150 Best Albums of 1989

Most of the music Joshua Clover (a/k/a the Associate Professor Formerly Known as Jane Dark) writes about in his 2009 book 1989 did not technically come out in 1989. The book explores music at the end of history — which is to say, circa the revolutionary collapse of communism across the Eastern Bloc and less-successful millions-strong pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square: the former illustrated worldwide by the dismantling of the Berlin Wall after its November ’89 reopening, the latter by a man standing down Chinese Army tanks on Chang’an Avenue in June ’89, what Clover endlessly calls “image events” (or at least I’m pretty sure that’s what “image events” are).

At any rate, the book’s subtitle, “Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This to Sing About,” comes from “Right Here, Right Now” by British techno-pop dweebs Jesus Jones, which didn’t watch “the world wake up from history” until September 1990; it wasn’t really a big chart hit ’til 1991. Scorpions’ false metal power ballad from Germany “Wind of Change”, probably the second-most recurring musical resource text in Clover’s book (not “Winds” plural, he helpfully points out), came out in January 1991. (Dave Queen: “They were rarity as heavy metal band with good guitar playing,” but he was mainly referring to their ’70s stuff.) So basically, to Clover, “1989” isn’t a year, but an era.

Clover divides the body of his under-150-page tome into genre-oriented chapters: Hip-hop/rap (Public Enemy racial protests — “Nineteen Eighty Nine, the number, another summer,” though the line Clover fixates on most and names the chapter after, about reaching the bourgeois and rocking the boulevard, came from a 1988 song — giving way to N.W.A. gangsta boogie, again off a 1988 album); acid house/rave/techno (Orb and Happy Mondays and England’s extended so-called “second summer of love,” which Clover dates from 1988 to 1991); grunge (Nirvana, who put out their debut album in ’89 but didn’t actually get famous until two years later); pop (George Michael’s “Freedom ’90” from ’90, Billy Joel’s Cold War bullet-list “We Didn’t Start the Fire” — climaxing in “China’s under martial law” — which did actually hit the stores and radio in the fall of ’89, a couple songs by Roxette whose debut LP Look Sharp! came out in 1988 yet still effectively bookends a decade that we might as well say started with Joe Jackson’s Look Sharp in 1979.)

There are bridges: skit-comedy-album-with-a-few-decent-songs critics poll winners De La Soul and their Daisy Age bridging hip-hop and happy-face acid house; industrial music popularizers Nine Inch Nails (who debuted with Pretty Hate Machine in ’89) bridging acid house and grunge; U2, who recorded 1991’s Achtung Baby in Berlin starting at the exact moment Germany was reuniting, bridging grunge and pop. Clover draws regularly on Welsh socialist thinker-of-deep thoughts Raymond Williams’ theories of “cultural materialism” and “structures of feeling” in considering which styles of music are “dominant” (i.e., ruling the world), “residual” (on the way out) or “emergent” (on the way in) at any given moment — for instance, in that switch from Afrocentric politics to gangsta rap.

I question though (for instance) how sonically or lyrically “influential” Public Enemy had ever been on mainstream hip-hop beyond red-black-and-green color schemes of never-exactly-genre-dominating Native Tongue types. I’m also skeptical that industrial was ever “largely American” (always seemed pretty Teutonic to me, at least when any good); I’m not sure hair metal was ever “sometimes known as..’nerf metal'” by anybody but, uh, yours truly. And Kurt Cobain’s bodily disgust and self-loathing supplanting Michael Jackson’s (or even Axl Roses’?) bodily disgust and self-loathing atop the charts (where, let’s face it, grunge didn’t really sweep metal away) never struck me as that ginormous a sea-change.

Clover mentions the Mekons a couple times, but surprisingly never “Memphis, Egypt,” possibly their last great song: “East Berlin can’t buy a thing/There’s nothing they can sell me/Walk through the wall, no pain at all/I’m born inside the belly of rock’n’roll.” He never mentions Warren Zevon, addressing perestroika in “Turbulence” the year the U.S.S.R. would pull its troops out of Kabul just like the U.S.A. would 32 years later: “We’ve been fighting with the Mujahadeen down in Afghanistan/Comrade Gorbachev, can I go back to Vladivostok, man?” And he never even mentions Debbie Gibson, who would have fit right in with a song from her 1989-released second album, as surely as holidays happen in the sun: “Over the wall is where I want to be/There is a new world waiting/I want to find out something more/Take my hand and we can be free.” She wants to see some history! But why nitpick? I like the book.

