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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1990

[Uncle Tupelo - No Depression]

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.

1990 has always felt more like 1989 v.2.0 than 1990 v.1.0. It was clearly the start of a pivot that wouldn’t really end till 1992, but the ’80s held its grip on that first year of the decade (if you’re using a 0-based system.)

  1. Kronos Quartet, Black Angels
  2. Robin Holcomb, Robin Holcomb
  3. John Zorn / Naked City, Naked City
  4. Midnight Oil, Blue Sky Mining
  5. Sonic Youth, Goo
  6. The Waitresses, Best of the Waitresses
  7. Geinoh Yamashirogumi, Akira Original Soundtrack
  8. Madonna, I’m Breathless
  9. The Sundays, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
  10. Living Colour, Time’s Up

Other favorites from the year:

  • Duran Duran, Liberty
  • Depeche Mode, Violator
  • Deee-Lite, World Clique
  • Enigma, MCMXC a.D.
  • Meredith Monk, Book of Days
  • Joan Tower, Silver Ladders / Island Prelude / Music for Cello and Orchestra / Sequoia
  • Uncle Tupelo, No Depression
  • Jane’s Addiction, Ritual de lo Habitual
  • Fugazi, Repeater
  • Information Society, Hack
  • Björk, Gling-Gló
  • Wendy and Lisa, Eroica
  • Lisa Stansfield, Affection
  • Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got

1990-me would have protested the inclusion of Uncle Tupelo on this list. 1995-me would have had to slap some sense into him.

1990-me would have also questioned the addition of Lisa Stansfield, and 2008-me would have had to confront him about how he secretly loved “All Around the World.”

1990-me would have also wondered why 2008-me didn’t include Jane’s Addiction the first time around. 2008-me would have shrugged.

I would like to think 2008-me relished introducing 1990-me to Fugazi. 1990-me would not have been prepared for them, however.

All of us are still wondering how I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got manages to stay on the list.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1991

[Slint - Spiderland]

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.

I’m not sure other music writers would agree that 1998 is an important year in music for the ’90s. 1991 saw Guns N’ Roses cap the era of hair metal and Nirvana usher the unfortunately-named alternative rock. But it didn’t have Neutral Milk Hotel.

  1. Smashing Pumpkins, Gish
  2. Nirvana, Nevermind
  3. R.E.M., Out of Time
  4. U2, Achtung Baby
  5. Throwing Muses, The Real Ramona
  6. Soundtrack, Bubblegum Crisis Vocal Collection, Vol. 1
  7. Guns N’ Roses, Use Your Illusion II
  8. Enya, Shepherd Moons
  9. Lou Harrison, Music of Lou Harrison
  10. Elliott Carter, Music of Elliott Carter

Other favorites from the year:

  • Pearl Jam, Ten
  • Igor Stravinsky, Le Sacre du Printemps/Symphony in Three Movements (Zubin Mehta, New York Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Mazzy Star, She Hangs Brightly
  • Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger
  • Bill Frisell, Where in the World?
  • Fishbone, The Reality of My Surroundings
  • Metallica, Metallica
  • Kronos Quartet, Lutoslawski: String Quartet
  • Black Sheep, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
  • Hamada Mari, Tomorrow
  • Electronic, Electronic
  • Slint, Spiderland
  • My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
  • Painkiller, Guts of a Virgin
  • Mr. Bungle, Mr. Bungle

Slint and My Bloody Valentine are additions 2004-me would have made. 1991-me would have side-eyed 2004-me.

And he would have scoffed at 2018-me for including Black Sheep, after emitting a gasp at seeing Fishbone on the list at all.

He would have begrudgingly nodded at the additions of Metallica and Hamada Mari, and he would have been curious about Electronic. And he would have gone out and found Painkiller the first chance he got.

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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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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1993

[Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)]

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.

Instead of providing an extended list for 1993, I rag on a number of critical favorites from the year. I’ve mellowed out about Björk’s Debut and U2’s Zooropa, but Siamese Dream and janet. are still overrated.

