Compilation 1996 -

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15 Jul 2006, 23:30

Here are the details - with comments on each track and its significance - of a compilation that I recently made, based on the history of my musical discoveries and listening habits. The track listing is more or less in chronological order. I did re-arrange a couple of things though, just to make it all a bit more vincular. If you don't know what that word means, look it up.

Tracks that didn't make it

Beautiful Ones
No Surprises
The Unforgiven II
Death Valley '69
Transmission
Barrel of a Gun
Everything Dies
London CallingVenus in Furs
Scar Tissue
Nature Boy
Wild Is the WindHope There's Someone
The Needle and the Damage Done


Final Tracklist

1. A Design for Life
Album: Everything Must Go
Year: 1996

The first band that I’d ever had more than a passing interest in, and this is the song that hooked me. I’d been following the charts and listening to the radio for a while, but this was the first time that I’d heard a song and known it to be something special. The orchestral arrangement really made it stand out from everything else that I was hearing at the time, and although at the age of 10 I had no idea what the song meant, its anthemic qualities told me that it had a special message. Unfortunately it took me another couple of years to get it.

2. The Drugs Don't Work
Album: Urban Hymns
Year: 1997

I had just caught the end of Britpop, and while I was enjoying Manics, Oasis, Suede, Placebo, Radiohead, Mansun and others, I had yet to discover the brilliance of The Verve. Again, it was the strings that did it. I have always been attracted to music that didn’t just follow the basic rock format of guitar/bass/drums. Obviously, like almost everyone else, I loved Bittersweet Symphony, but it wasn’t until The Drugs Don't Work that I actually fell in love with the band. Still a superb song, and a fine example of Richard Ashcroft’s legendary songwriting.

3. Rock Is Dead
Album: Mechanical Animals
Year: 1998

This was the first risk I ever took, musically. It’s laughable now, but at 12 years old, and with Manson at the height of contention - it seemed slightly dangerous to be listening to Marilyn Manson. The thing was though, I was too young to be listening music just because it was popular with certain people. In fact, I don’t think I even knew this guy was popular at the time. I just enjoyed it for what it was and still is, and that’s great music. I still love Marilyn Manson, and can’t see that changing any time soon.

4. Serve The Servants
Album: In Utero
Year: 1993

Around about the same time, I became obsessed with Nirvana, and quickly bought all their CDs. Of course, Nevermind was the first one, and I enjoyed it a lot. But when I heard In Utero, Bleach, Incesticide and the ‘Unplugged’ CD, I found that there was so much more to their music than the melodic, over-produced punk rock of their most popular album. For one thing, there was such depth to Kurt Cobain’s songwriting, and I feel that that was best exemplified on In Utero.

5. Ava Adore
Album: Adore
Year: 1998

I had heard Tonight, Tonight when it was first released about three years earlier, and again the strings had blown me away. However it wasn’t until Ava Adore that I actually had the pleasure of hearing any more of the Pumpkins. The song’s electronic influence eventually lead me on to bands like Depeche Mode. This band pretty much solidified my taste for what was then simply called ‘alternative rock’. Many of the band’s songs mean a hell of a lot to me, and I’m so glad that I discovered their music. I consider Billy Corgan to be a misunderstood visionary, and I hope that he can finally make his detractors understand when he returns with the band.

6. Mushroom
Album: Tago Mago
Year: 1971

Strangely, the next significant point in the development of my musical taste came three years later, in the summer of 2001. I happened upon Mushroom one night on MTV2. The sounds I was hearing, along with the accompanying video, were just mesmerising to me. I then bought Tago Mago and was so inspired, both as a listener and as a musician, by everything on that album. And through Can I have discovered so much other great music. The thing was that I had previously dismissed so many of the styles that the band integrated into their music, and there I was, loving it all. Without Can, my taste wouldn’t be half as wide as it is today.

7. See Emily Play
Single released in 1967

At around this time, psychedelic music seemed to be the only thing that interested me. I was getting into so much ‘prog’ rock at the time, and almost everything from the late 60s to mid 70s appealed to me. I loved the 70s-era Pink Floyd stuff, but what really fascinated me was their earlier, more experimental material, and in particular the Syd Barrett stuff. He was just such an one off, and I guess like all of these bands, I’d never really heard anything quite like it before. Syd is now unfortunately no longer with us.

