Is there a name for that genre of turn-of-the-90s pop-rock with the positive vibes, huge guitar leads, and gated drums?

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Examples:

School of Fish, "Three Strange Days"
Michael Jackson, "Black Or White"
Roxette, "Joyride"
Jesus Jones, "Right Here, Right Now" (doesn't have the drums tho)

et cetera. In a lot of ways this stuff is a logical progression of things that are generically "80s" (the Phil Collins drums especially) but there's still a distinctive sound to these '90-'91 rock singles. I remember ads that used to run for "Awesomely 90s" K-Tel type CDs, and they were full of this stuff and absolutely nothing that I would later think of as "90s Rock." One can imagines an entire alternate, Nirvanaless 90s rock history-that-might-have-been.

So what do we call this music? And what are some more examples? What about stuff from later in the decade that fits in just fine with this evolutionary tree, turning a total blind eye to grunge? Etc.

Doctor Casino, Monday, 27 August 2007 22:01 (fourteen years ago) link

That's an interesting question, but unfortunately I can't place the School of Fish or Roxette songs at the moment. And wasn''t the Jesus Jones song more associated with a Madchester/baggy thing, or even Grebo?

dell, Monday, 27 August 2007 22:47 (fourteen years ago) link

So what do we call this music?

Revolting.

Daniel, Esq., Monday, 27 August 2007 23:14 (fourteen years ago) link

I kid, I kid.

Daniel, Esq., Monday, 27 August 2007 23:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Do you guys think that "Black or White" was Michael Jackson's last compelling (musical) moment? 'Cos I'm inclined to think that it was.

dell, Monday, 27 August 2007 23:17 (fourteen years ago) link

post-Cannibals

Curt1s Stephens, Monday, 27 August 2007 23:18 (fourteen years ago) link

Modern Rock

M@tt He1ges0n, Monday, 27 August 2007 23:21 (fourteen years ago) link

Do you guys remember people around that time saying "I listen to progressive music"? (which meant they listened to the "Modern Rock" format radio station circa '90/'91)

dell, Monday, 27 August 2007 23:27 (fourteen years ago) link

School of Fish was proto-Seattle.

rogermexico., Tuesday, 28 August 2007 01:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Was Earth Song before or after Black & White? I always thought there was a good song there, but it was pretty cheesy.

rockapads, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 02:28 (fourteen years ago) link

nu-Freedom Rock

gershy, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 02:43 (fourteen years ago) link

I think the Spin Doctors fit this description, esp. the drums and positive vibes. I'm not sure I'd say they have huge guitar leads, but then I wouldn't say that about "Black or White" either.

Also no way is "Black or White" Michael Jackson's last compelling musical moment...unless you mean Dangerous; because "In the Closet" is badass.

Euler, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 03:02 (fourteen years ago) link

post-Cannibals

roffles

Trayce, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 03:10 (fourteen years ago) link

Do you guys remember people around that time saying "I listen to progressive music"? (which meant they listened to the "Modern Rock" format radio station circa '90/'91)

YES!!

baaderonixx, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 08:06 (fourteen years ago) link

Dada - "Dizz Knee Land"
Toad The Wet Sprocket

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 08:22 (fourteen years ago) link

"life is a highway"
the escape club!
kick-era inxs pretty much fits this description

tipsy mothra, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 13:58 (fourteen years ago) link

Re: Michael Jackson, "You Rock My World" is pretty great.

Jordan, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 14:13 (fourteen years ago) link

three strange days really is the king song of this genre.

M@tt He1ges0n, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 14:16 (fourteen years ago) link

Do you guys remember people around that time saying "I listen to progressive music"?

Damn, that was a confusing time to like college, er...modern rock, er...alternative. I'd probably just go with "pop rock". That's probably too nebulous, but it's a pretty acurate description of those acts.

