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"Like a particularly tame episode of 120 Minutes."
May 24, 2008 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Sanding down the thorny edges of new wave and post-punk, adult alternative dominated the airwaves in the 1990s. You couldn't go half an hour without hearing "mature rock" artists like Crash Test Dummies, Goo Goo Dolls, Blind Melon, and Gin Blossoms. Although the one hit wonders stacked up like cordwood, established, one-time indie bands like Soul Asylum, R.E.M. and Butthole Surfers (often billed as the "Buttonhole Surfers" when they played conservative towns) bolstered their airplay and sales during this decade. Hover over links for extended descriptions.
posted by porn in the woods (114 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
You put Presidents of the United States of America in the same category as Train?

Fuck you very much.
posted by humannaire at 11:04 AM on May 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


One of these things is not like the other.
posted by 2sheets at 11:04 AM on May 24, 2008


You couldn't go half an hour without hearing "mature rock" artists

Oh, believe me, I certainly could.
posted by gum at 11:06 AM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Train was a least a two hit wonder, with Meet Virginia as the first single and Drops of Jupiter as their second. The Presidents also had a big hit with Peaches, and, unlike Train (at least, as far as I know), still have a dedicated following today.

And what other hits did Blind Melon and Gin Blossoms have besides those that you linked?
posted by Caduceus at 11:07 AM on May 24, 2008


Presidents of the USA as one-hit wonders? Oh-kay. C'mon, they had a smattering of hits in the late 90s and early 00's.

Soul Asylum *were* one-hit wonders. Butthole Surfers never really troubled the hit parade in their career, either.

All of this pales into insignifigance when confronted with the might that is Sonic Youth, though.
posted by metaxa at 11:09 AM on May 24, 2008


My favorite band sucks, your favorite band sucks!
posted by fixedgear at 11:09 AM on May 24, 2008


Blind Melon, REM, and the Butthole Surfers aside, I can honestly say that adult alternative is one of my least favorite genres of music of all time, second only to smooth jazz. I certainly cast no aspersions on anyone in particular for liking any sort of music, but honestly, the Goo Goo Dolls and their ilk honestly baffle me. Too uptempo to be relaxing, too downtempo to be energizing, apparently hookless, and lacking in any sort of substance. They remind me of an orthodontist's office, and not even a cool one where you get to watch Aladdin while they rewire your braces. I'm not simply throwing down snark to say that adult alternative sucks. Christian rock and Mariah Carey suck, but I understand the appeal and they don't confuse me; adult alternative does. Listening to the Crash Test Dummies gives me a sensation like eating a whole plate of ginger root - it's only meant to be a palate cleanser, but I have had too much, and now I need to rip out my entire digestive system to avoid the searing pain.

I will also say the PUSA and Spacehog (esp. The Chinese Album) were also pretty great. I might only really be put off by the Goo Goo Dolls and the Crash Test Dummies. That might be OK. Carry on.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:12 AM on May 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I was also surprised to see them in there with all of those bands that give me plaatsvervangende schaamte. I was also unhappily reminded of how ignorant I found the use of "Zoot Suit Riot" as a jolly hook. Dumb, even for a pop band.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 11:15 AM on May 24, 2008


Them = Presidents.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 11:16 AM on May 24, 2008


Crash Test Dummies are great in a weird, unassuming, utterly-inconsistent-from-album-to-album way. That they're known for Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm and nothing else by most people is really a shame—it's a cute song but hardly the best thing on that album and sort of left them hopelessly and unjustly sealed up in Novelty Act territory.
posted by cortex at 11:18 AM on May 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


You got it all wrong. Alternative yes, mature not so much. That is if you mean 'mature' to indicate that it wasn't popular with the youth of the time.
posted by UseyurBrain at 11:18 AM on May 24, 2008


Your favorite adult alternative artist sucks (but the early demos were great)
mea culpa on PUSA, didn't know they had fans here... but I do not understand the appeal of "Lump."
posted by porn in the woods at 11:19 AM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm really hoping that Wikipedia entry is hilarious.
posted by box at 11:28 AM on May 24, 2008


Cherry Poppin' Daddies could have been the fuckin' Beatles, and it still wouldn't have been enough to overcome that sick-making name of theirs.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:37 AM on May 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Also, I think that 'Your favorite band sucks' makes a great set of bookends with 'How can you call my favorite band a one-hit wonder?'
posted by box at 11:37 AM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


More Gin Blossoms' hits: Allison Road, Hey Jealousy, and Found Out About You.
posted by plastic_animals at 11:43 AM on May 24, 2008


What, no Collective Soul?


Good.
posted by you just lost the game at 11:57 AM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ. It's like someone decided to make a post out of all the songs I absolutely hated the most when I was 16-17 years old. Even that Butthole Surfers abortion, and I like them. I guess Gibby needed dope money (a guy who played guitar in one of my old bands bought heroin from the same guy Gibby bought crack from). Thanks for reminding me that Presidents Of The USA and Better Than Ezra ever existed, asshole. At least I can confirm that I still hate them and haven't mellowed with age on shitty corporate rock.

the Goo Goo Dolls and their ilk honestly baffle me

Take The Replacements. Remove everything that was good about them. You now have the Goo Goo Dolls. I think Westerberg even wrote a few songs for them, and they still blew.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:14 PM on May 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


What, no Collective Soul?

