46 thoughts on “Question of the Week: What was the day…

  1. I think the question is worded incorrectly … claiming that the music died is putting the blame outside ourselves, and is an ever-repeated theme of the middle-aged and older. The better question is, when did your connection to the music die, or, perhaps more accurately, when did you fall out of love with music? Claiming that the music died assumes that music was always better back in the day … accepting that you no longer love music with the passion of your youth assumes that you’ve just gotten older. It is, of course, possible that music was better in the past, just as it is possible to retain passions as we get older.

    To partly answer my own question, for me, it was when Sleater-Kinney went on their latest and probably final hiatus. I’ve had many musical loves over the years … Bruce Springsteen has been the strongest and most personally important for more than 30 years … but Sleater-Kinney was a notch above the others (excepting Bruce). I saw them a dozen or so times, played not just their songs but their albums obsessively, and considered them a crucial part of my life, the way many of us do with artists who are more than mere favorites. When they finally shut down, I looked at my 50-ish self, and realized I wasn’t positive I had the energy any longer to devote to such a fevered fandom. I may have been wrong, but I’m guessing that S-K will be the last group that inspires me at that level.

    The music hasn’t died. But I’m getting older.

  2. Kind of further to Steven’s approach to the question, I couldn’t even tell you what kind of shape music is in this year, because it’s actually the first year in my life that I’ve lost some interest in trying to keep up with things. Haven’t lost interest in music itself, of course, and in fact have detoured backwards in all sorts of directions I never thought I’d go (i.e., towards noisy free jazz stuff). But I can’t deny that it’s happening: I don’t know what the hell’s going on at the moment in pop music, a fact that feels only mildly distressing. I’m guessing (hoping?) I’ll be struck down by something unawares at some point and get engaged all over, but it’s not like standing at the kitchen counter waiting impatiently for the kettle to boil. I just open the fridge and drink something else instead.

  3. The question isn’t worded incorrectly. Its part hyperbole and part Creem damage. Quippy phrasing for a Q of the Week can’t always happen, and for conversation sake, shouldn’t always.
    Incidentally, was anything given away with the image? I was going to go with Belle & Sebastian or the Strokes, but thought it might be to “rockist.” (cringe) Actually, much like Scott, when I feel that rock is stagnant I veer off, most times to world music.

  4. It is always dying and resurrecting itself, but the first time I noticed it lying there lifeless was in high school when I saw the video of Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” thinking this must be some kind of Weird Al parody that I didn’t get, and then a week later I saw that it was #1 on the charts.

    And I’m reminded of its weak pulse when current interesting bands struggle to find an audience and never-were’s-cum-has-beens Sevendust sell out the theater around the corner. No disrespect to Sevendust themselves, keep on keepin’ on and all, but Sevendust? really?

    But then a friend recently responded to my zealous praise of The Hold Steady with:

    You’ve turned me on to alot of amazing stuff over the years, but really- the Hold Steady is that what we’ve come to? I saw them at Pitchfork and perhaps they were less gut wrenchingly awful than Fleet Foxes or the Paul Simon Tribute Band (by which I mean Vampire Weekend of course) but man, I just cannot do it. For the life of me I don’t understand what people see/hear in them.

    So the blood is just as much on my hands as anyone’s.

  5. I’m with Alex. Music’s died and been resurrected many times over the years. It died with the rise of Pat Boone. It died with the success of Styx. It died when alt.rock went mainstream and produced a million Nirvanabe’s. It died when hip-hop moved from Public Enemy empowerment to cartoonish crunk. But it was resurrected with the rise of the Ramones, the emergence of boundary-defying rock en español bands like Cafe Tacuba, Aterciopelados and Babasonicos. It was resurrected with the rise of the kind of independent hip-hop that challenged the gangsta status quo. It was resurrected when Calle 13 put intelligence into reggaeton. Music is alive and well and exciting and vibrant despite mind-numbing trends that have always watered down the good stuff. I’m 48 and have yet to stop caring or stop listening for stuff that breathes new life into those same old notes, chords and melodies. I won’t quote the Who, because, as someone else pointed out, that might be rockist. And god forbid anyone who listens for daring, adventurous music be politically incorrect.

  6. >>>”It died with the rise of Pat Boone. It died with the success of Styx.”

    I still don’t get this argument. Were Pat Boone and Styx the only things happening when they were happening (and I may not have my dates exacto correct, but weren’t Styx starting to peak just around the time the Ramones emerged?)

    I guess this just leads me to say that I’m ultimately with Steven on this one: music doesn’t die so much as people’s interest in it does. (Obviously, some periods are richer than others.)

  7. My point is, while it’s dying with the emergence of one thing that’s crap, it’s being resurrected by the emergence of something else that’s exciting. I don’t know if it’s a matter of loss of interest as much as it is not paying attention. Which may be the same thing, I dunno.

  8. Styx made better albums than Cafe Tacuba anyway, truth be told. (And Boone’s “Speedy Gonzales” is pretty awesome, despite offensive stereotypes.)

    Anyway, I got bored in the early ’90s for a few years, but that was my personal problem, not the music’s. Which is still FAR from dead (though I’m kinda stumped when Frank Kogan says “popular music is more complex and fascinating right now in the ’00s than it’s ever been in my life,” if only because I dislike lots of what’s “popular,” in the sense of getting radio play and stuff.)

    On the other hand, I sort of agree with him:

    Good 2008 albums

    Jamey Johnson – That Lonesome Song (Mercury)
    Rick Springfield – Venus In Overdrive (New Door/Universal Music Enterprises)
    The Tonic Rays – The Tonic Rays (thetonicrays.com ’07)
    Woodbox Gang – Drunk As Dragons (Alternative Tentacles)
    Teacher’s Pet – Teacher’s Pet (Smog Veil)
    Ross Johnson – Make It Stop! The Most Of Ross Johnson (Goner)
    Carter’s Chord – Carter’s Chord (Show Dog Nashville)
    Banastre Tarleton Band – Huzzah! Greatest Hits (Green Horse)
    Phil Vassar – Prayer Of A Common Man (Universal)
    Legless – Finding Mr. Perfect (leglesstheband.com)
    Dolly Parton – Backwoods Barbie (Dolly)
    Steinski – What Does It All Mean?: 1983-2006 Retrospective (Illegal Art)
    New Bloods – The Secret Life (K EP)
    Ted Nugent – Sweden Rocks (Eagle)
    Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Primary Colours (Goner)
    Prima J – Prima J (Geffen)
    Final Solutions – Songs By Solutions (Goner EP ’07)
    Montgomery Gentry – Back When I Knew It All (Columbia)
    Diplo Vs. Santogold – Top Ranking (zshare.net)
    Jay Reatard – Singles 06-07 (In The Red)
    Ashlee Simpson – Bittersweet World (Geffen)
    Lil Mama – Voice of the Young People (Jive/Zomba)
    Crash Street Kids – Transatlantic Suicide (Hot City Recording Company)
    Black Diamond Heavies – A Touch Of Someone Else’s Class (Alive)
    Charlemagne Palestine – From Etudes To Cataclysms For The Doppio Borgato (Sub Rosa)
    Amanda Shaw – Pretty Runs Out (Rounder)
    Trent Willmon – Broken In (Compadre)
    Sugarland – Love On The Inside (Mercury)
    Mike & The Ravens – Noisy Boys!: The Saxony Sessions (Zoho Roots)
    Rebecca Lynn Howard – No Rules (Saguaro Road)
    Maria Daniela Y Su Sonido Lasser – Juventud En Éxtasis (EMI Music Mexico)
    Robin Taylor – Isle Of Black (Transubstans)
    Lazy Magnet – Is Music Even Good? (Corleone)
    James McMurtry – Just Us Kids (Lightning Rod)
    Heidi Newfield – What Am I Waiting For (Curb/Asylum)
    The Chap – Mega Breakfast (Ghostly International)
    Other Fools – 12 More Lies (Of)
    (Various) – B.I.P.P.: French Synth Wave 1979-85 (Everlong)
    Poni Hoax – Images Of Sigrid (Tigersushi)
    Blood Ceremony – Blood Ceremony (Rise Above)
    Boss Martians – Pressure In The Sodo (MuSick)
    The Boxmasters – The Boxmasters (Vanguard)
    Opeth – Watershed (Roadrunner)
    Alejandro Escovedo – Real Animal (Back Porch/Manhattan)
    Home Blitz – Home Blitz (Gulcher ’07)
    Issa Bagayogo – Mali Koura (Six Degrees)
    Man Raze – Surreal (VH1 Classic)
    Killola – I Am The Messer (Killola/Our)
    Viceroy – Viceroy (Bushwood ’06)
    Jet Fuel – Give It Hell/Straight For 88/Dynamite Rock Machine (unlabeled CD-R)
    The Donnas – Bitchin’ (Purple Feather/Redeye Incorporated ’07)
    The Baseball Project – Vol. 1: Frozen Ropes And Dying Quails (Yep Roc)
    Pumice – Quo (Soft Abuse)
    Mechanical Bull – A Million Yesterdays (Woodstock Musicworks ‘07)
    Trailer Choir – Trailer Choir EP (Show Dog Nashville)
    The Hold Steady – Stay Positive (Vagrant)
    Robyn – Robyn (Konichiwa/Cherry Tree/Interscope)
    Jonas Brothers – A Little Bit Longer (Hollywood)
    Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal Motown)
    Keith Anderson – C’Mon (Columbia)
    Santogold – Santogold (Downtown)
    Night Ranger – Hole In The Sun (VH1 Classic)
    Kathleen Edwards — Asking For Flowers (Zoe)
    The Mother Truckers – Let’s All Go To Bed (Funzao)
    Ashton Shepherd – Sounds So Good (MCA Nashville)
    White Lion – Return Of The Pride (Airline)
    Hear, O Israel – A Prayer Ceremony In Jazz (Jonny)
    Klabautamann – Our Journey Through The Woods (Vendius)
    The Cool Kids – The Bake Sale (Chocolate Industries)
    Reckless Kelly – Bulletproof (Yep Roc)
    Legless – 13 Killer Tracks (leglesstheband.com ’06)
    Hayes Carll – Trouble In Mind (Lost Highway)
    K’Naan – The Dusty Foot Philosopher (Independent Media)
    Farmakon – Robin (Candlelight USA)
    Helix – The Power Of Rock and Roll (Perris)
    Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis – Two Men With The Blues (Blue Note)
    Robert McFadden – Traveling In Curves (travelingincurves.com)
    The Backsliders – You’re Welcome (backsliders.com)
    Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (XL)
    Noekk – The Minstrel’s Curse (Prophecy)
    Amassfer – Slaves For Life (Inside Out/SPV)
    Ryan Shaw – This Is Ryan Shaw (Razor & Tie ’07)
    Bigelf – Hex (Custard ’07)
    Archer — -Doom$day Profit$ (Wilde Silas Musicwork)
    Beat Union – Disconnected (Science)
    Left Lane Cruiser – Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table (Alive)
    Frozen Bears – Hey, That’s a Good Looking Sportcoat! (myspace.com/frozenbears EP ’07)
    The Swear – Hotel Rooms and Heart Attacks (the swear.com)
    Arkona – Ot Serdca K Nebu (Napalm)
    The Jacknives – Cobra Combat Boots (myspace.com/thejacknives ‘07)
    The Darlins – “Wild One”/”The Whole Damn Thing”/”Tom Dooley”/”Nails In My Coffin” (tk EP)
    Kim Richey – Chinese Boxes (Vanguard ’07)
    Helrunar – Baldr Ok Iss (Lupus Lounge)
    Bigelf – Cheat The Gallows (Custard)
    Jex Thoth – Jex Thoth (myspace.com/totemdoom)
    The Architects – Vice (Anodyne)
    Transit – Decent Man On A Desperate Moon (Karmakosmetix)
    Dornenreich – In Luft Geritzt (Prophecy)
    Lady Antebellum – Lady Antebellum (EMI)
    Chris Cagle – My Life Is A Country Song (Capitol)
    Alan Jackson – Good Time (Arista Nashville)
    Radar – – Sampler (myspace.com/radarcanada ’07)
    Alestorm – Captain Morgan’s Revenge (Napalm)
    Horror Pops – Kiss Kiss Kill Kill (Hellcat)
    George Strait – Troubador (MCA Nashville)
    6 FtHick — On The Rocks (Spooky)
    Nucleus Torn – Knell (Prophecy)
    Harvey Milk – Life…The Best Game In Town (Hydra Head)
    Chris Cagle – This Is Chris Cagle (Capitol promo reissue ’07)
    Chuck Wicks – Starting Now (RCA)
    No Age – Nouns (Subpop)
    Old Crow Medicine Show – Tennessee Pusher (Nettwerk)
    Black Kids – Partie Traumatic (Columbia)
    Ayreon – 01011001 (SPV/Inside Out)
    Night After Night – Unreleased Album (unlabeled CD-R)
    The Reds – Fugitives From The Laughing House (Tarock ’07)
    Boris – Smile (Southern Lord)
    Terri Clark – My Next Life (BNA unreleased promo ’07)
    Katy Perry – One Of The Boys (Capitol)

  9. (And yeah, quibble about whichever ones of those you want. I quibble about Black Kids and Katy Perry and Vampire Weekend myself all the time — I KNOW they’re basically full of shit, despite also basically being good records {it’s not like full-of-shit good records are anything NEW, for Crissakes}, and I’ve got real reservations about Lil Wayne and Hold Steady too, to be honest — so it’s not like you’d be telling me anything I haven’t already considered. The point is that there is so MUCH music being made these days, it really stumps me how somebody who actually cares at all about finding stuff to like *couldn’t* find any, if they’d just poke around a little. Which is easier now than ever. I’m not saying you *should* necessarily listen to new music — lots of old music is great too; sometimes even better!! and life is busy, and looking for music takes time!! — but complaining that nothing’s out there when the truth is that you haven’t looked is not exactly a trustworthy position to take. But I’m not saying anything here I haven’t said a million times before. If somebody thinks I’m full of it, I’d really love to hear why.)

    ps) Quoting the Who is not rockist. At all.

  10. PS) And btw (as I wait through the inevitable timelag for my first cranky and barely comprehensible PS to actually show up on the website), that’s just a *working* list of newish albums I’ve heard this year that I like (in very fuzzily descending order of preference, as it were), and I have no idea whether, say, Katy Perry or Big Elf or Old Crow Medicine Show will survive the year in my good graces (or in my apartment, which has limited space — I *still* don’t put music on a hard drive!), or even if they do, whether they’ll survive *next* year. Or the year after that. Which is….fine. Constant flux seems pretty natural to me when it comes to this stuff. I also realize the length of the list is completely ridiculous, and no doubt overwhelming. And that the overwhelmingness of All The Stuff Out There might well be what *prevents* some from looking around. But nobody says you have to listen to EVERYTHING. I sure don’t. Picking and choosing is half the fun. If you’re not busy being born you’re busy dying, right? (Quoting Dylan isn’t rockist either.)

  11. I fetched you from the trash as soon as I could… well, as soon as I checked in. This is like an evil magic trick. Thanks for doing the record filtering work so we (consumers) don’t have to.
    And not by the way, I agree with Mark about the pits and valleys of music. Sometimes the dry spells are so dry and it seems there are only so many ways to reinvent the three chords. Thank god for surprises.

  12. I love Chuck Eddy’s lists. LOVE ’em! They mystify the hell out of me, but I love ’em nonetheless. (C’mon, though, what Styx album is better than Re? What Styx album is better than Fragile, for that matter? Or… Frances the Mute? I’m sure you have an answer.)

  13. The idea that Styx ever made a good album is crazy. Sorry, I listened to a bunch of them around 1976, and for a couple years after, and I’m pretty certain they’re all kind of terrible. Like, really bad.

  14. The only Cafe Tacuba album I ever had any use for is the first one, from 1992; still think it’s not as exciting a mix of ska/punk/border music/etc as, say, the first couple Maldita Vecindad albums, or sundry Mano Negra albums, and maybe some others of that ilk (ie Desorden Publico from Venezuela), (much less say Chico Science from Brazil), but at least it was playable. Their later albums, to my ears (yeah, including the much-loved *Re*) fell way short on energy and hooks while getting increasingly bogged down in their own concepts, and didn’t tell me anything about their music that I hadn’t already learned on that debut. (Radiohead analogies may or may not be applicable here). I’m really not a fan.

    Styx albums wound up climbing up their own conceptual buttholes after a while, too, of course, but their big late ’70s/early ’80s LPs (Pieces of Eight, Grand Illusion, Cornerstone, Paradise Theater) each have at least two or three really likeable and memorable songs on them (Renegade, Blue Collar Man, Great White Hope / Grand Illusion, Fooling Yourself, Come Sail Away / Why Me, Babe / The Best of Times, Too Much Time On My Hands respectively). And their earlier LPs, especially the first four on Wooden Nickel when they were playing way tougher and more eccentric Uriah Heep style hard rock, are even better; honestly, dudes, you Who fans need to check out “Earl of Roseland* again someday. (Subject for future exploration: Now that anybody with half a brain is finally in agreement about how great ’70s Southern rock was, maybe it’s time for somebody to turn their attention to the great lost Midwestern prairie bonfire hard rock of the early/ mid ’70s — REO Speedwagon’s first few albums, Head East, early Styx, what else? Shooting Star, maybe? “Drenched in electricity, partying like the harvest is done with,” Martin Popoff writes about Head East’s *Live* album. Rings true to me. Some of us grew up on that stuff, even if we didn’t know it.)