On a side note, I was really into what dell calls a Madchester/baggy thing, or even Grebo at the time, but probably just called it modern rock or progressive (thanks, WHFS!). I remember hearing people refer to the city of Manchester as "Madchester", but never heard any of these genre names. Was I out of the loop, or did we 'Muricans just not latch on to these tags?

kingkongvsgodzilla, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 14:25 (fourteen years ago) link

Wonderful picks everybody! "Dizz Knee Land" is one of those songs I've managed to hear of a million times but never actually hear before, and it fits right in there in the more "alternative" wing of the genre, along with "Three Strange Days." And yeah, "Three Strange Days" is fantastic.

From my old moldering Deadeye Dick thread:

My wife has this friend, and he showed up late to this party last year...I asked him why he'd been late and he said, "Oh well, I wanted to come earlier but I went to the Fine Line cuz my favorite band was playing"

Me: "Oh really? cool...what band?"

Him: "Dada"

His favorite band is Dada. Huh. Didn't see that coming.

-- M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Thursday, November 3, 2005 5:35 PM (Thursday, November 3, 2005 5:35 PM)

Deadeye Dick themselves probably don't quite make the cut as "Post-Cannibals," the mix is a little too thin and the tone a little too grungey. But the Spin Doctors are a really good call.

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 18:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Haha "Three Strange Days" was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread's title.

Would Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" fit into this genre, or would his retro leanings and/or later hits negate his candidacy?

Alex in Baltimore, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 18:26 (fourteen years ago) link

I always associate "Right Here, Right Now" and EMF's "Unbelievable." (Perhaps because both were on the chart in summer 1991.)

jaymc, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 18:28 (fourteen years ago) link

"Unbelievable" was totally on that CD whose commercial I was babbling about above!

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 18:53 (fourteen years ago) link

btw, for anyone still catching up, videos for:

Three Strange Days
Joyride
Black Or White

"Black Or White" also features Macaulay Culkin and a pan-racial, pan-national, "the Cold War is over! the future is bright!" message which only adds to the positive vibes. See also "Right Here Right Now."

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 18:57 (fourteen years ago) link

"the Cold War is over! the future is bright!" message

Also see: Scorpions, "Wind of Change"

jaymc, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 18:58 (fourteen years ago) link

Would Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" fit into this genre

Matthew Sweet is way too rugged. : )

kingkongvsgodzilla, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 19:08 (fourteen years ago) link

Damn, judging by the video, School of Fish were the Silverchair of their time.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 19:10 (fourteen years ago) link

C+C Music Factory: "Here We Go"

Kevin John Bozelka, Tuesday, 28 August 2007 19:31 (fourteen years ago) link

haha i'd forgotten abt that dada story, but it is true. blew my mind.

geggy tah would fit this.

M@tt He1ges0n, Wednesday, 29 August 2007 16:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Those examples at the start don't have much in common the way I see it.

Roxette and Jesus Jones were both influenced by Powerpop though, only in very different ways and with very different stylistic outcome.

Geir Hongro, Wednesday, 29 August 2007 20:02 (fourteen years ago) link

A lot of examples aren't fitting together for me, but there is a certain guitar sound running through a bunch of them that seems telling: a rhythm guitar thing, up front in the mix, somewhat think (or at least not taking up a ton of space) and usually verging on staccato or telegraph -- the opposite of the sludgy/blurry blanket the other end of alt-rock would bring in.

"Black or White" has this hardcore
School of Fish do, if I remember right
Roxette kicked this a TON, being a duo
"Two Princes" had it (most Spin Doctors, really)
"Life is a Highway"

I think the paradigm that's getting pinned down here is one where rock bands are uptempo rhythm machines, with the rhythm sections having really mild doses of funkiness or propulsion, and that's supposed to be sufficient enough on its own that the guitar doesn't need to occupy all the space above it. Whereas the alt paradigm that comes after it is very guitar-blanket and would have no truck with a guitar playing a scratch rhythm line (like the one on "Life is a Highway" especially), and the rhythm sections aren't treated as sufficient -- in fact, they usually have to lay down a fuzzy rhythm guitar just playing the chords on eighth notes before they can move on toward adding another guitar to play even simple leads.

