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It's like she is a different artist in each language - but she also understands and provides what each audience in that language is looking for, even if the two sounds she's going for have very little to do with each other.
It's interesting how different Mi Tierra is from much of her English-language work - Mi Tierra takes great pains to sound "authentic" - the salsa and bolero songs have classic arrangements. None of the keyboard lasers and drum machine fills of the Miami Sound Machine songs. My Colombian wife can't stand her upbeat English-language hits - they sound too "gringa" to her ears, which is funny because to someone like my mom those same songs are what she thinks of as fun Latin dance music - "cruise ship floor fillers," if you will.
I hear ya. Nothing Paul Simon has done recently is gonna compare with his first few solo albums. But now that we are so far removed from Simon's most popular works, he's got this whole other body of work that is great but comparatively unheralded. And he's not alone; I was just thinking the other day of how much Bruce Springsteen has put out in the past three decades and how much I don't engage with it compared to his classics. Those types of post-heyday output feel like they could be a good feature to complement articles like this that focus more on the cream of the crop. Just a thought!
I feel like another Graceland song or two could have been here - but a very tough career to boil down into 10 songs. Considering that nothing from his career from the past 30 years is here - another good feature might be highlighting the best songs after an artist's popular and artistic peak. Simon did a lot of interesting work after Rhythm of the Saints, including a Broadway show starring Marc Anthony, an album with Brian Eno ("Outrageous" is a great song) and some cool collaborations with electronic musicians. But all the recent stuff struggles to compete for attention with the songs everyone already knows and loves.
I remember an older female cousin of mine liking Nelson at the time, but I wasn't old enough to really follow music when this was a hit. By the time I did, I just got the handed-down wisdom that Nelson was one of those bands that sucked, probably Beavis and Butthead reinforced that. But hearing this song now, it's pleasant enough. There's a catchy tune buried underneath the fashionable production of the time. Then again, I revisited Nickelback the other day and was surprised to enjoy their big hits much more than I remember doing at the time. Always worth checking out the bands you are supposed to hate and verifying if you still hate them, a lot of that hatred tends to be wrapped up in factors unrelated to the music at hand that fade with time and distance.
A lot of nu metal bands definitely styled themselves as badasses and got nothing but grief for it. I think a crucial part of the rock audience started finding self-styled badassery a lame pose, at least from rockers, and that was a bigger factor in the decline of rock than the rock stars themselves declining to be badasses. Why did rockstars acting like badasses suddenly become lame? I don't have a definitive answer but I think increased visibility into the consequences of rockstars acting like jerks - due to the internet and political/social mores changing - had to be a factor.
Should have been a bonus beat...Triumph the Insult Comic Dog seeing Bon Jovi live, and even getting in a dig at the lyrics of Blaze of Glory: "So Richie works out the rhymes while you oil his butt?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ajABuRj67o
I give Balvin some credit for realizing that Residente had his number. But Balvin was still totally humiliated here, and for good reason. Residente is one of the few artists with enough substance in his own popular work to be able to pull criticism like this off. Good for him!
I didn't realize this and so many other albums came out on 9/11. Guess they got lost in the shuffle of the moment. Anyway, the tour Ben Folds did after this with Built to Spill was amazing.
That's strange - my parents always had lite FM on in the car growing up and I feel like the local AC stations played Toy Soldiers constantly.
I was in college when this came out, and I liked it well enough but the hype was so deafening that they seemed overrated right out of the box. Looking back, it still feels overrated, though when I hear it the music is pleasant enough. It is true that a whole indie industrial complex blew up around this album's success - would Stereogum still be here today without the Strokes' hype? Would blog rock have happened? Would Coachella have been mainstreamed? Would indie rock be less popular, but more experimental and and interesting? It does feel like an echo of what happened after Nirvana's Nevermind, but with much smaller effects. Anyway, it is going to be weird when we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Stereogum posts I remember reading at the time.
Is nobody else getting Belle and Sebastian "White Collar Boy" vibes from this Kurt Vile cover of VU?
As far as I can tell - this is the last time any Beatle made the Top 40 as the lead artist - pour four out!
