The 1980’s gave the Heavy Metal genre recognition after a full decade of being looked as a despised “noise” that started with Led Zepplin and Black Sabbath. I can honestly say that even with the pure metal and cheesy hair metal, the 1980s was best decade for the genre. After Iron Maiden & Judas Priest started the metal boom in the beginning of the decade, metal in general started expanding into new diversity around the world to trash metal, progressive metal, black metal, speed metal, hair metal, and so many more. So many bands that came out this decade are still remembered as one of the best. Unfortunately the 1990s metal isn’t as powerful or as recognized as the 1980s. At this time around, metal was facing a new genre of music called Grunge and Alternative Rock that took the musical spotlight from everyone. Plus the evolution of the genre throughout the 1990s went sour when they reached the awfulness of Nu Metal and big names like Metallica sold out with different, tasteless musical directions. But that’s not to say that metal in the 1990s were at all bad because we had new bands that went into the positive direction of metal when transforming into folk metal, sludge metal, technical metal, and other metal that sounds and feels as impacting as metal in the 1980s. If you don’t believe me, check out past Top 10 Albums list for each year of the the 1990s.
With that being said, I certainly enjoyed the good side of heavy metal in the 1990s. Not to mention that I got into Heavy Metal in this decade so I can’t overlook at this decade’s metal and stick in the past in the 1980s. Here’s the best Heavy Metal albums of the 1990s! Continue reading Top 10 Metal Albums of the 1990s
Number 10. – Fever Ray – Fever Ray
A thing to note is that I am not impacted by The Knife because I’m probably in the minority that has not listened to the band prior to this album. That’s probably for the best, as it allows me to review it unaffected by other impressions. The album is very atmospheric, it’s dark, it’s moody. The first time I listened to it, I was on the bus to go to buy Animal Collective tickets. Since then, everything’s changed, my misconceptions have been cleared up somewhat, the show’s date came and went (without a concert) and now I’m here listening to this album again. The first time was a time of excitement, this second time is post-disappointment. The record is the same, unchanged. The tracks flow one into the other, with If I Had a Heart a nice introduction into the album, then becoming When I Grow Up with a completely different, albeit related feel to it. The music is gentle yet foreboding and, for me, is most reflective of the cover art, which sees Karin as a mystic (or is that a witch?) in a night-time rural scene, with twisted tree roots and billowing clouds creating a sense of menace. The artwork’s hint of a mythical world, with wizards, ghouls and goblins, reminds me strongly of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks I used to play as a kid, and the a lot of the music on Fever Ray wouldn’t sound out of place in such imagined worlds either
Continue reading Top 10 Albums of 2009
I don’t think that there’s ever been a moment in music where bands associated in this genre had so much success. Back when grunge was at its peak in its popularity, music fans everywhere where buying labels coming out of Seattle scene. This was something that independent bands of the 1980s, who were all labeled as college rock tried so hard to achieve; getting underground music into the mainstream. So what exactly labels music as grunge anyway? How about heavy metal/hardcore punk mixed with pop lyrics and manages to be radio friendly. Never had there been brand recognition of having a band’s name on a cover could make so many eager to own. It was the time for people to move on from the bland, and tiresome ways of the 80s and move on to the evolution and innovation happening in music at the time. And it’s even more amazing that out of all the part of the music in the 1990s, we’re still discussing about this short-live musical movement. It really was the last ultimate era of music before other musical genres took it’s popularity and mainstream success. After counting down the top 10 best grunge bands of all time, it’s now time to rank the ten greatest albums of the grunge movement! Continue reading Top 10 Grunge Albums
For a while I used to consider Grunge a genre, but now I’m like everybody else who just considers it alternative rock. So why make a list of a term that I don’t believe is a genre? Rather, I consider this a musical movement that paved the way for alternative rock to finally reach to the mainstream, which college rock (1980’s alternative rock) has never succeeded. This was a new wave of music that really destroyed the hair bands throughout the 1980s decade. The moment we listened to or watch the music video of Smells Like Teen Spirit… BAM! The whole industry changed. This hard rock wave that came from Seattle, Washington got the whole world buzzing. Nirvana’s Nevermind started a new era that gave the 1990s it’s own identity, for better or worse. Just like thrash metal, grunge had the big four bands with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains that got the world’s attention and reached high on the billboard charts. Grunge was one of the many musical innovations that the 1990s is most known for. It’s funny that we think of grunge whenever we discuss about music in the 1990s, but it really as a short-lived era of music that was only successful in the early 1990s. The moment when Kurt Cobain shot himself was when this era of music started to fade from popularity, only to be taken over by britpop, boy bands, electronic music, and other alternative rock bands (who weren’t’ associated with grunge) for the rest of the 1990s. At last, here we are to celebrate ten of the best bands of this alternative rock movement that changed the face of mainstream music.
Continue reading Top 10 Grunge Bands
Number 10. – In Utero – Nirvana
While Nevermind was poppy and filled with self-joy, In Utero is a total opposite where everything is dry, serious, and so much more hardcore. When Nevermind was released to such enormous success, Kurt went into a downward spiral. He wanted all of the benefits of fame without being famous, and he felt such pressure on him that his private life was even screwed up. So what is exactly on the album? A ton of abrasive feedback and other LOUD sounds, buried underneath of which are songs. Songs that come straight from Kurt’s soul, sung with more passion and emotion than ever before from the soon to be departed ‘voice of a generation’. We will never know what the follow-up to this record would’ve sounded like, if there even was going to be one. But one thing is for sure. Their final studio recording will be a collection of songs that will be treasured the same way most treasure albums like Led Zeppelin IV and Abbey Road. It’s unfortunate that what happened with Cobain happened, but one thing is for sure, they left in a blaze of glory, burning out, instead of fading away.
Continue reading Top 10 Albums of 1993
Number 10. – Automatic for the People – REM
This is a culmination of everything that R.E.M. was. It is the last record where the band was able to successfully expand its art. At one point in the early 90s, I’m sure it must have looked as though R.E.M.’s days as a groundbreaking, innovative gang of musicians were behind them, and that they were destined, if the uneven content on “Document”, “Green” and “Out of Time” was any indication, to nip the bud of major label stardom to a degree that would invariably result in the “alternative culture” labeling them as sellouts, if they hadn’t been so labeled already. To some degree, that did indeed happen. By 1991-92, R.E.M. were no longer a band with a fresh, enigmatic sound and vision, as they had been when “Murmur” seemed to appear out of nowhere and sounded like it too. Though they had become the standard-bearers of “that alternative sound” from the get-go, their original motivations as musicians and artists seemed to be fading. They were drifting rather dangerously close to the types of pop concessions and pretensions that sank many a band in the 80s and 90s artistically, even though they were experiencing more commercial success than they ever had before. I would argue that R.E.M.’s talents as artists never gelled more thoroughly and yielded as fully formed results musically as they did here. As plaintively stated in “Everybody Hurts”, sadness is a universal human emotion. At some point in his or her life, every person has experienced some event of such unequivocal pain, loss, or disappointment that makes us grieve; disoriented, we face the world with the kind of infantile vulnerability that defines a child. We come to crave a mother’s consolation, we cry for help, and for better or worse, we redefine ourselves in the process. My depression now defines my life, impacting my grades, my social behavior, and my sense of self-worth. With breathtaking scope and startling accuracy, Automatic for the People charts this cycle of depression through Michael Stipe’s poetic lens, and in doing so, provides an ocean of hope to those trapped within this vicious circle.
Continue reading Top 10 Albums of 1992