nabisco, Wednesday, 29 August 2007 20:16 (fourteen years ago) link

That would seem like a turn in a bad direction, and kinda was, except that the turn-of-90s stuff had a huge problem: it tended to sound like a drum machine and a Very Corny Bassist playing out of a karaoke box while some guy played rhythm Strat as if there were actually a band around. I think the late 80s and early 90s were kind of a horrible end point of using technology to make really slick, artificial music, but still aspiring to make it in the mold of, like, 60s American rock'n'roll classics, blues, funk, and all -- by the end of the 80s we were getting these weird chromed-out replicas of the old stuff, old-school R'n'R played on digital keyboards and triggered gated drums, and it started to feel uncomfortable, and that sort of thing seems to have died hard going into the next decade.

nabisco, Wednesday, 29 August 2007 20:21 (fourteen years ago) link

Wonderful posts nabisco. I'm not sure how much I buy the narrative but it's nice to see one being floated, particularly one focusing in on "that guitar sound" that I've had a hard time putting into words.

So does this mean that there were no heirs to this lineage? That alt-rock's influence, even on people that were ultimately not consuming alt-rock albums, was to restate a certain standard of "authenticity" when one was to undertake doing genre work? That is, the bands of the late 90s working "in the mold of, like, 60s American rock'n'roll classics, blues, funk, and all" seem to have gone for a much more "organic"-sounding production. Fastball comes immediately to mind, but I suppose that a lot of the pop-rock which is so reviled by rockist CW would fit in here - Matchbox 20, Hootie, Deep Blue Something - not "alternative" bands in any sonic sense but they seem to have absorbed the ethos.

This also makes me wonder how many of the Post-Cannibals records were the result of "alt" bands showing up in the studio with producers who only knew how to make certain kinds of records. The School of Fish song seems to make a case for this - everything about it besides the production suggests that these guys walked in the door as a garage psychedelia band.

Doctor Casino, Wednesday, 29 August 2007 23:59 (fourteen years ago) link

I just realized I saw School of Fish live. They opened for the Charlatans in early 1991.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 30 August 2007 00:10 (fourteen years ago) link

Just thought of another one - The Proclaimers, "500 Miles." It's a little weird, but the snare and the chunky guitar both make an appearance to my ears.

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 30 August 2007 00:22 (fourteen years ago) link

Seems like some movie soundtrack hits from 89 and 90 might fit this bill. Interesting ideas from Nabisco here -- kind of like sounds from the 60s-channeling baby boomer demographic finally grappling with these technologies.

Mark Rich@rdson, Thursday, 30 August 2007 00:51 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh man: the guy at the next desk is listening to "Life is a Highway."

So the more I think about it, the more I can't tell if the development I'm talking about was a good one or not. Doctor Casino is totally right: most anyone making an old-school rock'n'roll record after 92 or so would shoot for production that sounded natural, "vintage." And while this was WAY less embarrassing, it feels weird to applaud a development that put stuff in a glass case to be properly preserved and recreated.

Movie soundtracks are a great example of this, Mark! I'd trace it back toward the early 80s, where you have two things going: (a) the shine and ambition of prog and "yacht rock" have kinda died, and (b) you have one of rock's early generations first hitting the question of how to be an older rocker. (E.g., Rod Stewart is all over MTV).

And if you look at big movie-sountrack type hits in particular, a ridiculous number of them are pastiches of rock's early days -- a lot of them lyrically about the roots of rock:

- Huey Lewis is all "The Heart of Rock and Roll is the Beat"
- George Thoroughgood is doing "Bad to the Bone" blues pastiche
- Billy Joel is going further back and doing doo-wop pastiche like "Uptown Girl"
- "Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger!
- I would kinda class "Footloose" here too
- and stuff like Aretha singing "Freeway of Love!"

Plus stuff like Mellencamp and Tom Petty -- it was like everyone soldifying a mythology of what rock'n'roll was, only nobody yet felt like there was some great incompatibility between classic rock/soul and 80s production techniques. (It surely helped that the people working in big studios, the session players, the label heads and producers, and plenty of the stars had genuinely been working since the glory days.)

