Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of Classics Collected, where we at Spotisfaction continue our work as Music Time Lords going backwards this time instead of forwards. The SpoTardis this week has stopped on the year 1994 and all our albums (with 1 cheeky exception) were released in what turned out to be a very succesful year for those of you who love to rock, and love the sound of good guitar music!
Apologies to those looking for our usual mix of musical diversity – I’m afraid this list stems from a recent jump through old albums and a conversation with some colleagues. Originally this list was going to include the excellent Ten by Pearl Jam and following a chat with some friends (and some divided opinion on its greatness) I wanted to make a classic list that started with Ten and then had some other albums to compare it to in order to seal the deal once and for all. In searching for good albums of the age it quickly appeared that a number of truly great albums of the genre(s) were released in 1994 and in fact 1994 was a real golden age.
Weezer ”“ Weezer – aka The Blue Album. As debuts go this record really ticks all the boxes. At the time it was pretty original in terms of sound, and there certainly weren’t many similar acts. It spawned a couple of hit singles to get it into the mainstream consciousness, and in this writers opinion is still their finest work despite the many great albums which have followed it. If nothing else, this release should be remembered for the Happy Day’s inspired video for Buddy Holly and the Guitar Hero mainstay, My Name Is Jonas.
Green Day ”“ Dookie – Whilst not their first album, it was certainly the first album that gained them any serious attention and made them MTV darlings of the age thanks to the anthemic Basket Case (which also happened to have a great video). At the time I was very into the “extreme sports” scene and this record seemed to be on constant play at parks, tracks and events across the land. In many ways this was their peak, more refined than its excellent predecessor (Kerplunk) and the next couple of follow ups were strong but never quite as complete.
Foo Fighters ”“ Foo Fighters ”“ This is the slight cheat album in that strictly speaking it didn’t hit stores until 1995, but the bulk of the work was very much set in 1994 and the delay only caused by Dave Grohl’s desire to seperate himself from the ghosts of the past. Many knew already that when Cobain’s death came in April 1994, Nirvana were already struggling with internal tensions, and their future was by no means guaranteed. Dave Grohl had recorded a number of songs in touring downtime and after the end of Nirvana had made the decision to become a drummer for another band or go out on his own. Thankfully he chose the latter, and whilst later albums have started to suffer a little (or indeed a lot) of musical dÃ©jÃ vu, this first release was original and fresh at the time and still stands up today. Add into that the fact he wrote and produced every track, playing every instrument bar a single guitar track on a single song I think it stands as an all time classic of the age/genre.
The Offspring ”“ Smash – Another case, like Green Day, of a hardworking band getting their breakthrough in the movement of ’94. Playing a similar style of punk styling to other bands of the age, albeit with their own unique hooks, Smash was really a momentum push, helping the Offspring produce multiple hits including the hugely popular “Self Esteem” which fueled the teenage angst of a generation, in America at least.
R.E.M. ”“ Monster – Already an institution at this stage after the massive selling “Automatic for the People” few expected R.E.M. To make such a massive change in direction producing a much more raw and aggressive record. The first single, “What’s The Frequency Kenneth?” produced a massive and unexpected hit. The resultant tour also produced my favourite album but many wonder how much impact the growing musical sound of the time had on their decision to change direction from the heavily produced predecessors.
Therapy ”“ Troublegum – To many this seems to be the only Therapy? album they have heard, despite there being a number of them out there. The group had already 3 fully fledged releases before this but were still relatively obscure to the mainstream view and playing low key intimate gigs. The blistering of singles “Die Laughing” and “Nowhere” propelled this album to the charts and into the CD players of the public, and was another classic example of the growing rock/punk/metal movement of the early ’90s. Keen to differentiate from the grunge movement and envelop more punk and metal aspects, this album may be short in the scale of things but is a relentless beast from opening cries of getting drunk and causing violence to the cover of “You Are my Sunshine” as the quasi-hidden track at the end of this record.
Well guys, that’s it for this week and I hope you enjoyed our choices! Next time round I promise I’ll pick a different age/genre to ensure we maintain some diversity. As always, let us know your thoughts/feedback/suggestions in the comments box. Please remember we do this for you, the audience, so let us know how you feel and make any requests for future editions! We’ll see you all next week with another edition of Tomorrow’s Sounds Today, where we choose all thats new and improved on the Spotify “What’s new” smÃ¶rgÃ¥sbord and encapsulate it for you in a tasty musical meatball.
Peace, love and music.