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Whatever Happened To Alternative Nation?
November 3, 2010 3:01 PM   Subscribe

The idea behind Whatever Happened To Alternative Nation? is to look back at an era that’s both incredibly important and yet mysteriously absent from my life as a music fan. Part 1: 1990: “Once upon a time, I could love you”. Part 2: 1991: “What’s so civil about war anyway?” Part 3: 1992: Pearl Jam, the perils of fame, and the trouble with avoiding it
posted by Joe Beese (60 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is surprisingly good.
posted by vertigo25 at 3:19 PM on November 3, 2010


Dude, you lost me at 'videos introduced by the quirky, glasses-wearing, fury-provoking VJ Kennedy on MTV'.

I'd rather watch The Year Punk Broke.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:22 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have been loving this series, but then I am exactly in its target audience.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:31 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a long-time Pearl Jam listener and fan, I'm not sure I agree with his assessment of what Vitalogy is about. Not For You certainly isn't the "central song" on that album, by any stretch. And while the first three PJ albums are decidedly "about" Eddie, Immortality was about Cobain from the first time I heard it. There's a lot going on with Vitalogy, I'm not sure self-absorption and critique of rock stardom is entirely the message.

I guess I don't really know why he's writing this column, if it's an era of music which is no longer in his life. Is he trying to give himself context for a period he's decided has no resonance for him any longer? Is he hoping to excuse his current lack of interest in that era through a lengthy discourse on why it doesn't matter anymore?

People grow and change. Music that once was effective can become trite. Just let it go, or fall back in love. Don't make excuses.
posted by hippybear at 3:35 PM on November 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Btw, the second part makes a lot of good points regarding Guns N Roses and the Big Alternative Takeover.

People tend to forget that as late as Spring 93, MTV was still trying to cram Jackyll and Ugly Kidd Joe down our throats.

I remember the same time the previous year when Def Leppard premiered their video for "Let's Get Rocked" that I was really taken aback with just how completely fossilized-on-arrival and out of touch it seemed even then, that early on in the cultural changeover. The feel of the times had churned so rapidly that it seemed like the whole culture had changed in less than a single Def Leppard album production cycle (which to be fair, was probably an overbloated amount of time anyway)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:36 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


We'll all fall back in love with this period of music in the next 5 years. Mark my words. The 80's revival is played out and retro fashion is moving up a decade...

P.S. Siamese Dream is still as awesome as the day it came out. Mayonaise.
posted by naju at 3:41 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I miss Tad. That is all.
posted by everichon at 3:43 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


1991 through 1994 was the brief moment when pop culture spoke to me. After that, the media jackals reasserted their control and starting churning out third-generation soundalikes before ultimately turning its attention to the cursed millenials with the BSB, N'Sync, Britney, and assorted garbage.

Now I'm bored and old.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:48 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


By late 1994, us sensible types had already jumped ship for the greener pastures of Britpop and electronic stuff.

The moment Candlebox showed up, you could sense that the hunger-dunger-dang-agededdon was upon us.

And it's still going on today.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:50 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would counter by 1994 most of us sensible types jumped ship for indie rock and alt.country, but then I'm a recovering rockist.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:52 PM on November 3, 2010


I'm 28 and certainly still hold on to the early 90's, but I guess I don't venerate it as much as the author (or many others). It was special for me, but I'm acutely aware that for every Built To Spill there was also a Seven Mary Three. Just because I identify it as my musical era doesn't mean it was the best.

His comments about the pre-internet era do ring true for me though. I miss when things were hidden.*


*Not that the benefits don't outweigh my nostalgia
posted by Roman Graves at 3:57 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


As you get older you start to get a feel for the process by which Everyday Life turns into History, how a flannel shirt can change from an item of clothing so ubiquitous you don't even notice it to a strangely exotic artifact of times gone by.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:57 PM on November 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


yes yes yes and indie and alt.country :P
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:59 PM on November 3, 2010


Apparently I've been wearing strangely exotic artifacts of times gone by nearly every chilly day for 20 years.
posted by hippybear at 4:13 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


holy jee-sus, axl looks young in Welcome to the Jungle

wow.
posted by ServSci at 4:15 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pearl Jam's music never aged well, to my ears. When I hear it I will always think of high school.

