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 1992!
Alice In Chains – “Them Bones”
From Ozzy Osbourne to James Hetfield, metal already had its geniuses, but outside the genre was the general public who in ‘92 still saw it as music for meatheads, no matter how many albums it sold. Enter Lane Staley of Alice in Chains, who gave metal its first tortured artist, and bridged the gap between Pantera’s hellfire thrash and the intoxicating allure grunge had over the critical establishment. Staley’s tragically short life would welcome a reevaluation of metal and its musical credentials.
Pavement – “In The Mouth of a Desert”
Pavement makes their beloved debut this year with Slanted and Enchanted, effectively paving the way for indie rock as we know it today. Its bare bones production allows for Malkmus’ excellent songwriting to shine, often coming across as a less gothic Pixies, especially on “In The Mouth of a Desert,” above.
Sloan – “I Am The Cancer”
Sloan’s debut album Smeared is totally underrated. It’s more than just a reckless grunge affair; gorgeous pop sensibilities battle with wild squeals of distortion for the perfect sweet-and-sour effect, pushing you away with walls of noise, and pulling you right back with delicate melody. From the opener and successful single “Underwhelmed” to the wistful closer “What’s There to Decide,” it’s an unexpectedly strong affair.
U2 “Mysterious Ways”
Achtung Baby was U2’s big comeback album. And that’s thanks chiefly to “Mysterious Ways,” a single that achieved iconic rock-and-roll riff status with a single barre chord. It was a huge hit for the band, and at least partially helped bankroll that wild ZooTV tour, which everyone should be grateful for always.
Aphex Twin – “Pulsewidth”
It’s fairly sad that Aphex Twin is a megaseller only when he’s making joke records; “Come To Daddy” was an ironic admonishment of The Prodigy’s aggressiveness, and “Windowlicker” is uncharacteristically hip-hop, almost to the point of being cynical. But they’re both minor works in the artist’s catalogue, which begins with Selected Ambient Works 85-92 and “Pulsewidth.”
Kriss Kross – “Jump”
They wore their clothes backwards!