When Bon Jovi rocks, they are a lot of fun - I would add "Runaway" to your list, and even though it was released as a solo song I think "Blaze of Glory" qualifies. But aside from "Wanted Dead or Alive" Bon Jovi in ballad mode is hard to enjoy unless you really like that sort of thing, which is closer to Celine Dion in sound and delivery than anything that really rocks. By the time you get to 90s Bon Jovi, the hard rock that was popular didn't play to any of Bon Jovi's strengths so they went full into cheesy ballad mode - and not even in a "lighters up" kind of way.
I was still too young to really follow pop music when this was a big hit but I definitely dug it when I downloaded all the songs from the Monster Ballads compilation in the early days of Napster.
https://twitter.com/whispers_finest/status/1401736587650605059/photo/1
I think it got started before the wall came down, but yes - 1990 seems like the peak of the sound and attitude I am talking about. I was originally talking about alternative, but in the pop sphere Milli Vanilli definitely counts - along with things like Right Said Fred, C&C Music Factory, Soul II Soul, Londonbeat, etc. Definitely a Eurotrash streak running through things. In the pop sphere I guess it was before hip-hop became a dominating force and was still just one of many influences. Cure might be bigger than my thesis but there were a lot of little coffeehouse type bands like 10,000 Maniacs around too, all very earnest and if anything in direct opposition to this sort of thing. But they were also vying for airplay next to bands like Escape Club on alternative stations before they branched off into AAA and NPR. Which is interesting in retrospect! Lots of different strands co-existing and popular.
Don't hate this as much as Tom - seems like we are in that weird no-man's land between the 80s and 90s that was full of these sorts of dancey alternative songs with elements of hip-hop and house. I am thinking EMF, Dee-Lite, Big Audio Dynamite, Jesus Jones...just this little window of time when whatever alternative music could be was sort of up for grabs until Nirvana put its foot down and said it was going to be grunge. It was an era of colors that were maybe a little too fluorescent, beats that sounded dated almost immediately after they were recorded, and lots of safe sex campaigns. Maybe all the excitement of the wall coming down went to people's heads, or maybe the pills were blowing a lot of people's minds. It all seems like a good time on the hits, which sound like they got the dancefloors moving.
Makes me wonder what song made in the past year could carry the weight of being named greatest song of all time by some music writer, even infamously. WAP?
Born in 81 too and when I first got into rock GNR, Metallica and Nirvana were like the big contemporary three for me, before I realized there was a subcultural aspect to them beyond rocking hard. GNR always seemed like the one hair band that wasn't lame - they were never a joke the way Crue or Poison was. They always seemed to have an extra edge other hair bands lacked. That being said, there were definitely jerks at my high school who took One in a Million at face value - but those guys all liked Nirvana too and seemed to pick and choose which parts of alt rock culture they felt like they wanted to adopt and which they ignored. Dying hair crazy colors was cool for them, confronting misogyny in society less so.
Even though this looks like a Woodstock '21 lineup I would still probably enjoy it. Maybe only need to go one day? Not to get all TNOCS, but I saw a few of these bands when they and I were much younger, and there is only so much of this I would even need to see or that my body could handle.
Everything Tom hates about this song is exactly why I love it - the beer commercial vibes, the glossy 80s sheen, the fake plastic soul. It sounds like a childhood get together with adult relatives getting drunk around you.
Tom, I know you have a lot of number one songs to still cover but you should write a feature about the top 20 or so Epitaph punk albums of all time.
1. I knew some Weezer superfans growing up - and they loved Pinkerton from when it came out to the present day. Pinkerton crashed and burned on the radio but the biggest Weezer fans kept the faith. 2. Even though Pinkerton didn't match the blue album's success, everyone still listened to the blue album, even the casual Weezer fans that didn't realize Pinkerton came out. 3. I don't remember any Weezer fans, fairweather or part of the cult, being disappointed by the Green album. Everyone was happy they were popular again, even if the material was definitely trying to redo the blue album less effectively. The first Millennial nostalgia album?
Who's got dibs on being the "modern rock chart poster" in about two TNOCS months when that chart finally exists?