But they will always have my respect for being brave enough to stand up to Ticketmaster.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:15 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


A very few songs present themselves as instant classics. At least, if you went back in time and told your younger self that a then-new song was going to be remembered and played 20 years later, younger-you would say, "Yeah, I can see why."

Some music reviewer said he felt that way about Boston's "More Than A Feeling". My personal example was always "What I Like About You" by The Romantics.

Reading these articles now, I realize that - despite having never considered Nevermind more than a well-made power-pop record - "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was such a song. When it became an MTV hit, I knew nothing about grunge or Seattle - nor would I have been particularly interested. But it rocked particularly hard, and I always turned up the volume as high as I dared when it came on. It had some kind of indefinable authority that other hard-guitar songs I enjoyed at the time did not.

I never felt that way about any Pearl Jam songs - although the consistency of the songwriting in their numerous FM hits made me suspect they would be a long-lived act. And I never felt that way about any Guns N' Roses songs either - even though I did, and do, enjoy them more than the other two bands put together.

So that's some kind of accomplishment.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:16 PM on November 3, 2010


I remember the same time the previous year when Def Leppard premiered their video for "Let's Get Rocked" that I was really taken aback with just how completely fossilized-on-arrival and out of touch it seemed even then

Wow. It's like Chucky from Child's Play starred in a Petra video.
posted by verb at 4:33 PM on November 3, 2010


It's like Petula Clark got locked up in solitary with William Hicks.
posted by vectr at 4:54 PM on November 3, 2010


It was a period of time where it foolishly felt like there was no generation behind me. I was Generation X. There was Lollapalooza. Madchester. Grunge. And even though Kurt died, when Pearl Jam went on SNL with "Not For You," well ... well, I felt it was For Me, and Not For Everyone Else.

This was it. The apex. Everything in music and film and games and television from here on out was just going to be amazing. Hell, people were saying that Seinfeld represented a new golden age of television.

The fact that there would be Generations Y, Z, AA, AB, etc, hadn't occurred to me. The fact that they would have different tastes was equally beyond me.

When I was a kid in the 70s, I once saw a kid with a T-shirt that read "Disco Sucks." What? How could it suck? Everyone liked it. That's what Casey Kasem told me. What else was there?

When N'sync and Britney and the Backstreet Boys showed up, that's when it hit me. Now I knew what the T-shirt meant.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:02 PM on November 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Damn, the Berlin Wall had come down, too. The Soviet Union was gone. This was the end of history.

Turns out that yeah, we all had more living to do, but it wasn't going to happen as planned...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:09 PM on November 3, 2010


This was the end of history.

Being of that generation though, we had been raised with a bit of that sort of brewed into us.
Cold war, expecting inevitable annihilation and all that.

It seems silly now, but at the time 120 Minutes had a moody interstitial ending in a mushroom cloud that said "120 Minutes. Choice of the Last Generation."

Now ok, yeah that's a silly promo to run.
But it wasnt entirely as off-the-mark as it may seem in retrospect. I cant imagine any music show running that today without a heavy dose of irony and cheek, but as a 15 year old in 1989...well...it didnt seem wrong.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:17 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


This brings back memories of high school. I pretty much put the Cobain/Vedder music out of the way once I hit college. Just didn't seem like much fun, after a while. Good music though, thanks for reminding me.
posted by wuwei at 5:22 PM on November 3, 2010


As a sort of addendum to Part 2:

I finished off Orientation Week of my freshman year at university by attending the GNR/Metallica monsters of rock show at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto in September '92. I'd gotten huge into Nirvana at the end of '91, but I was still straddling the metal/punk fence, as it were.

Anyway, Axl comes out and he's doing his multiple-costume-changes-in-midsong schtick, and though Metallica had rocked pretty thoroughly, it was all ringing just a bit hollow. Then Axl emerges from the wings between songs with his trusty old Nirvana ballcap. Mutters something about how he used to think these guys were cool but they think they're too good for everyone now and fuck them. And then proceeds to hold the cap aloft over the towering flame of his Zippo. Every time he dropped it to the stage, though, it went out. Maybe it had a flame retardant coating, I dunno, but try as he might, Axl couldn't get that ballcap to burn for a good ten minutes.

