Get ready to feel old: I was listening to iTunes this week, when a song from Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill played on random shuffle. It was a welcome little stroll down memory lane until it hit me that that album is turning 20 freaking years old this year. That got me wondering: First, am I really that old? And then what other albums from my youth are hitting that two-decade mile marker? I did some scrolling and this is what I found. I’m willing to bet you rocked out to some—or all of these—back in 1995.
Alanis Morrisette | Jagged Little Pill
If there ever was an album that was (and most certainly still is) all wrapped up in mid-'90s music truth, it's certainly Alanis's Grammy-snatching '95 set. From the moment we saw her trekking across the desert in the video for Pill lead single "You Oughta Know," we were hooked on her wonderfully weird vocal stylings and angsty jingles. It also doesn't hurt that album cuts like "Hand In My Pocket," "Ironic," "You Learn" and "All I Really Want," still make the music on Jagged Little Pill seem relatable after all these years.
Mariah Carey | Daydream
Not only did Mariah Carey's multi-platinum Daydream album deliver the diva three more No. 1 hits ("Fantasy," "One Sweet Day" and "Always Be My Baby") but it became the pinnacle of a time when Carey began straying from her trademark adult contemporary sound into a more seductive R&B, get-me-away-from-Tommy-Mottola mode. Not only is Daydream one of the diva's strongest vocal efforts, but other album glass-breakers, "Underneath The Stars," "Forever," "Open Arms," and especially "Fantasy," will all have us singing, "shoo-do-do-do-do-do" for the rest of our lives.
Various Artists | Batman Forever Soundtrack
Is Batman Forever the worst Batman movie in the history of the franchise? Without a doubt. Does it have of the best soundtracks ever? Riddle me yes. Not only does it contain one of the biggest hits of the '90s, the Grammy-winning "Kiss From A Rose" by Seal, but it contains the supercharged U2 track "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" and a slew of other buzz-worthy mid-'90s artists, like PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, The Flaming Lips and Massive Attack. That almost makes up for the fact that Batman Forever was just God awful.
Björk | Post
While the head-scratching diva from Iceland had released two prior studio sets, it was Post that truly put her on the American music map with its oh-so-eclectic sound and sensual, screechy sonnets. Six singles were released from the album, but it's standouts "Hyperballad," "Army Of Me" and "It's Oh So Quiet" that truly made Björk's wild album one of a kind in the mid-‘90s.
Shania Twain | The Woman in Me
Country crossover queen Shania Twain's second album not only paved the way for a mid-'90s country music hoedown (you're welcome, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and Leann Womack), but it bulldozed a place in music history for her other smash '90s album, Come On Over. Classic Woman singles "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?," "Any Man Of Mine," "(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here" and the album's title track prove Ms. Twain was quite the music force to be reckoned with (and that we all kind of liked country just a little bit).
Radiohead | The Bends
If there was ever an album that defined a generation of college-rock radio listeners in the '90s, it was Radiohead's shimmering second set. With its melancholy melodies and light synthetic tones—all mixed perfectly with that infamous "wah-wah-wah" sound that Cher in Clueless (also 20 this year!) loved so much—it's no wonder that sensitive singles "High & Dry" and "Fake Plastic Trees" still have you reaching for a Kleenex.
Jewel | Pieces of You
You'd be hard pressed to find a more heartbreaking collection of songs from the mid-'90s than this one. One part shattered dreams, one part broken promises, Pieces of You was the album for high school girls everywhere who just had their heart stomped on by some guy in study hall. Singles "You Were Meant For Me," "Who Will Save Your Soul" and haunting ballad "Foolish Games" not only put Jewel on the music radar, but it also saved her from living in her van down by a river in Alaska.
Oasis | (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
Drunken feuds! Fights on stage! All those cigarettes! From start to finish, Oasis's landmark album is packed full of U.K. rock gems, explosive harmonizing melodies and synth-laced grooves. Even today, when hearing the title track and their dazzling reworking of "Wonderwall," I find a sudden urge to light up a smoke or 20.