8. Angel
Album: Mezzanine
Year: 1998

Here’s where we have the missing link between Smashing Pumpkins and all things electronic and industrial. There were always hints of it in Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, who I’d discovered at around the same time, but this is where I really fell for the sound of synthesizers and drum machines. Massive Attack’s Angel however, bridges the gap between rock and electronica, combining electric guitars with a synthetic drumbeat. Originally though, I grew to love this track just because of the way it builds into something truly, erm...massive. Also, it’s just so damn smooth.

9. Terrible Lie
Album: Pretty Hate Machine
Year: 1989

The commercial (and brilliant) face of industrial metal, although there is nothing particularly heavy metal about this, or anything else from Pretty Hate Machine. Trent Reznor will always be one of my favourite composers. As a music student, I know a fair bit about classical music, which is largely what Reznor was raised on. It won’t surprise me at all if, a decade or two down the line, the man is exclusively writing minimalist music, or at least somehow bringing industrial to a classical audience. The way Reznor builds his sonic compositions with layer upon layer of sound is astonishing and I am a great admirer of his. Also, thanks to him I am now enjoying slightly less well-known industrial music such as Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Laibach.

10. The Godfather
Album: The Director's Cut
Year: 2001

The genius behind this reworking of the legendary movie theme is Mike Patton. Yes, him out of Faith No More/Mr. Bungle/Tomahawk/Peeping Tom and probably countless others. Only he could make the haunting melody sound equally deranged. When this album came out, I was just discovering the man’s talents, and I still listen to him regularly in his various guises. If you like this and want to hear more, get the album. It’s full of mad interpretations of classic themes, mostly from horror films.

11. Would?
Album: Dirt
Year: 1992

After listening to Nirvana for years, this was where I discovered all those other Seattle bands I’d heard about. The late 80s and early 90s is one of my favourite musical eras, and I feel that the ‘grunge’ sound is probably best typified by Would?, which originally appeared on the semi-legendary soundtrack to the film ‘Singles’. The late Layne Staley’s vocals soar over the chorus and outro section, always complimenting the swampy guitar sound and rumbling bass line. The song also brings the monumental Dirt album to a stunning close.

12. Sweet Leaf
Album: Master of Reality
Year: 1971

The drug-fuelled brutality of Alice in Chains’ prime lead me on nicely to ‘stoner’ metal. Black Sabbath's seminal Master of Reality is considered the first album to fit into the stoner category, and its first track Sweet Leaf openly celebrates the use of cannabis. The sludgy, down-tuned riffs only serve to accentuate this. It was through my listening to Sabbath that I have since discovered countless other ’classic’ rock and metal bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rainbow and Iron Maiden.

13. One Inch Man
Album: ...And the Circus Leaves Town
Year: 1994

After wearing out my copy of Master of Reality I wanted to find out more about this stoner metal business. I had heard of Kyuss, and had been listening to Queens of the Stone Age for a couple of years by this stage. Because of this, I was pleased to discover Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri’s previous band. It turns out that Kyuss were the band who perfected the stoner sound, simply by sounding like a modern version of the Black Sabbath of 1971. One Inch Man was the first track I heard by them, and it’s still one of my favourites.

14. Idiots Rule
Album: Nothing's Shocking
Year: 1988

Jane’s Addiction were the perfect representation of everything that was ever great about alternative rock. Their constant experimentation with a myriad styles completely blew me away, as well as the fact that they never seemed to easily fit in to any particular style or genre, always instead remaining on the periphery of rock music. They were four exceptionally talented musicians who played together with such immense energy. Comparisons could be made to The Velvet Underground, but for me Jane’s Addiction were the better band. Idiots Rule shows the band in full flow, complete with a guest turn from their close friend, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea on trumpet.

15. Panic
Single released in 1986

Unfortunately it took me a long time to fully appreciate the 80s ‘indie’ scene, but that all changed when I started listening to The Smiths, probably the quintessential indie band. Panic was one of my early favourites, combining the sound which would be imitated by countless Mancunian bands in the years to come, with Morrissey‘s superb lyrical approach. The Smiths and Morrissey were a very important musical discovery for me, and I still listen to them regularly and continue to be inspired by Johnny Marr‘s guitar playing.