He finally did - a sad little smouldering polyester fire that Duff danced around while he played a mocking version of the "Teen Spirit" bass line. But by then it was beyond hollow. Axl just couldn't spark a fire anymore. The cultural moment had shifted forever.
posted by gompa at 5:27 PM on November 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


P.S. Siamese Dream is still as awesome as the day it came out.

That's actually very true, but sadly not in the way you mean.
posted by mhoye at 6:08 PM on November 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


So, I grew up in the 90's, but this seemed strange to me. Granted, I had the Internet ever since 94/95, as part of the Aol September that never ended. Combine that with living in a musical backwater (at least for most genres), and getting cable late, my love of music was stunted until 98, when I had broadband Internet access and a heavy supply of mp3s in college.

So, I see the names, know the music, but the zeitgeist escapes me. Granted, I'm pretty sure music is no longer part of the zeitgeist, as everyone one of my friends probably listens to different music than I do, and each other does.

It just seems odd that this is a history of the decade that was supposed to define my youth, and it seems unfamiliar.
posted by zabuni at 6:14 PM on November 3, 2010


Nirvana is credited with making ’80s hair-metal bands look silly with Nevermind, but GNR had already done that with the “Welcome To The Jungle” video several years earlier.

This is true, even if Nirvana did do exactly the same thing to GnR.
posted by snofoam at 6:24 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw Pearl Jam in Pittsburgh about a month after Ten came out. They were the first band on a three-bill with Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Palumbo Center. (And if you ever wanted to tell a story where you didn't have to mention a date, starting with the phrase "three-bill with Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins and RHCP" will do nicely.) We got there right as Pearl Jam started playing and my girlfriend at the time and I had the following conversation:

GFAtT: Who let the ugly bikers on stage?
Me: Jesus. These guys are fucking terrible.

I tried to cut them some slack in my mind, since I figured that the muddy, indistinguishable guitars in the mix and the mumbling, incomprehensible singing was just a first band getting the short end of the sound check stick. Imagine my surprise when I found out that was their sound. I later played in a cover band around the city that played two or three PJ songs, and each one of them made me like the band less. I have never understood the love. But then, I was listening to Ministry, Painkiller and Ornette Coleman all the time, so I may not be the right source.
posted by el_lupino at 6:40 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


For me, the early nineties was the last time that bands actually ROCKED. Yeah, some people here will find that sentiment a little trite, but I do still miss the days of guitars and drums doin' the heavy beat. But then all the working-class white kids defected to hip-hop, and rock music has never really recovered.

Carl Wilson on 'The Trouble With Indie Rock'
posted by spoobnooble at 8:05 PM on November 3, 2010


They were the first band on a three-bill with Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers

I saw that tour. I was actually a little upset because I had tickets to see Smashing Pumpkins at Mississippi Nights but it got canceled when they got picked up to do that tour. But it turned out alright. I got to meet the band. Billy Corgan signed my ticket stub Billy Christ. James Iha drew three glyphs for his name. Jimmy Chamberlin was too drunk to sign his name.

I wasn't that impressed with Pearl Jam that night. I was already over the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But I thought Gish was just about the greatest album ever recorded.
posted by Sailormom at 8:07 PM on November 3, 2010


The author is pretty close to my age, and grew up in a community much like my own. Reading the first piece reminded me that discovering music used to be a difficult thing to do. Being 12 years old didn't help. We had one turntable and CD player in the house, both connected to the stereo in the basement. Being a kid, I was not allowed to touch the LPs or the delicate turntable. So, if I wanted to listen to music, I could go downstairs and choose something from dad's CD collection. (To his credit, his copy of U2's Achtung Baby was a pretty amazing thing to listen to.) Or, I could turn on the radio.

Our town had--let me think--three FM stations. KATF 92-9 "Kat" FM was, and still is, a station made for a dentist's waiting room. Lots of schmaltzy "adult contemporary" and "lite rock" love songs. Just terrible. KDFX "The Fox" 102 was a pretty standard 70s classic rock station. Some decent stuff like the Stones, but lots of middle of the road inoffensive stuff like The Eagles and America. The third was KLYV "K-Live" 105. This was the pop station, popularly known in the school yard as "Gay-live". If you wanted to hear NKOTB, this was the place to go. The fact that my idiot 8th grade teacher tried to make herself look cool by name-dropping her friends that DJed there didn't help my opinion of it.