The year in question was the beginning of what Alfred Soto has astutely coined the Poppy Bush Interzone — George H.W. was inaugurated in January. Poppy was eventually succeeded by a Democrat pledging to “end welfare as we know it,” but in 1989, rappers Just-Ice and Big Daddy Kane were already taking a hard line against welfare recipients, while move-busting Young MC, who had an economics degree from the University of Southern California, offered lift-up-by-bootstraps advice: “Soon you’ll find that you’ll be in the money, expense accounts and three martini lunches.” Had to get in a dig at the I.R.S. first, though: “A good day’s work for a good day’s pay, but that’s before Uncle Sam takes a portion away.”

Anyway, looking over my own 150-strong list of 1989 favorites, and the higher up you go the more so, there’s no denying that hip-hop (especially by women) and dance pop (especially of house-related sorts acidic or otherwise) feel “emergent” while guitar rock (especially by male white traditionalists trying to be meaningful) feels “residual”. Bunched in the basement, multiplatinum past-their-primes hang on for dear life: Tom Petty, Don Henley, Aerosmith whose embarrassing parts on Pump (which squeaks in thanks to a couple fast songs, some nifty instrumental intros and outros, and a hit about a sexually abused teen shooting her dad) are even harder to take (and more numerous) than L.L. Cool J’s mooshy-gooshy love ballads on Walking With a Panther. All in the lowest third, guys like John Cougar Mellencamp (who beats unsavory Big Daddy Kane for my Big Daddy of the Year Award), Dion (who beats Bo Diddley for my Early Rock’n’Roller Comeback Award), Iron City local hero Joe Grushecky and big-across-Europe Stateside-one-hit-wonder Chris Rea fare better — but not that much better.

In comparison, check out those lady rappers: L’Trimm and Roxanne Shante top four; M.C. Lyte top 25; Queen Latifah just missing top 30; (does) Neneh Cherry (count?) top 50 (with 1989’s answer to 1979’s Rickie Lee Jones debut, in the sense that diminished beatnik energy and humor on subsequent albums lost me); much further down M.C. Hammer associates Oaktown’s 3·5·7.; hip-housing Brits Cookie Crew and Wee Papa Girls showing up on dance compilations, which are plentiful in their own right. In his Pazz & Jop essay, Christgau chided me by name, and I probably deserved it: “Chuck Eddy is always too reluctant to believe that consciousness comes naturally to human beings, but he has reason to mock rap’s ‘plethora of literate, well-meaning, eclectic, professional, ambitiously conceptual albums-as-artworks’…As usual, Eddy is overstating. Rappers are pretentious in a fairly rude way when they’re pretentious at all, which Tone-Loc and Young M.C. and even N.W.A. aren’t; in rap, artistic advance is as likely to mean house effects (a specialty of both Latifah and Shanté) as Malcolm X or Langston Hughes or Sun Ra.”

Which is to say, even if Paul’s Boutique (which I actually cut more slack then than I do now) and 3 Feet High and Rising really weren’t greater than the sum of their disjointed parts, their conceptual overload is still more the exception than the rule. According to Nelson George, “the most popular mainstream rapper of 1989” was the not bad, not great, not remotely conceptual D.O.C., a Dr. Dre crony who claims in his album title that No One Can Do It Better then goes on to set the lowest bar ever by actually bragging about not being “illiterate” or “an idiot” — “not even a little bit.” Beat that!

Ever the negative creep (to borrow a Clover chapter title), I also wrote at the time that, “from what I can see, Stones/Dylan/Neil/Lou/ Petty/Zevon/Henley/Mellencamp/Mekons/Ubu/Costello all made more or less generic records this year. Every last one of ’em is a shade of his former self. They’re all spinning their platitudes through extinct rhythms, they all have trouble linking their lame-duck socio-observations into stanzas that aren’t completely laughable on legit lit-crit terms.” As usual, I was overstating. But if not “extinct” rhythms, well…residual for sure. And as I’ve already noted, five of those artists (Petty through Mekons) made my 150 regardless.