Foo Fighters | Foo Fighters
The story behind Foo's debut set is quite an interesting one. While many thought it was bandmate Dave Grohl's attempt to start another band following the suicide of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, it was much more than that. During the recording process, Grohl wrote and played every note and sang every vocal on the set, only later adding in instrumentation with bandmates Nick Mendel, William Goldsmith and former Nirvana bandmate Pat Smear. While it contained mighty fine rock and plenty of catchy pop hooks, in the end, Foo's debut proved to be one of the only positive things to stem from losing Cobain.
Garbage | Garbage
Two words: Shirley Manson. In a radio world that was dominated by grungy rock gods, it was Shirley and the rest of her gaggle of Garbage who ushered in a fresh sound laced with gutsy rhythms, blinding beats and purring vocals—which were delivered to perfection by Ms. Manson. Smash singles "Vow," "Queer," "Only When Happy When It Rains" and "Stupid Girl" still have Garbage smelling mighty fine today.
No Doubt | Tragic Kingdom
Hard to believe, but it was 20 years ago that Gwen was doing all those push-ups in the video for Tragic lead single, "Just A Girl." Ms. Stefani and the boys of No Doubt certainly delivered plenty of punk prowess and sultry ska rhythms on their chart-shattering debut. Hit singles "Just A Girl, "Spiderwebs," and "Sunday Morning" are all still in a music class of their very own. Also, how many times have you sang—or at least heard someone sing—"Don't Speak" on a drunken karaoke night?
Real McCoy | Another Night
I'm sure I can speak for a whole lot of guys when I say I don't know how far I would have gotten in high school if it weren't for the galactic grooves of German dance trio Real McCoy. Smash hits "Run Away," their remake of Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love," "Sleeping With An Angel" and the album's title track were the stuff that '90s gym classes were made of.
Smashing Pumpkins | Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
While the Pumpkin's previous studio efforts Siamese Dream and Pisces Iscariot gave them plenty of '90s music cred, it was this double-disc set that made them a household name. Mainly produced by frontman Billy Corgan, the album featured a whopping 28 tracks, six of them being released as singles. Album cuts "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," "Tonight, Tonight," "Thirty-three" and seminal Pumpkins tune "1979" all sound just as delightfully juiced-up today as they did back then.
Marilyn Manson | Smells Like Children
Not only was this Manson's breakthrough, but Children became a nightmare for every '90s soccer mom who thought their kids were listening to the Antichrist. With their vivid imagery, crazy videos and hellish sound, not to mention, those eyes, it's albums like this that prove the '90s were one of the most insane times in music ever.
2pac | Me Against The World
If there ever was an album that defined mid-'90s hip-hop, it was 2Pac's landmark fourth studio set. 2Pac released World while he was in prison for attacking his Menace II Society director, Allen Hughes, sexually assaulting a female fan, and an attempted shooting of two off-duty police officers. With that aside, it's tracks like "Temptations" and everyone's favorite hip-hop tearjerker "Dear Mama" that truly make 2Pac's World a rap classic.
Need a playlist about right now? Hear a mix of all 15 albums below or follow the list here:
Here we are, fresh at the top of another year in music, and 2015 looks to be quite a doozy. With new albums on the horizon from Rihanna, Coldplay, Madonna and Kelly Clarkson, it’s already shaping up to be quite an interesting year for radio. However, the burning question on everyone’s mind: Will Adele finally make her grand return? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out. Check out our 15 most-anticipated albums of 2015 below:
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By now we are all snow boot-deep in yet another holiday season filled with yuletide logs, office holiday parties, ugly Christmas sweaters and drunk uncles. But even with all that, no crazy holiday season is complete without the perfect soundtrack. While this year doesn’t have A-plus offerings like 2013’s releases from folks like Michael Bublé and Kelly Clarkson, there are still a handful of new works worthy of a spot in your holiday music collection.
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I’m going to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of seeing shows at the Union Transfer. The security there is sometimes a bit touchy-feely, there’s always some random fan girl twirling all up in my space, and, well, let’s just say Molly seems to be plentiful. Last night, when I went to see DJ Caribou, all of those things were in place, but I didn’t even notice because the show was absolutely explosive. Both acts that performed took me to another place that was worlds away from the Union Transfer and the twirling sister at my side.
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“A little up and down and all around, it’s all about survival,” coos Madonna on slinky boudoir groove “Survival,” the opening number of her just-turned-20 work Bedtime Stories. And, as all of us true Madonna queens know, prior to the release of this celebrated record, the Material Girl’s career at this point was indeed a little up and down and all around, and in definite need of survival.