So, I can still remember being handed a Walkman by a kid named Brian that lived down the street. "Listen to this. Nirvana." And I can remember riding around in a car at night with my dad when he was scanning through the stations and it stopped on a very scratchy Heart Shaped Box being broadcast at 90.5. I'd never heard the song before, and I convinced him to leave the radio be. At the end of the song, the ecstatic, awkward-sounding DJ explained that it was the brand new Nirvana single, and we were hearing it on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's radio station.

I think I spent a week in my room with various pieces of metal, aluminum foil, wire and a boombox trying to find the station. Eventually, I succeeded. When the weather was good, I could receive it in stereo, and I recorded their Wednesday night alternative show--Radio Free P-Ville--onto cassette tape. They were playing lots of new alternative stuff like Nirvana, The Breeders, Morphine, Sonic Youth and Sugar, but the DJ's also had an affinity for older stuff like The Cure, The Smiths, Husker Du, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, and Minutemen. Discovering this stuff on a scratchy radio station was exhilarating.

Kids these days, with their internet. On my lawn.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:24 PM on November 3, 2010 [17 favorites]


you kids aren't hallucinating or just picking out your younger days out of self-deluded nostalgia - the early 90s was great - 1991 was the second-best year for music ever

best was 1967

it really did seem like popular music was going to get real good again and it did for awhile

but it never lasts, does it?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:21 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think I spent a week in my room with various pieces of metal, aluminum foil, wire and a boombox trying to find the station. Eventually, I succeeded.

That's awesome! You reminded me of a story I read in Neil Young's biography a few years ago, about him being a teenager in Winnipeg and how the prairies at night enabled radio waves to travel extremely long distances - so Neil would sit up late and listen to radio from as far away as Louisiana and Texas, which led to his fascination with Southern-style country, rock and soul.
posted by mannequito at 9:24 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's definitely a feeling among lots of people I know that indie rock has been too "polite" and fey and soft for the past decade. And the kids are starting to clamor for some of that real guitar stuff again. I really do think the 90's grunge sound will be ousted from the Nickelbacks of the world. It's going to come back in style. (Along with that gum you like.) Bands like Japandroids are definitely an encouragement.
posted by naju at 9:30 PM on November 3, 2010


And I'll always cherish that moment when my brother made me put on his headphones and listen to "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I was in third grade. It totally changed my life.
posted by naju at 9:34 PM on November 3, 2010


Obligatory "I'm-an-old-fart-get-off-of-my-lawn" but sorry Generation Y and Millenials, you will never come close to:

Butter 08, "Butter of 69"

Or motherfucking Jawbox covering mortherfucking "Cornflake Girl."

Quality isn't very good, unfortunately.

And I'm enjoying this series as well. I remember the days when you felt crappy because a band had played on SNL and you missed it. Because for fuck's sake, where could you find a free three-minute clip of your favorite band playing live? WHERE?
posted by bardic at 9:37 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


you kids aren't hallucinating or just picking out your younger days out of self-deluded nostalgia - the early 90s was great - 1991 was the second-best year for music ever

best was 1967


Let's not forget 79-82, okay?
posted by jokeefe at 10:45 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


But when “Not For You” had its national TV debut ... on Saturday Night Live, just eight days after Cobain’s suicide, it was hard not to read the song as a forceful “fuck you” to Pearl Jam’s Johnny-come-lately fans.

I remember watching that SNL. It felt like that song was for the news media and anyone that looked at Cobain's death as a stupid rock star suicide rather than the loss of a friend or beloved musician. For anyone that hadn't been completely fucked up over it for the last week, from everyone who had. The giant K over Vedder's heart at the end of the show is, for whatever reason, burned into my memory. Any kind of "fuck you" directed at fans of the music, new or otherwise, seems so wrong it makes me wonder if we actually watched the same thing.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:46 PM on November 3, 2010


Because for fuck's sake, where could you find a free three-minute clip of your favorite band playing live? WHERE?

On the videotape you kept queued up in the machine, ready to hit record at a second's notice. I still have a tape kicking around somewhere with Nirvana's famous VMA appearance and a bunch of other contemporary type stuff. The early/mid 90s for me were all about Polly Harvey, Moonshake and Laika, Massive Attack and Stereolab and Tricky and Seefeel and yes, it was a good time for music.

