Saturday, 10 October 2009

Bush Senior Era’s revolutionary nature revealed through music

In this article, KEXP FM has a look at what its listeners regard as the best years for music. In order to avoid albums that might not hold up well with age, I will exclude years listed by the station since 2000, and the final result for the best years in music is this:
  1. 1991:
    The La’s (The La’s)
    Teenage Fanclub (Bandwagonesque)
    Nirvana (Nevermind)
    Soundgarden (Badmotorfinger)
    Throwing Muses (The Real Ramona)
    My Bloody Valentine (Loveless)
  2. 1966:
    Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The Royal Albert Hall)
    The Beatles (Revolver)
    The Beach Boys (Pet Sounds)
    The Sonics (Boom)
    ? Mark & the Mysterians (“96 Tears”)
    The Troggs (“Wild Thing”)
    James Brown (“I Got You (I Feel Good)”)
    Swinging Medalions (“Double Shot”)
    Bobby Fuller Four (“I Fought The Law”)
    Johnny Rivers (“And I Know You Wanna Dance”)
  3. 1994:
    Sugar (File Under Easy Listening)
    Beastie Boys (Ill Communication)
    Veruca Salt (American Thighs)
    Portishead (Dummy)
    Guided By Voices (Bee Thousand)
    Pavement (Crooked Rain Crooked Rain)
    Built To Spill (There’s Nothing Wrong with Love)
    Beck (Mellow Gold)
  4. 1977:
    The Jam (In the City)
    Ramones (Rocket to Russia)
    The Stranglers (No More Heroes)
    Iggy Pop (The Idiot)
    Richard Hell & the Voidoids (Blank Generation)
    Elvis Costello (My Aim Is True)
    Bob Marley and the Wailers (Exodus)
    Wire (Pink Flag)
    Television (Marquee Moon)
    Talking Heads (Talking Heads: 77)
  5. 1979:
    AC/DC (Highway to Hell)
    Sex Pistols (The Great Rock and Roll Swindle)
    Cheap Tricks (Dream Police)
    The Undertones (Kicks)
    The Police (Regatta de Blanc)
    Joy Division (Unknown Pleasures)
    Neil Young and Crazy Horse (Rust Never Sleeps)
    The B-52’s (The B-52’s)
    The Clash (London Calling)
    The Jam (Setting Sons)
    Gang of Four (Entertainment!)
  6. 1997:
    Old 97’s (Too Far to Care)
    Modest Mouse (The Lonesome Crowded West)
    Pavement (Brighten the Corners)
    Richard Buckner (Devotion + Doubt)
    Built To Spill (Perfect from Now On)
    Elliott Smith (Either/Or)
    Cornershop (When I Was Born for the Seventh Time)
    Sleater-Kinney (Dig Me Out)
    Yo La Tengo (I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One)
  7. 1992:
    Lemonheads (It’s a Shame about Ray)
    Buffalo Tom (Let Me Come Over)
    Pavement (Slanted and Enchanted)
    Sonic Youth (Dirty)
    The Jesus and Mary Chain (Honey’s Dead)
    L7 (Bricks Are Heavy)
    Alice In Chains (Dirt)
  8. 1993:
    Afghan Whigs (Gentlemen)
    Radiohead (Pablo Honey)
    Nirvana (In Utero)
    Liz Phair (Exile in Guyville)
    Björk (Debut)
    Snoop Doggy (Dog What’s My Name?)
    Frank Black (Frank Black)
    James (Laid)
    Catherine Wheel (Chrome)
    U2 (Zooropa)
    The Breeders (Last Splash)
    Belly (Star)
    New Order (Republic)
  9. 1968:
    Love (Forever Changes)
    Marvin Gaye (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine’)
    Sly and the Family Stone (Dance To the Music)
    The Doors (Waiting for the Sun)
    James Brown (Live at the Apollo)
    Johnny Cash (Folsom Prison Blues)
    The Zombies (Odysessey and Oracle)
    Elvis Presley (68 Comeback Special)
    Rolling Stones (Beggars’ Banquet)
    Van Morrison (Astral Weeks)
    Bob Dylan (John Wesley Harding)
    The Beatles (The White Album)
If you look carefully, you will notice the three early 1990s years that form the heart of the Bush Senior Era.
What is more, these years make it without any of the
  1. thrash albums by Slayer, Pantera or Sepultura
  2. rap albums by Public Enemy, N.W.A., A Tribe Called Quest etc.
If we were to add all the culturally influential albums from those two genres made during the Bush Senior Era, we see an era of great radicalism. For all Leaf's failings in his Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties, he is able to show in
this interview that the whole Reagan Era was much more sexually radical than even the late 1960s.

One gets the impression that the Reagan Era was the closest America has ever got to the typical story of twentieth-century urban Europe - a nation of atheists ruled by a religious elite - and that the Bush Senior Era’s radicalism was an inevitable result, even if the collapse of Stalinism and Hussein’s invasion of oil-soaked Kuwait overshadow this in typical histories (apart from the L.A. riots).

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