Friday, August 10, 2018





1994


Hey, it’s OJ. Run, OJ, run…

Yes, my gherkins, this is the year the highest rated series of the year is the slow speed Bronco chase that everyone broke into regular programming for. And I was watching the NBA finals too.

It was a great diversion too because nobody noticed that the World Series was cancelled or there was some scandal called Whitewater. Why didn’t they call that Whitewatergate by the way? Everything else ends with gate, Koreagate, Monicagate, Gertiegate… wait, what did I do?

Michael Jackson got over his legal scare and married Elvis Presley’s daughter. And who thought it wouldn’t last? Some kid got caned in Thailand for stealing hubcaps or something like that. Boy, everyone is mean to bratty Americans. And then there is this ice skater named Tonya who likes to go clubbing. They let her in the Olympics anyway. Well, at least she didn’t dis Mickey Mouse like the person she went clubbing with (er, on?).

Michael Jordan is now playing baseball because he’s tired of basketball or something. He should have taken up golf. Did you know a Quarter Pounder with Cheese is called a Royale with Cheese? Actually it should be a Royale avec Fromage but maybe John Travolta doesn’t speak French. Don’t let Samuel L. Jackson quote bible scripture though, because… oops, too late.

A lot of people die this year, Jackie O. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Kurt Cob- , oh no, I think I’m going to cry…

Well, some voice on the computer is saying I got mail. I hope it isn’t the Dial a Porn bill. I swear that talking dog gets too excited sometimes. Anyway, here is my top twenty-five of 1994.


Event of the year: Newt Gingrich signs a Contract with America and instantly breaks it
Fad:  Slow speed car chases while getting clubbed in the knee
Babe of the Year: Rosanne Arnold Barr (barf bags please)
Scandal of the Year: Bill Clinton announces he isn’t wearing underwear
Movie or TV show to barf to: The latest Police Academy ( was this 11 or 12?)
What we could have done without: Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley
Pet of the year: Tonya Harding

Other Tidbits: The Pentium is introduced, no one knows what a Pentium is, OJ falsely accused of murder, Nancy Kerrigan marries Mickey Mouse, OJ car chase preempted by the NBA Finals, The World Series is cancelled, no one likes baseball anyway, Kurt Cobain proclaimed a god by Kurt Loder, Jules Winnfield charged with mass murder by quoting scripture, President Clinton joins Guns n Roses, Woman sues Ronald McDonald for making bad coffee, he’s also seen in the kitchen with Wendy at parties, The Dancing Ito’s win on Star Search, Scientists discover that French Fries can make you fat, Jim Bakker released from prison, stars in Pulp Fiction, Tom Hanks concludes Hershey kisses are like a bunch of chocolates, Kramer breaks into Seinfeld’s apartment.

Musically this is the year indie starts to become a factor in my twenty-five. So here we go with 1994…




1) Guided By Voices- Bee Thousand
2)  Sam Phillips- Martins and Bikinis
3)  Magnetic Fields- The Charm of the Highway Strip
4)  Portishead- Dummy
5)  Johnny Cash- American Recordings
6)  Sebadoh- Bakesale
7)  Soundgarden- Superunknown
8)  Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral
9)  Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Let Love In
10)  Manic Street Preachers- The Holy Bible
11)  Stereolab- Mars Audiac Quintet
12)  Built To Spill- There’s Nothing Wrong With Love
13)  Blur- Parklife
14)  Kristin Hersh- Hips and Makers
15)  Velvet Crush- Teenage Symphonies To God
16)  Jeff Buckley- Grace
17)  Beck- Mellow Gold
18)  REM- Monster
19)  Beastie Boys- Ill Communication
20)  Nirvana- Unplugged in New York
21)  Liz Phair- Whip Smart
22)  Auteurs- Now I’m a Cowboy
23)  Pulp- His n Hers
24)  Grant Lee Buffalo- Mighty Joe Moon
25)  Rancid- Let’s Go


Guided by Voices with their quirky Bee Thousand tops my list this year. Bob Pollard and company will prove to be one of my top artists of the nineties and beyond. They edge past Sam Phillips with her beautiful Martinis and Bikinis. My surprise is at number three while Portishead and the first of Johnny Cash’s American Recordings albums round out the top five. Top ten highlights include Sebadoh, Soundgarden, who was all over the place in 94-95, and another great Nick Cave album. Other standouts in my top twenty-five include Stereolab, a great Big Star influenced Velvet Crush, a surprising debut album by Beck, and, of course, Nirvana’s great unplugged appearance from MTV.


Biggest Surprise- Magnetic Fields- The Charm of the Highway Strip.

Now I’ve heard parts of 69 Love Songs at this writing and expect that album to rate high on my 1999 list and indeed I like quite a bit of Stephen Merritt and his projects. Wasn’t sure this would be as high on this year’s charts though given he was more or less starting out here, but this album is as solid as I expect 69 Love Songs to be. It’s Lo-Fi at its finest and I ended up putting this gem in at number three.

Biggest Disappointment-  The Pretenders- Last of the Independents.

In fairness, I was expecting to be turned off by this album. I’ll Stand By You is, to me, about as classic a song as My Heart Will Go On. Night In My Veins seemed to me like it was Chrissie Hynde going through the motions. As it turned out, the album isn’t quite as bad as I thought but it’s still pretty mediocre, and disappointing for a band that once played some of the best jangle pop out there. Sometimes, I wonder why she simply didn’t release the Pretenders as Chrissie Hynde since that’s what it really is. Anyway, this album is only fair at best.