Yeah, no list of awful 90s corporate rock is complete without Collective Soul. I don't think you could even call them "alternative", though, as meaningless as that term is. They were the most corporate of corporate rock bands. It's like they were synthesized in a lab by record company suits to be the most bland unit-moving product possible.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:22 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


They were the most corporate of corporate rock bands. It's like they were synthesized in a lab by record company suits to be the most bland unit-moving product possible.

That experiment has been done before, in the 1980s. The result? Starship
posted by porn in the woods at 12:26 PM on May 24, 2008


My favorite Butthole Surfers renamining was from the late-80's Arizona Republic, where they were daintily referred to as the B.H. Surfers.
posted by dantsea at 12:31 PM on May 24, 2008


Hibbert: But what to do with [Adult Alternative Music]? Too crazy for Boys Town, too much of a boy for Crazy Town. The [music] was an outcast. So, we did the only humane thing.
Homer: We chained [Adult Alternative Music] up in the attic like an animal and fed him a bucket of fish heads once a week.
Marge: It's saved our marriage.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:34 PM on May 24, 2008


Paul Leary said the best thing about Pepper was hearing Casey Kasem say their name on the Top 40 countdown when the song reached number one.
posted by Sailormom at 12:36 PM on May 24, 2008


No one is enough of a boy for Crazy Town
posted by porn in the woods at 12:41 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


If this was a link to perhaps an article that discussed this subject at length it might have been a good post. But not a wikipedia article and then some links to bands.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:42 PM on May 24, 2008


Do we really need to make comments on the quality of the post? I mean, arguing with the premise or about details of the post is one thing, but if you straight up dislike the post couldn't you, maybe, ignore it?

Comments on whether a post was "a good post" or not always bring to my mind a man in a monocle looking down his nose at someone and saying, "Your kind isn't welcome here."
posted by Caduceus at 12:53 PM on May 24, 2008


Adult alternative is the disco of independent and alternative music. Stripping down everything that anyone would find offensive, including hip hop beats and the like.

Imagine if you lived in an irredeemable shithole of a town in flyover country. Hours away from any sizable concert venue. Radio stations consist of country, tejano, hip-hop/rap (1 station, had both), and a quasi top 40/alternative station that would play music like this when they weren't playing Bon Jovi. Your choices are Hey Jealousy or Chattahoochee by Alan Jackson. So, you listen to Gin Blossoms.

Of course the current rise of the Internet music distribution gets rid of this "geographical monopoly" of music.
posted by zabuni at 12:54 PM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


VH1 filter.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:57 PM on May 24, 2008


Do we really need to make comments on the quality of the post?
Yes.
posted by fixedgear at 12:58 PM on May 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Man, I forgot all about that Spacehog song. Definitely singing it at karaoke this week if Karaoke Dave has it.

Er, carry on.
posted by Kwine at 1:05 PM on May 24, 2008


hip-hop/rap (1 station, had both)

The two terms basically mean the same thing. "Hip hop" was originally, and is still often used as, a description of the South Bronx urban black culture which included rap music, graffiti and breakdancing, however it's more often used to refer to just rap music, thus the terms can be used interchangeably. "Rap" means just rap music, rhythmic rhyming vocals over breakbeats.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:05 PM on May 24, 2008


I went looking for that catchy little tune "Your Woman" by White Town, which I used to hear a lot when I worked in a real estate agency in Calgary in early 1996.

I found White Town's (aka Jyoti Mishra's) Web site, where he answers the question "How do you feel about being a one-hit wonder?": "Better than being a no-hit wonder!" Can't argue with that.

I think that song was different though -- there was the gender-bending aspect (also covered in the site's FAQ) that made it an anomaly. Reading his site, he actually seems like a pretty right-on kind of guy.
posted by loiseau at 1:12 PM on May 24, 2008


"So, you listen to Gin Blossoms." CDs, tapes and vinyl of better music (this is the '90s, right?).
posted by krinklyfig at 1:14 PM on May 24, 2008


DecemberBoy FTW.
posted by intermod at 1:29 PM on May 24, 2008


This thread is hilarious. Somebody had to do it, porn in the woods, so thanks.

The Goo Goo Dolls did a great version of "Never Take the Place of Your Man" (the vid is someone's tribute to their man, which makes it much better) with Lance Diamond long before they went to get stylish haircuts. "Cartoon" by Soul Asylum is pretty great as well. They were essentially the same band for awhile those two, and even toured together once "Runaway Train" came out.

And you forgot the best one, the Lemonheads. Oh, and also Juliana Hatfield, who was great in the Blake Babies. Oh oh oh, "Feed the Tree". Veruca Salt anyone.

OK, I gotta go wash my hair.
posted by sleepy pete at 1:34 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


but I do not understand the appeal of "Lump."

Because she's in your head.
posted by sleepy pete at 1:36 PM on May 24, 2008


Are you listening to the 'Nothing but '90's Weekend' on 107.7 The End, Too???