  1. Duran Duran, The Wedding Album
  2. Bill Frisell, Have a Little Faith
  3. John Zorn / Naked City, Absinthe
  4. Judy Dunaway and the Evan Gallagher Little Band, Judy Dunaway and the Evan Gallagher Little Band
  5. Spiny Norman, Crust
  6. The Love Gods, Hujja Hujja Fishla
  7. Michael Nyman, The Piano
  8. Wayne Horvitz / Pigpen, Halfrack
  9. Clannad, Banba
  10. Emerson Sting Quartet, American Originals: Ives / Barber String Quartets

Other favorites from the year:

  • Kate Bush, The Red Shoes
  • Emmylou Harris, Cowgirl’s Prayer
  • Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
  • Cypress Hill, Black Sunday
  • Digable Planets, Reachin’
  • U2, Zooropa
  • Julee Cruise, The Voice of Love
  • Sting, Ten Summoner’s Tales

This time, I’m providing an extended list, and it demonstrates where I was as a listener and where I am.

That Favorite 10 is stuffed to the gills with some really avant-garde titles, the kind put together by a young person trying to be more cosmopolitan than his peers.

The extended list includes music that would have been ignored by the person who compiled the Favorite 10.

My younger self would have scoffed at my older present self for deigning to include hip-hop, and my older self would tell my younger self to examine what social pressures may be coming to bear for his opposition.

Younger self would complain about how hip-hop culture is fetishized by his ethnic cohorts, which older self would acknowledge but caution against succumbing to the racial dynamics of the country.

Younger self would have no idea what older self would be talking about, since younger self hadn’t yet moved to he Mainland US to see these dynamics in action.

All that to say maybe I’ve been resistant to hip-hop because the music that most appeals to me is made predominantly by upper middle class white men.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1994

[Soundtrack - Interview with a Vampire]

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.

The original list from 1994 didn’t even include an extended list. That’s how austere the selections from the year were.

  1. Talitha Mackenzie, Solas
  2. Freedy Johnston, This Perfect World
  3. Wayne Horvitz/Pigpen, V as in Victim
  4. Harry Connick, Jr., She
  5. Guided By Voices, Bee Thousand
  6. Everything But the Girl, Amplified Heart
  7. Kronos Quartet, Night Prayers
  8. Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters, Cheerful & Optimistic
  9. John Zorn/Masada, Alef
  10. Madonna, Bedtime Stories

Other favorites from the year:

  • Prince, The Black Album
  • Blur, Parklife
  • Pizzicato Five, Made in USA
  • Shudder to Think, Pony Express Record
  • Elliott Goldenthal, Interview with a Vampire

At the time of its limited release, I was actually very curious about The Black Album. Part of it was all the hype surrounding its initial aborted release, but I was still mostly ambivalent about Prince to pass on it. Its underdog status among Prince’s work makes me like it just a bit more.

A top 10 list I would have compiled in 1994 would have listed the Interview with a Vampire soundtrack. It’s actually a really good score. It’s too bad the movie sucked eggs. I watched twice — the first time to evaluate its faithfulness to the novel (somewhat), the second to evaluate it as a film (awful). The only thing that mars the soundtrack is the unfortunate cover of Sympathy for the Devil by Guns N’ Roses.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1996

[Café Tacuba - Avalancha de Exitos]

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.

1996 was my final year in college, a year before I would earn the kind of disposable income that would go into building a music collection. While the Favorite 10 of 1996 remains mostly unchanged, the extended list includes many more discoveries I couldn’t afford to hear at the time.

  1. Soundtrack, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet
  2. Värttinä, Kokko
  3. Soundtrack, Robotech Perfect Collection
  4. Asylum Street Spankers, Spanks for the Memories
  5. Various Composers, Gay American Composers
  6. Original Cast Recording, Rent
  7. Marilyn Manson, Antichrist Superstar
  8. Everything But the Girl, Walking Wounded
  9. Shawn Colvin, A Few Small Repairs
  10. Robin Holcomb, Little Three

Other favorites from the year:

  • Midnight Oil, Breathe
  • Dead Can Dance, Spiritchaser
  • Emmylou Harris, Portraits
  • Kronos Quartet, Howl USA
  • UA, 11
  • Yen Town Band, Montage
  • Neutral Milk Hotel, On Avery Island
  • Aphex Twin, Richard D. James Album
  • Weezer, Pinkerton
  • Sleater-Kinney, Call the Doctor
  • Clannad, Lore
  • Café Tacuba, Avalancha de Exitos

I could actually add more titles from Wilco, Helmet, Gillian Welch, DJ Shadow and Amuro Namie to the extended list, but I haven’t lived with them as long as the ones I’ve already added.

I owned the Richard D. James album at one point. It was a promo from the student newspaper, but I was such a neophyte with EDM that I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. As it turns out nobody could really make heads or tails of it.