Honorable Mention-  Bad Religion- Stranger Than Fiction, Freedy Johnston- This Perfect World, Elvis Costello- Brutal Youth, Soul Coughing- Ruby Vroom, Stone Temple Pilots- Purple


Stinker of the Year-  LaToya Jackson- From Nashville To You

Well, this is another way to get back at your brother, sing country. Yeah, Michael Jackson’s bad girl sister tries to do a country album. The problem is it’s not very country and it certainly isn’t soul. It isn’t even Paula Abdul. Good thing she made up with Michael before she found herself  singing grunge badly.

Well we’re halfway through the nineties. Be ready for next time as we cover the best of 1995. See you then.




Monday, August 6, 2018



1993




Got milk?

The talking dog has transported me to 1993 where you have the right one, baby. Computers are starting to become more popular but it’s a pain to get online. What is that screeching sound anyway? There’s a new President and they’re already trying to impeach him. There’s some people that don’t want him to be the Governor of Arkansas anymore.

Of course, President Bill is making for great entertainment. Everyone says he’s so slick. Does he wear boxers or briefs? The world is dying to know. It’s not a very good year as some prankster bombs the World Trade Center with a U-Haul and some wacko who thinks he’s David Koresh or something and burns down some compound in Waco because the ATF wouldn’t leave him alone and Janet Reno is incapable of reading tea leaves. Actually, I tried reading tea leaves once. It didn’t work though because I can’t read Sanskrit.

Beavis and Butthead are the biggest thing since Simon and Garfunkel. I wonder if they’ll do a cover of Sounds of Silence while they set fire to each other. Jack Kevorkian wants to perform executions on sick people. They could have used you when they were killing Ted Bundy.  Hey, there’s Snoop Doggy Dog; he’s so adorable. Don’t you just want to pet him? Stop chasing him, talking dog!

And watch out for that Loreena, talking dog. She’s armed- with hedgeclippers.

Well that was a close call. Ready for the best of 1993? Too bad, I’m doing it anyway.


Event of the year: President Clinton gets a haircut
Fad: Beating up Barney the Dinosaur
Babe of the Year: RuPaul
Scandal of the Year: Michael Jackson announces on MTV that they inspected his penis- his penis!
Movie or TV show to barf to: The Chevy Chase Show
What we could have done without: Got milk mustaches
Pets of the year: The Olsen Twins

Other Tidbits: Loreena Bobbitt performs a delicate operation on her husband, David Koresh enters Guiness’ Book of World Records with the World’s largest bonfire, A black hawk poops on Somali warlords, Ben Johnson banned for drinking Gatorade, The Brady Bill passes and the Brady Bunch is legalized, The name of the FBI is changed to NAFTA, Rabin and Arafat sign Barry Bonds, Steffi Graf stabs Monica Seles with a plastic fork, Robin Williams admits he’s really an old lady, Ted Danson does a bad impression of Al Jolson, River Phoenix bitten by a viper, Roger Clinton swears he isn’t Billy Carter, Heidi Fleiss doesn’t floss.

I’m seeing a little bit of retro glam on this list. I’m pretty excited. How about you? Okay, so you’re not, tough titties. Anyhow, here goes…



1)  Suede- Suede
2)  Nirvana- In Utero
3)  The Breeders- Last Splash
4)  Liz Phair- Exile In Guyville
5)  Mazzy Star- So Tonight I Might See
6)  PJ Harvey- Rid of Me
7)  Frank Black- Frank Black
8)  Tindersticks- Tindersticks
9)  The Flaming Lips- Transmissions From the Satelitte Heart
10)  The Aueturs- New Wave
11)  Manic Street Preachers- Gold Against the Soul
12)  Uncle Tupelo- Anodyne
13)  Red House Painters- Red House Painters II (Bridges)
14)  Stereolab-Transient Noise Bursts With Announcements
15)  Cracker- Kerosene Hat
16)  New Order- Republic
17)  Pearl Jam- Vs.
18)  Bjork- Debut
19)  Sheryl Crow- Tuesday Night Music Club
20)  Aimee Mann-Whatever
21)  The Posies- Frosting On the Beater
22)  Reverend Horton Heat- The Full Custom Gospel Sounds of…
23)  Jellyfish- Spilt Milk
24)  Slowdive- Souvlaki
25)  Catherine Wheel- Chrome

I was quite impressed with my number one pick this year. Suede reminded me a little of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust period. It was close as Nirvana again scored big with in Utero. After them, it seems that women are dominating the rest of my top five as  The Breeders, Liz Phair (who’s also my surprise this year), and Mazzy Star round out the top five. And to add to good measure, PJ Harvey comes in at six. An amazing double album debut from Tindersticks highlights the rest of my top ten. Actually, 1993 is one of the best quality years ever. There are albums I really like that didn’t even make my honorable mentions such as Yo La Tengo’s Painful. As for the list and honorable mentions, check out the Red House Painters, Stereolab, the Posies, and Belly.

Biggest Surprise- Liz Phair- Exile In Guyville.