Hearing "Trip like I Do", only to be followed up by "No Rain" is like digging around in the back of your closet, finding a love letter from the first girl you ever kissed, then finding your Special Sock underneath. All in all, I think I like the 90's where I left it.
posted by squared at 1:36 PM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Since we're trawling through mid to late '90s one-hit-wonders:

Primitive Radio Gods
OMC
Fun Loving Criminals
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:46 PM on May 24, 2008


Thanks for reminding me that Presidents Of The USA and Better Than Ezra ever existed, asshole.

The PotUSoA were all right -- kind of like They Might Be Giants, only less clever and interesting -- but I'm totally with you on the second one. If that's Better Than Ezra, then I'd really hate to hear what Ezra sounds like.
posted by webmutant at 1:46 PM on May 24, 2008




the Lemonheads

Evan Dando did a pretty good acoustic cover of Big Star's "The Ballad Of El Goodo" for one of those Gen-X movies, so for that reason alone I can forgive their existence.

Juliana Hatfield
Veruca Salt

Oh God. HAIR BERET ROCK. Uggggh. I'm feeling a hatred I haven't felt in many years reading this thread. I need to go listen to some Lower Class Brats or 30FootFall, it seemed to work back then.

Soul Asylum

As bad as "Runaway Train" was, most of their output is pretty good. They weren't on the level of their contemporaries Husker Du and the 'Mats, at least in my opinion, but they were nowhere near Blind Melon or Gin Blossoms on the suck scale.

posted by DecemberBoy at 1:55 PM on May 24, 2008


The hatred has removed my ability to preview properly. Sorry.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:55 PM on May 24, 2008


Oh, you bastard with the "Sex and Candy". But, because I love you, here's something that became a one hit by some people that were actually interesting, Squirrel Nut Zippers. Mainly because I can't think of anything else that fits the post from then... oh wait, leave it to ilx for some hootie. Ha ha, Keith Olberman.
posted by sleepy pete at 2:03 PM on May 24, 2008


If that's Better Than Ezra, then I'd really hate to hear what Ezra sounds like.

Better Than Ezra are better than almost nobody. It's faceless post-grunge crap a la Candlebox, Deftones, etc.
posted by porn in the woods at 2:13 PM on May 24, 2008


Ma, get the shotgun. The nightmares are back.
posted by loquacious at 2:20 PM on May 24, 2008


It's like someone decided to make a post out of all the songs I absolutely hated the most when I was 16-17 years old.

Get the HELL off of my lawn. It was "adult alternative" remember?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:25 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Have to say that the Crash Test Dummies last album is actually a really interesting choice of sound. Like Prairie gothic.
posted by concreteforest at 2:34 PM on May 24, 2008


It's a pity to note that the adult alternative industry took a tragic toll on the frontmen of two of AA's most-played acts: Gin Blossoms (suicide) and Blind Melon (heroin OD).
posted by porn in the woods at 2:40 PM on May 24, 2008


Speaking of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, who were good, I would like to say that the band which pre-dated that group, Metal Flake Mother, were also good, in a very 90s indie sort of way. I have discovered this recently. This is a true thing.

Additionally, while I never really listened to Semisonic one way or another, the band of one of its former members, Trip Shakespeare, is also really good. This is another true thing.

In summation: if you like music from the 90s, you should check out Metal Flake Mother, who are connected to the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Trip Shakespeare, who are connected to Semisonic.

That is all.

I would also like to point out that Seung-Hui Cho, the perpetrator of the Virgnia Tech massacre, was a huge Collective Soul fan who listened to "Shine" over and over again.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:42 PM on May 24, 2008


Umm, porn in the woods? When was the last time you listened to Candlebox and then the Deftones, in that order or any other? I love me some bad alternative pop from the 90's (did I just type that? shit), but those two bands are not even remotely in the same league. I could, of course, be going senile this early in my life, but highly doubtful. I saw Chino from the Deftones to standing three quarters front flip and then lie on his back screaming when I was round about fifteen on the Warped Tour. Then Pennywise incited a small riot before Fishbone brought the house down. Candlebox would have had their shit handed to them in about three seconds in that environment. Sorry, just hate to see a really good band like the Deftones lumped in with the likes of Candlebox.

*walks away humming "Far Behind"*
posted by friendlyjuan at 2:57 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a pity to note that the adult alternative industry took a tragic toll on the frontmen of two of AA's most-played acts: Gin Blossoms (suicide) and Blind Melon (heroin OD).

Pretty much the opposite of 'a pity' and 'tragic'.

I would also like to point out that Seung-Hui Cho, the perpetrator of the Virgnia Tech massacre, was a huge Collective Soul fan who listened to "Shine" over and over again.

You know who else was a vegetarian?
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:58 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


on non preview:

"do a standing three quarters flip..."
posted by friendlyjuan at 2:59 PM on May 24, 2008


Just wanna say, please don't judge Marcy Playground solely on the horrendously overplayed Sex and Candy. They have three albums full of some fantastic stuff worth listening to. It is unfortunate that John Wozniak will forever be associated with that song and the gag reflex it rightly inspires.
posted by Robin Kestrel at 3:06 PM on May 24, 2008


You can download Double Live from the Butthole Surfers’ website. It’s a mess, but I love it. Newer stuff that could fit under the AAA moniker, I don’t much care for.
posted by ijoshua at 3:13 PM on May 24, 2008


Soul Asylum weren't a one-hit wonder- Runaway Train was on like their 12th album or something. And before you scoff at POTUSA you should see them live. They still have such a following because they put on a hell of a show.

btw, I can't believe you forgot to mention Hootie and the Blowfish, or Live (who I hold responsible for starting the whiny-rock trend that led to Papa Roach and their ilk. bastards.)