Her previous studio set, the S&M-beat-blessed Erotica, ruffled the feathers of a lot of critics—and even some fans with its overt sexuality. Around the same time, her provocatively titled coffee-table book Sex prompted those same critics to throw up their hands. Had the queen of WTF moments reached her shock-value limits? Was America tired of her attention-getting ways? Many said yes. But those who doubted were eating their words after her infamous 1994 interview on Late Show With David Letterman, where she dropped F-bombs like they were going out of style. It was too much for a nation that was increasingly more conservative following Desert Storm and in the midst of a wallet-clenching recession. Girlfriend needed to reel it in.
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Live EDM shows can sometimes be a little disappointing. Case in point: Disclosure‘s recent romp at Union Transfer. Now, I’m a huge fan of these beat-tastic British boys, but seeing them live, well, I was pretty much watching two dudes playing off a laptop who barely looked up to acknowledge the crazy crowd. Not the most engaging experience in the world, to say the least. So, when I found out that I was going to see remixer and music producer RAC (aka Remix Artist Collective) at TLA this past Saturday night, I was leery—but then the music started.
Kicking off the night were indie artists Speak (Austin, Texas), followed by Chris Glover’s New York electropop project, Penguin Prison, which got the packed house amped up before the headliners came on.
Then, much to my surprise, RAC entered with an army of indie artists armed with keyboards, drums, electric guitars and synths. Throughout the show, they all contributed to songs, playing and taking turns doing vocals on the mics. From start to finish, RAC and his crew dazzled in their upbeat set. Whether it was on hits like “Cheap Sunglasses,” and “Hard To Hold,” or their crazy-good remix of Foster The People’s “Houdini,” there wasn’t a number played that RAC and his merry band of indie music-makers didn’t absolutely slay. And the crowd ate up every bit of it.
Patrick DeMarco is the creator and author of Philadelphia music blog Philly Mixtape.
This Sunday marks the 24th annual OutFest block party in the Gayborhood. Besides all the fabulous out-and proud-celebrating and gay kiki-ing , there will be plenty of killer performances set to add even more color to an already rainbow-filled afternoon. One of those performers is Philly-bred singer-songwriter J Carson, who is returning to town from Los Angeles, where he is currently working to make a name for himself in the mainstream music business.
I caught up with Mr. Carson this week, and he couldn’t be more excited to be coming back to perform for his Philly brethren. You can catch him on the OutFest mainstage on Sunday at 1:20 p.m., followed by an evening performance at Icandy. Until then, you can catch up with him in our fun little Q&A. Keep reading to hear what he’s been up to since moving to L.A., how being gay in the music industry has been a challenge for him, and why he calls Britney the “S” word. (Gasp!)
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After what has certainly felt like a lifetime of anticipation, American Horror Story comes screaming back tonight with its latest installment, wonderfully subtitled “Freak Show.” Over the past few months, we’ve all been salivating over tiny tidbits from the set, teaser trailers and photos of the cast in all their freakish glory.
Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for is here, and I know that a lot of you are gearing up for your official “AHS” viewing parties tonight. Well, as I always say, it’s simply not a party without some killer tunes, so I’ve put together a freak-filled playlist to bump while you and your guests anticipate the return of Ms. Lange and her flock of oddities.
Give it a listen in my playlist below:
Prefer a little visual to go with your tunes? Some videos from the playlist below:
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Do you know what day it is? Yes, it’s October 3rd, Lindsey, but most importantly, it’s the 10th anniversary of the night we were introduced to the white-picketed world of Wisteria Lane—and the ladies who live there—on ABC’s Desperate Housewives. From that infamous “Pilot” episode (which garnered 21.6 million viewers, the best showing for ABC in a decade at that time), all of us were instantly hooked on the bizarrely brilliant characters and drawn into their world of lies, scandal, death, desperation and, ahem, the seduction of one smokin’-hot gardener.
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Today marks the five-year anniversary of the death of pop icon Michael Jackson. Since that day, Jackson’s estate has been rolling in dough, due to booming music royalties, two successful posthumous albums and Cirque Du Soleil’s “Immortal World Tour,” which has logged in over 500 sold-out performances since its launch in 2011. It certainly seems as if Michael never left us.
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