Point being that seems to fall apart right around "Life is a Highway," or something. (I would go on and on about the details of this, but I don't think they're hard to imagine; there was a kind of changing of the guard here, I think.)

nabisco, Thursday, 30 August 2007 20:59 (fourteen years ago) link

Spin Doctors didn't have gated drums at all! Aaron Comess was a sick drummer, dudes

Whiney G. Weingarten, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:10 (fourteen years ago) link

B-52's "Roam" may fit into this.

Whiney G. Weingarten, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:11 (fourteen years ago) link

And those early 90's Def Leppard singles

like "Let's Get Rocked"

Whiney G. Weingarten, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:11 (fourteen years ago) link

There really should be a name for this kind of thing. It's like the hair-metal aesthetic, only with "party rock" instead of hair metal.

nabisco, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Get rocked here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B05EDye9QII

Whiney G. Weingarten, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:13 (fourteen years ago) link

There is so much wrong with that video, I don't even know where to start.

Whiney G. Weingarten, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:14 (fourteen years ago) link

Soup Dragons, "Divine Thing"

jaymc, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:23 (fourteen years ago) link

I have been rocked by that video.

I didn't remember that I owe the expression "let's get the rock out of here" to that song! I probably say that ten times a week!

Euler, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:24 (fourteen years ago) link

- Huey Lewis is all "The Heart of Rock and Roll is the Beat"

I'll be pedantic: "The Heart of Rock and Roll is still Beating" was the lyric.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Another name for that genre: "hot new country" (e.g. Alan Jackson "Chattahoochee").

Euler, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:26 (fourteen years ago) link

Big Audio Dynamite II, "Rush"
The Farm, "Groovy Train"

jaymc, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:30 (fourteen years ago) link

This is the continuing application of mid 80s pop production to rock music, right? Sound of Bob Clearmountain on Bryan Adams Reckless and Hall & Oates Big Bam Boom, and of Mutt Lange on tons of stuff (AC/DC, Def Lep, Huey Lewis, the Cars' Heartbeat City, etc.). Kind of based in dance music in the first place - Clearmountain worked with Chic. Vic Maile did some similar stuff in England, though he's more associated with hard rock bands.

By the time you get to the 90s, the drums aren't quite so prominent & boomy, the once-trendy new wave dance elements starting to shrivel, more naturalistic production coming back into favor.

Bob Standard, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:31 (fourteen years ago) link

That's not pedantry, that's important: I've spent decades thinking Huey's pointing out that, like, rhythm is the foundation of rock'n'roll music!

nabisco, Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:34 (fourteen years ago) link

Is this too raw?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFcGRQROIt0

Dambuilders: "Shrine"

Joan As Policewoman is the violinist.

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:59 (two weeks ago) link

wow, i never registered that Lifehouse had a career post-"Hanging on a Moment." listening to "You and Me," it sounds just barely familiar, I must have heard it around somewhere along the way. Just wasn't plugged into this kind of stuff in 2005 I guess.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 12:00 (two weeks ago) link

i'm digging "Shrine." too raw for this sound as-is, but seems like a great indie classic to me. there's definitely an alternate universe where they got signed and a producer seized on those big rhythm guitar blurts as the basis for a streamlined hit in this mode.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 12:05 (two weeks ago) link

I can see Michael Penn's "No Myth" as a possible early example of this sound (from 1989). It's got the gated drum energy and big melodic guitar, though the tone is a bit more melancholic.

o. nate, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 18:04 (two weeks ago) link

Another 1989 possible example: "So Alive" by Love and Rockets. Big gated drum groove.

o. nate, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 18:08 (two weeks ago) link

"No Myth" feels like a good example of the "acoustic" version of this style, again towards the roots-rock end of thing. So weird and alien and overproduced once you start paying attention to the mix. One of nabisco's early comments continues to haunt me: "like a drum machine and a Very Corny Bassist playing out of a karaoke box while some guy played rhythm Strat as if there were actually a band around." Also feels like someone involved was going for a "Beatlesy" sound, or maybe a Cloud Nine sound. Bob Clearmountain does seem to have been involved.