Still, all in all, 90s music beats the pants off what kids listen to these days.
posted by fshgrl at 3:18 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also- I don't rememebr this stuff being called "adult alternative". That was more like Sheryl Crow, Dido, Dave Matthesw, Hootie & the Blowfish etc. Soul Asylum, Butthole Surfers, Gin Blossoms kind of stuff was just on the regular rock stations where I lived (CA).
posted by fshgrl at 3:20 PM on May 24, 2008


Electriclarryland was the second CD I ever bought.
And I was listening to Cough Syrup yesterday.
This post has made me nostalgic for a time (c. 1994, back when you actually heard women singers on a commercial rock station)when I could listen to more than three consecutive songs on the radio (Because young people today are spoiled and stupid, doncha know).
Like zabuni said, a lot of it was innocuous pop-rock made by pretentious hacks, but my station choices were Nashville-style country, Branson-style country, Nashville-style country, AM oldies, and alt-pap whisked out to the boonies on an FM signal of dubious reliability. To be fair, it was those crappy bands who lead me to better music - their attempts to gain cred by name-dropping and citing influences were a godsend in my pre-internet, no-cable youth.

So thank you, insipid crap artists.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:24 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


*raises monocle to eye *
Your kind is not welcome here.
dirty hoy paloy
posted by nola at 3:30 PM on May 24, 2008


What? All this YFBS hate and no one mentions Dishwalla? I suppose they suck, too. AFter reading this thread, I suppose I will have to throw out a good chunk of my CD collection if I want to hang out with the cool people.

Just what were you people actually listening to in the 90's? Bryan Adams? Cheryl Crow? Oasis? Jon Secada? The Backstreet Boys?
posted by MCTDavid at 3:39 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw Chino from the Deftones to standing three quarters front flip and then lie on his back screaming when I was round about fifteen on the Warped Tour.

When I saw them open for Bad Brains, before many people knew who they were and they had just signed to Madonna's label, the singer was sagging his pants so low that they fell down, slapstick-style, due to his onstage gyrations. I thought they were okay though, at least at that time.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:41 PM on May 24, 2008



Just what were you people actually listening to in the 90's? Bryan Adams? Cheryl Crow? Oasis? Jon Secada? The Backstreet Boys?


Right, because one's choices were limited entirely to wimpy, vapid, bland corporate "alternative" and wimpy, vapid, bland corporate top 40 pop. And wimpy, vapid, bland Nashville country-pop too, I guess. There was a lot of exciting music going on in the 90s, but it wasn't heard in between Marcy Playground and Dishwalla on the FM rock station.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:48 PM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm torn here—I can either make fun of the CHALLENGING OPINIONS that Candlebox weren't very good, or the funny flopping of those "But my middle-brow fave was different from all those, which we can agree suxxor!"
posted by klangklangston at 4:08 PM on May 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Also missing, the numbers bands: Three Doors Down, Matchbox 20, Third Eye Blind, 311, Seven Mary Three…
posted by klangklangston at 4:10 PM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Every "edgy" movement is eventually co-opted and smoothed out and made harmless. It's just a matter of time. The next commercial coup will be adult contemporary noise with Boredoms and Wolf Eyes selling stuff for Baby Gap. Sonic Youth just released something for Starbucks, didn't they?
posted by naju at 4:18 PM on May 24, 2008


The next commercial coup will be adult contemporary noise with Boredoms and Wolf Eyes selling stuff for Baby Gap.

Apples In Stereo, Of Montreal, and Granddaddy are already way ahead of you.
posted by dw at 4:37 PM on May 24, 2008


A couple or three points:

1. The Butthole Surfers deserved a bit of fame and fortune, because "Locust Abortion Technician" and "Rembrandt Pussyhorse" were pretty brilliant records. Also, having a dog named "Mark Farner From Grand Funk Railroad" as a member of your band is demented genius.

2. There was a brief moment in the mid-80s where Soul Asylum (circa "Made To Be Broken") didn't entirely suck. Also, Dave Pirner is a nice guy. I talked to him in a festival beer line once. He said the Grammy fucking ruined the band, as I expected. Of course, we were both drunk, so I may be misremembering.

3. This thread is useless without the Meat Puppets.

I can't wait until the wheel turns again and the cool kids, whoever they may be, turn their snark on the bloviating posturing of Bonnie Prince Billy. Fuck Will Oldham. Poser.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:50 PM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


The next commercial coup will be adult contemporary noise with Boredoms and Wolf Eyes selling stuff for Baby Gap

Wolf Eyes is already widely viewed as too "commercial" and as the noise artist that mostly dilettantes like compared to underground favorites like THE RITA, Oscillating Innards, Realicide, etc. They actually do individual songs instead of 15 minute "sets" ferchrissake. However, noise is the one form of music that is impossible to co-opt and commercialize. It's only even able to be called "music" if you go by the loosest definition (and I say this as a fan). Unless it was totally changed to something else with only elements of noise, which I can't imagine happening, it won't happen.