This album came with a lot of hype and she suffered some pretty bad press for it, but the truth is, this album really rocks. She sings with a touch of bitterness and it is obvious she isn’t going to take any guff off no one. It’s straightforward rock with no frills. She’ll never top this one as she goes a little more (though not overtly so) commercial.

Biggest Disappointment-  World Party- Bang!

Yeah, that’s pretty much what I wanted to do with this album, go bang. Karl Wallinger previously had a couple decent Beatlesque albums to his belt so I was expecting more of the same. What I got was somebody trying to be a little too hip. He was smart enough to go a little more McCartneyish later, but on this album, well, ugh!


Honorable Mention-  Mercury Rev- Boces, Sarah McLachlan- Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Belly-Star, Smashing Pumpkins- Siamese Dream, Blur- Modern Life is Rubbish


Stinker of the Year-  Joey Lawrence- Joey Lawrence

Oh (squeal) It’s Joey Lawrence, the teen heartthrob from Blossom (Shriek!). Wow listen to him sounding like Debarge or something. Don’t forget to kick da smoove groove. He’s so cool, I just want to squeeze him- to death.

And it’s time to say goodnight (goodbye?) again. See you next time as we dissect 1994.










Friday, August 3, 2018




1992


 The talking dog has transported me to the year 1992. Hey, this isn’t 90210! You deceived me, talking dog!

Welcome to the real world when people stop being polite and start getting real. You know, something like something else I’m seeing on TV. People aren’t very happy and they’re burning all kinds of property. They even invade Beverly Hills; now I know why you didn’t transport me to 90210, thanks, talking dog, you can stop humping me now.

The big story this year though is the Presidential Election because Bill feels your pain. I don’t know though; I haven’t seen him wince once. He can’t keep it in his pants either and Or Her Either, his happy housewife, swears she isn’t Tammy Wynette. She isn’t Eleanor Roosevelt either but we can get to that later.

There’s also this guy with the big ears who likes to talk a lot. He keeps entering the race, then dropping out, then entering again. Geez, Ross, make up your mind, will ya? Meanwhile, President George is so popular, his poll numbers go down every time the big eared guy blows his nose. I bet he wins the election anyway (or maybe not).

Did you hear John Gotti is made of Teflon? I guess it wore off. Sinead O’Connor rips a picture of the Pope, that jokester. And Murphy Brown is a bad example, I guess she should have had an abortion, Dan, you can’t have it both ways.

Well, it’s time for my favorite twenty-five of 1992. Party on, Garth!

Event of the year: Big Brother finally shows up eight years late.
Fad:  Wars
Babe of the Year: The Long Island Lolita
Scandal of the Year: President Bush throws up on the Japanese Prime Minister (he really did)
Movie or TV show to barf to: Sally Jesse Raphael
What we could have done without: Woody Allen and Mia Farrow
Pet of the year: Gennifer Flowers


Other Tidbits: Hillary Clinton announces she isn’t Tammy Wynette, Tammy Wynette announces Hillary Clinton can kiss her grits, Somalia signs a peace treaty and war breaks out, NAFTA established as a breath mint, Ross Perot drops in, drops out, and turns on, Teflon sent to prison, the Mall of America covers North Dakota, No Fly Zone enforced in Delaware, Bush says ‘No New Taxes- sort of’, Men don’t vote for Bill Clinton- or her either, Rodney King asks if we can all get along, we kick his ass again, China gets super sized, Charles and Diana separate but will keep the TV variety show, Whoopi Goldberg becomes a singing nun, Wayne and Garth sued by Queen for plagiarism, Bill Clinton doesn’t inhale and is hospitalized for asphyxiation, George Steinbrenner announces there’s no crying in baseball, The Real World is filmed on a soundstage on the Moon.

Musically, it is another interesting year. There are some classic rock artists and a little hip hop in this year’s treats. Are you ready? Okay…




1)  REM- Automatic For the People
2)  PJ Harvey- Dry
3)  Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Henry’s Dream
4)  XTC-Nonsuch
5)  Arrested Development- 3 Years, 5 Months, 2 Days in the Life Of…
6)  Sonic Youth- Dirty
7)  Chris Bell- I Am the Cosmos
8) The Gories- Outta Here
9)  Neil Young- Harvest Moon
10)  Guided By Voices- Propeller
11)  Disposable Heroes of Hiphopcrisy- Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury
12)  Peter Gabriel- Us
13)  Morrissey- Your Arsenal
14)  Tori Amos- Little Earthquakes
15)  Cracker- Cracker
16)  They Might Be Giants- Apollo 18
17)  10,000 Maniacs- Our Time In Eden
18)  Beastie Boys- Check Your Head
19)  Sugar- Copper Blue
20)  Eric Clapton- Unplugged
21)  Manic Street Preachers- Generation Terrorists
22)  Jesus and Mary Chain- Honey’s Dead
23)  Stone Temple Pilots- Core
24)  Jonathan Richman- I, Jonathan
25)  Tom Tom Club- Dark Sneak Love Action

It’s an interesting top five for me this year. REM tops my list with their best album since Murmur, while PJ Harvey’s debut really rocks it. Nick Cave has his best album to date while a surprising XTC and Arrested Development round out my top five. Gems in my top ten include a posthumous release by Chris Bell, once of Big Star, Neil Young, and the first of many great entries by Guided By Voices. Other gems in the top twenty-five include Disposable Heroes, Peter Gabriel’s best effort ,imo,  Tori Amos, and Jonathan Richman.