The original extended list didn’t include Lore because it had already fallen victim to a collection purge. I rediscovered the album after the death of Padraig Duggan.

Avalancha de Exitos was the first album by Café Tacuba I would encounter, but I wouldn’t purchase it till many years later. I borrowed it from a friend and liked it. But I stayed away from it because it’s a cover album of music of which I had no reference.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1997

[Janet Jackson - The Velvet Rope]

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.

1998 and 1999 were probably the most productive years of the ’90s. 1997 slightly less so. That said, there isn’t much change from the original list, a few shuffles aside.

  1. Cocco, Bougainvillia
  2. Duran Duran, Medazzaland
  3. The Old ’97s, Too Far to Care
  4. Björk, Homogeneic
  5. 10,000 Maniacs, Love Among the Ruins
  6. Soundtrack, The Simpsons: Songs in the Key of Springfield
  7. Molotov, ¿Dónde Jugarán las Niñas?
  8. Bill Frisell, Nashville
  9. Pizzicato Five, Happy End of the World
  10. Prodigy, Fat of the Land

Other favorites from the year:

  • Janet Jackson, The Velvet Rope
  • China Digs, Looking for George …
  • John Taylor, Feelings are Good and Other Lies
  • Jack Ingram, Livin’ and Dyin’
  • Kronos Quartet, Early Music (Lachrymæ Antiquæ)
  • 8 1/2 Souvenirs, Souvonica
  • Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out
  • Missy Elliott, Supa Dupa Fly
  • David Bowie, Earthling

I wouldn’t rediscover The Velvet Rope till 2014. I disliked its predecessor, janet., but I was also disappointed Janet didn’t switch up her theme. I’ve come to realize The Velvet Rope was the album I wished janet. would have been.

Earthling is the very first album by David Bowie I’ve ever owned. I actually liked it at the time, but I didn’t love it. So it got cut during a collection purge. My recent deep dive into the his work made me revisit Earthling, and as unlikely as an EDM Bowie album might sound, he makes it work.

Sleater-Kinney and Missy Eliott are retroactive additions to the list. I didn’t explore their works until recently.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1998

[Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea]

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.

As much as I loved the ’80s, I can’t say the ’90s holds as much sentiment. I feel more affinity for the Aughts than I do the ’90s. That said, 1998 has proven to be rich with favorites, and I would consider it the pinnacle year in the decade. This list has gone through extensive revision from the original.

  1. Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
  2. Madonna, Ray of Light
  3. Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
  4. Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  5. Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy
  6. Patty Griffin, Flaming Red
  7. SUPERCAR, Three Out Change
  8. Various Artists, For the Masses: A Tribute to Depeche Mode
  9. Bruce Robison, Wrapped
  10. Cocco, Kumuiuta

Other favorites from the year:

  • Shakira, ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?
  • Wendy and Lisa, Girl Bros.
  • Midnight Oil, Redneck Wonderland
  • 8 1/2 Souvenirs, Happy Feet
  • UA, Ametora
  • Kronos Quartet, Alfred Schnittke: The Complete String Quartets
  • the brilliant green, the brilliant green
  • Bang on a Can All-Stars, Music for Airports
  • Craig Armstrong, The Space Between Us
  • Julieta Venegas, Aquí
  • Aterciopelados, Caribe Atómico
  • Macha, Macha
  • Idlewild, Hope Is Important
  • Pansy Division, Absurd Pop Song Romance
  • Orgy, Candyass

A number of titles that held positions in the Favorite 10 switched places with ones in the extended list.

I didn’t give Fastball much credit 10 years ago because the album had been all over Austin at the time of its release. I got caught up in that hype, then dismissed it as such later. I was wrong. All the Pain Money Can Buy needs to be in the Favorite 10.

For the Masses actually turned me into a Depeche Mode fan. Some of the covers on the tribute album rival the originals. In the case of “Shake the Disease” and “Everything Counts”, they straight up improve them.

Madonna dominated the top position of this list for 10 years before Neutral Milk Hotel nudged her down a notch. SUPERCAR makes another revisionist ranking, pushing 8 1/2 Souvenirs off.

Idlewild makes an appearance with a debut album that’s at times bratty and tuneful. It’s a mess compared to its follow-up, 1000 Broken Windows. But it’s a riveting mess.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1999

[SUPERCAR - JUMP UP]

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.

Here’s my matrix of the most important years in music for the last 4 decades:

  • 2010s: 2015 (so far)
  • 2000s: 2002
  • 1990s: 1998
  • 1980: 1987

The years adjacent to the ones listed are also pretty pivotal, which is the case for 1999. The list doesn’t change much, but a lot of great music came out that year.