They probably said the same thing about punk rock and industrial though, so I could be wrong. Although they were commercialized by changing it to something else with only elements of the original, so the same thing could happen to noise.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:57 PM on May 24, 2008


Yeah, I chose Boredoms and Wolf Eyes exactly because I think it's believable that they might end up in commercials in the future, even relatively soon. And I mean it when I say every music I've heard is possible to co-opt and commercialize. Time will tell, and the main dynamic at play here seems to be: 1) youth culture gets sick of the last generation's commercial pablum, 2) a real counter-culture music emerges, 3) people find a way to exploit it. So, supply and demand - it's not even about whether the music is just a wall of screeching noise.
posted by naju at 5:04 PM on May 24, 2008


You can't make me not love this to this day: Lucas with the Lid Off (directed by Michel Gondry in 1994)
posted by maudlin at 5:34 PM on May 24, 2008


The Presidents just came out with a new album. Their website is brilliant.
posted by ryanhealy at 6:17 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


vom
posted by unknowncommand at 6:29 PM on May 24, 2008


wait, no.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:33 PM on May 24, 2008


yay.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:33 PM on May 24, 2008


except that Grandaddy commercial makes me cry. Stupid Grandaddy. Can't even watch their stupid/brilliant Caminos in the West video on Youtube because they pulled it.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:34 PM on May 24, 2008


I can't wait until the wheel turns again and the cool kids, whoever they may be, turn their snark on the bloviating posturing of Bonnie Prince Billy. Fuck Will Oldham. Poser.

I'm not a cool kid, but, yeah, he's a douche. After that album with "I Am a Cinematographer" why would you care? And no one ever remembers the Meat Puppets except for dead rock stars like that Cobain guy. remind me to tell you my severly insignificant, but funny story about good old Will sometime


Apples In Stereo , Of Montreal , and Granddaddy are already way ahead of you
.

Heh. We crushed some dude behind the counter at one of our local video stores because they were playing Of Montreal and I said, "Hey, it's the Outback Steakhouse song" and he went on this ramble about how the band were a part of E6 blah blah blah. We didn't have the heart to tell him that we'd seen NMH, Olivia/Circulatory System, and Apples in Stereo on several occasions. It just seemed wrong (not that I wouldn't sell anything to the Steakhouse--I would in a minute if it meant I could own a house with a better studio).

Ah, and Candlebox. They did have The Flaming Lips open for them before they were THE FLAMING LIPS, so, they got that going for them. My favorite pairing in the early 90s, which there was no way in hell I was going to see, the band Live *shivers* and Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. Man, I would have given anything but actually paying the price of a ticket to actually see that. Did anyone here see that?

OK, thanks for the trip down memory lane. I'm gonna shut up now.
posted by sleepy pete at 6:57 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Presidents cover of Ça Plane Pour Moi is head and shoulders above the rest...even if you have heard it in too many commercials.

You "cool kids" have no perspective on how much better music was in the 90s than it was in the mid and late 80s. Behold the wasteland, and despair.
posted by gimonca at 8:06 PM on May 24, 2008


It's tough to lump all these bands together as representing any sort of distinct genre. Other than the fact they were all played on the same sorts of radio stations in the mid to late 1990's, what do they have in common? It seems like you're just pointing to 90's mainstream rock and saying "this music sucked." Maybe so, but with a few exceptions, mainstream rock from any period doesn't date too well.
posted by decoherence at 8:10 PM on May 24, 2008


I mean, in that period you could get this, or this, or this, maybe even this, and there might be one or two other people in your town to listen to it with. In 1988 you'd complain about how nobody respected the music. By 1998 you'd complain about how the same movement was so overplayed on the radio and had sold out.

It's hard to be unique or edgy or outsider today. Even Tuvan throat singers have a CD at Barnes and Noble.
posted by gimonca at 8:15 PM on May 24, 2008


(For the record, the omigod-it-changed-my-life album of my youth was this one. Yes, I've seen the wheel turn over several times since.)
posted by gimonca at 8:17 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


1990s alternative was so fantastic until (most of) these bands cropped up. I remember blaming the Goo Goo Dolls for the mediocrity that became standard in the genre.. and really killed it, since music hasn't been the same since (or, well, the problem is that it has been the same ever since). Although, I might have had some momentary lapses in judgement because.. I thought 'Dizz Knee Land' was pretty much the best song ever when I first heard it (I was still learning, okay?)! Anyway, just as long as no one starts dissing Urge Overkill because they were brilliantly underrated, and I still listen to 'Saturation' all the time! Yup, even with crap like the Crash Test Dummies and Candlebox (and, ugh, remember Seven Mary Three?) the 90s still had some pretty great music.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:18 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Better Than Ezra are better than almost nobody. It's faceless post-grunge crap a la Candlebox, Deftones, etc.

King of New Orleans was a damn good song.
posted by dr_dank at 8:24 PM on May 24, 2008


Also, some might say that Winona Ryder dating every single lead singer in every single band in the 1990s (and every single band writing a song about the Winona Effect) singlehandedly lead to the collapse of alternative rock.