Biggest Surprise- The Gories- Outta Here

I stumbled on this when I was looking for some retro Garage. It’s one of the best. Normally, those type of albums are good listens but they generally aren’t all that deserving of a top twenty-five. But this one sounds so authentic. I especially like There But For the Grace of God Go I. That one sounds like it’s straight from 1966. Definitely one of my favorite Garage albums.


Biggest Disappointment- U2- Zooropa.

Yes, after praising at least three of U2’s albums previously, I can say without reservation that this album sucks. It doesn’t even have Zoo Station since that was on Achtung Baby. The highlight of this lemon (this album does have a song called Lemons, doesn’t it?) is the Edge’s introduction as a singer, something called Numb, probably because that’s how the song makes you feel. The video’s even worse as we see Mr. Edge getting a foot massage on his face among other things. It’s one of the most cringe worthy videos ever. Oh well, at least he wasn’t as pretentious as another celebrated member of U2 (I wonder who that could possibly be?).

Honorable Mention-  Alice in Chains- Dirt, King Missile- Happy Hour, Rage Against the Machine- Rage Against the Machine, Bettie Seveert- Palomine, Screaming Trees- Sweet Oblivion


Stinker of the Year-  Billy Ray Cyrus- Some Gave All.

And Some Gave Back. Yes, this is not only the album that spawned us the Achy Breaky Heart, this is the guy that spawned us Hannah, um, Miley. Oh, yes, the Achy Breaky Heart was the dance craze that made everybody go wild. Even country fans were so excited they barfed on the person next to them. You can imagine the barroom brawls that erupted. Mercifully he went into obscurity after this hardboiled egg. Not so mercifully, he came back as Hannah Montana’s father in a nice piece of ingenuous casting by the nice folks at Disney. What a guy.

Well, only twenty five years to go. Do you realize it could be 2019 when I actually finish this thing? Well, I’m patient :D. See you next time.




Monday, July 30, 2018




1991



Wow, talking dog, it’s bombs over Baghdad.

That’s right, my gherkins, We’re being entertained with the greatest fireworks show since the Bicentennial. And everybody is showing their patriotism by drinking beer while watching the Super Bowl. Whitney Houston sings the National Anthem and doesn’t say, “Crack is Whack,” once. And we get to watch X-rays of a hospital being bombed. And the world is again safe from communism because Kuwait is liberated and can oppress its own people again.

Would you believe there is other news this year? Well, there is. Well, President George keeps an eye on ‘Saddamn’ as he calls him, watch your language, Georgie. President George wants to put his own black man on the Supreme Court but the Democrats don’t like him so this Anita Hill claims he sexually harassed her. The Republicans save the day though by non-sexually harassing her. And to think Arlen Specter switched parties when the Republicans didn’t want him anymore.

Some guy named Boris is running Russia these days while Mikhail Gorbachev interviews himself to announce the USSR has broken up. I hope he’s successful with his solo career. I think he’s recording some album called Ram. David Duke runs for Senator but even the Dukes of Hazzard don’t want him. Maybe he should put a white sheet over his head. And get the new Vanilla Ice record; he wrote it himself, unless you ask David Bowie and Freddie Mercury (rest in peace). And I’ll have some fava beans with some chianti; did I do that? And Pee Wee Herman gets caught playing with… sorry; that was too easy.


Well, I have to go. Hey, look, some nice policemen are talking to some black guy. They’re knocking him down. Now, their beating the bejesus out of him- all for our entertainment, I’m sure. Actually, this is pretty upsetting; I want to go back, talking dog!

Well, anyway, here is my faves for 1991.


Event of the year: Kurt Cobain says he’s more popular than John Lennon
Fad:  Armchair patriotism
Babe of the Year: Hannibal Lecter
Scandal of the Year: Pee Wee Herman plays with his (stop, Gertie!)
Movie or TV show to barf to: ABC’s TGIF lineup
What we could have done without: The LAPD apparently
Pet of the year: Urkel

Other Tidbits: Smartbombs proven to be not so smart, Bush calls off the dogs, says Saddam is a nice guy, Boris Yeltsin scores with the Monster Mash, Paul McCartney announces he’s leaving the USSR, Winnie Mandela wins Wimbledon, Milosevic wins the Nobel Peace Prize, Mike Tyson charged with biting Desiree Washington’s ears, Lech Walesa elected Prince of Wales, Postal Worker goes postal, Freddie Mercury is an angel, Hannibal Lecter smells like Teen Spirit, Suzanne Sommers spreads her thighs in an infomercial; most of us rather she didn’t, Pat Robertson loses his religion and joins the Moonies.