Old Eagle Henley’s album, as usual, is frequently morally despicable or worse; when he expectorates a sub-Borscht Belt one-liner about crossing a godfather with a lawyer and getting an offer you can’t understand, you just want to punch the guy. But his record still grabs me more than, say, old Holy Modal Rounder Peter Stampfel’s infinitely warmer spirited if frequently over-precious People’s Republic of Rock N’ Roll (choice cut: “Bridge and Tunnel Girls”), which like Henley’s has a song called “New York Minute.” (Far-lefty Loisaida post-no-wavers Mofungo’s 1989 album Work, which I don’t own and couldn’t find a stream of anywhere, apparently has a song called, er, “Two New York Minutes/Voting is For Suckers.” Other missing-in-action subjects-for-future-1989-research who might necessitate list-recalibration sometime in the distant future: Dangermice, Death of Samantha, FSK, My Sin, Noseflutes.)

If had to pick a kind of “rock” that does seem “emergent” in 1989, I’d probably go with the bizarre-time-signatured progger-than-prog eighth-dimension outer-space thrash metal of Voivod, Watchtower, Rage, Mekong Delta, Fates Warning, Target and Coroner, with honorable mentions to industrial (especially if Belgian newbeat and future global superstar DJ Sven Väth’s newbeat-like German trio Off count, though by then we’re firmly in dance-club territory) and the post-Beefheart/Fall mostly provincial-Brit-indie mini-movement chronicled decades later in John Robb’s Death to Trad Rock (Dog Faced Hermans, Dutch anarchists the Ex, Archbishop Kebab, elder statesmen the Mekons, Robb’s own Membranes.) But those had both actually been emerging for years by then, so maybe not.

Of course, to rappers, especially before copyright lawsuits stifled their samplers, everything old was new again. In 1989, even the mediocre Mellow Man Ace rhymed over Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” and Santana’s “Evil Ways. ” De La Soul excerpted Hall & Oates and Steely Dan and, expensively, the Turtles. The Jungle Brothers took chimes from Junior’s “Mama Used to Say” and “ooga chuckas” from either Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” or Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good,” you figure it out. “All Or Nothing” by Milli Vanilli (not hip-hop, but adjacent to New Jack Swing at least) sounds like “Spinning Wheel” by Blood Sweat & Tears.

John Anderson (country but what the hell) appropriates riffs from Creedence Clearwater Revival in “Bamboo Annie” and the Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” in “Tryin’ to Make a Livin’ on the Road.” “When Darkness Falls” by the Mekons starts out like Nick Lowe’s “Tonight” then turns into Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane.” The possible high point of Mantronix’s lackluster fourth album is an update of Ian Dury’s “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.” And speaking of new wave, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo’s Road to the Riches has songs called “Men At Work” and “Poison” (nerf metal but what the hell) and “Cars” — the latter of which samples, you got it, “Cars” by Gary Numan!

World Music: Lil Louis and the World, Ooo the World of Baby Ford, Gail Ann Dorsey’s The Corporate World, Rage’s Secrets in a Weird World, Jackson Browne’s World in Motion, Kate Bush’s The Sensual World, Chris Isaak’s Heart Shaped World, Swing Out Sister’s Kaleidoscope World, Lisa Stansfield’s “All Around the World,” Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Goes to show you never can tell. Like all musical (and any other kind of) years, 1989 was way too messy and multi-faceted to be fenced in by any high-I.Q. thesis statement, no matter how world-historical. And no matter how many clever books and essays attempt just that, we will probably never know for certain whether anybody has ever gotten it on to World Saxophone Quartet’s version of “Let’s Get It On.” Have you??

