The Anniversary

Superunknown Turns 20

By Ryan Leas / March 7, 2014 - 10:19 am

This year is going to be a strange one for anniversaries. On one hand, we have a slew of British albums turning twenty — Definitely Maybe, His ‘N’ Hers, Parklife — that mark the rise of Britpop. While that movement was just starting up across the ocean, over here grunge was simultaneously huge but also… More »

Mellow Gold Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / February 28, 2014 - 11:35 am

Has “Loser” aged well? I honestly have no idea because I can’t hear “Loser” as a song anymore. Years ago, “Loser” entered that “Smells Like Teen Spirit”/”Hey Ya” rarefied air, the territory of massively important songs so overplayed that they become a part of the air, that they become as familiar as the contours of… More »

The College Dropout Turns 10

By Ryan Leas / February 10, 2014 - 11:20 am

Before he was the nucleus. Before he said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on a nationally-broadcast telethon. Before a 2006 Rolling Stone cover depicted him as Christ, crown of thorns and blood and all, and a 2013 album christened him as Yeezus. Before he stormed the stage and let Taylor Swift know that… More »

Franz Ferdinand Turns 10

By Ryan Leas / February 7, 2014 - 9:27 am

Have you thought about Franz Ferdinand much lately? After the one two-punch of their self-titled debut in 2004 and You Could Have It So Much Better in 2005, the Scottish indie rockers slowed down a bit. It took four years for their third album, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, to appear, and then another four for it… More »

Bows + Arrows Turns 10

By Ryan Leas / February 3, 2014 - 1:15 pm

Back in December, I wrote a profile about the Walkmen that doubled as a maybe-eulogy for the band as they embarked on an indefinite hiatus and various solo projects. It was inevitable that the potential end of the Walkmen elicited, for many, memories of a bygone era of New York and its rock music, but… More »

Dookie Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / January 31, 2014 - 4:06 pm

In May 1994, the former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra walked into the DIY Berkeley punk venue 924 Gilman Street, and he didn’t walk out again. While Biafra was watching whatever band he was watching, he got into an argument with a gang of miscreants. That argument ended in an all-out beatdown, five or six… More »

The Oral History Of Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

By Chris DeVille / January 16, 2014 - 10:23 am

Twenty years ago this Valentine’s Day, one of the all-time classic indie rock albums was released into the world. Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was a landmark for the band and its genre. Gorgeous yet unkempt, accessible yet insular, graceful yet slipshod, the album played a pivotal role in shaping the sound of Pavement and… More »

Doggystyle Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / November 22, 2013 - 8:53 am

Snapshot one: It’s winter, late 1994 or maybe early 1995, and I’m at my first punk show. The Loft is a freezing-cold abandoned-rowhouse squat in West Baltimore, with maybe three lightbulbs in the whole place, graffiti on all the walls, broken glass on the floor that could’ve been there for years for all I know. More »

The Black Album Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / November 14, 2013 - 9:48 am

How big of a deal was Jay-Z in 2003? Big enough that when he announced The Black Album would be his last, he rightfully drew comparisons to Michael Jordan, Jim Brown, and Barry Sanders, legendary athletes who stepped away from the game at the peak of their powers. Big enough that everyone from the hip-ho… More »

Midnight Marauders Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / November 11, 2013 - 1:35 pm

In a way, it’s cosmically appropriate that Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) came out on the same day as a Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. (R. Kelly’s 12 Play also came out on that day, but I only have so many of these 20th-anniversary posts in me.) In retrospect, Enter TheMore »

Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / November 8, 2013 - 2:37 pm

When you get into comic books as a kid, you don’t start with the origin stories — at least not if you’re doing it right. Instead, you flip through the racks at Walgreen’s or Rite-Aid or Barnes & Noble or maybe even an actual straight-up comic book store (which, nowadays, might actually be the onlyMore »

Pussy Whipped Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / October 28, 2013 - 5:06 pm

It must be weird to be a cause celebre before you’ve put out your first album, but that’s what happened with Bikini Kill. The band was, of course, at the center of riot grrrl, the ground-up feminist punk-rock movement that burned bright and fast, that applied feminist-studies ideas to the often-boneheaded hardcore scene and saw… More »

No Alternative Turns 20

By Michael Nelson / October 28, 2013 - 1:55 pm

Every one of these Anniversary stories is celebrating a bygone moment, of course — that’s the nature of looking back on an album a decade or two after its release — but few if any subjects seem so firmly, inextricably lodged in the past as the 1993 compilation No Alternative, which turned 20 years old… More »

Chutes Too Narrow Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / October 21, 2013 - 3:46 pm

The first Shins album, 2001’s Oh, Inverted World, was a collection of effortlessly punchy pop-rock and warm-blooded balladry, but its frayed nerves and plucky resolve were softened by mid-fi reverb haze. It was a mirage, the New Mexico desert’s best evidence that life is but a dream — and not just that gorgeously cooing, tambourine-tapping,… More »

Vs. Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / October 18, 2013 - 3:17 pm

In October 1993, Eddie Vedder’s contorted face howled from the cover of Time magazine. These were the waning days of the monoculture, but mass culture still existed then, and the cover of Time was as much a window into it as anything. For many thousands of young teenagers, this cover story — a trend-piece about… More »

Heartwork Turns 20

By Justin M. Norton / October 18, 2013 - 12:58 pm

It’s a bit of a challenge to write an anniversary appreciation for Heartwork. Anniversaries often imply that the best is behind (whether it’s a band’s catalog, a relationship or a sports franchise). There’s an unstated assumption that what comes after will never surpass what has come before. Last month, Carcass proved that’s not the case… More »

Gentlemen Turns 20

By Chris DeVille / October 7, 2013 - 11:44 am

You all know the story: Back in the post-Nevermind ’90s, every band in the underground, no matter how strange or anti-commercial, was getting swept up by major labels, branded as grunge, patted on the ass, and sent off to the trenches. The Afghan Whigs were hardly the weirdest band to benefit from that signing spree… More »

Painful Turns 20

By Chris DeVille / October 4, 2013 - 2:06 pm

Technically, Yo La Tengo existed for almost a decade before Painful. But the Yo La Tengo we know and love begins here, with the record that turns 20 years old tomorrow. It was the first to feature the lineup that continues on today, matching married founding members Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley with most excellent… More »

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / September 23, 2013 - 12:47 pm

While visiting my alma mater last week, I spent some time working from the back room of a coffee shop, the same room where I used to drag my acoustic guitar on stage for open mic night when I was in college. That room dredges up lots of memories, but none of them are a… More »

Judgment Night Soundtrack Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / September 16, 2013 - 4:53 pm

There were precedents for this: Run-DMC with Aerosmith, Public Enemy with Anthrax, the Kerry King guitar solo on “No Sleep Til Brooklyn.” Ice-T was already touring and recording with a metal band, Body Count, and they’d already released one song (“Cop Killer”) that turned out to be way more infamous than any rap records he’d… More »