Past the first two, somewhat impacted tracks, Kinney and co-founder Tim Neilsen drive their cussin’-and-discussin, mystery meat & taters Southern alt-rock quartet wherever’s necessary, and not (too) negatory.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Just for the record: it turns out the published version of that Drivin N Crying preview/review actually ended,”… drive their cussin-n-discussin-cousins’ mystery meat & taters Southern alt-rock quartet under thunder, lightning and eerily clear night skies.”
    Oh yeah, and my favorite Pavement is their jazz transmutation into the Gold Sounds of James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Reginald Veal, and Ali Jackson (thanx & a tip of the Hatlo hat to Edd Hurt for dubbing it).


  7. via facebook:

    Jake Alrich
    Yup, here’s my retort. I actually have far less to say about this list than 1990 as by 92 I was well into the project of educating myself on the history of popular music writ large and was therefore less interested in what was “hot” and “new” — in fact I had probably adopted the posture that the fact I listened to the Stooges or the Hot 5s and 7s or Gil Shaham made me INTERESTING. A common high school pose. In fact, I heard most of what’s on this list after 1995 as it was just new enough to still be in rotation at WNUR. By the way I always assumed you gave Coco her name so you could say you were “Cordelia’s Dad.”
    Afghan Whigs – Congregation (tho I also love uptown avondale. All my friends in HS wanted to be Kurt Cobain but I wanted to be Greg Dulli)
    AMM – Newfoundland (and no I’m not going to pretend I was listening to AMM in high school, I discovered them in college like you’re supposed to)
    Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 1 (Big miss!)
    Arrested Development – album title TL;DR
    Basehead – plays with toys (i liked this a lot)
    Beasties Check Your Head — or maybe you’re still bitter about “the incident” (in fact, you could remove “The Spaghetti Incident” to make room, that “record” sucks) (And actually I think the “Skills to Pay the Bills” video was the best BB output around this time)
    Bettie Serveert – Palomine
    Bjork – Debut
    Brad – Shame (i LOVED this record for some reason)
    Buffalo Tom – Let me come over
    Curve – Doppelganger
    Das EFX – Dead Serious
    Didjits – Que Sirhan Sirhan
    Dre – The Chronic
    Earth 2
    Ed Hall – Motherscratcher
    Epic Soundtracks – Rise Above
    Flop and the fall of mopsqueezer
    Gastr Del Sol – the Serpentine Similar
    Helmet (yeah)
    High Rise – Dispersion
    House of pain
    Huggy Bear – Taking the rough with the Smooch
    I heart Mekons
    JAMC – Honey’s Dead
    James – Laid (the title track made me a more generous lover — just kidding i didn’t get any until I was 30!)
    Jesus Lizard – Liar
    JSBX – Extra Width
    Junior Reid – Visa (my WNUR show was followed immediately by “Reggae Vibrations” and DJ Mobay-1 taught me about “lover’s rock”)
    Keiji Haino double live
    King Missile – Happy Hour (Lalena Pescadora didn’t the color guard play with King Missile?)
    Little Louie Vega at the Underground Network NYC (one of the best mixes ever!)
    Love Battery – Dayglo
    Luna – Lunapark
    Melvins – Houdini
    Mr. Fingers – Introduction
    Mudhoney – Piece of Cake
    Nation of Ulysses – Plays Pretty for Baby
    REM – Automatic FTP
    Seaweed – Weak
    Sebadoh – Bubble & Scrape
    Seefeel – Quique
    Shadowy Men… – Sport Fishin’
    Shrimp Boat – Cavale
    Shudder to Think – Get your goat
    Sleep’s Holy Mountain! (Big Miss!)
    Stereolab – Transatlantic Noise Bursts with Announcements
    Suede (I would have made room)
    Sugar – Copper Blue
    Terence Trent D’Arby’s Symphony of Damn
    The Coctails – Long Sound (a chicago thing you wouldn’t understand)
    The Fluid – purplemetalflakemusic
    The Hit Parade – The sound of the Hit Parade
    The Orb – UFOrb (but you got Prodigy so props)
    Tribe – Midnight Marauders
    Uncle Tupelo – March 16-20 1992 (but not Anodyne)
    Unrest – Imperial & Perfect Teeth (big misses!)

    Chuck Eddy
    Re Beasties: Nah, I’ll be ranking Licensed To Ill near the very top of 1986 soon, and Paul’s Boutique will rank when I get around to ’89 (though probably not all that near the very top, which is where I Pazz&Jopped it, not long at all after said incident by the way.) I’m just still bitter about them rhyming “commercial” with “commercial,” which is still one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. They never won me over again, either, except for “Sabotage.” Trading in punchlines for Tibetan yoga probably didn’t help. (Spag Incident isn’t as good as I thought at the time, either, but it’s still GnR’s best since their debut. Fave song, then and now, is the UK Subs cover.)

    Mike Freedberg
    Jake Alrich
    Kudos for liking Mr Fingers.

    Jake Alrich
    Mike Freedberg try LOVING

    Chuck Eddy
    Not familiar with that particular Mr. Fingers album (though maybe I should be.) Put Another Side by Fingers Inc. in the top 50 of my 1988 list.

    Jake Alrich
    Chuck Eddy “Hello Nasty” is quite the return to form, and the last good BB record IMO

    Mike Freedberg
    Jake : even better
    There’s a lot more where that cane from
    Check out early Derrick Carter and also Larry Heard, who IS “Mr Fingers”


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