  15. (Oh yeah, Kansas would obviously fit in that genre too, right? Guess i should call it “great lost Midwestern prairie bonfire hard PROG rock.” Or “pomp” or whatever — farmboys pretending to be British aristocrats, sort of, and burning down the corn silo in the process. If only Rascal Flatts were so ambitious…)

  16. Though, uh, I guess REO and Head East weren’t all that prog, really. Whatever….

    A.C. Rhodes, a question for you now: Can you explain why you think Dandy Warhols are less “rockist” than the Strokes or Belle & Sebastian? I’m totally perplexed by that statement, but maybe I missed something obvious. (Don’t really get the photo you chose, either — are you saying that the Warhols killed something? Or bemoaning when they jumped the shark? Or what? Their new album really sucks, by the way. But some of their early stuff was pretty good.)

  17. At the risk of putting A.C. Rhodes on the defensive again, the problem with this question is that “the day the music died” is as vapid and meaningless a phrase as it was when “American Pie” was on the charts. (And “American Pie,” need I remind you, claims that rock and roll died with Buddy Holly, one of the most reactionary and ridiculous arguments in the history of the Top 40.) If you feel that “the music died,” you’re just externalizing your own waning interest. As Steven, Scott and Chuck have said, there’s always something good to listen to, if you only bother to look.

    Take, for instance, Mark Kemp’s dubious statement that music “died with the rise of Pat Boone.” Really? Pat Boone’s rise ran from 1955-57, when he had five No. 1 singles. Also recording at that time were Elvis Presley (“Heartbreak Hotel”), Ray Charles (“I’ve Got a Woman”), Chuck Berry (“Maybellene”), Buddy Holly (“That’ll Be the Day”), Little Richard (“Long Tall Sally”), and Johnny Cash (“I Walk the Line”), to name but a few.

    That sound like “dead” to you?

  18. I well remember your enthusiasm for Maldita Vecindad, Chuck. In fact, ’tis you who is responsible for opening my world to the wonders of so-called rock en español with that fine piece you wrote for Option when I was editor. In fact, longtime champions of R-en-E tell me yours was the first major feature on the music for an English-language magazine. It’s certainly one of the pieces I’m proudest of from my Option years. However, I couldn’t disagree with you more re: Re. Short on energy and hooks? You gotta be kidding!


    * “La Ingrata” – Last time I saw Cafe Tacuba (Nov. 16, 2007, Charlotte, NC), their performance of this alt.norteño classic basically levitated the venue, with kids pogo-ing like I haven’t seen sense the Devo concert I saw in 1979, and singing along to every word. What’s NOT energetic about “La Ingrata”? It’s the pure essence of energy. Distilled energy.
    * “El Ciclón” — sure, it’s a mid-tempo experimental thang, but the Stevie Wonder-esque eletro-bassline and hard-rock chops energize the hell out of this mélange.
    * “El Borrego” — Even the album’s sole throwaway — an homage to Ministry that’s maybe a bit too Ministry-like — is nervous energy at its core.
    * “El Fin de la Infancia” — and here’s the ska you were looking for, with a rapid-fire vocal delivery that rivals Bone Thugs and Harmony. More energy than a PowerBar.


    * “La Ingrata” — see above re: kids singing along to every word.
    * “Las Flores” — see above re: kids singing along to every word, only this time to “Las Flores.”
    * “Madrugal” — harmonies to die for — or at least to have one’s first kiss to behind the bleachers at a high school soccer match.
    * “Pez” — pure pop for R.E.M. and Beatles people. (But what’s with the lisp; did they think they were Spaniards on this track?)
    * “El Balcón” — pure Tin Pan Alley for jazz people.

    Department of Midwestern classic rock for Styx fans:
    * “El Aparato” — the best Zeppelin song Kansas never did.

    OK, I’m done.

    btw… Chico Science = amazing, R.I.P.

    pss… to bring this back around to the original question, music died when Chico Science died but was resurrected with Calle 13.

  19. J.D.’s second paragraph raises a good point: saying music died with [insert vapid artist of choice] is to ascribe an awful lot of power to [insert vapid artist]!

    There is some nuance to these arguments, however. Much as the internalization argument (“if you say it’s dead it’s YOU who’s really dying”) makes eminent sense to me, I can see how in certain eras it might absolutely feel like things have gone kaput, especially if something that you loathe has effectively taken over and is inescapable (J.D.’s factually correct examples to the contrary, I could see how the rise of someone like Pat Boone may have felt like a kick in the face to early rock and roll fans… I mean, I wasn’t there, so I have no idea.) Thing is, I just don’t think the music world works like this anymore, and hasn’t for a long long time. There’s stuff everywhere and everyone knows where to look for it. It’s easy to avoid that which you loathe.

  20. …which is why I also wrote in the section you quote from, “Music is alive and well and exciting and vibrant despite mind-numbing trends that have always watered down the good stuff.”

  21. Scott: In 1955, rock and roll for the most part wasn’t established enough to have the sort of fans who might have considered Pat “White Covers” Boone “a kick in the face.” Hell, his version of “Ain’t That a Shame,” which first put him atop the Billboard pop chart, also climbed to No. 14 on the R&B charts. Obviously, that doesn’t make it as good as the original, and hindsight rightly looks down on Boone for whitewashing the tunes he covered. But you gotta remember, back in 1955, even Pat Boone sounded pretty rockin’ when compared to such then-current hit makers as Perry Como, Mitch Miller and Les Baxter.

    Now, aren’t you embarrassed that you put me in the position of semi-defending Pat Boone?

    Mark: If the dubiousness of the argument was your point, it didn’t come across. The whole died/resurrected trope read like you bought into the argument, despite your “music is alive and well” caveat. Sorry for having tarred you with that brush.

  22. Guess I was being a bit glib, JD. I have that tendency.
    Your contexting of Pat Boone is interesting. And a variation of it can be used to explain the critical polarizing of retro acts like the Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz in the late ’80s/early ’90s. I remember a younger critic who argued in favor of the Black Crowes telling me something to the effect of, “Well, I never heard Humble Pie or the Faces until AFTER I heard the Black Crowes. So I’m basing my opinion of the Black Crowes solely on their music and how it makes me feel right now.” I thought that was kind of a valid, visceral response. Made me listen to the band from a different perspective. And look at where we’ve come. Nowadays, no one complains much about an act’s retro appeal. The music either works or it doesn’t. Of course, there isn’t the political issue with retro acts that there was with Pat Boone getting rich and famous on stuff black musicians were doing better.

  23. Well, there were those couple summer weeks in 1990 when “Ice Ice Baby” actually got airplay (in its original indie-label incarnation) on “urban” stations specializing in rap music, before it crossed over to pop radio — that might be an analogy. I first heard it on a rap station in Detroit; had no idea Vanilla Ice was a white guy. And as far as I know, nobody tuned into the rap station complained about him– that didn’t happen til *after* he crossed over, and people stopped noticing how great the song was.

  24. Mr. Eddy, I appreciate the question. As a matter of fact I don’t find the Dandys to be any more or less part of the description I hate to say let alone type (the “R” word). I was just being flip in the face of a discussion from another column here.
    I tossed names out of a couple other popular bands for conversation sake and only chose the visual because it was the last DW record I liked. And thanks for my morning laugh with the Kansas comment. For some reason at first glance I thought I read “Bush aristocrats.”

  25. JD, I’m not on the defensive. Any of us can word things differently and, for example, not be as condescending or contentious while still posing a challenge. There have been enough responses echoing sentiments about rock’s remission or low points to show that the idea has some resonance.
    But as written it was more a multiple choice including a D) None of the above. I phrased the subsequent questions in such a way to facilitate debate, which seems to have happened. And thanks for putting “American Pie” in my head. :s

  26. OK Styx haters — take this:

    (From a 1977 issue of Rolling Stone)

    Crystal Ball

    Although Crystal Ball doesn’t have the immediate impact of its predecessor, Equinox, I still found it to be one of the most dynamic and satisfying rock albums of the year. Although Styx is based in Chicago, the group has its English scam down pat, from the Yes-like vocal harmonies on “Madamoiselle” to the slightly pretentious, somewhat pointless, nonetheless fun use of “Claire de Lune” as an intro to “Ballerina.” Styx merges the cocky edge of the finest English outfits with the commercial sensibilities of the most successful American bands. Their songs are full of intelligent and interesting changes of direction (“Put Me On,” the opening number, has at least three) yet they’re always back on track in time for catchy choruses. The instrumentation, particularly the dual guitars of James Young and Tommy Shaw, always seems on the verge of going out of control, giving the whole album an extra surge of excitement.