  1. L’Trimm Drop That Bottom (Atlantic) 
  2. Best of East Beat (Face Hong Kong)
  3. Stacey Q Nights Like This (Atlantic)
  4. Roxanne Shante Bad Sister (Cold Chillin’)
  5. Sound of Belgium (Public France)
  6. Off Ask Yourself (Ariola Germany)
  7. Xuxa Xuxa (Globo)
  8. Company B Gotta Dance (Atlantic)
  9. Inner City Paradise/Big Fun (10 UK/Virgin)
  10. KC Flight In Flight (RCA)
  11. Seduction Nothing Matters Without Love (A&M)
  12. Silver on Black (FFRR UK)
  13. The Fans Olé, Olé, Olé, The Name of the Game (ZYX Germany)
  14. Lil Louis and the World From the Mind of Lil Louis (Epic)
  15. Razormaid!/This is Only a Test (Razormaid! A-22/SP-010)
  16. Tone Loc Loc’d After Dark (Delicious Vinyl)
  17. Jungle Brothers Done By the Forces of Nature (Warner Bros.)
  18. Voivod Nothingface (Mechanic/MCA)
  19. Henry Threadgill Sextett Rag, Bush and All (Novus)
  20. Maggozulu Too Dawn of the Maggozulu (Pandisc)
  21. MC Lyte Eyes on This (First Priority/Atlantic)
  22. Heavy D & the Boyz Big Tyme (Uptown/MCA)
  23. Chaba Fadela You Are Mine (Mango)
  24. Kon Kan Move to Move (Atlantic)
  25. Technotronic Pump Up the Jam: The Album  (SBK)
  26. The Miami Bass Express (Pandisc)
  27. Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique (Capitol)
  28. Warrant Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (Columbia)
  29. Bohannon Here Comes Bohannon (MCA)
  30. Pankow Gisela (Wax Trax!)
  31. Queen Latifah All Hail the Queen  (Tommy Boy)
  32. Baby Ford Ooo the World of Baby Ford (Sire)
  33. Techno 1 (KMS)
  34. The Mirrors Another Nail in the Coffin (Resonance Netherlands)
  35. Pajama Party Up All Night (Atlantic)
  36. Dog Faced Hermans Everyday Timebomb (Demon Radge/Vinyl Drip UK)
  37. Italia! Dance Music From Italy (Deconstruction/RCA UK)
  38. Watchtower Control and Resistance (Noise International)
  39. Best of House Music, Volume 2: Gotta Have House (Profile)
  40. Chip Chip Close to Me (Flea Italy)
  41. Mano Negra Puta’s Fever (Virgin)
  42. Don Pullen New Beginnings (Blue Note)
  43. Stan Ridgway Mosquitos (Geffen)
  44. Les Negresses Vertes Mlah (Sire/Off the Track)
  45. Black Havana (Capitol)
  46. Neneh Cherry Raw Like Sushi (Virgin)
  47. Jive Presents Acid House (Jive)
  48. Faster Pussycat Wake Me When It’s Over (Elektra)
  49. Gail Ann Dorsey The Corporate World (Sire/Reprise)
  50. Rage Secrets in a Weird World (Noise International)
  51. Meat Beat Manifesto Storm the Studio (Wax Trax!)
  52. Metal Church Blessing in Disguise (Elektra)
  53. Maldita Vecindad Y Los Hijos Del Quinto Patio Maldita Vecindad Y Los Hijos Del Quinto Patio (Ariola)
  54. Liza Minelli Results (Epic)
  55. Quincy Jones Back on the Block (Qwest)
  56. Cheb Khaled/Safy Boutella Kutché (Capitol/Intuition)
  57. Tiimbuk 3 Edge of Allegiance (I.R.S.)
  58. Warren Zevon Transverse City (Virgin)
  59. TNT Intuition (Polygram)
  60. Ten City Foundation (Atlantic)
  61. Just-Ice The Desolate One (Fresh)
  62. Pankow Freedom for the Slaves (Wax Trax! EP)
  63. Mekong Delta The Principle of Doubt (Aaarrg Germany)
  64. The Ex Joggers & Smoggers (Ex Netherlands)
  65. L.L. Cool J Walking With a Panther (Def Jam)
  66. Archbishop Kebab Yinferranodgie (Seldom Fed UK) 
  67. Einstürzende Neubauten Haus Der Lüge (Rough Trade)
  68. World Saxophone Quartet Rhythm & Blues (Elektra Musician)
  69. Alphaville The Breathtaking Blue (Atlantic)
  70. Taylor Dayne Can’t Fight Fate (Arista)
  71. Fates Warning Perfect Symmetry (Enigma/Metal Blade)
  72. Ministry A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste (Sire)
  73. Coldcut What’s That Noise? (Tommy Boy/Reprise)
  74. The Neon Judgement Blood & Thunder (Play It Again Sam)
  75. The Vulgar Boatmen You and Your Sister (Record Collect)
  76. Madonna Like a Prayer (Sire)
  77. The Mekons The Mekons Rock ’N’ Roll (A&M/Twin-Tone)
