Dec 30, 2009

It was 20 years ago today

Well, not today as much as this year...

Before we say goodbye to 2009 and the first decade of the 21st century, I must direct Beets' attention toward a point worth remembering:

The year was 1989 and, for some reason, it was an astounding year for music. Watershed releases from De La Soul, The Stone Roses, 2Live Crew (I know!), Fine Young Cannibals, Fugazi (x2), The Grateful Dead (x2), Tom Petty, Milli Vanilli (x0, turns out), Queen Latifah, The Pixies, The Beastie Boys, XTC, The Cure, The Offspring, The Sugarcubes (say, what kinda name is "Bjork"?), Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Replacements, Prince, The B-52's (comeback!), David Bowie (comeback!), Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden- oh hell, just visit the link and see for yourself and be amazed. 

It was a year book-ended by some great albums as well. Public Enemy got us coming and going at the decade mark with It Takes a Nation of Millions... in '88 and Fear of a Black Planet in '90 ("WTF happened to hip-hop that matters" is a subject of another very long, table-pounding discussion we should have sometime over a 40 of OE). The Sundays also punctuated the beginning of crush-pop with 1990's precious (in a good way) Reading, Writing & Arithmetic. Oh, how I would have kicked a boy for you, Harriet Wheeler...

Sure, I was just getting into music and out of high school that year, so perhaps my hindsight lens is stuck on its greatness along with senior year, driving, making out and generally poor risk assessment. And of course, there were great albums that came out since then, but really, anyone who considers 3 Feet High and Rising, Doolittle, Paul's Boutique or Don't Tell a Soul non-essential listening obviously hates music.  Oranges and Lemons? The Raw and the Cooked? 13 Songs? Come on! And while Billy Joel and Elton John continued to wage their war on rock-and-roll that year, 1989 answered back with Suicidal Tendencies' underwhelming-yet-expertly-titled Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit... deja vu. We heard overtures of greatness from misfit power-trios called Nirvana and Green Day. Even Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan made respectable showings that year*.

What was it about 1989? Anyone?

So here's to 2009, okay sure, see ya later. Musically, though, you're no 1989. Now get off my lawn, Lady Gaga!

*I will leave this point to be debated at length by the rabid fans/haters of said artists. I'm not about to get into a slap-fight over those two dinosaurs.


done.made.said said...

I second that. 89 was a magical year that was somehow part of neither "the eighties" nor "the nineties" (you know you love my finger quote marks) it was like it's own little beautiful microcosm decade in one year (a yecade?).

If, like 89, 2009 was a sign of what is to come, well, Gaga help us.

Christopher said...

Don't forget "Bleach", the album that putt that whole "cranky, depressed SAD-inflicted kids from decaying SW WA mill towns singing about how miserable everything is" that the Mainstream Media would shorten into the much more catchy - and pronounceable - "grunge" into the national spotlight.

johnO said...

also, Like a Prayer (arguably Madonna's best album), Louder Than Love (at least one of Soundgarden's best), and more legendary buttrock albums previously realized