    (Jan 13, 1977)

  27. And it looks like Alan Niester was a fan of Kansas too — This also from a 1977 issue of Rolling Stone —


    Undoubtedly their finest album, Leftoverture warrants Kansas a spot right alongside Boston and Styx as one of the fresh new American bands who combine hard-driving group instrumentation (with a dearth of flashy solos) with short, tight melody lines and pleasant singing. Each song on side one of Leftoverture is strong, especially the opener, “Carry On Wayward Son,” which is blessed with a tough melody line and strong vocals by Robby Steinhardt. Most of side two is taken up by “Magnum Opus,” an extended, primarily instrumental passage (in six movements, the first of which is “Father Padilla Meets the Perfect Gnat”) that has a lot more to do with the Flock than with the recent works of Rick Wakeman. (RS 231)

    (Jan 27, 1977)

  28. A good question indeed. I can recall when the air went out of the balloon, at least for a good 5-7 years. If you wish, you can mark the exact date as April 5, 1994 (and just to be a dick, rather than elaborate, I’ll let you see if you can cast back to the event of that particular day in music history — the event itself is meaningless, but the date represents a more or less dividing line in time).

    See, working in a record store is a funny thing: you’re no longer in your insular community of friends and peers and, uh, other gentlemanly (and -womanly) rock critics, but surrounded more often than not by people who DON’T share or even particularly appreciate your musical tastes.

    And there in the looming mid ’90s it was like zero-to-sixty in 10 seconds: suddenly the entire world was aflame with post-grunge groveling and making way for the the incoming nu-metallers and all the other heavy detritus of the day. Which meant from 9 in the morning until midnight we at the store, in Tucson, were “rocking out” (term used ironically) to Korn, Tool, NIN, Helmet, Deftones (who?), Alice In Chains… give me a sec and I could come up with a definitive list and some chronological accuracy, but you get my drift.

    This went on seemingly for years. Wait, it DID: I think a new Linkin Park album was the big hit when I finally left the store, after ten years, to move back to N.C…. at any rate, the customers were as insufferable as the music, for all the true music geeks were figuratively shoved aside (literally, too — they all graduated to buying music online) and replaced by these scary looking shaved head motherfuckers with evil facial hair (backwards ball caps, natch) and their glum, grimey girlfriends who, to a woman, looked like tatooed, transsexual sailors on extended shore leave. (Arizona is a land-locked state, yo.)

    Now you’d think that as a smart-ass “rock critic” (term used ironically), I’d have respite on my days off at home. Sometimes I fooled myself into thinking that was so, and I would write happily and glowingly about all the latest indie-rock nobodies as if it were 1977-79 all over again. I recently was asked to participate in a retrospective of a magazine I was writing for at the time, so I looked back at my writing from that time as well as a master list of all the bands that we covered.

    I was shocked: 99% of everything on that list I had systematically weeded out from my collection in the past 5 years or so. When I do house cleaning, I’ll look at a disc and try to do a quick longevity assessment: Do I want to hear this again anytime soon, or is it something I’d pull out to play at a party? If the answer is no, out it goes. And it was as if I’d systematically begun erasing the better part of a decade from my life — it was more profound than just selling old records; it was more akin to denying that an entire period of my professional life was aesthetically meaningless.

    (Here’s where everyone gets to nod in vigorous agreement… spare me.)

    So while the music has never really died for me — the implication of what I’m saying above is that while mid to late ’90s was happening, I shunned the bad stuff and embraced the good stuff, only to later realize that IT WAS ALL BAD STUFF — I can say, firmly and with a good head of caffeine going for me, that I did endure a long, painfully fallow period.

    Ironically, it came at a time in my life when I was surrounded by music nearly 24-7, too. Ain’t that a bitch?

  29. Fred Mills: April 5, 1994? Wow — your store was playing the Deftones a year before they had anything out! You *should* be proud.

  30. Thank you, Steven Ward! I put Kansas’ “Carry On, My Wayward Son” on the very first critics Top 10 I did in 1977. I’ve privately rued that choice ever since (I did not have the obligatory Steely Dan *Aja* or whatever their album that year was) but now, finally I feel vindicated. Well, sort of. 🙂

  31. 31.

    Sigh. JD, read about 10 words yonder (in my original post) from Deftones ref where I indicate the chronology might be furry. I think the overall context is pretty clear (save for the next to last line in the fourth from end paragraph, near the end, where a random redundancy appeared to cancel out another).

    Y’all keeping track?

    Fug. This is why I don’t blog.

  32. Fred, my friend and countryman, your reference was abundantly clear, as was your subsequent contexting of the times with mentions of acts/albums (including the Deftones) which followed that sad, transitional day in music history. Those who missed your reference missed the very essence of your post.
    However, my friend, as with string theory, there were parallel musical universes happening during that decade when the tattooed hate boys and their scary girlfriends flooded your store. As played out as it’s become, the re-energizing of country-, roots- and folk-rock (inspired by Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Uncle Tupelo, et al) was in full swing, with releases from bands ranging from the likes of The Jayhawks, Palace, the Drive-By Truckers and our own Mr. Adams arriving alongside those from mind-numbing bores like KornyTooltones….

    To wit: *

    Steve Earle: Train a Comin’ – his excellent post-junkie comeback.
    The Bottle Rockets: The Brooklyn Side
    The Jayhawks: Tomorrow the Green Grass
    Palace: Viva Last Blues

    Whiskeytown: Faithless Street
    Gillian Welch: Revival – her debut
    Wilco: Being There
    Lambchop: How I Quit Smoking

    The Waco Brothers: Cowboy in Flames – I had to get a Mekons-related disc on here
    Old 97’s: Too Far to Care
    Palace Music: Lost Blues & Other Songs

    Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
    Cat Power: Moon Pix
    Marah: Let’s Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight

    The Drive By Truckers: Pizza Deliverance
    Smog: Knock Knock
    Beth Orton: Central Reservation

    Shelby Lynne: I Am Shelby Lynne
    Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker
    Neko Case & Her Boyfriends: Furnace Room Lullaby

    The Drive-By Truckers: Southern Rock Opera
    Clem Snide: The Ghost of Fashion
    My Morning Jacket: At Dawn

    Iron & Wine: The Creek Drank the Cradle
    Bright Eyes: Lifted, or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
    The Mountain Goats: Tallahassee – Darnielle’s masterpiece!

    The Drive-By Truckers: Decoration Day
    The Fiery Furnaces: Fiery Furnaces: Gallowsbird’s Bark
    Kimya Dawson: My Sweet Fiend Sweet Princess

    The Drive-By Truckers: The Dirty South
    Bobby Bare Jr.: From the End of Your Leash
    Devendra Banhart: Rejoicing in the Hands

    Also in the decade following April 5, 1994, there was the surge and momentum of excellent folk, rock and hip-hop en espanol (the aforementioned Re in 1994, followed by Aterciopelados’ El Dorado in 95 and La Pipa de la Paz in 97, Ozomatli’s debut in 98, Julieta Venegas’ Aquí in 98 and Bueninvento in 00, and Ely Guerra’s Lotofire in 02 and Sweet & Sour, Hot y Spicy in 04); experimental/psychedelic indie rock and chamber pop (The Olivia Tremor Control, Apples in Stereo, et al.), garage rock (White Stripes, Strokes, Kings of Leon) and the rise of experimental and offbeat hip-hop, neosoul and hip-hop related indie rock (The Roots, The Coup, OutKast, Common, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Prince Paul, Jurassic Five, Cornershop, et al) – not to mention the big mainstream releases from acts like Beck (Odelay) and Radiohead (OK Computer).

    * I’m aware that, to some, this list might actually confirm Fred’s point, but in my best Chuck Eddy overkill, I couldn’t resist compiling.

  33. Oops, sorry, Fred, I see your quibble was with five to seven years after 94 — I took it a full decade ahead. Oh well… it was fun, anyway.

  34. Cut-and-pasted (and also incomplete, in part since I only got about two-thirds of the way through my shelves before getting bored whilst I attempting to construct these lists a couple years ago) (also, feel free to ignore the reissues, if so inclined):