  78. Schoolly D Am I Black Enough For You? (Jive)
  79. Target Master Project Genesis (Aaarrg Germany)
  80. Soul II Soul Club Classics Vol. One/Keep On Movin’ (10 UK/Virgin)
  81. The Membranes To Slay the Rock Pig (Vinyl Drip UK)
  82. Nana Vasconcelos & the Bushdancers Rain Dance (Antilles)
  83. Young Gods L’eau Rouge (Play It Again Sam)
  84. Drivin’ ’N’ Cryin’ Mystery Road (Island)
  85. Jive Presents In House Volume 1 (Jive)
  86. A.R. Kane “I” (Rough Trade UK)
  87. Regina Belle Stay With Me (Columbia)
  88. Coroner No More Color (Noise International)
  89. Bang Tango Psycho Cafe (Mechanic/MCA)
  90. S’Express Original Soundtrack (Rhythm King/Capitol)
  91. Michel’Le Michel’Le (Ruthless/Atco)
  92. Wolfsbane Live Fast Die Fast (Def American)
  93. Sabroso! Havana Hits (Virgin)
  94. D.A.D. No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims (Warner Bros.)
  95. Special Ed Youngest in Charge (Profile)
  96. Eddie Palmieri Sueño (Intuition)
  97. Skid Row Skid Row (Atlantic)
  98. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo Road to the Riches (Cold Chillin’/Warner Bros.)
  99. The Georgia Satellites In the Land of Salvation and Sin (Elektra)
  100. Hugh Harris Words for Our Years (Capitol)
  101. D.C.3 Vida (SST)
  102. Clint Black Killin’ Time (RCA)
  103. John Cougar Mellencamp Big Daddy (Mercury)
  104. Masters of Reality Masters of Reality (Def American)
  105. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Voodoo (Columbia)
  106. Caetano Veloso Estrangeiro (Elektra Musician)
  107. Tesla The Great Radio Controversy (Geffen)
  108. Honor Role Rictus (Homestead)
  109. KMFDM UAIOE (Wax Trax!)
  110. De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising (Tommy Boy)
  111. Transvision Vamp Velveteen (Uni)
  112. Milli Vanilli All or Nothing/Girl You Know It’s True (Hansa Germany ’88/Arista)
  113. Sir Mix-a-Lot Seminar (Def American/Nastymix)
  114. Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers Rock and Real (Rounder)
  115. King’s X Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (Megaforce/Atlantic)
  116. A Guy Called Gerald Hot Lemonade (Rham! UK)
  117. My Dad Is Dead The Taller You Are, the Shorter You Get (Homestead)
  118. The Angels From Angel City Beyond Salvation (Chrysalis)
  119. Tater Totz Mono! Stereo: Sgt. Shonen’s Exploding Plastic Eastman Band Request (Giant)
  120. Helios Creed Superior Catholic Finger (Subterranean)
  121. Dion Yo Frankie (Arista)
  122. Brazil Classics 2.0: Samba (Luaka Bop/Sire)
  123. Red Temple Spirits If Tomorrow I Were Leaving For Lhasa, I Wouldn’t Stay For a Minute More (Fundamental)
  124. The D.O.C. No One Can Do It Better (Ruthless/Atlantic)
  125. Debbie Gibson Electric Youth (Atlantic)
  126. Bandera Bandera (Island)
  127. Junkyard Junkyard (Geffen)
  128. Lord Tracy Deaf Gods of Babylon (Uni)
  129. Chris Rea The Road to Hell (Geffen)
  130. Precious Metal That Kind of Girl (Chameleon)
  131. John Anderson Too Tough to Tame (MCA/Capitol)
  132. I Start Counting Fuse (Mute)
  133. Young MC Stone Cold Rhymin’ (Delicious Vinyl)
  134. Judy Torres Love Story (Profile)
  135. Sea Hags Sea Hags (Chrysalis)
  136. Tom Petty Full Moon Fever (MCA)
  137. Oaktown’s 3·5·7 Wild & Loose (Capitol)
  138. Enuff Z’Nuff Enuff Z’Nuff (Atco)
  139. Last Crack Sinister Funkhouse #17 (Roadracer)
  140. Guadalcanal Diary Flip Flop (Elektra)
  141. Don Henley The End of the Innocence (Geffen)
  142. Fuzzbox Big Bang! (Geffen)
  143. The Buck Pets The Buck Pets (Island)
  144. Uriah Heep Raging Silence (Legacy)
  145. Billy Joe Royal Tell It Like It Is (Atlantic America)
  146. Girlschool Take a Bite (GWR/Enigma)
  147. Aerosmith Pump (Geffen)
  148. Bo Diddley Breakin’ Through the B.S. (Triple X)
  149. Rhys Chatham Die Donnergötter (Homestead)
  150. Miss Daisy Pizza Connection (GWR)