This is a pretty good year for me musically. I like this bunch a lot, so let’s see what’s under door number three…




1)  Nirvana- Nevermind
2)  U2- Achtung Baby
3)  REM- Out of Time
4)  Teenage Fanclub- Bandwagonesque
5)  De La Soul- De La Soul is Dead
6)  Queen- Innuendo
7)  Dogbowl- Cyclops Nuclear Submarine Captain
8)  Richard Thompson- Rumor and Sigh
9)  Tom Petty- Into the Great Wide Open
10)  Fishbone- The Reality of My Surroundings
11)  Julian Cope- Peggy Suicide
12)  Uncle Tupelo- Still Feel Gone
13)  Massive Attack- Blue Lines
14)  Primal Scream-Screamadelica
15)  Pearl Jam- Ten
16)  Crowded House- Woodface
17)  Enya- Shepherd Moons
18)  Red Hot Chili Peppers- Blood Sugar Sex Magik
19)  Soundgarden- Badmotorfinger
20)  Throwing Muses- The Real Ramona
21)  The KLF- The White Room
22)  Morrissey- Kill Uncle
23)  Beat Happening- Dreamy
24)  King Missile- The Way To Salvation
25)  Mercury Rev- Yerself Is Steam

It’s hard to imagine anything other than Nirvana grabbing the top spot this year. Strangely enough, the phenomenon didn’t catch on initially. I mean Smells Like Teen Spirit got a lot of airplay on WHFS that summer but there was no talk of a grunge revolution until sometime the following year. In any event, this is a ten star album.

U2 gets the silver in what proves to be their last truly great album. You won’t see the likes of U2 ever again (except for next year but not in my top twenty-five or HMs ). REM takes the third spot but a good argument could have been made for Teenage Fanclub or De La Soul, who complete my top five. Freddie Mercury, by way of Queen, makes his swan song at number six, while my surprise, Thompson, Petty, and Fishbone, yeah all of them, are gems to listen to. Actually, 91 is a great year as I really enjoyed more great albums from Julian Cope, Uncle Tupelo, Massive Attack, Primal Scream (trip hop is becoming a major player in England), RHCP, Throwing Muses, and King Missile, who are weird as Hell, but damn they’re good.




Biggest Surprise- Dogbowl- Cyclops Nuclear Submarine Captain

Actually, there are a few surprises on my list this year including De La Soul Is Dead, Richard Thompson’s Rumor and Sigh, and Julian Cope’s Peggy Suicide. I chose this one though because these guys are pretty obscure comparatively. I knew I liked the title track but the whole album is wonderfully quirky. I discovered later that the founder, Steven Tunney, is a founding member of King Missile so it all makes sense- I guess. Love the album.

Biggest Disappointment- The Pixies- Trompe Le Monde.

Some bands, when they know they’re breaking up, strive to do something like Abbey Road. Obviously, Frank Black, Kim Deal, and company missed the memo. This album sounds like the biggest mess since Metal Machine Music and it isn’t even intentional. Okay, so it’s not that bad, but after classics like Doolittle and Bossanova, this is a real letdown.


Honorable Mention-  Slint-Spiderland. Elvis Costello- Mighty Like a Rose, Public Enemy- Apocalypse 91- The Empire Strikes Black, Sam Phillips- Cruel Inventions, Temple of the Dog- Temple of the Dog


Stinker of the Year-  Spin Doctors- Pocket Full of Kryptonite.

Ah, yes, these Steve Miller Band wannabes or whoever they were trying to sound like. Between them and 4 Non Blondes (none of them were redheads either), they made you want to do your best imitation of Elvis and shoot the TV. Yes, we swooned to that guy with the scraggly beard as he crooned Two Princes. Too bad he looked like a frog.

So down goes another year. We’ll continue our memory lane into 1992 next time. See you then.



Friday, July 27, 2018




1990


I’m transported to the year 1990. Hey, talking dog, stop playing with your Game Boy. I swear I have to keep an eye on him sometimes.

It’s a golden year for the most part. Germany is reunited though the Beatles aren’t and Mandela is freed so now they can’t sing Free Nelson Mandela anymore. I guess they’ll have to sing Free Marion Barry now. England and France are getting connected with this really long tunnel. Gertrude Ederle must be pissed. She had to swim across the English Channel in her day and now all they have to do is take the tunnel. Andy Rooney’s in trouble for making a racist statement because the gays don’t like him; take that, Andy! And Mike Tyson actually gets knocked out; that wasn’t nice, Buster!

And of course the big story is Iraq invading Kuwait because they don’t have enough oil. Now President George wants to invade Iraq because the US doesn’t enough oil either. Well, maybe you shouldn’t beach your oil tankers off Alaska, dummies! Frank Sinatra is singing the theme of Married With Children. Homer Simpson is pissed because Frank wouldn’t appear on his show. Oh, don’t have a cow, man. I’ve never seen a cowman, have you? I saw a batman once, but he flew away. He left some guava though.

And the guys in Goodfellas aren’t all that good, that figures. Anyway, let’s see what’s  on my list for 1990. I promise not to sing; I won’t even lip sync.

Talking dog, stop chasing the Energizer Bunny!

Event of the year: Michael Jackson wins the Oscar for Best Actress.
Fad: thinking Furby is real
Babe of the Year: Marge Simpson
Scandal of the Year: President Bush admits to not liking broccoli causing world markets to collapse.
Movie or TV show to barf to: Cop Rock
What we could have done without: dependence on Middle East oil
Pet of the year: The Energizer Bunny

Other Tidbits: President Bush and Saddam have a tiff, Contrary to popular opinion, Saddam Hussein’s last name isn’t Obama, Kuwait tells Hussein his soldiers can’t rape their women; only they can rape their women, Saddam invites human shields as his guests, Nelson Mandela freed and is signed by the New York Yankees, Hubble is launched into space and dies of starvation, the Keating Five become bigger than New Kids on the Block, The White House Dog, Millie, wins the Pulitzer, Margaret Thatcher becomes the spokeswoman for Florida Orange Juice, Bush says Saddam Hussein killed Laura Palmer.