And the Spin Doctors was another (so, so horrible) oversight!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:30 PM on May 24, 2008


This thread is hilarious. Somebody had to do it

But that is where you are mistaken.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:50 PM on May 24, 2008


...I want to also say that yesterday, as I was walking home from work, some motherfucker in his motherfucking SUV was bumpin' "Lump" -- yeah, "Lump" -- at something like ten thousand motherfucking decibels, and was also stopped at a light, so I got to listen to that horrific piece of shit for a solid minute and have had it stuck in my head all day. Fuck "Lump," fuck stupid fucking POTUSA and their fratboy bullshit fucking name, and most of all, FUCK THAT GUY.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:09 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm going to hijack this thread.

When I saw the title to the song linked to in "stacked", I immediately thought of another song with the same title that defined my listening experience of the early 90's.

Helmet - In the meantime

Over the years I have learned to have an open ear when it comes to music. I lived in a small town and had no real connection to music unless it was my mother's (Elvis, Kingston Trio, etc.) or my sister's (Boston, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc.) In highschool in the 80's I was turned on to rap music. I would tune in to the radio stations daily with tape ready to record my favorite songs and play them over and over until the lyrics were burned into my brain. In class I would sit all day either drawing or writing really shitty rap songs.
When I graduated, I listened to nothing but Metallica, Megadeth, etc. I don't know what caused the change. I still listened to rap, especially Public Enemy. But metal caught hold right around my 19th year and held on. The 90's brought art school and the earliest rumblings of "Alternative" music like Faith No More ( which was one of the first bands to combine, in my mind, the two genres I really liked: rap and metal ) and of course Nirvana.
Alternative held sway with me for awhile (Soundgarden being the only band of the era that I would listen to religiously) until music to which this thread is attributed began taking over the alternative stations. Like I said, my musical education has given me an open ear over the years. I can listen to almost anything and find something I like about it. Except this stuff. I really hated this garbage. I hate NeuMetal (Rap/Metal although it sounds like Boy Bands gone bad) too. But this stuff forced me away from commercial radio ( even though at the time it dubbed itself the alternative to commercial radio - hah!) and back to college radio, where I found a new love for stripped down, fuzzy garage music like The Grifters and Morphine.
There is some music that transcends time. YOu can listen to it now or 30 years from now and it will still be good. The music showcased here will never reach that level. This music literally makes my ears bleed. It will be forgotten for the tripe it is. Well, I can only hope.
posted by strontiumdog at 9:25 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, kittens for breakfast. POTUSA was a fratboy band of the "highest" calibre. I fucking absolutely hated them.
posted by strontiumdog at 9:27 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


"1990s alternative was so fantastic until (most of) these bands cropped up. I remember blaming the Goo Goo Dolls for the mediocrity that became standard in the genre.. and really killed it, since music hasn't been the same since (or, well, the problem is that it has been the same ever since)."

I love shit like this. Music hasn't been the same since the early '90s?

OK, we're gonna ignore the idea that the early '90s were some mythical high point for recorded music, where Pavement woulda been a contender if not for that dastardly MOR.

So how about that every goddamned band hyped has a hard-on for late '80s, early '90s sound? I just saw a show with David Yow's new band where everyone sounded like they'd stopped buying albums at Tad's 8 Way Satan. There's folks like No Age trying to be Sonic Youth and an assload of slack-punk bands trying to be, well, all the also-rans of the '90s (I met a guy in a band that plays originals in the style of Archers of Loaf the other day).
posted by klangklangston at 9:51 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've always referred to these songs as "pub rock cover songs" - the ones that every shitty cover band who performs in a pub in inner-city Australia play over and over, and everyone "woohoos!" and waves their jugs of beer in the air. I would also add Blur's "Song 2" to that list, but they're a genuinely good band so they get a pass.

I really dislike this style of music. And I hate every bitch in this thread who's placed a medley of "Little Miss" mashed up with "Hey Jealousy" in my head.
posted by chronic sublime at 10:31 PM on May 24, 2008



You "cool kids" have no perspective on how much better music was in the 90s than it was in the mid and late 80s. Behold the wasteland, and despair.


Yeah, it totally sucked when The Pixies, New Order, The Smiths, Husker Du, The Replacements, Fugazi, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Operation Ivy, The Descendents/ALL, Public Enemy, The Pogues, Eric B & Rakim, The Cure, and 8 million other incredible bands were all active and more or less at their peaks.

Oh wait, I forget, it didn't exist if it wasn't overplayed on FM radio in Podunk, Idaho.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:57 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


What about The Mintuemen, Flesh Eaters, DOA, Big Boys, and Black Flag?

Indie ended the day D. Boon died.

Sonic Youth cuddled up to Geffen. Husker Du blew Warner Bros. (Though they got a great deal, and an appearance on the Joan River Show out of it.)

And all we have to show for it is Nirvana.

Goddamn it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:01 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lot of passion in this thread. It's like you're all collectively drunk and trying to talk a girl you met at the Espy into going home with you.
posted by Ritchie at 12:28 AM on May 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Santa, motherfucker, santa. 8 ways. With a polaroid.

Wait, klang, does David Yow still play with his dick onstage? Cuz, man, that's pretty punk.

This thread is still hilarious.

Long live rock!
posted by sleepy pete at 12:59 AM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Correction: Buttnhole Surfers were pretty rad in their psychedelic whatever in the 80s. "No Rain" is the best song the Grateful Dead never did in 1968. Jane's Addiction and Robyn Hitchock ruled in the late 80s. And Will Oldham is great.

