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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1992

[Helmet - Meantime]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

We’ve actually revisited 1992 earlier in the year, and this list hasn’t changed, although I did tack on L7 and Helmet in the extended list.

  1. Wayne Horvitz / The President, Miracle Mile
  2. Máire Brennan, Máire
  3. Henryk Górecki, Symphony No. 3 (Dawn Upshaw, David Zinman, London Sinfonietta)
  4. k.d. lang, Ingenue
  5. Sade, Love Deluxe
  6. En Vogue, Funky Divas
  7. Prince and the New Power Generation, 0(+> (Love Symbol Album)
  8. Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, At the Ryman
  9. Kronos Quartet, Pieces of Africa
  10. Robin Holcomb, Rockabye

Other favorites from the year:

  • The Sugarcubes, Stick Around for Joy
  • Faith No More, Angel Dust
  • Sonic Youth, Dirty
  • Helmet, Meantime
  • L7, Bricks Are Heavy

Helmet got caught up in the grunge craze of the early ’90s, even though they were clearly not grunge. Wikipedia says Helmet’s staccato riffage would influence Mastodon, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Korn and Linkin Park.

I’ll admit I picked up Meantime because of the grunge-adjacent marketing hype. I didn’t hold onto it, but like Shudder to Think’s Pony Express Record, I couldn’t shake it. So I brought it back into my collection when it was reissued on vinyl earlier in the year.

Bricks Are Heavy also suffered a bit of guilt by association. Butch Vig had been doing miraculous work with Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Sonic Youth. Surely, L7 would follow in that vein. I didn’t warm up to it. I’m not sure how 25 years turned around my perception of the album, but it did.

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Purchase log, 2018-10-02

[Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

New releases

CD
  • Craig Armstrong, Sun On You
Vinyl
  • Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer

Catalog

CD
  • Amuro Namie, SWEET 19 BLUES
  • Backstreet Boys, Millennium
  • Bill Frisell, In Line
  • Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (Explicit)
  • Freedy Johnston, Can You Fly
  • Huun-Huur-Tu, 60 Horses in My Herd
  • John Adams, Doctor Atomic Symphony / Guide to Strange Places
  • John Adams, El Dorado
  • k.d. lang, Absolute Torch and Twang
  • Lisa Gerrard, The Mirror Pool
  • Lou Harrison, Scenes from Cavafy
  • Love and Rockets, Earth, Sun, Moon
  • Semisonic, Feeling Strangely Fine
  • Shakira, MTV Unplugged
  • Shudder to Think, 50,000 B.C.

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Favorite Edition Catalog 2017

[Nakamori Akina - Fushigi]

2017 marked the largest year-over-year increase in my CD collection, and the biggest recipient of that largesse is the Lifelong Thrift Shop.

I crunched the numbers, and the store provided 168 of the 458 items bought in 2017. At an average of $0.73 per CD and $1.46 per record, I contributed more than $130 to Lifelong coffers. I wouldn’t have made a charitable payroll deduction that large.

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library Book Sale is another source for discount music, and I parted with $75 of my cash to them.

Essentially, weekly visits to the thrift shop has crowded out my interest in new releases. That, and being old.

Reissues

  1. Art of Noise, In Visible Silence: This album started my fascination with the Art of Noise and, more importantly, introduced me to the term musique concrète. It was the weirdest album I encountered in my tween years, and it primed me to discover Kronos Quartet.
  2. Wendy and Lisa, Eroica: A woefully underrated album.
  3. k.d. lang, Ingenue: The MTV Unplugged bonus material didn’t seem like much of an enhancement on paper till you actually listen to it
  4. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead: The demos don’t stray too far from what eventually appeared on record, but it’s nice to hear how these tracks evolved.
  5. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain: I have to admit I was more enamored of the Eroica reissue, despite the bonus material in this special edition.
  6. Deee-Lite, World Clique: I’m usually not a fan of remixes, but the bonus disc on this special edition actually worked.
  7. Moondog, Moondog: I had been curious about Moondog for a long time, and the Record Store Day reissue of his self-titled Columbia debut was a good excuse to fill in a gap finally.
  8. Shawn Colvin, A Few Small Repairs: Yes, you can find this album at Lifelong for $1, but I still like it. And it’s on vinyl to boot!
  9. Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, At the Ryman: OK, I ended up with two copies of this album on vinyl because I hadn’t anticipated I could get the Ryman special edition when I visited Nashville in August 2017.
  10. Geinoh Yamashirogumi, Symphonic Suite AKIRA: The sequencing of the album had to change to accommodate the limitation of vinyl, but that doesn’t work against it.