16. Lilac Wine
Album: Grace

Jeff Buckley was another MTV2 discovery. Lots of my favourite bands always seemed to go on about him and his father Tim Buckley, but I had never heard either until I heard Grace. When I did, I couldn’t get enough of Jeff, and was also quite fond of Tim. I picked up the classic Grace album, and was immediately struck by its brilliance from start to finish. His vocals were extraordinary; soulful, smooth, sensual and bluesy, and not to mention acrobatic. I can’t think of another singer who has put more emotion into their vocal performance than this man. He really felt every note, and that’s the way it should be. Both his guitar and vocal style have influenced me greatly as a musician.

17. Lullaby
Album: Disintegration
Year: 1989

I’ve already called Mike Patton a genius, and now I’m saying the same about Robert Smith. Increasing my knowledge and taste of 80s indie, I found The Cure and it was Lullaby which won me over. It has a glacial beauty that I soon found on all of the Disintegration album, which I consider to be one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. Once again, I have also been massively inspired by Smith’s distinctive guitar work, and his playing on this track is a great example of this. The Cure are very dear to me.

18. Catherine Blake
Album: Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
Year: 2004

My Dying Bride’s music very often directly reflects my emotional state, and more so than any other band I have ever listened to. Their music is dark, sorrowful and seductive, and their lyrics display an intelligent romanticism which is extremely rare in heavy metal music. This is what they call ’doom metal’, and it’s quite clear why just from the opening notes of Catherine Blake. The song’s mournful tones are truly moving and, although it may take a few listens to appreciate fully, it is well worth it. This band has definitely changed my life for the better.

19. Hymne VII - Wolf and destiny
Album: Nattens Madrigal
Year: 1997

And to bring you right up to date, lately I’ve been enjoying a lot of black metal, a scene born out of Norway. If you want the neo-Nazi church burners, try Burzum. But if you want intelligent, romantic and passionate black metal, Ulver’s early albums are for you. Nattens Madrigal is the one I’m listening to the most at the moment. If you’re wondering what the hell that racket is and why you can barely make out a note, it’s because the album was apparently recorded outdoors in a Norwegian forest. This was probably mainly so that they could be close to the beast that they were named after, and that they were screaming about; the wolf. If you can be bothered to seek out the English translations of the lyrics on the album, they are fascinating. I picked this track mainly because it’s probably the second catchiest on the record.


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Matt
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Comentarios

  • Zenithuk

    A nice read. I like your journal entries, they're actually intelligently written and make such a refreshing change from all the survey crap that seems to love hogging my dashboard. :)

    15 Jul 2006, 23:51
  • Blessedheart

    Thank you :) I've enjoyed writing these 2, and will be writing more just as soon as I've figured out something to write about. Matt

    15 Jul 2006, 23:58
  • thethem

    Awesome list, Blessedheart. I probably had about half of this list playing playing in my car in high school, at least artist wise. However, the other half the bands you have listed were outside the scope of my musical tastes. I was little older when many of these bands released their first album, much less hit the height of their musical talents. Anyway, you're spot-on with the Syd Barrett comment. His contributions were what made Pink Floyd great and his solo stuff was incredible. I have to disagree with your choice from Jane's Addiction. I think that either Three Days or Stop would have been a better choice. Three Days has that great slow build up, then the song reaches what many think to be the crescendo, but then in the last four minutes they just let it all go. It's like sex in a song. Anyway, great journal entry. ^-^

    16 Jul 2006, 0:15
  • Blessedheart

    Thank you. Regarding Syd, you might like to read my tribute if you haven't already seen it. http://www.last.fm/user/Blessedheart/journal/2006/07/12/178495/ As for Jane's Addiction, I agree that both Stop! and Three Days are amazing tracks, in fact I'd say that thr Ritual De Lo Habitual album is on of the all time essential purchases. I would love to have put Three Days on there, but its length unfortunately forced me not to. For me, Idiots Rule just about edges it over Stop!, but I guess that's what this site is all about; personal taste. Anyway, thanks again for looking. Matt

    16 Jul 2006, 0:36
  • mikeroach113

    None of those came out in 1996, did they?

    9 Nov 2006, 18:21
  • Blessedheart

    Yes, the first track did, but the point of the compilation is that '96 was the year that I got properly into music.

    9 Nov 2006, 21:46
  • mikeroach113

    Oh, I see. My bad.

    10 Nov 2006, 0:47
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