  1. 1989 was such a good year, they named an album after it. I was 12 so my choice would be Pump, but right now I am listening to Skid Row which also rules obviously🤘🏼


  2. via facebook

    Kembrew McLeod
    I just listened to Mekons Rocknroll this morning and I’ll defend that album as solid-to-great. Also, I agree with you on the DOC. I still have his CD and like him, but I’ve never been like, THAT DOC SONG JUST BLEW MY MIND. I wish I had read Clover’s book more recently, because I remember little of it (I read it when it was published). But you made me went to read it again. Great post!

    Chuck Eddy
    Don’t some people consider Rocknroll the Mekons’ best album? It was much better than I remembered, but not even close to Fear and Whiskey to my mind — I’d definitely take a few of their other early albums over it too.

    Kembrew McLeod
    I like fear and whiskey more, but I also like how rocknroll, er, rocks more. Plus, “Club Mekon” is a favorite Mekons song of mine. As a side note, Jon Langford is gonna do a guest zoom with my music class later this semester, when I’m covering punk. I figured it would be good to get someone who was there early on.

    Graham Ashmore
    I’ll take “much better than I remembered”!


    John Ned
    “ooga chuckas “. There should be a congressional investigation on this.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I always had an unrealized ambition to get together 4 or 5 friends to provide “ooga chucka” assist on a karaoke version of “Hooked on a Feeling”

    Jaz Jacobi
    I wish I still had that 1989 Death of Samantha album so I could give it you

    Chuck Eddy
    I wish I still had it! I actually reviewed it someplace small — Philadelphia City Paper maybe — and was kind of ambivalent, if I remember right, compared to their previous albums. Have no idea whether I’d agree now.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I remember practically nothing about it, compared to the prior album which I could probably hum 4 or 5 tunes from. But I had that one on CD, which I’ve always listened to more than LP [the format I had the 1989 one].

    Jake Alrich
    Now you’re speaking my language cuz I think Death of Samantha is the most underrated band of the 80s. Chuck has receipts.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I was a very active music listener in 1989, and this list portrays a very different 1989 than the one I experienced at the time, I certainly was listening to a whole bunch of, as it says here, “more or less generic records, made by shades of their former selves.” I’ve been taken aback to revisit records that I listened to obsessively that year by unassailable-cred-yet-secretly-their-prime folks–Costello, Reed, Replacements, Mould–that now seem to have 1 or 2 tolerable tracks, tops. But I also am taken aback by how many of the albums that actually are present on this list that I enjoy NOW, which is a pretty good indication of how much Chuck Eddy writing I have ingested/been influenced by in the intervening period! I even have two of the top three here, and I see many others I probably should listen to again [who knew 1989 Bohannon would rank that high?]. Most surprising inclusions that I haven’t thought about since my teens: My Dad Is Dead, Guadalcanal Diary.

    Chuck Eddy
    *I* definitely didn’t think Bohannon would rank that high. Follow that link to the review, and (until I just now edited it) you’d see that as recently as September 13 when I posted it on the blog (what, three weeks ago?), I said about that LP and Bo Diddley’s, “Probably overrated both albums (doubt I’ve heard either since).” Well, now I HAVE heard them both again. I only overrated one of them!

    Chuck Eddy
    Not sure I’d thought about My Dad Is Dead or Guadalcanal since the ’80s, either. Not even sure I’d heard those particular albums then. Never wrote about either band. But they somehow wound up on my list of 1989 albums I figured I should check out and they’re…not bad. Maybe even interesting.

    Jaz Jacobi
    Chuck Eddy I think that Gudalcanal Diary LP was one of many victims of the “mouse poop smeared on the turntable” problem that ruined so much of my vinyl when playing them on my parents’ wooden cabinet record player [which apparently are a happy home for rodents]….

    Jake Alrich
    Chuck Eddy I love my dad is dead. And my dad isn’t even dead. My mom is dead but that’s a worse name for a band.

    Chuck Eddy
    …And He’s Not Gonna Take It Anymore was a great album title, too.


