1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge
2. Pearl Jam - Jeremy
3. The Cure - A Letter to Elise
4. Nirvana - Come As You Are
5. U2 - One
6. Toad the Wet Sprocket - All I Want
7. Shakespear's Sister - Stay
8. Pearl Jam - Even Flow
9. Morrissey - Tomorrow
10. R.E.M. - Drive
11. James - Born of Frustration
12. Sugarcubes - Hit
13. The Cure - Friday I'm in Love
14. Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike
15. L7 - Pretend that We're Dead
16. Peter Gabriel - Digging in the Dirt
17. The Charlatans - Weirdo
18. Cause & Effect - You Think You Know Her
19. Annie Lennox - Why
20. Alice in Chains - Would
Lush had already released a couple of EPs in 1989 and 1990 which would later become compiled on the album Gala. But I didn't know about this band until Spooky was released in January of 1992. "For Love" was the song played on the radio and MTV. I was hooked on this band as soon as I heard them. I loved everything about them. Spooky and Gala became two of my favorite albums. And I was also a huge fan of Split released in 1994. They would go on to release Love Life in 1996. That would unfortunately be their last album. Lush was Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson on guitar and vocals. Steve Rippon played bass but was later replaced by Phil King. Chris Acland played drums. I am just happy that I got to see these guys perform live a couple of times. Acland committed suicide in October of 1996. It was only a few weeks after I saw them perform in San Francisco. I was devastated by the news. It obviously hit the band hard. The band never replaced him and broke up soon after. Lush were similar to Ride. They never really got as big as they should have been. But they had a huge cult following. I feel like Lush are one of those bands that if you know who they are then you are a fan. You just can't not like this band. These first two albums were really what shoegaze was all about. Gala was produced by Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins after all. This is just a beautiful dreamy album. It remains one of my favorites of all time and I go back to it quite a bit. It just doesn't get much better than this album.
In Ribbons (4AD)
In Ribbons was the second album released by Pale Saints. The Comforts Of Madness was released in 1990. In Ribbons was my introduction to the band. Meriel Barham had been the original vocalist for Lush. But joined Pale Saints before they recorded this album. This is another one of those perfect shoegaze albums. I can listen to this album over and over again. And I have. The album has some dark undertones to it. It sort of gets beneath my skin and gets me a bit gloomy. But I do love this album. And it features one of those classic Vaughan Oliver 4AD covers. I actually always really loved this album cover and always thought it was just melted candles. Or a melted wedding cake. It was years before I realized that this was actually bleached entrails. It really made me look at the album cover a whole new way. Sort of beautiful and disgusting at the same time. The album features some really fantastic songs. "Blue Flower," "Hunted," "Liquid," "Featherframe," and "Throwing Back The Apple." The album is not exactly full of hits and Pale Saints never got as popular as Lush. But this album is on most shoegazers list of favorite albums of the era. Pale Saints went on to put out only one more album after this. Slow Buildings was released in 1994.
This is another one of those album covers that just brings me back to the early 90s. I love this band. Can't exactly remember how I first got into them. But I think a friend played the album for me. Curve were similar to Lush. But maybe a bit darker. Less ethereal. More similar to a band like Chapterhouse than a band like Cocteau Twins. They were also similar to Lush in that they first released a couple EPs that got people interested in them before their first album came out. Doppelganger was their first album and it came out in March of 1992. Both my shoegaze and goth friends loved Curve. They fell somewhere in between. You could hear them in a goth club or at an indie club. Curve was fronted by Toni Halliday on vocals. I am not putting any album on this list that have not held up over time. I loved Jesus Jones in the early 90s but the album just doesn't hold up over time! But this Curve album is just as good as when I first heard it. It is actually a really sexy album if that makes sense. Dark and dreamy and dancey. I feel like everyone liked this album when it came out. They were not popular for that long. But this album really got a lot of people excited about Curve. They released Cuckoo the next year and a couple more albums after that. But it is really just this album that I was into.
The Boo Radleys-Everything's Alright Forever (Creation)
Everything's Alright Forever was released in August of 1992. This was the second album from this English band. The Boo Radleys had released Ichabod & I in 1990. This was also one of those bands that I only listened to one album by. I never ventured beyond Everything's Alright Forever. The album featured "Skyscaper." Another song that I can never get enough of. Like "Sunshine Smile" by Adorable or "Higher Than The Sun" by Primal Scream. It is just one of those early 90s songs that I can listen to over and over again. The Boo Radleys went on to put out 4 more albums after this one in the mid to late 90s. This is another classic album of the shoegaze era. Giant Steps was release the following year and everyone seemed to love that album too. But this is honestly the only album I ever owned by them. But it is still one of my favorites of the year.
Drop Nineteens-Delaware (Caroline)
Drop Nineteens are one of only two American bands on my 1992 list. Drop Nineteens were like the My Bloody Valentine of Boston. Medicine were the My Bloody Valentine from LA. Drop Nineteens had released an album in 1991. But Delaware was their first album on a big label. It was released in June of 1992. This album probably was more popular in the UK. And they are another band that I always thought were from England. The album featured "Winona," "Kick The Tragedy," and "Angel." Angel being a cover of the song by Madonna. This album sits somewhere between dream pop and noisy shoegaze. It was that cover of Angel that really sold me on this band. A perfect unexpected reimagining of the song. They went on to release National Coma in 1993. They never exactly got to be a popular band. But the album did have a cult following. And they did manage to score a spot on the Lollapalooza tour in 1993.