    Dion – King Of The New York Streets (The Right Stuff reissue)
    Louis Armstrong – West End Blues: The Very Best of The Hot Fives and Hot Sevens (Music Club reissue)
    (Various) – Machine Soul: An Odyssey Into Electronic Dance Music (Rhino reissue)
    Deep Purple – The Very Best Of (Warner Archives/Rhino reissue)
    MC5 – The Big Bang!: The Best Of (Rhino reissue)
    Isley Brothers – The Original (Epic/Legacy reissue)
    The English Beat – The Best Of: Beat This! (Go Feet/London reissue)
    (Various) – Gimme Indie Rock (K-Tel reissue)
    I-F – Mixed Up In The Hague Vol. 1 (Panamamix)
    (Various) – Ohm: The Early Gurus Of Electronic Music: 1948-1980 (Ellipsis Arts reissue)
    Devo – Pioneers Who Got Scalped: The Anthology (Warner Archives/Rhino reissue)
    Sam Cooke – The Man Who Invented Soul (one-disc version) (Atlantic promo reissue)
    (Various) – Bring It On (Playtone/Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax)
    Ornette Coleman – The Complete Science Fiction Sessions (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Ian Hunter – Once Bitten Twice Sky (Columbia reissue)
    Motorhead – The Chase Is Better Than The Catch: The Singles A & B’s (Castle reissue)
    Kandi – Hey Kandi… (Columbia)
    (Various) – Harry Smith’s Anthology Of American Folk Music: Volume Four (Revenant reissue)
    Fela Kuti – The Best Best Of (MCA/Barclay reissue)
    Electric Wizard – Dopethrone (The Music Cartel)
    DJ P and Z-Trip – Uneasy Listening Against The Grain Vol. 1 (ZTrip)
    D.A.D. – Everything Glows (EMI)
    Miles Davis – Blue Miles (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Fat Boy Slim – On The Floor Of The Boutique (Skint/Astralwerks mix album)
    Lifter Puller – Fiestas + Fiascos (The Self-Starter Foundation)
    (Various) – Homework No. 4: U.S. DIY-Punk/Grind LPs R-Z (Hyped To Death reissue)
    Mammoth Volume – Noara Dance (The Music Cartel)
    (Various) – Brassic Beats (Skint)
    (Various) – Cool Jazz For Hot Nights (Candid reissue)
    New York Dolls – Lipstick Killers: The Mercer Street Sessions 1972 (ROIR reissue)
    ESG – A South Bronx Story (Universal Sound reissue)
    (Various) – Bhangra Beatz (Naxos World)
    M2M – Shades Of Purple (Atlantic)
    Everclear – Songs From An American Movie: Vol One: Learning How To Smile (Capitol)
    Confederate Railroad – Rockin’ Country Party Pack (Atlantic reissue)
    Perry Como – Platinum & Gold Collection (RCA/BMG Heritage reissue)
    Dropkick Murphys – Sing Loud Sing Proud! (Hellcat)
    (Various) – Homework No. 5: U.S. “DIY” 45s V-Z (Hyped To Death reissue)
    Nikki And The Corvettes – Nikki And The Corvettes (Bomp! reissue)
    Chicks On Speed – Will Save Us All! (Chicks On Speed)
    Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Live!: All The Best, Mate… (Music Club reissue)
    Ray Charles – The Very Best Of (Rhino reissue)
    Nelly – Country Grammar (Universal)
    Montrose – The Very Best Of (Warnr Archives/Rhino reissue)
    Major Lance – The Very Best Of (Epic/Legacy reissue)
    (Various) – Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samarai: The Album (Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax)
    Bleed – Motor Psycho (Musick)
    Derringer – Live At the Paradise Theater, Boston, Massachusetts July 7, 1978 (Phoenix Gems reissue)
    Atmosphere – Lucy Ford (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
    Ashes To Ashes – Big Moving Parts (Ata Boy!)
    Motorhead – Over The Top: The Rarities (Castle reissue)
    Joe Dee Messina – Burn (Curb)
    Fermin Muguruza – FM 99.00 Dub Manifest (Piranha)
    The Embarrassment – Blister Pop (My Pal God reissue)
    Sandy Knox – Pushin’ 40, Never Married, No Kids (American Originals)
    The Obsessed – The Obsessed (Tolotta reissue)
    The Almighty – The Almighty (Sanctuary)
    The Kinks – Come Dancing With The Kinks (Koch reissue)
    Abdullah Ibrahim – The Very Best Of (Music Club reissue)
    Field Mob – 613: Ashy To Classy (MCA)
    James Carter – Layin’ In The Cut (Atlantic)
    Leatherface – Horsebox (BYO)
    Hoku – Hoku (Geffen)
    Ludacris – Back For The First Time (Def Jam South)
    Ghoultown – Tales From The Dead West (Angry Planet)
    FSK – International (Catamount)
    Gilberto Gil & Milton Nascimento – Gil & Milton (Atlantic)
    (Various) – Coyote Ugly (Curb)
    Rebecca Lynn Howard – Rebecca Lynn Howard (MCA Nashville)
    Evolotto – 1776 (Sin Klub)
    The Modernist – Explosion (Matador)
    Eminem – Fucking Yzarc (unlabeled bootleg)
    Moby – Songs (Elektra reissue)
    John Cale/Tony Conrad/Angus Maclise/Lamont Young/Marian Zazeela – Inside The Dream Syndicate: Volume 1: Day Of Niagara (1965) (Table of Elements reissue)
    Bosco Fr – Paramour (Dmaft)
    Sara Evans – Born To Fly (RCA)
    Earthlings? – Earthlings? (Man’s Ruin)
    The Distillers – The Distillers (Hellcat)
    Boulder – Ravage And Savage (Tee Pee)
    King Tubby – The Best Of: King Dub (Music Club reissue)
    Marumari – The Wolves Hollow (Carpark)
    Earthlings? – Human Beans (Man’s Ruin)
    (Various) – The Drastic Jungle Project (Insomniac)
    Laura Nyro – Time and Love: The Essential Masters (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    The Damage Manual – The Damage Manual (Invisible/Caroline EP)
    John Cale – Sun Blindness Music (Table of Elements reissue)
    (Various) – Doity Records Vol. 1 (Bean Snicker reissue)
    Lungfish – Necrophones (Dischord)
    Lil’ Wayne – Lights Out (Cash Money/Universal)
    Danni Leigh – A Shot Of Whiskey & A Prayer (Monument)
    Green Day – Warning (Reprise)
    Nelly Furtado – Whoa, Nelly! (Dreamworks)
    Donna The Buffalo – Positive Friction (Sugar Hill)
    The Clientele – Suburban Light (Merge reissue)
    James Carter – Chasin’ The Gypsy (Atlantic)
    (Various) – Clicks + Cuts (Mille Plateaux)
    Dead Meadow – Dead Meadow (Tolotta)
    Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump (V2)
    Amorphis – Tales From The Thousand Lakes (Relapse)
    Appolyon Sun – Sub (Mayan)
    Goatsnake – Flower Of Disease (Man’s Ruin)
    Cracker – Garage D’Or (Virgin reissue)
    The Black Crowes – Greatest Hits 1990-1999 (Columbia reissue)
    Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica (Epic)
    Crowbar – Sludge: History Of Crowbar (Spitfire reissue)
    Blur – The Best Of (Virgin reissue)
    Merle Haggard – If I Could Only Fly (Anti-)
    The Cannanes And Steward – Communicating At An Unknown Rate (Yoyo)
    (Various) – L’Age D’or: The Golden Age Das Goldene Zeitalter El Siglo Del Oro (L’Age D’or)
    Kittie – Paperdoll EP (NG/Artemis EP)
    Anethema – Judgement (Music For Nations)