So how was 1990 album wise? Well, let’s face it; I’m a sixties kind of guy so I’m not seeing the same quality as I would have earlier. Still, there is some great stuff this year so shall we?...





1) Depeche Mode- Violator
2)  The Pixies- Bossanova
3)  Midnight Oil- Diesel and Dust
4)  Mazzy Star- She Hangs Brightly
5)  Robyn Hitchcock- Eye
6)  Happy Mondays- Pills n Thrills n Bellyaches
7)  Jellyfish- Bellybutton
8)  They Might Be Giants- Flood
9)  Public Enemy- Fear of a Black Planet
10)  Daniel Johnston- “1990”
11)  Neil Young and Crazy Horse- Ragged Glory
12)  The Reverend Horton Heat- Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em
13)  The Breeders- Pod
14)  Sonic Youth- Goo
15)  Cocteau Twins- Heaven or Las Vegas
16)  World Party- Goodbye Jumbo
17)  Social Distortion- Social Distortion
18)  Billy Bragg- The Internationale
19)  Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- The Good Son
20)  Jeff Lynne- Armchair Theatre
21)  The Posies- Dear 23
22)  Jane’s Addiction- Rio De La Habital
23)  Concrete Blonde- Bloodletting
24)  Sinead O’Connor- I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
25)  Dead Milkmen- Metaphysical Grafitti

This was the year Depeche Mode was all over the place. It is perhaps my favorite electronically based album ever. They peaked with Violator though and they wouldn’t reach these heights again, at least not with me. Nor would the Pixies who again have to settle for the silver, but what a run they had circa 1988-1990. Midnight Oil gets the bronze while two big surprises in Mazzy Star and Robyn Hitchcock round out the top five. It’s an interesting bottom half of the top ten too with the funky Happy Mondays. The psychedelic Jellyfish, and the lo-fi Daniel Johnston, who basically recorded a partially live gospel album. Other gems in my twenty five include the wacky Reverend Horton Heat, who doesn’t record a gospel album, Social Distortion, a solid Jeff Lynne effort and, in the Honorable Mentions, Uncle Tupelo.

Biggest Surprise- Robyn Hitchcock- Eye.

Okay, I’ve already established that Robyn Hitchcock, at least to this point, has already surprised me beyond compare but, with this album, it didn’t dawn on me just how excellent he is when doing acoustic albums. This album and I Often Dream of Trains have to be the two best Hitchcock albums. It makes me look forward to listening to his future stuff though I suspect the quality may begin to wane a bit after this. Then again, I could be wrong.

Biggest Disappointment- The Replacements- All Shook Down.

This used to be a damn good band, but I guess Paul Westerberg was trying to guide them in a more commercial direction. You kind of saw the writing on the wall on Don’t Tell a Soul, but it’s very obvious here. When It Began sounds like it could have been a Purina Dog Chow commercial or something. After this turkey, Westerberg broke the band up and went on to a brilliantly mediocre solo career. Yeah, definitely not a favorite album of mine.


Honorable Mention-  Uncle Tupelo- No Depression, Alice In Chains- Facelift, The Connells- One Simple Word, Sisters of Mercy- Vision Thing, Galaxie 500- This Is Our Music


Stinker of the Year-  Zamfir- Plays the Most Beautiful Melodies.

I had to include this one. I can’t listen to this one in this entirety but I sure remember the TV commercial. Zamfir, the master of the pan flute as if only a few people could be as adept as he. Listen as he soothes you with the Theme From Cats and Annie’s Song. It made me want to drop everything and buy a pan flute. Do they even sell those things?

Well, we’re on the verge of grunge now. We’ll see you next time as we get more into the early nineties. See you.




Monday, July 23, 2018




1989


The talking dog has transported me to 1989. He’s still smarting from the butt bite Spuds MacKenzie gave him. I told you to pick on some dog your own size, talking dog.

I’m in Berlin where the wall comes tumbling down. I guess Mikhail did tear down this wall after all. Now everybody is protesting against Communism. One guy stops a tank at Tiananmen Square. Not that it was all that hard; the tank was being driven by Michael Dukakis (drum roll. please). Some guy named Exxon Valdez got a lot of birds dirty and now everybody is mad at him. Did you see Ted Bundy in that John Water’s movie, Female Trouble? Yeah, they put him on the electric chair and everything. Okay, so he didn’t star in Female Trouble. Oh, and did you hear that Pete Rose gambles on baseball? As if nobody knew. Well, now he can gamble on baseball all he wants but he’ll never play in the NFL again.

Panama is the hot vacation spot of the year, you should take the kids there for Christmas. Did you hear about the Keating Five? They were arrested during the Democratic Convention in Chicago or something (or is that the Catonsville Nine?). Well now there are new kids on the block so there!

The Ayatollah is mad at some author and he’s put a fatwa on him. And I was going to bake a cake too. And communism is dying. Well who are we going to blame everything on now? Don’t worry; I’m sure we’ll think of something. Don’t eat those M and M’s; they’re alive, alive!

Well, I better get on with my top twenty-five of 1989. See you in the nineties.