OK, carry on.

No hate for Counting Crows? What's wrong with you people!?
posted by msalt at 1:03 AM on May 25, 2008


The only people I hate more than people who hate music, any music, are the people who are in a big hurry to declare their hatred. I fuckin' hate those people.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:11 AM on May 25, 2008


I will always, always, love the Butthole Surfers just for Who Was in my Room Last Night. It's awesome, and it's probably why I love QOTSA now. So, thanks for that.
posted by tiny crocodile at 5:42 AM on May 25, 2008


Soul Asylum *were* one-hit wonders.

Only if you only listened to top 40.

And Presidents Of The United States Of America should not be lumped in with the likes of Train. "Peaches" and "mach 5" are masterful singles as was the Gin Blossoms "Hey jealousy." Not everything has to revolutionary or 'edgy.' Some bands just want to write good songs.
posted by jonmc at 7:49 AM on May 25, 2008


I do agreee that better Than ezra sucked, though. That "Good" song was omnipresent for awhile and annoyed the fuck out of me.

But labeling PUSA as a 'fratboy' band says more about the commenter than the band. I'm not a fratboy and never will be but I care less about the social demographic of who buys a record than I do about the record itself, call me crazy. Exploring the outer reaches of the music world is a great way to find great music and meet some great people, but the amount of posturing you have to stomach can drive you crazy. Enjoying both Soul Asylum and PUSA and say, Young Fresh Fellows and the Meat Puppets, is not an irreconcilable position.
posted by jonmc at 7:55 AM on May 25, 2008


Wolf Eyes is already widely viewed as too "commercial" and as the noise artist that mostly dilettantes like*

dilettantes like ANTHONY BRAXTON
posted by generalist at 8:52 AM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


What fshgirl, Decemberboy and jonmc said. Soul Asylum is a one hit wonder only if all you've heard is Runaway Train. They have been around since forever and have an impressive track record, and in my view they're extremely worthy representatives of the Twin Cities scene, along with Hüsker Dü and the Replacements - who, admittedly, are appreciated on a different level and in a different way, but yeah, I wouldn't hesitate to mention them in the same breath.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:29 AM on May 25, 2008


Soul Asylum *were* one-hit wonders.

Only if you only listened to top 40.


Well, yeah. It's not called "one-good-song wonders".
posted by Bookhouse at 9:31 AM on May 25, 2008


Wolf Eyes is already widely viewed as too "commercial" and as the noise artist that mostly dilettantes like*

dilettantes like ANTHONY BRAXTON


Amen. The release of the live Wolf Eyes and Anthony Braxton Black Vomit CD is by far the best thing I've heard from Wolf Eyes.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:39 AM on May 25, 2008


What, no Judybats?

Y'all are just being simple, when most of this stuff I just wanna forget.

I have to give them credit for at least one album title full of mirth, "Down in the Shacks Where the Satellite Dishes Grow." Heh.
posted by skyper at 9:56 AM on May 25, 2008


Oh wait, I forget, it didn't exist if it wasn't overplayed on FM radio in Podunk, Idaho.

Except that it wasn't Podunk, Idaho, it was 95% of the whole country. The only reason people in Minneapolis knew about the Replacements is because they likely were living down the street from them.

Here's one song to summarize the whole thread.
posted by gimonca at 10:00 AM on May 25, 2008


I grew up primarily on my father's classic rock vinyl collection, and had no idea that any other kind of music existed until I actually started making friends around high school. In other words, I didn't even KNOW that Nirvana existed until after Kobain died. I didn't watch MTV because we were too poor for cable and I never, ever listened to the radio because the town I grew up in only had one station and it was country.
That said, when I made those first friends at 14, they introduced me to nearly every band you named here. Nirvana, Soundgarden, Gin Blossoms, The Presidents. The first CD I ever bought was The Crash Test Dummies, and I'm actually listening to that same album at this very moment. I think a lot of the artists listed in this thread have great songs, but they just weren't on the radio. Calling a band a 'one-hit wonder' just means you've decided to validate their worth by how any songs and how often the radio chose to shove their music down your throats. Maybe, you know, try buying the album (or downloading it nowadays, if you really don't want to take the risk), and listening to it all the way through. It beats letting other people decide shit for you.

Crash Test Dummies - Untitled off God Shuffles His Feet
Duncan Shiek - Mr. Chess
Goo Goo Dolls - Long Way Down, especially the acoustic version I found on some X Games soundtrack.
Blind Melon - Three Is a Magic Number
The Butthole Surfers - The Annoying Song
Presidents of the United States - Body
Cake - She Ain't No Good For You
Gin Blossoms - Holy crap, nearly everything they did was good.
Live - The Beauty of Gray
Marcy Playground - St. Joe
Semisonic - Act Naturally
Seven Mary Three - My My

I'll admit this though - since the age of 15, I've worked in record stores, so that's over 10 years now. After being so saturated with every kind of music, I kind of had to let go of prejudices. I never really dug Soul Asylum or Soul Coughing or bands like Pantera, but I listened to it anyways because I felt like it was important to hear as much music as possible. Nowadays, I still listen to all of the above, classic rock, and bands like The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Granddaddy, Sonic Youth, My Morning Jacket, Elliott Smith, Postal Service, Chris Crofton, Iron and Wine, and other, similar 'indie' stuff.
So yeah - my favorite music sucks.
posted by Bageena at 10:09 AM on May 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


sleepy pete, I never did see Live *shivers*, but I did see Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 at a (now defunct) place called Memory Lane, for what it's worth. Which is exactly nothing, I suppose.
posted by zoinks at 6:10 PM on May 26, 2008