But then all times are good times for music, really. So is right now, right this second.

Eddie Vedder had great hair, though.
posted by jokeefe at 10:48 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The early 90s were one of those moments in history where it just felt like anything was possible. The Cold War was over, there was a Democratic president and the Savings and Loan crisis put an end to the materialism of the 80s. Everything was open to be rewritten and the music went hand in hand with that sentiment. After the plastic feel of the previous decade people wanted something real. I grew up in Seattle and was lucky enough to see a lot of the bands before they made it big. In those days if you saw someone walking down the street in a Nirvana shirt you immediately knew something about them. You knew they weren't a bigot or homophobe and I remember clearly and naively thinking when Nirvana broke big that we'd somehow won. That this was the beginning of a wave of change that was going to sweep across the country. For me the reason I have a hard time listening to this music, is the knowledge that it all ends in impeachment, heroin and suicide.
posted by BenNewman at 11:48 PM on November 3, 2010 [14 favorites]


When I grew up, all there was was The Music. Never a shred of news or an interview or scandal or dirty deeds done cheap. The Music was never uncontaminated by information about its source.

A great piece of music should be unsullied by details about the mere mortals that made it.
posted by Twang at 1:11 AM on November 4, 2010


You knew they weren't a bigot or homophobe and I remember clearly and naively thinking when Nirvana broke big that we'd somehow won. That this was the beginning of a wave of change that was going to sweep across the country. For me the reason I have a hard time listening to this music, is the knowledge that it all ends in impeachment, heroin and suicide.

Oh, BenNewman, I'm sorry. It happens to us all, at least in my experience, and it always sucks mightily. I felt the same about punk, and in retrospect I can't imagine why.
posted by jokeefe at 1:14 AM on November 4, 2010


You reminded me of a story I read in Neil Young's biography a few years ago, about him being a teenager in Winnipeg and how the prairies at night enabled radio waves to travel extremely long distances - so Neil would sit up late and listen to radio from as far away as Louisiana and Texas, which led to his fascination with Southern-style country, rock and soul.

This is why I think my generation kind of got screwed by the demise of AM radio. Here I was struggling to catch a station that was 26 miles away, and my dad told stories of his favorite oddball station located in Atlanta that cranked up the power at night so he and his brothers could receive it in Iowa. When a single clear channel station can reach the entire country at night, you don't have bullshit companies like, uh, Clear Channel buying up every local broadcaster they can find.
posted by TrialByMedia at 4:27 AM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had just transitioned from Catholic School to the public middle school when Nirvana broke. I recall some friends and I asked the DJ at a middle school dance to play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for us, and he said he had no idea what that was. The guy proceeded to play "Stairway to Heaven" as the surly kids shrugged and shuffled into their corners, our knowledge that people our parents' age "just didn't get it" thoroughly confirmed.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 4:50 AM on November 4, 2010


- 1991 was the second-best year for music ever

Dude, Nevermind, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and The Low End Theory were all released on the same day. Phenomenal. Here's a short list of pretty damn good albums released that year:

Out of Time, REM
Mama Said, Lenny Kravitz
De La Soul Is Dead, De La Soul
O.G. Original Gangster, Ice T
Gish, The Smashing Pumpkins
Into the Great Wide Open, Tom Petty
Pocket Full of Kryptonite, Spin Doctors (Fuck you; it's a fun, catchy album.)
Ten, Pearl Jam
Naughty by Nature, Naughty by Nature (highly underrated album)
Pretty on the Inside, Hole
Trompe le Monde, Pixies
Nevermind, Nirvana -
Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Red Hot Chili Peppers -
The Low End Theory, A Tribe Called Quest
Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black, Public Enemy
Badmotorfinger, Soundgarden
Girlfriend, Matthew Sweet
Death Certificate, Ice Cube
2Pacalypse Now, 2Pac
Achtung Baby, U2

That's... impressive. IMHO.
posted by Edison Carter at 7:44 AM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just went through my CD collection (collected from roughly 1991-1999, give or take, the majority of which from 1991-1995 or so) and oh man... Those were the DAYS. I can still bust out Ten and listen to it 20 times in a row, no problem. Nevermind never had the same appeal for me, but that could be because our local alternative station (CFNY, 102.1 in Toronto) has a tendency to overplay certain songs... And anything from Nevermind fits squarely into that category. The only real song from Ten that gets overplayed so badly (at least, when I can be bothered to listen to the radio as opposed to Pandora or something more varied) is Jeremy. See also: why I can't listen to ANYTHING by the Red Hot Chili Peppers any more.
posted by antifuse at 8:35 AM on November 4, 2010


> 1991 was the second-best year for music ever.