"So Alive" also def in the general wheelhouse, closer to the INXS end of things. Just needs somebody to come in and paste a big slab of Rockman guitar strumming over it... you could almost just mix in the "3 Strange Days" part and get away with it.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 20:46 (two weeks ago) link

"No Myth" and "Praying for Time" invented Sugar Ray and Sheryl Crow.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 20:48 (two weeks ago) link

I think this fits in -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDWCWeOomKc

Maresn3st, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 21:11 (two weeks ago) link

That's a great one.

King's X also big on the sunny/crunchy guitar-driven stomp vibe, e.g. this minor 1990 hit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzEPkbPgdn0

o. nate, Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:21 (one week ago) link

en vogue "free your mind" belongs in this category imo

Linda and Jodie Rocco (map), Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:25 (one week ago) link

Haha I loved that King's X song at the time.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:33 (one week ago) link

omg is "Planes" one of these?

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:38 (one week ago) link

Haha I loved that King's X song at the time.

Still like it tbh

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:49 (one week ago) link

This also popped into my head -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVXjBMK3EkI

Maresn3st, Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:55 (one week ago) link

omg is "Planes" one of these?

Planes?

MarkoP, Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:03 (one week ago) link

sensual aircraft

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:04 (one week ago) link

en vogue "free your mind" belongs in this category imo

― Linda and Jodie Rocco (map), Thursday, October 14, 2021 7:25 AM (thirty-eight minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

not that i totally understand the parameters of this thread but this song strikes me way more as “r&b + hair metal hangover a la ‘black cat’ by janet” or “featuring slash (even though the song doesn’t feature slash)”

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:06 (one week ago) link

tho if “black or white” counts then maybe i’m wrong

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:07 (one week ago) link

R.E.M.'s "Stand" shares a bit of this DNA.

o. nate, Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:10 (one week ago) link

Collective Soul were briefly mentioned upthread but they sort of inherited the mantle of this sound moving further into the 90s, no?

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:12 (one week ago) link

No! (xp re "Stand")

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:12 (one week ago) link

Yeah I think "Precious Declaration" at least seems to carry this in its sound. Not as sure about their other stuff.

MarkoP, Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:18 (one week ago) link

i was just about to mention Collective Soul, and Tonic, in response to hearing King's X's guitar breaks. very direct line of succession IMO.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:38 (one week ago) link

King's X is a bit different from what I thought this thread was about tbh but if that fits, how about solo Robert Plant like "Tie Dye on the Highway"? "Tall Cool One" might even fit by the narrower definition?

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 October 2021 16:10 (one week ago) link

I think I'm coming around to thinking of this unnamed genre as having a pretty small, exclusive "core" of perfect fits, surrounded by various hybrids which are individually more numerous (roots-rock version, clubby/dancey versions) and brushing up against the New Jack Swing solar system also.

To my ears, "Tie Dye on the Highway" lacks too many of the common threads and late 80s production tropes to qualify, but "Tall Cool One" with its booming empty space, makes sense for one of the satellite categories. who is that inventing Marilyn Manson's vocal delivery in the spoken-word section at 1:45?

speaking totally as a layperson when it comes to production, it's hard for me to be too precise about this, but i feel like one of the unifying threads could be producers going ALL in on gating sounds, maybe also something to do with the switch to digital equipment...? the tightest-fitting examples are very very "clean" - sounds decay really quickly and don't overlap and wash together; the sound does not feel like a live band. so for example, even on something as comparatively artificial as "Tall Cool One," Plant knows he's trying to hearken back to Johnny Burnette's "Honey Hush" (right??) and instinctively wants to sound like a bar band that's really cooking, really boogie-ing, perhaps even choogling. the desire for an updated radio-ready sound is cutting across that, to make something that is unmistakably of its time and very weird. but it's still - again, to my ears - distinct from Roxette on "Joyride," where they seem really actively excited about crafting a fresh modern pop-rock sound for the 90s, and every piece of it sounds like it's proud to be pasted in from a different recording session.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 14 October 2021 16:33 (one week ago) link

"This and That", Michael Penn's follow-up single to "No Myth", has more vigorous rhythm guitar, and less of the vintage keyboard retro elements.