"The only people I hate more than people who hate music, any music, are the people who are in a big hurry to declare their hatred. I fuckin' hate those people." [*]

I couldn't agree more. While there are of course songs and artists I really would rather not listen to, I can find at least some enjoyment or interest in the vast majority of music that I hear, even if I don't consider it "good." Music is wonderful. I wish more people felt the same way (in a broader sense), and I'm glad I don't go through life feeling a "need to rip out my entire digestive system to avoid the searing pain" of listening to the Goo Goo Dolls. Honestly.
posted by Ryon at 7:15 PM on May 26, 2008


Thinking Fellers opening for +live+? What a messed up bill. TFUL282 deserve better.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:28 AM on May 27, 2008


I just want to say - without any irony, humor, etc., intended whatsoever - and at risk of making this thread personal (although jonmc's already made it personal, so fuck it) - that, holy fucking shit, jon, every single time I've ever seen you talk about music on Mefi and it wasn't the Ramones, it was you dropping a deuce on absolutely any band under discussion, until now, when you're suddenly defending the merits of fucking "Peaches." I choose to believe this is an elaborate put-on from your camp, because if it's not, dude, I have absolutely no idea how to respond to your complete lack of taste and probable total failure at life itself. What the HELL!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:08 AM on May 27, 2008


"The only people I hate more than people who hate music, any music, are the people who are in a big hurry to declare their hatred. I fuckin' hate those people." [*]

I couldn't agree more. While there are of course songs and artists I really would rather not listen to, I can find at least some enjoyment or interest in the vast majority of music that I hear, even if I don't consider it "good." Music is wonderful. I wish more people felt the same way (in a broader sense), and I'm glad I don't go through life feeling a "need to rip out my entire digestive system to avoid the searing pain" of listening to the Goo Goo Dolls. Honestly.

Yay for this! Big Grateful Dead fan here. So like circa 1990 co-worker sees Jerry Garcia pic on my desk and says apropos of nothing "I'll be grateful when he's dead." Har har. It's not your cup of KoolAid, I get it, but seriously, you'd wish him harm? Don't most musicians want to meet girls/guys, get laid, have fun and make people happy? If you don't like it, turn it off. Unless it's some Aryan Nation white supremacist band where is the harm?
posted by fixedgear at 2:32 PM on May 27, 2008


I can't believe somebody mentioned Dishwalla. DISHWALLA!

More: Deep Blue Something, Sugar Ray, Shawn Mullins (!), Savage Garden (well, if you're gonna include Hootie), Smash Mouth, Wallflowers ... boy did I hate the Wallflowers, nearly as much as Bob Dylan himself.

It still doesn't change the fact that this is a shitty post. Shitty beef. Shitty pork. Shitty chicken.

I liked the Lemonheads. Especially Lick. I even like the new album OK.

I really liked that Soul Asylum album with Marionette. (Hang Time?)

And every time I try to get mad at jonmc, it will be impossible b/c I'll remember that he likes the Gin Blossoms and POTUSA. ;) Hey, we've all got our guilty pleasures. Mine? ... Ace of Base. The Sign is a great song (John Darnielle will back me up there). And Son of Berzerk. Man, I loved that album. What the hell ever happened to him? And The Veldt's first album ... wait a minute, what were we talking about?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:16 PM on May 29, 2008


I choose to believe this is an elaborate put-on from your camp, because if it's not, dude, I have absolutely no idea how to respond to your complete lack of taste and probable total failure at life itself. What the HELL!

kittens, I doubt you're still reading, but I can assure you it's no put on. I listen to a song and base my opinion on my reaction to it, not to my cultural opinion of it's audience or how the band dressed or what their politics are or what some group of tastemakers thinks.

and I heard 'Peaches,' and liked it. It's catchy, it's fun. "Mach 5," is way better, it's a great song to drive around and yell along to. Think of me what you will, but I guarantee if I let you hoover my USB drive full of music (21593 songs and counting) you'd probably find a ton of stuff you'd like (and a ton of stuff you hate, too, but such is life.

I really liked that Soul Asylum album with Marionette. (Hang Time?)

Yup. "Cartoon,' is a fantastic song by any definition and "ODE" was even popular among my metalhead friends. Sadly, they were vistims of their own success. But mrgrimm, despite our many differences of opinion seems to get it, although when it comes to music, I don't believe in the concept of 'guilty pleasures.' If something moves you somehow, it moves you. Guilt only enters if you have silly hangups.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on May 31, 2008


And for further elucidation on the jonmc theory of rock and roll start here and click next to keep going. Very few people have failed to get it after this.
posted by jonmc at 8:47 AM on May 31, 2008


It still doesn't change the fact that this is a shitty post.

Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
Flag it and move on.
posted by porn in the woods at 4:34 PM on June 4, 2008


So what are the 2000 equivalents ...

nah.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:15 PM on June 4, 2008


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