    Jaz Jacobi
    I wish I had the 1989 Kool G Rap album instead of the follow-up, which contains a song so misogynist it almost made me sick to my stomach

    Kembrew McLeod
    Jaz Jacobi I just pulled this out a couple days ago for my now playing pile

    Kembrew McLeod
    Jaz Jacobi and now I’m listening. It holds up!

    Kembrew McLeod
    Jaz Jacobi Chuck Eddy Best line: “I’m down at Warner Brothers making Bugs Bunny money!” I also forgot about the Gary Numan sample.

    Nate Patrin
    Jaz Jacobi I have ‘Road to the Riches’ and unfortunately there’s some real vile shit in “Truly Yours,” too (albeit of a different kind)

    Jaz Jacobi
    Nate Patrin Yes, that is really some twisted, hateful shit

    Chuck Eddy
    Pretty sure “Truly Yours” is the song I found egregiously homophobic. Most gross 1989 misogyny I heard was “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy” by Big Daddy Kane.

    Jaz Jacobi
    The best moment in “Truly Yours” merely repeats the “making Bugs Bunny money” line from the prior record


    Michaelangelo Matos
    I am agog at all the dance comps I want to know.

    Ken Wissoker
    Have you seen Clover’s new Roadrunner book? Awaiting the words and the playlist!

    Chuck Eddy
    Not yet! Am looking forward to it, though.

    Steve Crawford
    Off the top of my head, my favorite three albums of 1989 were “Paul’s Boutique,” Neil Young’s “Freedom,” and Pere Ubu’s “Cloudland.” Nice to see the John Anderson album, which I like quite a bit (especially “Bamboo Annie”), but it has a real bargain basement production vibe. I have friends who think Junkyard was one of the best bands of that era, so I probably need to give them a few more spins.


  3. via facebook:

    Sara Quell
    I normally try to stay unassuming + forget all my own stuff but that quote is fucking hilarious. Yay me

    Kevin Bozelka
    Dangermice will not necessitate list-recalibration sometime in the distant future.

    Chuck Eddy
    Kleenex/Lilliput connection somehow, right? I’ve never heard them.

    Kevin Bozelka
    Chuck Eddy yup. Marlene Marder’s group after LiLiPUT. Pretty tame.

    Chuck Eddy
    Too bad. Not that surprised. Nice to know I’m not missing anything.

    Sara Quell


    Steve Pick
    Let me start with my own 1989 counterpoint, written at the time. [Here he copy and pasted his piece from the time, headlined “Always Trust A Singer Over 30.” Lede: “If anything could be said to characterize pop music in 1989, it would be experience. Several veteran performers released the best work they’ve done in years, and others simply carried on making good records as they’ve done all along.” Later: “Fans of rap, soul, house, blues and other forms of music not represented here might have a legitimate complaint. Each of those genres — except house, which destroyed my long-held belief I could enjoy any kind of music — had some things that caught my ear in 1989, but none seemed of sustaining interest..”]

    Steve Pick
    And the albums themselves, all of which I still like, though maybe not as much as I did at the time. [Here he cut and pasted his writeups of his “favorite albums of 1989, presented in alphabetical order”: Albums by Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Kirsty MacColl, Graham Parker, Pere Ubu, Rolling Stones, Michelle Shocked, Lucinda Williams and Neil Young.]

    Chuck Eddy
    Intersection on Venn Diagram: Empty set!!

    Steve Pick
    I think it’s possible I read your comment then about the stuff I loved being generic – I certainly remember being mad at you back then, though I obviously came around to enjoying your point of view much more. Out of 150 records on your list, I think I have still only heard 17. We travel different paths.

    Steve Pick
    Still, I wish I could catch so many interesting comparisons between a book and the world in which I inhabit as you do here. Really good essay, and you succeeded in making me want to revisit some of those women rappers I barely heard at the time.

    Alfred Soto
    Steel Wheels!

    Sara Quell
    Like the album more than I did then (‘Dirty Work’ was instant luv, I even got a lil’ buzz off Track 3’s epic worthlessness). That said, I’m my village’s Nick Kent on the strength of “falling asleep at the Stones show approx. 15m in”, and while I’ll admit to the occasional iconoclast that I was indeed extremely intoxicated, (a)I’ve only ever passed out at one other show (Skin Yard), and going to grunge/punk/metal shows e.i. was What I Did (b) Living Cölöür (sp?) fucking slaughtered them


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s