Event of the year: I’ve fallen and I can’t get up
Fad:  Democracy
Babe of the Year: Leona Helmsley
Scandal of the Year: Pete Rose banned from baseball for throwing spitballs
Movie or TV show to barf to: Saved By the Bell
What we could have done without: The War on Drugs
Pet of the year: Spuds MacKenzie

Other Tidbits: San Francisco comes tumblin’ down, Chinese Student stops a tank, leaps over tall buildings in a single bound, Al Bundy’s brother executed, Leona Helmsley declared the Queen of England, Juan Valdez busted for spilling oil in Alaska, Morton Downey Jr. exposed as a liberal, President Bush says Merry Christmas and invades Panama, Noriega becomes a metal head, Salomon Rushdie publishes The Ayatollah wears Panties, Time and Warner merge to form Subway, Zsa Zsa Gabor slaps a cop (this is true), Jack Nicholson falls into a vat of acid, Bruce Wayne marries Kim Basinger, Charles Keating named most honest banker of 1989, The Berlin Wall moved to Boston to replace the Green Monster.

So what’s on the menu for 1989 you ask? Well let’s give it a spin and find out…




1)  Camper Van Beethoven- Key Lime Pie
2) The Pixies- Doolittle
3)  Galaxie 500- On Fire
4)  Chris Isaak- Heart Shaped World
5)  Roy Orbison- Mystery Girl
6)  Nine Inch Nails- Pretty Hate Machine
7)  De La Soul- 3 Feet High and Rising
8)  The The- Mind Bomb
9)  Tom Petty- Full Moon Fever
10)  Beat Happening- Black Candy
11)  Kirsty MacColl- Kite
12)  XTC- Oranges and Lemons
13)  The B-52s- Cosmic Thing
14)  The Replacements- Don’t Tell a Soul
15)  Neil Young- Freedom
16)  Kate Bush- The Sensual World
17)  Nirvana- Bleach
18)  Lenny Kravitz- Let Love Rule
19)  House of Freaks- Tantilla
20)  Beastie Boys- Paul’s Boutique
21)  Chris Knox- Seizure
22)  Concrete Blonde- Free
23)  Michael Penn- March
24)  Bob Dylan- Oh Mercy
25)  The Cure- Disintegration

The top two spots for me were easy and yet hard at the same time. I mean, really, I like Key Lime Pie but I also love the Pixies, so this was sort of like flip a coin season. I like CVB for their straight forward quirkiness and some awesome guitar work, while the Pixies impress with their chord changes and psychedelic sound if you will. My surprise gets the third spot while Chris Isaak, who I guess is a guilty pleasure, and the late, great Roy Orbison round out my top five. The rest of my top ten are full with highlights starting with the one industrial band I really like in Nine Inch Nails, one of the great Hip Hop albums from De La Soul, my other surprise with The The, and Tom Petty’s best, imo. And, of course, there is the quirky Beat Happening. Other gems in my twenty-five include a great effort by Kirsty MacColl, comebacks from the B-52s and Neil Young, Nirvana with the then overlooked Bleach, another surprise- this one from Lenny Kravitz, and House of Freaks. I’m thinking about the Freaks in particular because I was heartbroken when I heard about Bryan Harvey’s murder in 2006.


Biggest Surprise- Galaxie 500- On Fire.

I’m not sure where I am in terms of Shoegaze in general. I figured this album would rate on my list somewhere as I had liked the couple of tracks I had heard from this band- and this album. So, maybe an Honorable Mention, right? Well, I got to listen to the full album on Spotify and I knew it was top ten, then top five. Yeah, the only albums better for sure at this writing would be my top two picks. The guy can’t sing and the sound is a bit like a bunch of kids in the garage fooling around. Yet, it totally works. It’s almost even lush, thus the shoegaze label, I’m sure.

Biggest Disappointment-  Smithereens- 11

After two very solid albums, I expected to hear the same on this album (I bought this one new). Not exactly. It sounds as if they were the Knack doing their follow-up album. The thing that annoys me the most on this album is that every song had to do a quickie drum solo on the third verse of every song. Yeah, if I have to take this with me to a deserted island, I’d rather drown instead.


Honorable Mention- New Order- Technique, Elvis Costello- Spike, Jesus and Mary Chain- Automatic, Red Hot Chili Peppers- Mother’s Milk, Queen- The Miracle


Stinker of the Year-  Torn Flesh- Crux of the Mosh.

Believe it or not, this is Christian Thrash Metal though you’d never know it because you can’t understand anything the lead , um, singer, is saying. He speeds his words faster than that guy in the Federal Express commercial (if anyone remembers that). Well, I guess you don’t have to worry about getting bashed too much in Gay Rights(?). And, of course, don’t forget that classic, Kill the Dead.

And with that, I think I’m going to get some religion… not! See you next time as we enter the nineties.



Friday, July 20, 2018




1988



I’m now in the year 1988 where I’m visiting Nancy’s astrologer. Yes, I’m a Sagittarius, what’s it to you? What do you mean there is a dark handsome figure in my life? He’s just a dog. Oh that dark handsome figure, is it Tom Cruise? Maybe Rob Lowe? What do you mean don’t be so silly?

So let’s see. Somebody tells this kid running for Vice President that he’s no Jack Kennedy. Well, you’re no Jack Kennedy either, pal! Adlai Stevenson maybe. Has anybody seen Waldo? He’s probably shacked up with that vixen, Carmen Sandiego again. I don’t know what she sees in him; I mean he’s such a nerd. Jimmy Swaggert has sinned, really? I’m shocked. Did you know only little people pay taxes? That isn’t fair, Leona. Big people should pay taxes too. Tattoo should hold a protest on Fantasy Island.

