Thursday, May 7, 2009

One-Hit-Wonders of the 90's (part 1)

Post #59 Poll Winner: Which 'Coming Soon' topic should I write next?The 90's were a time when "Alternative" became the cool new sound in music. But what exactly was "Alternative"? The name itself could encompass many styles of rock music. It seemed to be a blanket label that covered grunge, jam-bands, pop-rock, and neo-punk all at once. Overall the main musical element of "alternative" seemed to be a blending of clean, acoustic, and distorted guitar sounds set in a rock or pop drum beat.

Alternative was cool. It was "in". It was enormously popular. And every week there seemed to be a new "Alternative" band with a hit song on main-stream radio. This was a recipe doomed to yield a plethora of one-hit-wonders, and the majority of these bands failed to last much longer than one or two albums. In a way it's a shame because many of these bands produced a great album or two, and most of the music on each one was generally overlooked in favor of the band's one big hit.

So rewind with me here and let's check out some hidden gems from this era of rock music:

Dishwalla-Pet Your Friends (1995)
The song you probably know: Counting Blue Cars. This song was a great hit about spiritual self searching.

The other good tunes on this album:
-Charlie Brown's Parents (this is the lesser known follow-up single, a heavier, faster song)
-Pretty Babies
-Moisture (a head-trippy sounding song, a bit like Pink Floyd at the beginning, but they speed up the tempo in a couple spots)

Chalk Farm-Notwithstanding (1996)The song you might have heard: Lie On Lie. This song features a great blend of acoustic and electric guitars, and lyrics focused on social-psychological issues. Although I find this band to be good songwriters the critical part of me has to admit their vocalist doesn't have much range, and sometimes comes off as monotone. Still, the songs themselves are good enough to track down and add to you i-pod library.

The other songs worth checking out:
-Live Tomorrow (a self-aware criticism of a busy lifestyle with misplaced priorities)
-It's Up To You

Caroline's Spine-Monsoon (1997)The song you might have heard: Sullivan (either the electric or acoustic version- they both rock!) This song pretty much tells the same type of story as the film "Saving Private Ryan" did, except from the mother's perspective. This song is more of a tear-jerker than that movie was, and it was released a year before the film, in case you were curious which came first.

More great songs from the same album:
-King For a Day
-You & Me

Happy listening!

[While trying to compose this post I gathered many more artists than the three mentioned here. Rest assured there will be a "One-Hit-Wonders of the 90's-part 2" a couple months down the road, and probably a part 3 and 4... Keep checking back!]

1 comment:

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