Saturday, September 06, 2008

10 Great Songs From One Great Year

1995 was a watershed year for rock and roll. What 1978 was to disco, 1995 was to alternative rock. Finally putting to bed the teeny-bopper sound of the boy band era, this year saw the tremendous growth of the Seattle grunge sound that had started in the early 90’s by such bands as Nirvana and Soundgarden. Furthermore, angst/angrier lyrics became more mainstream with the remarkable success of Alanis Morrisette and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam).

After growing up to ‘Nsync and the Backstreet Boys, young America matured and began to rebel with extreme cynicism.

Jeremy - Pearl Jam

This is about a boy who kills himself at school to get revenge on the students who tormented him. It is based on the true story of Jeremy Delle, a 16 year old who killed himself in front of his English class at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas.

Till I Hear It From You – Gin Blossoms

Billboard magazine called the single "the closest thing to a perfect pop song to hit radio in recent memory," and commented on its "breezy and wonderfully infectious melody, the boy-needs-girl lyrics, and the earnest execution."

Run-Around - Blues Traveler

John Popper wrote this about his problems with women. He was frustrated that he could not become more than friends with any of them. The song is believed to be about an argument John Popper has with a female friend of his. She was also the subject of a later song, "Felicia." The song is also suspected to be about John Popper's relationship with Spin Doctors' frontman Chris Barron at the height of their fame. The evidence being the lyrics "a trusted friend" as well as "it doesn't have to rhyme". Barron is notorious for his clever rhyming.

The World I Know - Collective Soul

The music video depicts a businessman who begins to go about his day, reading The New York Times on the way to his office. As he reads about death, and sees the homelessness and sadness on the street, he becomes disillusioned with his life and prepares to jump (Lyrics in song: 'As I walk up on high / And I step to the edge' as he climbs the building, takes off his shoes, and looks at the ground), crying ('While the tears roll down'). He stretches out his arms, and just before he falls, a pigeon lands on his arm. He feeds it with the bagel in his pocket, and the crumbs attract ants, which makes the man notice the similarities of them to the people walking below. He laughs throwing all his money at the people and pulls himself out of his state.

Roll To Me - Del Amitri

Roll to Me is a catchy pop tune that was the biggest American hit for the band. Based in London, Del Amitri had almost as much success as they had lineup changes. Unknown in the States until they appeared at Woodstock ’94, they had no more chart success following this song.

Perfect - Alanis Morissette

I could have chosen just about any song from the enormously successful Jagged Little Pill album. Although she claims the song is not autobiographical, it resonates so strongly since she was a child star on TV prior to her musical career. Brilliantly subtle and tragically imbued, Perfect is just that.

Buddy Holly – Weezer

One of the most enjoyable videos I’ve ever watched. Besides, any song that mentions Mary Tyler Moore and Buddy Holly in the lyrics is cool with me. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo has stated that this song is largely misinterpreted - it is not romantic, but is about defending a platonic female friend.

Ode to My Family – The Cranberries

Lead singer Dolores O'Riordan claims this is about her decision to become a rock star and the conflicts that decision caused with her parents and their Irish traditions. She sings it in a lullaby-like way as if reminiscing on her family back in Ireland.

Jealousy – Natalie Merchant

The former lead singer of band, 10,000 Maniacs, Merchant released her first solo album, “Tigerlilly” and it went and sold over 5,000,000 copies worldwide. In a magazine interview, it was revealed that this song is about Merchant's broken engagement to record company executive David Bither.

Thirty-Three – The Smashing Pumpkins

The fifth and final single from the enormously successful album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Thirty-Three has been rumored to be about a religious awakening by lead singer Billy Corgan, although Corgan denies it. Regardless, it is beautifully poetic.


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Will certainly weigh in with more thoughts later when I have more time, but had immediately point out that "Jeremy", while an OUTSTANDING tune, actually came out in 1991 on the band's first album, "Ten". By 1995 Pearl Jam was already two albums past "Ten (the magnificent "Vs." was released in '93, and the great-but-with-two-useless cuts "Virology" in '94), and "Jeremy" was far far back in their rearviewmirror (yes, I misspelled that on purpose...quite a PJ fan, I be).

Sher said...

I have to say, I loved most of those songs. Roll with Me could perhaps have been the soundtrack for my life in '95.
Thanks for the memories. And how about a great year for the 80's... 1983.