The album title is there instead of the song title in the URL and article title!
Opposite happened to me, thought she was meh at the time (musically at least) and now that I am older and removed from her heyday I kind of enjoy her stuff. Happened a with a lot of that VH1 sort of mellow 90s rock artist (Cranberries, Goo Goo Dolls, Semisonic, etc.), nostalgia must have plowed in an extra groove at some point.
It's weird though, alternative rock radio still plays a lot of 90s alternative hits, so much so that some classic rock stations have only dipped their toe in on alternative rock songs. Maybe you hear the grunge heavy hitters like Nirvana or Pearl Jam, or REM and U2, but Green Day, Weezer, Korn and Sublime don't seem to make the crossover. It keeps the oldies from becoming oldies but also seems weird how little a genre that was originally a reaction to classic rock domination is refusing to get out of the way for the new generation of alternative artists.
I have two young children who were not even born yet when this song came out, discovered the song on their own, and love it unironically. I remember even at the time, people acted like this song was some kind of abomination, but is it really any more ridiculous than most pop music? If anything it is much catchier. Rebecca Black's path certainly had a lot of potential to get really dark and I am glad she managed to come out ok on the other side of her fame.
Gotta put together the Stereogum cinema canon. I'll go second. "Wet Hot American Summer."
You may have covered this in another thread, but were you actually a fan of metal, punk, new wave, indie, hardcore and classic rock all at the same time in 1985? Or did you become a fan of all the different genres later on? I was only a little kid at the time but my sense was that these different audiences didn't necessarily even get along, and didn't listen to much outside of their chosen genre. In retrospect there are more similarities than differences but subcultures were much stronger back then. If you were a fan of all these genres simultaneously, did you get pushback from purists and snobs?
Curious to see how TNOCS evolves when the 90s hit. Did a lot of those fans keep up with pop music as hip-hop got popular. Are my early millennials gonna finally get nostalgic? Are we going to rhapsodize about a time when All-4-One could top the charts for months at a time? Genuinely curious.
Uh hello, Lindsay Lohan version of the Parent Trap with the La's on the soundtrack anyone?
Think you meant Rafferty hated the Undercover version, not Baker. (Would Sherlock Holmes have enjoyed the song Baker Street?)
My vote for most infamous Metallica cover version is for the Anti-Nowhere League's "So What" but honestly what good taste these guys had
SNL videos are tough to find online (though I guess Tom found one above) but Chris Farley was Simon Le Bon on SNL once and sang a snatch of the Reflex. Not really the first SNL cast member that would come to mind to portray Le Bon but hey, he had range!
This feels like the first song since "Old Town Road" that's been popular enough to reach normies who weren't already superfans. And it did it the old fashioned way, by leaning hard into that parental advisory sticker. It's sort of amazing, we grew up with this stuff, there are a lot fewer Tipper Gores around but we are still going through the motions of an outraged performative scold scandalized by hip-hop lyrics. 2 Live Crew, Salt N Pepa and NWA were over 30 years ago! Lil Kim was over 20 years ago! The song is fun but just feels weird watching the cycle repeat itself. Hope the youth gets energized laughing at how little Shapiro apparently turns on his wife: https://twitter.com/benshapiro/status/1292927011724304384
I have been wondering when Stobgopper would feel that he wasn't up to commenting about the nether regions of the top 40 - was hoping he could at least get through the 80s before he maybe had some kids and couldn't pay as much attention to pop ephemera or the music started to get less interesting for him. But here's hoping he's just on vacation. I still have Sausalito Summer in my head thanks to him! The early 80s is still way before I started paying attention to music, and I am curious too see how my lizard brain reacts once this gets to the 90s and I actually remember not just the songs but being conscious of their spot on top of the charts. I wonder if I will interact differently with this column and more direct nostalgia will start pouring out of me, and whether the comments sections themselves will start mutating as early Millennials start waxing rhapsodic about their youth. Also curious to see if Tom can make the case for 2000s pop music, since I had mostly stopped paying attention to mainstream pop music by then except for the unavoidable monster hits.
Also missing Stob! Where you been man? Hope you are enjoying a vacation away from devices.
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