The Cure-Wish (Elektra)
I am not sure what I can say about The Cure that has not already been said. Most fans favorite Cure album is Disintegration from 1989. It still might be my favorite album of all time of every album ever released. It was the perfect album to end the 80s and begin the 90s with. It came out when I was still in junior high. And along with Music For The Masses by Depeche Mode it was one of the first albums that I got obsessed with. The Cure released Wish in March of 1992. Wish was the bands Violator. It was their first album of the 90s and probably their last great album. Although they still continue to put out albums every couple years of so. Wish was their best selling album ever and it still remains one of my favorites. I really can't think about 1992 without thinking about this album. It was like what Nevermind was the year before. The album unfortunately featured "Friday I'm In Love." Most Cure fans, who had been Cure fans for years before this album came out, really don't like this song. It just got so overplayed. I still managed to remain a fan of "Love Song" from Disintegration. And that song was overplayed as well. But "Friday I'm In Love" just got to be so annoying. I think it might have damaged the album for some. However this album remains a really fantastic Cure album and features some of their best songs. I listened to this album quite a bit all through 1992 and throughout most of the 90s. I would often just skip over a couple of songs including "Wendy Time." My favorites remain "Apart," "Open," "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea," "Trust," "Cut" & "Too Wish Impossible Things." Apart still breaks my heart every time that I listen to it. It became my official breakup song for many years. And I still get excited every time I get to hear "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea" live at one of their concerts. It was the "Disintegration" of the album. This album also had some amazing b-sides on some of the singles. "Halo," "Scared As You," "The Big Hand" & "This Twilight Garden" are some of their best songs.
Stick Around For Joy (Elektra)
Bjork is one of those artists like Tori Amos that you probably love or hate. I have always loved her since the moment I laid eyes on her. The Sugarcubes released two album in the late 80s. Life's Too Good in 1988 and Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week! in 1989. Stick Around For Joy was the final album for the group released in February of 1992. It remains my favorite probably because it was my first album by The Sugarcubes. It featured "Gold," "Hit," "Walkabout," & "Leash Called Love." Bjork would go on to have a very successful solo career starting with Debut in 1993. I really did fall in love with Bjork & The Sugarcubes. I probably saw the video for Hit on MTV and was hooked on the band after that. I eventually picked up all the Sugarcubes albums and would end up being a long time Bjork fan seeing her live many times over the last two decades. These albums were a big part of my 90s and still remain really fun albums. They were sort of the Icelandic version of the B-52s. They were weird and wacky. They were what would be know as alternative music.
PJ Harvey-Dry (Indigo)
Dry was released in the UK in March of 1992. But I don't remember first hearing it until the summer of 1992. It was released in the US in June. One of my best friends first brought PJ Harvey to my attention. She first played me this cassette in her car. We both loved it and listened to this album all the time. I have loved almost every PJ album that has come out since this one. I still get excited every time she releases a new album. And she has always been an amazing artist to see live. She is just one of those artists that is all around amazing. Dry was like nothing I had ever heard before. It didn't really sound like anything I would normally be into. But this album was just so good. It featured "Dress," "O Stella," "Sheela-Na-Gig," "Plants & Rags" & "Happy & Bleeding." The album ended up being on everyone's year end list in 1992. It was an amazing debut by one amazing lady. I can listen to this album any time and fall in love with it all over again.
Red House Painters-
Down Colorful Hill (4AD)
Red House Painters! The second American band on my list. Red House Painters are from San Francisco. My home for the latter part of the 90s. Down Colorful Hill was released in September of 1992. My first month of college. I think I just picked up this album because it was on 4AD. And because I liked the cover. This album is really like no other. They would go to create 3 more fantastic albums. The two self titled albums were released in 1993. And Ocean Beach was released in 1995. I spent a lot of time with all of these albums. And I think I saw them perform live about 10 different times in San Francisco. This debut album features "Medicine Bottle," "Michael" & "Japanese To English." Medicine Bottle is one of my favorite songs of all Red House Painters songs. It would be high on my list of my favorite songs of all time. It is a long song at almost 10 minutes. And I spent many nights listening to this song on repeat. Red House Painters were know as slowcore or sadcore. The folkier side of dream pop. I soon got into the bands like Low and Galaxie 500 after Red House Painters. This band is one of my favorites. And any of their albums could have ended up on my 90s list. But this was their first.
Utah Saints-Utah Saints (London)
I was trying to make this list entirely rock and indie music. But I really couldn't ignore this album. Utah Saints introduced me to the world of dance music and rave music. Electronica and dance music would become a big part of my musical life throughout the 90s. Utah Saints were the perfect band to introduce me to the world of dance music. They were similar to some of the grebo bands that I had gotten into. They used a lot of sampling in their songs and loved to yell out their own band name in most of their songs. This album featured "Something Good" which featured a Kate Bush sample. It also featured "I Want You" & "What Can You Do For Me." I would soon be listening to Moby, Underworld, The Chemical Brothers, Orbital, The Orb, Aphex Twin & Future Sound Of London. It all started with this album. Utah Saints only released this one self titled album in the 90s. KROQ was starting to play some of these dance and rave songs in 1992. They probably first introduced me to this band. They played "Something Good" by Utah Saints and also "Temple of Dreams" by Messiah, "It's A Fine Day" by Opus III & "Love U More" by Sunscreem. Utah Saints was released right at the end of 1992. It was the beginning of a whole new scene.
Check for these albums here on Amoeba.com
Up next 1993...
Check out the video of "For Love" by Lush from the album Spooky...
Check out the video for "Winona" by The Drop Nineteens from the album Delaware...
Check out the video for "Hit" by The Sugarcubes from the album Stick Around For Joy...