I'd say that the more jangly the rhythm guitar (R.E.M., Cranberries), the further you get from this sound. Appropriately, "Pop Song 89" is probably as close as R.E.M. came to this.

Halfway there but for you, Thursday, 14 October 2021 16:37 (one week ago) link

agreed on jangle and "Pop Song 89." would be fascinating to get the isolated tracks of that one and try to remix it with Berry's drums massively overclocked and punching through the mix. "This and That" is pretty close to the mark for an acoustic variant!

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 14 October 2021 16:43 (one week ago) link

Semisonic > Mister Mr. > The Call

(Though Semisonic is late 90s so is more of a piece with the Goos etc.)

Extinct Namibian shrub genus: Var. (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 14 October 2021 17:07 (one week ago) link

Your comments make sense, Dr. Casino.

After checking the video and a couple of live clips from around that time, I'm pretty sure the deep spoken part on "Tall Cool One" was the keyboardist and co-writer Phil Johnstone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey14j7c9Phw

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 October 2021 18:18 (one week ago) link

(1:45)

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 October 2021 18:18 (one week ago) link

How about Semisonic antecedents Trip Shakespeare?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkOepnPJS3o

Maresn3st, Thursday, 14 October 2021 19:59 (one week ago) link

The "positive vibes" are as essential a part of this aesthetic as the bright, clean, separated mix, the gated drums and the buzzing guitar. It's like there was a brief moment of euphoria after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when innocence, happiness and hope for the future could be expressed lyrically without seeming trite or corny. That moment quickly wore off and the rest of the '90s overcompensated by fetishizing an angst and cynicism that in retrospect seem a bit out of proportion to the way things were going in the country at the time.

o. nate, Saturday, 16 October 2021 02:47 (one week ago) link

U2's Zooropa is the transition between those two times ^^.

The European Union forming in January 1993 is another part of this transition: the optimism of peacetime, a new level of cultural homogenization, and the pushback from right-wing/nativist movements.

... (Eazy), Saturday, 16 October 2021 03:06 (one week ago) link

My friend just spun this on his TwitchStream

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGSHIidlesQ

Mock Turtles: "Can You Dig It?" (1990)

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 20 October 2021 01:24 (one week ago) link

That song reminds me that Byrds-esque jangle (most likely via REM) was a major ingredient of this micro-genre.

o. nate, Wednesday, 20 October 2021 15:11 (one week ago) link

no one mentioned freedom 90 yet? that's a big one imo

Linda and Jodie Rocco (map), Wednesday, 20 October 2021 15:18 (one week ago) link

Horribly bad album title I've always been confused by turns out to have horribly bad origin.

Schubert Dip is the debut album by British rock band EMF, released on Parlophone Records on 7 May 1991.[1] It features the worldwide hit single "Unbelievable" which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. The name of the album is a pun on the name of the popular sweet sherbet dip and the 19th-century composer Franz Schubert.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 20 October 2021 16:39 (one week ago) link

Woah, that Mock Turtles song is pretty cool! Definitely towards the indie end of things but the impulse towards a clear, ringing, booming sound is there, and certainly the Positive Vibes. Get one really assertive commercial producer in the room and it could have been the theme song to a Friends-wannabe show. Apparently Fatboy Slim remixed it in 2003, but to the extent that he changed anything it seems to have been to muddy things up further with busy percussion, spacey whooshy noises, and turning the organ way up in the mix.

Another single from the same album, "Strings and Flowers," similarly straddles the thread's core and what I think of as Britpop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMZeohb-kpI

How influential was REM on British bands of this era? I would have assumed Johnny Marr as a more important source than Pete Buck, but I have no idea.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 20 October 2021 19:47 (one week ago) link

How influential was REM on British bands of this era?

That's an interesting question. There are tantalizing bits of evidence scattered around the web. It seems that they weren't very well known in the UK until their breakthrough hit 'The One I Love', which went top 20 in the UK, though not for lack of trying. They actually recorded Fables of the Reconstruction in England, and toured on it in the UK, but apparently without much traction.

