Last year I told you about five albums from 1995 that I loved then - and now. If you click that link you'll get the context, I was out of school, and home, I was in a new city; newly excited by all the music to purchase. I was making a music collection - a snapshot of my personality.
There are loads of albums from 1995 I bought and loved - then fell out of love with, sold, gave away, moved on. And there are loads I love still. Also, in 1995, I was buying loads of music from 1994 and many years early, 1959, 1963, 1978, 1985...
In that post the reason I focussed on 1995 wasn't because of the music - it was because of what the music meant. I was free. I was out from under my parents' rule (and, for the record - as it were - my folks were cool, they had a great record collection and pretty decent rules, but, still, I was free).
I was in a hostel in Wellington. Victoria House. I put up a Reservoir Dogs poster. I blasted some Miles Davis. I made friends. Often because of the music that was playing - or the music that we discussed.
But then there was the music that you could not escape. A lot of it came from 1992 and 1993 and 1994, but it was ubiquitous by 1995. And it was, often, awful. Even if it wasn't entirely awful it was just, well, I said it already, ubiquitous. You couldn't take it seriously. And I was all about taking music seriously then. I bought a Jack DeJohnette album because I knew him from work with Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett and Freddie Hubbard and so on.
I would also avoid rooms in the hostel that blasted tasteless drek.
I thought about this when I returned from my summer holiday to an email announcing that Counting Crows would be playing shows in New Zealand this year.
I played in a band that played Round Here. We also had a crack at Mr Jones - I always hated that line about "don't want to be Bob Dylan" (Adam Durtiz wished he was even that close; what was with the Dylan rips around that time. Hootie stole a verse and made it seem like they all but inherited it).
In 1995 you didn't walk into a hostel room that was playing Counting Crows. You just didn't. Next thing you'd be talking about feelings.
There were only a few things worse....
The Offspring - by 1995 they had three albums out, but most people only knew about the two most recent, in particular the one that had that "you gotta keep em separated" song.
Alanis Morissette - I've already told you about how I never could swallow that Jagged Little Pill. But everyone else around me had a crack at it.
Garbage - not last year, but the year before, I was suddenly reminded of Garbage. They're also touring this year.
The Cranberries - I also had to play some Cranberries songs in a couple of bands. I had to let them linger. Sadly. But before that they were played ad nauseum in the hostel. Up on The Terrace in rooms in Victoria House you would hear a do do do do and it was a warning, an announcement that pretty much said, "I haven't discovered peppermint tea yet but I'm every bit as boring".
It was a few years ago now but I told you all that The Cranberries actually make me sick (or so very close to it).
So these are five more from 1995. Counting Crows, The Offspring, Alanis Morissette, Garbage and The Cranberries. To clarify, in most cases they were already going but 1995 was the year that I could not escape them. Since then they've kept going/had reunions. They're all out on the block now, touring, recording. Ew...
It was a great time for music. And it was a terrible time for music. The cookie-cutter soundtrack to Friends is, arguably, the sound of 1995. Again, ew...
Even saying "Ew..." (imagine it in a Rachel voice) is very 1995.
I couldn't allow myself to be friends with people listening to these bands then. I just couldn't. I went looking for the interesting people, those listening to Skinny Puppy or King Crimson or The Sabres of Paradise or Pavement or R.E.M. or whatever - maybe it didn't work out (sometimes) but at least I never sat around on a bed humming to Ode To My Family.
Because f**k that!
So, we're just starting off again for 2013 but here's what I need you to do - it's something of a tie to me, so I need your help: rank (and that's such a very good word here) in order these artists best to worst: Counting Crows, The Offspring, Alanis Morissette, Garbage and The Cranberries. Which one is worst?
I know that's probably a tough question but you need to help me here. What's the order, from worst to least worst?
And do you remember this terrible time in music? What bands did you have to work to avoid?
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.