    Chrome – Chrome Flashback/Chrome Live: The Best Of (Cleopatra reissue)
    Anita O’Day With Gene Krupa – Let Me Off Uptown! (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Rosemary Clooney and Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – Blue Rose (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Tim McGraw – A Place In The Sun (Curb)
    (Various) – Pop Music: The Early Years: 1890-1950 (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    MC5 – ’66 Breakout! (Alive/Total Energy reissue)
    Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band – The Dust Blows Forward (An Anthology) (Warner Archives/Rhino reissue)
    Duke Ellington – The Best Of The Centennial Edition (RCA Victor reissue)
    The Gathering – How To Measure A Planet? (Century Media)
    Lo Fidelity All Stars – On The Floor At The Boutique (Big Beat mix album)
    Dixie Chicks – Fly (Monument)
    (Various) – The Cornhusker’s Frolic Vol. 1 (Yazoo reissue)
    Starz – Greatest Hits Live (GB Music reissue)
    Falco – Greatest Hits (Buddha reissue)
    Les Rhythmes Digitales – Darkdancer (Astralwerks)
    Basement Jaxx – Remedy (XL/Astralwerks)
    Midnight Star – Anniversary Collection (Solar reissue)
    Ghost – Snuffbox Immanence (Drag City)
    (Various) – The Cornhusker’s Frolic Vol. 2 (Yazoo reissue)
    Montgomery Gentry – Tattoos & Scars (Columbia)
    Hardknox – Hardknox (Jive/Zomba)
    Huon – Songs For Lord Tortoise (Animal World)
    Mu-ziq – Royal Astronomy (Astralwerks)
    (Various) – National Public Radio Milestones of the Millenium: Preludes Fugues & Riffs: Jazz In Classical Music (Sony Classical reissue)
    Nazareth – Boogaloo (CMC International)
    Steve Lacy / Roswell Rudd – Monk’s Dream (Verve/Universal)
    Toy Box – Fantastic! (Edel)
    Eminem – The Slim Shady LP (Aftermath/Interscope)
    Genesis – Turn It On Again: The Hits (Atlantic reissue)
    Judy Garland – The Best Of: 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection (MCA reissue)
    DMX Krew – We Are DMX (Rephlex)
    Cobra Verde – Nightlife (Motel)
    Days of the New – Days of the New II (Outpost)
    (Various) – Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz: Rock (Rhino reissue)
    Herbie Hancock – The Best Of: The Hits (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Willie Nelson – Night And Day (Pedernales/Freefalls)
    Entombed – Black Juju (Man’s Ruin)
    Mammoth Volume – Mammoth Volume (The Music Cartel)
    Arling & Cameron – All In (Emperor Norton/Drive In)
    Ashes To Ashes – Plaything (Ata Boy!)
    Leftfield – Rhythm And Stealth (Hard Hands/Higher Ground/Columbia)
    Buck 65 – Vertex (Four Ways to Rock)
    Steve Coleman And Five Elements – The Sonic Language Of Myth (BMG/RCA)
    Nightmares On Wax – Carboot Soul (Warp/Matador)
    Angus Maclise – The Invasion Of The Thunderbolt Pagoda (Siltbreeze/Quakebasket reissue)
    I-F – The Man From Pack (Interdimensional Transmissions)
    (Various) – Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz: Pop (Rhino reissue)
    Naked Raygun – Huge Bigness: Selected Tracks From Collected Works 1980-1992 (Quarterstick promo reissue)
    Helloween – Metal Jukebox (Sanctuary)
    Drunk Horse – Drunk Horse (Man’s Ruin)
    Neurosis – Times Of Grace (Relapse)
    The Dismemberment Plan – Emergency & I (DeSoto)
    Kreidler – Appearance And The Park (Mute)
    Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes – Loaded For Bear: The Best Of (Epic Associated/Legacy reissue)
    Bernard Hermann – Citizen Kane: The Essential Film Music Collection (Silva America reissue)
    The Avengers – Died For Your Sins (Lookout! Reissue)
    Jessica Andrews – Heart Shaped World (Dreamworks)
    Pauline Oliveros – Primordial Life (Table Of The Elements)
    Dave Douglas – Songs For Wandering Souls (Winter & Winter/Edel)
    Ken Boothe – A Man And His Hits (Heartbeat reissue)
    The Beatnuts – A Musical Massacre (Loud)
    Faith Hill – Breathe (Warner Bros.)
    (Various) – The Colors Of Latin Jazz: Soul Sauce! (Concord Special Products reissue)
    Cyclefly – Generation Sap (Radioactive)
    The Go-Betweens – Bellavista Terrace: Best Of (Beggars Banquet reissue)
    Neon Venus – The Birth Of (Gato)
    Boom Boom Satellites – Out Loud (Epic)
    Add N To (X) – Avant Hard (Mute)
    Lightning Bolt – Lightning Bolt (Load)
    Louis Armstrong – The Best Of: 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection (MCA reissue)
    Mekons – I Have Been To Heaven And Back: Hen’s Teeth And Other Lost Framents Of Popular Culture Vol. 1 (Quarterstick reissue)
    The Divine Comedy – A Secret History (Setanta/Red Ink reissue)
    The Mavericks – Super Collossal Smash Hits Of The ‘90s: The Best Of (Mercury reissue)
    Les Brown – The Best of The Big Bands: Sentimental Journey With (Reader’s Digest Music reissue)
    Crazy Town – The Gift Of Game (Columbia)
    Lil’ Wayne – Tha Block Is Hot (Cash Money/Universal)
    Leather Hyman – Sunshine And Other Forms Of Radiation (True Classical)
    Modest Mouse – Building Nothing Out Of Something (Up)
    Mekons – Where Were You: Hen’s Teeth And Other Lost Framents Of Popular Culture Vol. 2 (Quarterstick reissue)
    Decoded Feedback – Evolution (Metropolis)
    Aphex Twin – Windowlicker (Warp EP)
    Lava Baby – In The Right Place (Little Yo)
    Drivin N Cryin – The Essential Live (Ped/Drivin N Cryin)
    Lacuna Coil – In A Reverie (Century Media)
    Death In Vegas – The Contino Sessions (Time Bomb Recordings/Concrete)
    Negativland/Chumawamba – The ABCs Of Anarchism (Seeland EP)
    Circle – Andexelt (Tumult)
    Autechre – Peel Session (Warp EP)
    The Beta Band – The Beta Band (Astralwerks/Regal)
    Borbetomagus – Songs Our Mother Taught Us (Agaric)

    Hoagy Carmichael – Ole Buttermilk Sky (Collector’s Choice reissue)
    Heart – Greatest Hits (Epic/Legacy reissue)
    Kid Rock – Devil Without A Cause (Atlantic/Lava)
    Los Umbrellos – Flamenco Funk (Flex/Virgin)
    Juan Atkins – Wax Trax! MasterMix Volume 1 (Wax Trax)
    Dick Curless –The Drag ‘Em Off the Interstate Sock It To ‘Em Hits Of (Razor & Tie reissue)
    Chemical Brothers – Brothers Gonna Work It Out: A DJ Mix Album (Astralwerks mix album)
    Stoney Edwards – The Best Of: Poor Folks Stick Together (Razor & Tie reissue)
    T. Graham Brown – Wine Into Water (Intersound)
    Monster Magnet – Powertrip (A&M)
    (Various) – National Lampoon’s Animal House (MCA reissue)
    MC5 – Babes In Arms (R.O.I.R. reissue)
    Tyrone Davis – Slow Jams (Sony Music Special Products reissue)
    The Living End – It’s For Your Own Good/Hellbound (Reprise)
    Fatso Jetson – Toasted (Bong Load)
    The Dismemberment Plan – The Ice of Boston (Interscope EP)
    (Various) – My Rough And Rowdy Ways Vol. 1 (Yazoo reissue)
    Black Sage – Jack’s Corner (Carpet Cat)
    Carlinhos Brown – Omelette Man (Metro Blue)
    (Various) – Bootyz In Motion (Jake)
    Ninos Con Bombas – El Nino (Grita!)
    (Various) – My Rough And Rowdy Ways Vol. 2 (Yazoo reissue)
    Metallica – Garage Inc. (Elektra)
    Malcolm McLaren & The World Famous Supreme Team – Buffalo Gals: Back to Skool (Virgin/Priority reissue)
    Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces (Monument)
    Depeche Mode – The Singles 81-85 (Mute reissue)
    (Various) – The Afro-Latin Groove: Sabroso! (Rhino reissue)
    Night Ranger – Seven (CMC International)
    (Various) – Motor City’ s Burnin’ Vol. 2 (Alive/Total Energy reissue)
    The Coup – Steal This Album (Dogday)
    (Various) – The Music In My Head (Stern’s Africa reissue)
    Andrews Sisters – Greatest Hits: The 60th Anniversary Collection (MCA reissue)
    Hole – Celebrity Skin (DGC)
    (Various) – Hard Times Come Again No More Vol. 2 (Yazoo reissue)
    The B-52s – Time Capsule (Reprise reissue)
    (Various) – Ay Califas! Raza Rock (Zyanya/Rhino reissue)
    Brooklyn Bounce – The Beginning (Edel)
    Lo Fidelity All Stars – How To Operate With A Blown Mind (Skint/Columbia)
    (Various) – Beauty In The Darkness Vol. 3 (Nuclear Blast)
    The Flaming Lips – A Collection Of Songs Representing An Enthusiasm For Recording…By Amateurs: 1984-1990 (Restless reissue)
    The Detroit Cobras – Mink Rat Or Rabbit (Sympathy For The Record Industry)
    Hi-Town DJs – We Came To Groove (Restless)
    ZZ Hill – This Time They Told The Truth: The Columbia Years (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Dr. Israel – Inna City Pressure (Mutant Sound System)
    Joe Dee Messina – I’m Alright (Curb)
    (Various) – Best Of Kram: Thee Underground Kingdom (Kram)
    Om – Namaste (Aztlan)
    Dr. Bombay – Rice & Curry (Warner Music Sweden)
    Frankie Ford – Sea Cruise: The Very Best Of (Music Club reissue)
    Manu Chao – Clandestino (Virgin)
    B*Witched – B*Witched (Epic)
    Boredoms – Super Ae (Birdman)
    Beanfield – Beanfield (StreetBeat)
    (Various) – From Beyond (Interdimensional Transmissions)
    Course Of Empire- Telepathic Last Words (TVT)
    Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy – The Odyssey Of Funk & Popular Music (Atlantic)
    (Various) – Hard Times Come Again No More Vol. 1 (Yazoo reissue)
    Katatonia – Discouraged Ones (Century Black)
    The Donnas – American Teenage Rock’n’Roll Machine (Lookout!)
    Deep Purple – Abandon (CMC International)
    Mariner – Amphibian (Kram)
    The Notwist – Shrink (Zero Hour)
    Motley Crue – Greatest Hits (Motley/Beyond reissue)
    The Mollys – Moon Over The Interstate (Apokalips Now)
    Altered Images – I Could Be Happy: The Best of Altered Images (Epic/Legacy reissue)
    Faith Hill – Faith (Warner Bros.)
    Madonna – Ray Of Light (Maverick/Warner Bros.)
    KMFDM – Agogo (Wax Trax! reissue)
    Jackyl – Choice Cuts (Geffen reissue)
    Lionrock – City Delirious (Time Bomb/Concrete)
    Taylor’s Universe With Karsten Vogel – Experimental Health (Mals)
    Fun Lovin’ Criminals – 100% Columbian (Virgin)
    Faithless – Sunday 8 P.M. (Arista)
    Divine Styler – Wordpower: 2: Directrix (DTX)
    Dario G – Sunmachine (WEA France)
    (Various) – Call On The Dark 2 (Nuclear Blast)
    The Afghan Whigs – Historectomy (Columbia promo reissue)
    The Hunger – Cinematic Superthug (Universal)
    Hooverphonic – Blue Wonder Power Milk (Epic)
    The Meat Joy – The Meat Joy (Death Rebel)
    Local H – Pack Up The Cats (Island)
    (Various) – Bass: Lo + Slo 3 (Pandisc)
    Meshuggah – Chaosphere (Nuclear Blast)
    Linda Davis – I’m Yours (Dreamworks)
    Creation – Highlights From The Complete Collection (Retroactive promo reissue EP)
    Air – Moon Safari (Source/Caroline)
    Bloque – Bloque (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros.)