Catalog

  1. Nakamori Akina, Fushigi: I have a number of middling Nakamori Akina albums,
    so out of curiosity, I did a search for what’s considered her best work. I wasn’t expecting an album that actually gets nods by the American indie music press. It puts to rest who I like better in the Akina vs. Seiko debate.
  2. The Streets, Original Pirate Material: I so dug “Geezers Need Excitement”, I used it as part of an assignment for an ear training/sight singing class I’m taking.
  3. New York Dolls, New York Dolls: I picked this album up from Lifelong Thrift Shop purely on reputation, and I didn’t expect how prescient it was.
  4. Loretta Lynn, Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind): Don’t let the country weepies fool you — this album is all about how women have to be strong because men are just no good.
  5. Perfume, GAME: It took nearly a decade for me to discover the sublimity of “Polyrhythm.”
  6. The Roots, Game Theory: I want to call this album punk AF.
  7. Low, Things We Lost in the Fire: I’m not sure how much further I want to explore the Low catalog.
  8. Midnight Oil, Head Injuries: For the American Midnight Oil fan who wants to reach back into the Australian catalog, this album is where to start.
  9. Charles Mingus, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady: Similarly, I’m not sure how much further I want to explore Mingus after hearing this work. I feel everything else would pale by comparison.
  10. Weezer, Pinkerton: This album is the one to own if you can’t stand Weezer fans.
    I don’t think I’d mind Weezer if it weren’t for the fans.

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Reconsidering the year in music 1992

[Wayne Horvitz/The President - Miracle Mile]

Back in 2008, I wrote a series of entries detailing my favorite albums from various decades. For the longest time, I held an incredibly dim view of 1992. Compared the years preceding and following, 1992 felt like a creative malaise had spread throughout the music industry.

Bands that used to be underground found themselves to be popular, and under this newfound, wide-scale scrutiny, some of them cracked.

Or so I thought.

I had only turned 20 years old, an age when the dopamine hit from discovering new music left a neophyte intoxicated. I wanted every album to matter, and the ones that didn’t received a harsh judgment.

Twenty-five years later, I’ve got more of an education on where 1992 fit in the larger scheme of things, and of course, I got it wrong. This old entry details all the ways I got it wrong. So let’s make it right.

Here’s a revised list of the Favorite Edition 1992.

  1. Wayne Horvitz/The President, Miracle Mile
  2. Máire Brennan, Máire
  3. Henryk Górecki, Symphony No. 3 (Dawn Upshaw, David Zinman, London Sinfonietta)
  4. k.d. lang, Ingenue
  5. Sade, Love Deluxe
  6. En Vogue, Funky Divas
  7. Prince and the New Power Generation, 0(+> (Love Symbol Album)
  8. Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, At the Ryman
  9. Kronos Quartet, Pieces of Africa
  10. Robin Holcomb, Rockabye

Honorable mention

  • The Sugarcubes, Stick Around for Joy
  • Faith No More, Angel Dust
  • Sonic Youth, Dirty

The original list stopped at five items, with a longer list of albums accompanied by explanations for why they weren’t favorites. In some cases, I’ve completely changed my mind.