The first half of the '90s were pretty damn good. The late '80s, on the other hand...
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:21 AM on November 4, 2010


A very few songs present themselves as instant classics. At least, if you went back in time and told your younger self that a then-new song was going to be remembered and played 20 years later, younger-you would say, "Yeah, I can see why."

My younger-me instance of that is Human League's "(Keep Feeling) Fascination," not only because it's just a terrific nonsensical pop song and representative of the period, but because it's once again ubiquitous, not only in its original form (for Samsung) but in carefully corporatized tasteful re-recorded non-synthy acoustic versions (for Kingsford Charcoal). Which is weird. Philip Oakey must be making bank.
posted by blucevalo at 10:22 AM on November 4, 2010


Pocket Full of Kryptonite, Spin Doctors (Fuck you; it's a fun, catchy album.)

Related: Bill Bradley Denies Being Into Spin Doctors In Early '90s
posted by gompa at 10:28 AM on November 4, 2010


> Pocket Full of Kryptonite, Spin Doctors (Fuck you; it's a fun, catchy album.)

Maybe so, but it was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the used CD bin.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:34 AM on November 4, 2010


> Maybe so, but it was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the used CD bin.

Spoken like somebody who has forgotten R.E.M's Monster.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:38 AM on November 4, 2010


> Spoken like somebody who has forgotten R.E.M's Monster.

Right you are; one of those re-sold copies of Monster was mine. Rephrased: Monster and Kryptonite were the Ali and Frazier of the used CD bin (and Be Here Now was the British champ).
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:48 AM on November 4, 2010


I still love Monster.
It's an underrated R.E.M. record.

No, really.

No, you shut up.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:53 AM on November 4, 2010


Honestly, I wanted to like this series. It's totally in my wheelhouse- right age bracket, music freak dating back to the late 80s, generally love the AV Club, and the dude even name-checks my favorite bad radio station (that'd be WAPL, Appleton, WI's ROCKIN' APPLE!). But something about the way the piece was written just put me way, way off. It was navel-gazey and self-indulgent in a way that AV Club stuff usually isn't.

On a separate Alternative Nation kick, I've been reading a collection of Jim DeRogatis's coverage of music from the 90s, and it's kind of blowing my mind... especially with how much less cool Curt Cobain comes across thank I remember. And how Courtney Love is exactly as unpleasant as I remember.
posted by COBRA! at 11:21 AM on November 4, 2010


COBRA!, you will link me this DeRo stuff for me to read plz?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:18 PM on November 4, 2010


It's this book.
posted by COBRA! at 12:31 PM on November 4, 2010


Also - I have always firmly believed that Nirvana in general (and Nevermind in particular) were overrated... But then, I think I probably discovered Nevermind at the same time that I discovered all other grunge, about 6 months to a year after it really hit big (I was much more of a Def Leppard/Guns n' Roses fan), so perhaps that's coloured my perceptions a bit.
posted by antifuse at 12:32 PM on November 4, 2010


I still love Monster.
It's an underrated R.E.M. record.

No, really.

No, you shut up.


You guys keep it down!
posted by Edison Carter at 6:49 AM on November 5, 2010


Human League's "(Keep Feeling) Fascination,"

I hate that song. It's too fucking cluttered, with random weird noises that feel completely distracting. And the main keyboard line that repeats throughout... well, let's just say I find it off-putting.

Maybe if they stripped out the COMPLETE MUSICAL CHAOS, I could find out whether the song underneath the noise collage is any damn good.

But, as always, YMMV.
posted by Edison Carter at 6:58 AM on November 5, 2010


For those of you who were enjoying it, Part 4: 1993: Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair, and Urge Overkill forsake the underground.
posted by nevercalm at 8:12 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


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