The band's third album, Fables of the Reconstruction (1985), demonstrated a change in direction. Instead of Dixon and Easter, R.E.M. chose producer Joe Boyd, who had worked with Fairport Convention and Nick Drake, to record the album in England. The band members found the sessions unexpectedly difficult, and were miserable due to the cold winter weather and what they considered to be poor food; the situation brought the band to the verge of break-up.

https://classicrock.fandom.com/wiki/R.E.M.

Also found this amusing early interview where they disavow any direct Byrds influence:

As for frequent comparisons to the Byrds, (Buck) declares, "I probably listen to people that stole from the Byrds more often than the Byrds. I've got one Byrds album, and it's the one that doesn't sound anything like them -- Sweetheart of the Rodeo -- because I love Gram Parsons. The Byrds are OK, but none of us ever paid much attention to them."

Instead they point to the Velvet Underground and country music as major influences.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/nov/20/rem-rocks-backpages-classic-interview

o. nate, Wednesday, 20 October 2021 20:20 (one week ago) link

I like the careful wording of "what they considered to be poor food".

It is interesting that the left not just the South, but the U.S., to record their big Southern Mythos album.

juristic person (morrisp), Wednesday, 20 October 2021 20:46 (one week ago) link

(I actually don't think I knew, or at least remembered, that – I think I assumed Joe Boyd came to the U.S. for the sessions.)

juristic person (morrisp), Wednesday, 20 October 2021 20:48 (one week ago) link

How influential was REM on British bands of this era?
That's an interesting question. There are tantalizing bits of evidence scattered around the web. It seems that they weren't very well known in the UK until their breakthrough hit 'The One I Love', which went top 20 in the UK, though not for lack of trying.

It only became a hit *after* they'd broken through with Out of Time. It was re-released in either 1991 or 1992. Their first hit was Orange Crush - not massive, but definitely top 40 because they got on Top of the Pops.

Nasty, Brutish & Short, Thursday, 21 October 2021 07:54 (six days ago) link

Yes, I remember that one: "Nice and cool on a hot summer day, that was REM with ORANGE CRUSH!!"

1) That's not what the song was about
2) Even if it was, did it need that level of explanation?

I forget the presenter, but I don't think he was on much after that.

Mark G, Thursday, 21 October 2021 09:12 (six days ago) link

The One I Love was taken from the non-US Best Of which IRS released on the back of Out of Time - top 20 in the autumn of '91

Buckfast in America (Master of Treacle), Thursday, 21 October 2021 10:17 (six days ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLCobKFPxQk

Maresn3st, Thursday, 21 October 2021 22:31 (six days ago) link

Never heard the Fatboy Slim remix of that Mock Turtles song but the Steve Proctor piano / breakbeat / house mix is pure sweet MDMA. Nothing to do with the genre in question except the ridiculously positive vibes.

Noel Emits, Thursday, 21 October 2021 22:53 (six days ago) link

It only became a hit *after* they'd broken through with Out of Time.

Interesting. So I guess that's another point in favor of them having little influence on UK bands in the 80s.

o. nate, Friday, 22 October 2021 17:55 (five days ago) link

R.E.M. were big UK sellers the faster their American popularity waned.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 22 October 2021 18:53 (five days ago) link

Even though it’s more on the enigma/proto-trip hop side of thing, for some reason I keep thinking of moodfood by moodswings (feat the cover of “state of independence” with Chrissy Hynde). there’s some big sampled drums on there though. and I get major “paisley shirt of synthetic fabric” vibes from it. Feel like “worldbeat” (ugh) stuff runs parallel to this thread’s remit… the vague we are all one people, love the planet vibes, idk

brimstead, Friday, 22 October 2021 18:57 (five days ago) link

So I guess that's another point in favor of them having little influence on UK bands in the 80s.

I mean, they were definitely known in Britain in the 80s by the kind of people that would have been in indie guitar groups. But they wouldn't have been known by, say, your aunt until 1991/92.

Nasty, Brutish & Short, Friday, 22 October 2021 19:24 (five days ago) link


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