At the time, Love Deluxe was such a drastic turn for Sade that I thought something went wrong. It would take another 18 years for Love Deluxe to reveal itself as the start of a new creative era, one marked by extreme pauses between albums. This early ’90s album shares more with its successors in 2000 and 2010 than it did with 1988’s Stronger than Pride.

I also got a chance to revisit Ingenue after the entry was written, and it’s place on the favorite list is well anchored.

Other albums would not have appeared on the list at the time it was written. Prince was unexplored territory for me in 2008, so I wouldn’t have even thought to include the Love Symbol album. En Vogue wouldn’t have gotten past my raging rock snobbery.

The rest of the albums on the list could have only been included after much research. Dirty makes a lot more sense if a Sonic Youth novice also considers Sister and EVOLAt the Ryman would not make sense to someone who’s only exposure to Emmylou Harris was Wrecking Ball.

I’ve even had a change of heart regarding Faith No More and R.E.M.

So it turns out 1992 wasn’t as bad as I remembered. It just took 25 years to reach that realization.

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Looking ahead, June-July 2017

[Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain]

Even after posting a preview of June, more titles were announced as May wore on. Seriously, labels, why are you all putting all this stuff out in one month? You got 12 from which to choose.

Beth Ditto, Fake Sugar, June 16

I was sad to see Gossip split up, but it did feel like the group had gone as far as it could.

Wendy and Lisa, Eroica (Deluxe Edition), June 16

I was wondering when a deluxe edition of this album would appear. Even Fruit at the Bottom got a deluxe treatment.

Onitsuka Chihiro, Tiny Screams, June 21

Onitsuka Chihiro has released a number of live DVDs, but Tiny Screams is her first live album.

Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain (Deluxe Edition), June 23

Of course, I’ll be getting this reissue, but the deluxe edition on my wish list is Parade.

Radiohead, OK Computer OKNOTOK, June 23

I picked this album up for $1 at the Seattle Public Library Book Sale back in March 2017 in an attempt to understand its appeal. I’ve encountered OK Computer over the years, but it has never left enough of an impression with me to warrant its unadulterated praise.

TLC, TLC, June 30

How is it I own every TLC album except Ooooh, On the TLC Tip!?

LOVE PSYCHEDELICO, Love Your Love, July 5

It’s been four years since Delico released an album, but the duo has never seen the need to rush.

k.d. lang, Ingenue (25th Anniversary Edition), July 14 (Vinyl, Aug. 18)

File under: The one album you would own of an artist if you bought nothing else from that artist.

Arcade Fire, Everything Now, July 28

I ended up at an Arcade Fire concert because I wanted to see Explosions in the Sky. It was one of the best live shows I’ve seen. But the only album I really own is Funeral.

Anne Dudley, Plays the Art of Noise, TBD (US/UK, out now in Japan)

Art of Noise was always so coy about who did what, but in those early years, I had inkling Anne Dudley brought in the music, while everyone else brought in the noise. Later interviews would confirm that was exactly the case.

Vinyl

The Cranberries, Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, June 16

The soundtrack to romantic comedy movie trailers.

Helmet, Meantime, June 23

I remember reading about the bidding war to sign Helmet to a major label deal. I bought the album out of curiosity and wondered how Interscope was going to recoup its advance.

Emmylou Harris, Pieces of the Sky, July 5
Emmylou Harris, Elite Hotel, July 5
Emmylou Harris, Luxury Liner, July 5
Emmylou Harris, Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town, July 5
Emmylou Harris, Blue Kentucky Girl, July 5

Did you miss out on the Record Store Day boxed set, Queen of the Silver Dollar? It looks like the box is being broken out into individual releases. Or you can find fairly decent used copies of these albums for a bargain.

Soundtrack, Pride and Prejudice, July 7

The soundtrack to the film with Keira Knightley is actually pretty good, but like everything else about Pride and Prejudice, it’s not as good as the BBC mini-series.

Beyoncé, Lemonade, July 28

Unofficial pressings of this album have been in local record shops for a while now.

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