As the new year draws closer, we’ve decided to take a look the music that’s gotten us to where we are today. So in an effort to broaden our musical horizons and our understanding of contemporary artists, we’re counting down 2012 by counting up from 1952, taking a look at a handful of songs from a different year every day until January 1st. You can find the full list here. Today we’re heading back to 1989!
Neil Young – “Rockin’ in the Free World”
Young’s ’89 album Freedom both opens with ”Rockin’ in the Free World,” and closes with a more electrified version of the same song, above. It’s full of jabs at the newly elected Bush administration (something Young would happily also do for Bush’s son in the mid 00′s), but became most well known as an impromptu anthem for the fall of the Berlin Wall, which occurred about a month later. And to this day it may just be the most bearable song with “Rockin’” in its title ever recorded.
2 Live Crew – “Me So Horny”
2 Live Crew made a name for themselves by being as inappropriate as possible, and “Me So Horny” is but one of their dirty successes. I don’t think there’s any surprise that lyrics like “Put your lips on my dick, and suck my asshole too” and “I fuck all the girls and I make ‘em cry” stirred up plenty of controversy, but it didn’t stop the record from going double platinum. Listen out for samples from Full Metal Jacket, Which Way Is Up, and “Firecracker” by Mass Production.
Galaxie 500 – “Strange”
Even though this highly revered ‘slowcore’ trio lasted for only four years and three albums, their music continues to be a staple of alternative rock. This song might be about getting high and getting munchies or being disgusted by the seemingly inoffensive world around you. Either way, highly relatable.
Milli Vanilli – “Blame It On The Rain”
Milli Vanilli’s legacy as lip-syncing frauds makes them one of pop music’s most universal punchlines, and rightfully so. They were totally fake! They couldn’t even speak fluent English! They had their Grammy retracted! Then one of the members died by overdose in ’98, which I guess kinda makes it not that funny.
Pixies – “Debaser”
Doolittle is an incredibly consistent album, but I’ve selected album opener “Debaser” because a) it might be one of the band’s most accessible songs and b) it references Buñuel and Dali’s art film Un Chien Andalou, which means that c) now you have to watch this to know what I’m talking about.