Did you see that guy Dukakis driving a tank? I know I want to him to be President. He’d be tough on the Russkies, or at least the Canadians. Hey, did you lose weight, Oprah? Oh, you gained it back, well, it happens. No, I didn’t break Geraldo’s nose. I didn’t steal Imelda’s shoes either. Will the Orioles ever win a game? Is Jimmy the Greek really Greek? I know he’s not at CBS anymore, the loudmouth. Do you have a naked gun? Put some clothes on it then.

Well, I found my dark handsome figure. It’s a bobblehead of Rain Man. Very funny, Miss Astrologer lady. Anyway, here is my top twenty-five of 1988.

Event of the year: Joe Isuzu elected President of the United States, trust me.
Fad:  Flag burning
Babe of the Year: Divine
Scandal of the Year: George Bush uncovers Liberals in the Democratic Party.
Movie or TV show to barf to: Full House
What we could have done without: Crack
Pet of the year: Bubbles the Chimp

Other Tidbits: Russia wins the war in Afghanistan, Noriega says no to drugs, nobody boycotts the Olympics, Michael Dukakis crashes a tank into a Toyota, Michael Dukakis executes the Detroit Tigers, Bush beats up Dan Rather, Jerry Falwell loses to Larry Flynt, has to read Hustler for the rest of his life, Oliver North joins the Rockettes, The Baltimore Orioles win a game, Jimmy Swaggert has sinned, Nancy Reagan summons the Ghost of Christmas Future, Dan Quayle becomes the first Vice President still in Kindergarten, Geraldo Rivera opens Mike Tyson’s vault; gets his nose broken, Yogi Bear starts the Yellowstone Fire, Stephen Hawking publishes War and Peace, The Rain Man exposed as a fraud; he can’t make it rain after all.


Musically it’s another interesting year as I have my first hip-hop album on this chart as well as a New Age classic. It’s mostly modern rock though of course. Anyway, here we go…




1)  Public Enemy- It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back
2)  Sonic Youth- Daydream Nation
3)  Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Tender Prey
4)  They Might Be Giants- Lincoln
5)  Enya- Watermark
6)  U2- Rattle and Hum
7)  Traveling Wilburys- Travelving Wilburys Vol 1
8)  American Music Club- California
9)  Beat Happening- Jamboree
10)  Morrissey- Viva Hate
11)  Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians- Globe of Frogs
12)  Steve Earle- Copperhead Road
13)  Sugarcubes- Life’s Too Good
14)  REM- Green
15)  Siouxsie and the Banshees- Peepshow
16)  Smithereens- Green Thoughts
17)  Pixies- Surfer Rosa
18)  Sam Phillips- The Indescribable Wow
19)  Living Colour- Vivid
20)  The Church- Starfish
21)  Camper Van Beethoven- Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
22)  Erasure- The Innocents
23)  Pet Shop Boys- Introspective
24)  Crowded House- Temple of Low Men
25)  Dead Milkmen- Beezelbubba


This one was really close. I went with Public Enemy for the top slot because of the subject matter. I’ve always liked eighties political hip-hop (we knew it as rap then) and nobody did it better than Public Enemy. Pity that Flavor Flav had to become VH-One’s celebriality mascot later. Sonic Youth with their amazing Daydream Nation comes in a close second while Nick Cave scores with my favorite album from him. The quirky TMBG and new-age Enya round out my top five. Notables in my top ten include the Traveling Wilburys, my surprise, and Beat Happening while other albums to check out include Steve Earle, a surprising album by Siouxsie, the Pixies, and Sam Phillips who we will be hearing from later (I’m a softie for nineties female artists). I also suddenly realize that I like the Pet Shop Boys a lot better than I originally thought.


Biggest Surprise- American Music Club- California

I’m a huge fan of what is known as Indie rock/Americana. As of this writing I hadn’t heard a lot from American Music Club and we’ll see how they fare later. I am familiar with Mark Eitzel but I didn’t really know what to expect. What I got was something that in some ways reminded me of Nebraska, only not as stark. I have a feeling I’m going to be playing Eitzel and company a lot.

Biggest Disappointment- Let’s Active- Every Dog Has It’s Day

For a while, this trio of a guy and two girls (lucky stiff) was on the forefront of the jangle pop movement in the eighties, but this album is frankly a bit flat. I’ve had bigger disappointments to be sure, but if you asked me to name one song on the album (which I’ve listened to several times), I couldn’t tell you. That’s not a ringing endorsement.


Honorable Mention- Patti Smith- Dream of Life, Leonard Cohen- I’m Your Man, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians- Shooting Rubberbands At the Stars, Tracy Chapman- Tracy Chapman, Talking Heads- Naked


Stinker of the Year-  Big Mouth- Quite Not Right

Metal, meet chalkboard. Maybe these guys were auditioning to be the next Spinal Tap. One thing for sure, they do a bad job of being the Beastie Boys of Heavy Metal. I guess Metal Rap works, sort of. Don’t forget to catch Food Fight and Your Mutha.

And down goes another year. Only twenty-nine more to go. We’ve been doing this for a while now, haven’t we? Well, stick around, 1989 is next. See you then.