    (Various) – Kurtis Blow Presents The History Of Rap Vol. 1 (Rhino reissue)
    (Various) – Selections From The Anthology Of American Folk Music (Smithsonian Folkways promo reissue)
    (Various) – MTV Amp (Astralwerks/Caroline)
    (Various) – The Music Of Prohibition (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Budgie – We Came, We Saw… (Pilot reissue)
    Kiss – Greatest Kiss (Mercury reissue)
    Mindy McCready – If I Don’t Stay The Night (BNA)
    (Various) – Dancing At The Nick At NiteClub (Nick At Nite/550 reissue)
    Faithless – Reverence (Arista)
    Black Oak Arkansas – Hot And Nasty And Other Hits (Flashback reissue)
    Tiamat – A Deeper Kind of Slumber (Century Media)
    Prodigy: The Fat of the Land (Maverick/Warner Bros.)
    Michael Jackson – Blood On The Dancefloor: History In The Mix (Epic)
    Girlschool – King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents (King Biscuit Flower Hour reissue)
    Fat Boys – The Best Of: All Meat No Filler (Rhino reissue)
    Timbaland And Magoo – Welcome to Our World (Blackground/Atlantic)
    Daft Punk – Homework (Virgin)
    (Various) – Eh, Paisano!: Italian-American Classics (Rhino reissue)
    The Notwist – 12 (Zero Hour)
    (Various) – Parole Italiano (Trikont)
    Everclear – So Much For The Afterglow (Capitol)
    C-Bank – Greatest Hits (Next Plateau reissue)
    David Holmes – Let’s Get Killed (Go! Beat)
    The Gathering – Nighttime Birds (Century Media)
    The Brain Surgeons – Malpractice (Cellsum)
    Junkie XL – Saturday Teenage Kick (Roadrunner)
    (Various) – Dance Mission Vol. 15 (Intercord Holland)
    Aqua – Aquarium (MCA)
    Artificial Joy Club – Melt (Crunchy/Interscope)
    Dropkick Murphys – Do Or Die (Hellcat)
    Toby Keith – Dream Walkin’ (Mercury)
    Monks – Black Monk Time (Infinite Zero/American reissue)
    The Dandy Warhols – Come Down (Capitol/Tim Kerr)
    Cobra Verde – Egomania (Love Songs) (Scat)
    Night Ranger – Neverland (Legacy/Sony)
    Mark Morrison – Return Of The Mack (Atlantic)
    MC Solaar – Paradisiaque (Island)
    My Dying Bride – Like Gods Of The Sun (Mayhem/Fierce)
    DJ Shadow – Preemptive Strike (Mo Wax/FFRR)
    Kelly Marie – Feels Like I’m In Love: The Best Of (Success/Elap reissue)
    In Flames – Whoracle (Nuclear Blast)
    Los Van Van – Best Of (Milan Latino reissue)
    Gina G – Fresh! (Warner Bros.)
    A3 – Exile On Coldharbour Lane (Geffen/Elemental)
    Missy Misdemeanor Elliott – Supa Dupa Fly (The Gold Mind/East West)
    The Cicadas – (Si Ka’ Das) (Warner Bros.)
    Jimmy Ray – Jimmy Ray (Epic)
    Cornershop – When I Was Born For The 7th Time (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros.)
    Dose One – Slow Death (The Permanent Cry) (Dose One)
    Midnight Oil – 20,000 Watt R.S.L. (Columbia reissue)
    The Dead Milkmen – Death Rides A Pale Cow: The Ultimate Collection (Restless reissue)
    Tim McGraw – Everywhere (Curb)
    Kim Richey – Bitter Sweet (Mercury)
    Sleater -Kinney: Dig Me Out (Kill Rock Stars)
    Fabienne Shine – No Mad Nomad (FB Music)
    (Various) – Club NRG Volume 1 (Interhit)
    The Elevator Drops – People Mover (Time Bomb Recordings)
    Lila McCann – Lila (Asylum)
    Days of the New – Days of the New (Outpost)

    Nazareth – Greatest Hits (A&M reissue)
    OMC – How Bizarre (Mercury)
    Emmett Miller – The Minstrel Man From Georgia (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    (Various) – Cleveland: So Much To Answer For (Cle reissue)
    Weezer – Pinkerton (DGC)
    The Business – Loud, Proud And Oi! (Dojo reissue)
    The Nomads – R&R (Raw and Rare) (Estrus reissue)
    DJ Shadow – Endtroducing… (Mo Wax/FFRR)
    (Various) – Jazz The World Forgot Vol. 1 (Yazoo reissue)
    Al Jolson – Let Me Sing And I’m Happy: At Warner Bros. 1926-1936 (Turner Classic/Rhino Movie Music reissue)
    Joni Mitchell- Hits (Reprise reissue)
    Gillette – Shake Your Money Maker (Zoo/SOS)
    Baader Meinhof – Baader Meinhof (VC)
    Local H – As Good As Dead (Island)
    (Various) – Jazz The World Forgot Vol. 2 (Yazoo reissue)
    Gene Autry – Blues Singer: 1929-1931 (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Destroy All Monsters – Silver Wedding Anniversary (Sympathy For The Record Industry)
    Carlinhos Brown – Alfagamabetizado (Metro Blue)
    New Kingdom – Paradise Don’t Come Cheap (Gee Street)
    ZZ Hill – Turn Back The Hands Of Time (Night Train/Tuff City reissue)
    Deana Carter – Did I Shave My Legs For This? (Capitol)
    Banda Bahia – Ghostbusters (Unico)
    (Various) – Czeching In (Skoda)
    (Various) – Make ‘Em Mokum Crazy (Mokum/Roadrunner)
    Moonspell – Irreligious (Century Media)
    OutKast – ALTiens (LaFace)
    Sheryl Crow – Sheryl Crow (A&M)
    In Extremo – Die Verruuckten Sind In Der Stadt (Stars In The Dark Germany)
    My Dying Bride – The Angel And The Dark River (Fierce)
    KMFDM – Retro (Wax Trax! reissue)
    The London Suede – Coming Up (Nude/Columbia)
    Serge Gainsbourg – Comic Strip (Philips/Mercury reissue)
    Nina Hagen – 14 Friendly Abductions: The Best Of (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Lucifer – 666 (Lucifer)
    Girls Against Boys – House Of GVSB (Touch & Go)
    Fluffy – 5 Live (The Enclave EP)
    Thornetta Davis – Sunday Morning Music (Sub Pop)
    Ruth Ruth – Laughing Gallery (American)
    The Afghan Whigs – Honky’s Ladder EP (Mute EP)

