We appear to be smack-gob in the middle of another golden age of music, at least for the music I like.
In 1995 I reached legal USA drinking age, ST:Voyager started, Richey Edwards disappeared, Kevin Mitnick was arrested, Nick Leeson collapsed an entire banking firm, Yahoo!, sarin gas, the Oklahoma bombing, Windows 95, the DVD, eBay, and OJ Simpson was acquitted.
Bon voyage was bid to (as always, etc.) Larry Grayson, Peter Cook, Gerald Durrell, Donald Pleasance, Vivian Stanshall, Ronnie Kray, Kenny Everett, Ginger Rogers, Rory Gallagher, Jerry Garcia, Sherlock Holmes, Paul Eddington and Dino.
When my mate Justin came round with this album, I had no idea what to make of it. It's about 50% what I expected from FNM, about 10% unlistenable screaming that sounded like Mr. Bungle having a bad day, and the rest… weird lounge crooning. Fascinating for the most part. Top track: "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies"
I think I first saw Garbage live on TFI Friday back in the day, and while I liked what I heard well enough, it was years later I went back and really appreciated their catalogue. Superbly crafted songs. Top track: "Stupid Girl"
PUSA! If you don't know then I can't tell you, etc., but here is where it all started. Worth the price of admission for "Lump" alone, obviously. Top track: "Body"
This 7-track EP benefits hugely from Mr. Vai keeping his gob shut, and aside from the truly unlistenable "Ya-Yo Gakk", everything else here is absolutely top-drawer Vai. Top track: "Tender Surrender"
And the winners are…
It's another tie for 1995. I just couldn't separate what are for me still to this day two perfect albums that have barely dated in two decades.
Brit-pop and me didn't really get along for the most part, but this album is absolute perfection from start to finish. There's not a bad moment on it, from the anthemic "Mis-Shapes", the visceral "Pencil Skirt" and the outright venomous "I Spy" to the floor filling classics "Common People" and "Disco 2000" there's not a note out of place.
It's somehow of its time but also timeless. Honestly, go and put it on now. It could have been released this year.
Bloody wonderful stuff.
Top tracks: "Pencil Skirt", "I Spy", "Underwear"
I'm aware that I'm in the minority in thinking that Radiohead peaked here and everything they did after OK Computer was frankly dirge, but can we perhaps agree that when this album came out it was absolutely gobsmacking?
It was. And it still is.
Top tracks: "High and Dry", "The Bends", "Fake Plastic Trees"
Turkey of the Year
It's actually hard to pick, there were so many misfires this year - the Dark Times had really set in. But for pure disappointment value I'm going for…
Oof. No. Awful.