  1. NUMBER GIRL, SCHOOL GIRL DISTORTIONAL ADDICT
  2. Shiina Ringo, Muzai Moratorium
  3. Utada Hikaru, First Love
  4. ACO, absolute ego
  5. Nina Hynes, Creation
  6. SUPERCAR, Jump Up
  7. The Flaming Lips, The Soft Bulletin
  8. Port of Notes, Complain Too Much
  9. Mandy Barnett, I’ve Got a Right to Cry
  10. The Kiss Offs, Goodbye Private Life

Other favorites from the year:

  • L’Arc~en~Ciel, ray
  • Jordan Knight, Jordan Knight
  • eX-Girl, Kero! Kero! Kero!
  • NUMBER GIRL, DESTRUCTION BABY
  • OBLIVION DUST, Reborn
  • UA, turbo
  • Moby, Play
  • Maná, MTV Unplugged
  • Dr.StrangeLove, Twin Suns
  • The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • Fantastic Plastic Machine, Luxury
  • Asylum Street Spankers, Hot Lunch
  • Café Tacuba, Revés/Yo Soy

A retrospective addition of SUPERCAR bumps L’arc~en~Ciel to the extended list. Futurama was the first SUPERCAR album I owned, and I liked it so much, I was hesitant to explore the band’s early work, out of fear it wouldn’t live up.

As it turns out, Futurama was the last of SUPERCAR’s great albums. The first two albums are classics in their own right. I’ve yet to dig into Ookeah! and Ooyeah!

I’ve only added Moby, The Roots and Fantastic Plastic Machine to the extended list, but albums by Wilco, Rage Against the Machine, Built to Spill and Mos Def could have made it on there. I just wanted to avoid the kind of crowding we saw in 2002 and 2003.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2000

[Tomosaka Rie - Shoujo Robot]

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.

I’m flabbergasted by the idea that, as of this writing, the year 2000 is nearly 20 years ago. As much as I lionize the music I heard in high school, the music of my late 20s has been incredibly influential, perhaps professionally as well as personally. Thus, we don’t see much change from the original list.

  1. Shiina Ringo, Shouso Strip
  2. Cocco, Rapunzel
  3. NUMBER GIRL, SAPPUKEI
  4. SUPERCAR, Futurama
  5. eX-Girl, Big When Far, Small When Close
  6. Sleater-Kinney, All Hands on the Bad One
  7. Idlewild, 100 Broken Windows
  8. FEED, Make Every Stardust Shimmer!
  9. Tomosaka Rie, “Shoujo Robot”
  10. Sade, Lovers Rock

Other favorites from the year:

  • Do As Infinity, Break of Dawn
  • Yaida Hitomi, daiya-monde
  • PJ Harvey, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
  • OBLIVION DUST, Butterfly Head
  • At the Drive-In, Relationship of Command
  • L’Arc~en~Ciel, REAL
  • Bonnie Pink, Let Go
  • MISSILE GIRL SCOOT, Fiesta!
  • Smashing Pumpkins, MACHINA/The Machine of God
  • m-flo, Planet Shining
  • Juanes, Fíate Bien
  • Emmylou Harris, Red Dirt Girl
  • U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind
  • La Ley, Uno
  • Sinéad O’Connor, Faith and Courage
  • Soundtrack, High Fidelity
  • BBMak, Sooner or Later

At the time of its release, I was just glad All That You Can’t Leave Behind was not a continuation of Pop. The recent vinyl reissue of the album, unfortunately, reveals its shortcomings. Thus, it loses its original ranking in the Favorite 10.

Plot twist: I panned 2004’s How to Build an Atomic Bomb, but that album has endured far better than All That You Can’t Leave Behind. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Idlewild’s 1000 Broken Windows takes the spot vacated by U2.

Do As Infinity probably could have held onto its place in the Favorite 10 on the strength of “Raven” alone. At the time, most J-Pop I had encountered relied heavily on keyboards and drum machines, so a karaoke-ready band with crunchy guitars felt novel to me.

I can’t say I love Break of Dawn as much now. It’s rare that singles displace albums for the Favorite 10, but all three tracks on “Shoujo Robot” hint at an awesome album I wish Shiina Ringo and Tomosaka Rie recorded.

The extended list is really just all the titles that could have legitimately competed for that bottom spot on the Favorite 10.

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