    Blue Oyster Cult – Workshop Of The Telescopes (Legacy/Columbia reissue)
    (Various) – Hillbilly Fever! Vol. 1: Legends Of Western Swing (Rhino reissue)
    Duke Ellington — And His Great Vocalists (Columbia/Legacy reissue)
    Rancid – ..And Out Come the Wolves (Epitaph)
    Jimmy Castor Bunch – The Best Of: The Everything Man (Rhino reissue)
    (Various) – Country Kickers (K-Tel reissue)
    The Scene Is Now – The Oily Years (1983-1993) (Bar None reissue)
    (Various) – Cle! Magazine No. 3X (Big! Wave/Cle reissue)
    Joy Division – Permanent (Qwest/Warner Bros. reissue)
    Modernettes – Get It Straight (Zulu reissue)
    Chico Science & Nação Zumbí — De Lama Ao Caos (SDI)
    The Great Society – Born to Be Burned (Sundazed reissue)
    Laura Branigan – The Best Of (Atlantic reissue)
    Bohannon – The Very Best Of (Rhino reissue)
    Les Brown – And His Great Vocalists (Legacy/Columbia reissue)
    Monster Magnet – Dopes To Infinity (A&M)
    (Various) – Appalachian Stomp: Bluegrass Classics (Rhino reissue)
    Don Henley – Actual Miles: Don Henley’s Greatest Hits (Geffen reissue)
    Lordz Of Brooklyn – All In The Family (American/Venture)
    Mo-Do – Was Ist Das? (ZYX)
    The Count Bishops – The Best Of (Ace/Chiswick reissue)
    Tapps – Greatest Hits (Thump reissue)
    (Various) — Playa Dance ’95 Compilation (EMI Latin)
    Rednex — Sex & Violins (Battery)
    Count Bishops – Speedball + 11 (Ace/Chiswick reissue)
    T. Graham Brown – Super Hits (Columbia reissue)
    Hawkwind – 25 Years On 1987-1994 (Griffin reissue)
    Ted Nugent – Spirit Of The Wild (Atlantic)
    The Gathering – Mandylion (Century Media)
    Natacha Atlas – Diaspora (Beggars Banquet)
    Everclear – Sparkle And Fade (Capitol/Tim Kerr)
    Los Del Mar – Macarena (Lime/Quality Canada)
    Moonspell – Wolfheart (Century Media)
    Montell Jordan – This Is How We Do It (PMP/Rush Associated)
    Helios Creed – Cosmic Assault (Cleopatra reissue)
    Heroes Del Silencio – El Dorado (EMI-Odeon Spain)
    FSK – The Sound Of Music (Flying Fish)
    Selena — Dreaming Of You (EMI)
    Desorden Publico – Canto Poular De La Vida Y Muerte (Sony Discos)
    Cornershop – Woman’s Gotta Have It (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros.)
    Aterciopelados – El Dorado (BMG U.S. Latin)
    Ajax – Aphrodite (Zoo EP)
    Moonshake – Eva Luna (Matador/Atlantic)
    Fey – Fey (Sony Mexico)
    Junior Brown – Junior High (MCG/Curb EP)
    Apache Indian – Make Way For The Indian (Mango)
    Garth Brooks – Fresh Horses (Capitol)
    The Stranglers – The Sessions (Castle reissue)
    Supergrass — I Should Coco (Capitol)
    Tim McGraw — All I Want (Curb)
    Local H- Ham Fisted (Island)

    Kix – $how BuSine$$ (CMC)
    Peter Laughner and Friends – Take the Guitar Player for a Ride (Tim/Kerr reissue)
    Gillette – On The Attack (Zoo/SOS)
    Garth Brooks – The Hits (Liberty reissue)
    Sensation – Burger Habit (550/Epic/One Little Indian)
    Indochine – Un Jour Dans Notre Vie (BMG France)
    Um Pah Pah – Bordell (BMG Spain)
    Tiamat – Wildhoney (Century Media)
    Mano Negra – Casa Babylon (Virgin France)
    Santa Sabina – Simbolos (RCA Latin)
    Shampoo – We Are Shampoo (IRS)
    Hole – Live Through This (DGC)
    Helios Creed – X-Rated Fairy Tales/Super Catholic Finger (Cleopatra reissue)
    Beck – Mellow Gold (Bong Load/DGC)
    Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – Vasos Vacios (Sony Discos reissue)
    Green Day – Dookie (Reprise)
    Cinderella – Still Climbing (Mercury)
    Beck – Loser (DGC EP)
    Sergio Arau La Venganza De Moctezuma – Mi Frida Sufrida (SDI)
    La H. H. Botellita De Jerez – Forjandro Patria (BMG U.S. Latin)
    Metal Mike – Next Stop Nowhere: The EP Collection (Triple X reissue)
    Coldcrush Brothers – Live In ’82 (Tuff City reissue)
    Babylon Dance Band – Four On One (Matador)
    Lighter Shade Of Brown – Layin’ In The Cut (Mercury)
    Nirvana – Unplugged In New York (DGC)
    Tim McGraw – Not A Moment Too Soon (Curb)
    Lucky 7 – One Way Track (Deluge)
    Cleve Francis – You’ve Got Me Now (Liberty)

  35. Much as I appreciate the recent bout of listomania — doesn’t a lot of music criticism boil down to, “Hey, good stuff over here”? — it doesn’t actually address what bothered me about Fred Mills’ post, which was its overwhelming negativity.

    See, I like music. That’s why I’ve spent much of my life listening to it, playing it, thinking about it, and writing about it. And while I’ve certainly come across stuff I didn’t like, I can’t imagine issuing a blanket dismissal of an entire genre. (And before anyone wonders, “Not even MOR?” I’ll answer, “Not so long as there’s ‘Theme from a Summer Place.'”)

    Mills, by contrast, heaps scorn on the whole of so-called nu-metal, listing “Korn, Tool, NIN, Helmet, Deftones (who?), Alice In Chains” as among the “heavy detritus of the day” that made his life as a record store clerk a living hell. Nor is sneering at the music enough; he also derides those who liked such stuff, calling them “insufferable as the music” before insulting their sense of style and sexuality. But that’s justified, in his view, by their being bullies who shoved aside “all the true music geeks.”

    Well, maybe they were bullies. I can recalling sitting in the nosebleed seats for a stadium tour featuring Korn, Kid Rock and Metallica, and hearing some of the other patrons making fun of me for not being dressed in jeans and a T-shirt like everybody else. Well, boo-hoo. That didn’t stop me from liking the concert, or from writing a generally favorable review. Unlike Mr. Mills, I actually enjoy Korn, Tool, NIN, Helmet, Deftones, and Alice in Chains, and wrote quite enthusiastically about them through the ’90s. In fact, albums NIN and Korn made my Top-10 a couple times.

    I didn’t like them unreservedly, nor did I like them because they reflected my peer group or sense of fashion. I liked them because I listened to the music and found something of value there. Which, old fart that I am, is what I believe a music critic is supposed to do.

    Ultimately, that’s what pissed me off about Mr. Mills’ little recollection. Being a music critic shouldn’t be a matter of us versus them, and suggesting that recovering new wave addicts are “true music geeks” while metal fans are just “scary looking shaved head motherfuckers with … girlfriends who … looked like tatooed, transsexual sailors” isn’t criticism, it’s snobbery bordering on class hatred.

    Now, I may be a snarky s.o.b., but I don’t dismiss music on the basis of who its fanbase happens to be. It’d be nice if more people in the profession took a similar view.

  36. Music never died for me, but it went in a coma for four months after I split my head open in the pit of a Mighty Mighty Bosstones concert at the Paradise in Boston. I was working a straight job at the time, and it was the third time in a month that I had shown up to work disfigured. My boss and my wife at the time thought that this was unprofessional, so I pledged to stay out of the pit at shows. My pledge lasted four months. My marriage lasted five.

  37. JD, I have to say that you’re off base with your assessment of Fred Mills and his reply. I took the descriptions as inoffensive hyperbole. Have you ever read his other responses here or columns anywhere else? His attitude is probably the furthest from being negative of any writer I know.
    Same goes for the snobbery assertion. Having and expressing issues with music and the business doesn’t mean that one is pessimistic. At least that’s not what I got from his “little” recollection. For someone who shares his thoughts and opinions so freely one would think you could afford others the same courtesy without the condescension you claim to see in them.

  38. There is still a lot of great music being made & a lot of great music from the past to be discovered & rediscovered — but if there was a day when the music died it was the day MTV started broadcasting, and modern rock/pop music stopped being about sound on the radio and became about visuals on TV.
    After the Four Great Evils of the 70s — I refer of course to Punk, Disco, Redneck Rock & Heavy Metal — this final blow was too much for the culture to overcome.
    That’s when I drove my Chevy to the levee!

  39. (Because the earlier success of Sinatra and Elvis and the Beatles and Stones etc. had *nothing* to do with visuals on TV [and elsewhere], obviously.)

  40. Dear Chuck Eddy ; (if that is indeed your name and not for instance Buddy Ringo) of course visual appeal, stagecraft, style in general are a vital part of the appeal of any performing artist: my point about MTV is that in my opinion it has elevated the visual over the sonic. In this I’m with David Crosby, who has said words to the effect that MTV has brought us to the point where we now have performers who look great but can’t write, sing or play. An exaggeration, I know,but only a slight one. Where Aretha Franklin once stood, we now have Britney Spears, a squeaking inflatable sex doll.

    Dear Patrick; I am only semi-serious about the Four Great Evils
    and (see above) this is only my opinion BUT I do find the above genres of music to be laughable dross (obviously with a few honourable exceptions) and I add Hip Hop to the list. This may possibly be related to the fact that I was born in 1948 and was therefore 18 in 1966 and lived through the great days of rock radio — every few days a new classic came out.
    After the mid-70s all was anticlimax! The musicians I favoured could actually play their instruments, whereas it was a major triumph if a punk band could get through a number without dropping their gutars. Disco was a genre of music favoured by herpes-riddled erotomaniacs, redneck rock was played by and for TV wrestling villain lookalikes with IQs inversely related to their waist measurements, and metal was imbecilic bombastic drivel (see “This Is Spinal Tap” which is actually a cinema verite documentary). Hip hop is sonic vomit, revoltingly violent, money-obsessed, misogynistic and finally unmusical.

    Apart from that, they’re all great.
    Rock & roll will never die, although it sometimes gets very ill!

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