The 90s...the best movies of 1990...

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 25, 2015 07:00pm | Post a Comment

I am continuing my journey back through the 90s that I started a couple of years ago. I compiled my top ten albums of the first part of the 90s. In case you missed those you can check them out here. I am now moving on to film and listing my top ten films of each year of the 90s. I will be of course starting with 1990. Since it is the 25th anniversary of 1990! I know it is hard to believe. The 90s is still my favorite decade for music and for film. Although the 80s is really hard to compete with. But a film I loved when I was ten or 12 in the 80s is much different than a film I loved when I was 18 or 20 in the 90s. I really grew up in the 80s. But my high school and college years were in the 90s. 90s films just became a bit more serious for me. Or at least I took film more seriously. Sort of. These were the years I discovered foreign film. The years I discovered the genius of David Lynch and John Waters. I of course loved movies in the 80s but the 90s are when I really fell in love with film and started to understand film and the vision of a director. When I started to really pay attention to editing and cinematography and scores. There were of course some absolutely horrible movies in the 90s. You might even think some of the movies on my list are some of your least favorite!

This is a list of my specific ten films of the year that I love the most. I don't claim for these to be the ten best films of that year. And they certainly are not your favorite films of the year. The great thing about movies is that we all connect differently to different movies. It would be very rare to find two people with the exact same list of ten films from any given year. These are the movies that I have owned on VHS and DVD and Blu-ray. The movies that I have watched over and over again. The movies that I would go see again in the theater if I ever had a chance. These are the movies that make me happy. The movies that make me cry. The movies that I have probably watched too many times already. But if they were on TV I would not be able to resist watching them again. If I ever feel depressed or sad these are the movies that I can turn to knowing they will make me feel better. I really can't even imagine my life or life in general without these movies.

I am going to start each list with a list of the top ten films of that year at the box office. Just as a reference for the year. I will also list what won the Oscar that year for best picture.


Top Ten Films at the Box Office...

Home Alone
Dances With Wolves
Pretty Woman
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Hunt For The Red October
Total Recall
Die Hard 2
Dick Tracy
Kindergarten Cop

Best Picture Oscar...Dances With Wolves

my top ten films of 1990...

#1 Goodfellas
Martin Scorsese

We all get introduced to our favorite directors through different films. It often depends on what age you are when a certain movie comes out in the theater. Or just what film you happen to watch for the first time by that director. It could be the first movie that a certain friend recommends to you or makes you watch for the first time. Goodfellas was my first introduction to Martin Scorsese. And I was hooked on him from that point after. I went back and watched Raging Bull and The Last Temptation of Christ. I went to the theater in the years that followed to see Cape Fear, The Age Of Innocence and Casino. Goodfellas is just one of those perfect movies that I can always go back to. I love the Ray Liotta narration. I love the performances of Lorraine Bracco, Robert De Niro and of course Joe Pesci! I think I actually saw this movie before the Godfather movies so this was one of my first gangster movies. Unless you count Bugsy Malone (1976) with Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. It is hard to believe that this movie did not win Best Picture at the Oscars. But Kevin Costner & Dances With Wolves swept the awards that year. Joe Pesci did walk away with a much deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. And the film did win all the BAFTAs and the DGA and a whole bunch of other awards.

#2 Edward Scissorhands
Tim Burton
I love Tim Burton. Like most people I know who grew up in the 90s. I felt like he was one of the directors who I could actually relate to. He really understood a whole generation of kids. The goth kids and weird kids into horror movies and fantasy. His movies were fantastical and ridiculous at times. But I was in love with almost everything he did in the 90s. I was a big Pee-Wee Herman fan and loved Pee-Wee's Big Adventure more than almost anything. After that movie and then Beetlejuice and Batman I was a serious Tim Burton fan. Those were 3 of my favorite films of the 80s so I was already a huge fan going into Edward Scissorhands for the first time. And I was already hooked on Winona Ryder from Heathers and Johnny Depp from 21 Jumpstreet.  So it was virtually impossible for me to not love this movie! I try to watch this movie about once a year and never get sick of it. It has everything I love about a Tim Burton movie. It is seriously funny with great supporting performances from Vincent Price, Dianne Weist & Kathy Baker. It a crazy ridiculous fantasy film that only somebody like Burton could pull off. And it is a great love story! The film is beautiful to look at and one of those movies that I can't resist jumping into whenever I can.

#3 Pump Up The Volume
Allan Moyle

Heathers is probably my favorite movie of all time. It came out the year before Pump Up The Volume. I think it actually changed my life forever. It probably helped me develop into the person I am today. I probably learned how to be sarcastic and morbid from this movie. And I forever loved dark comedies after this movie. My love for Heathers was mostly due to Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. So I tried to see everything by them I could in the years that followed. I was already in love with Slater from The Legend Of Billie Jean. But this movie really sealed the deal. Pump Up The Volume was the perfect movie to end the 80s and begin the 90s with. Most of 1990 really still felt like the 80s and the 90s really didn't start for me until maybe 1991. Samantha Mathis was also great in this movie but it was really all out Christian Slater. I love this movie so much. I think we all probably wanted to run a pirate radio station after seeing this movie. I loved how he was the nerdy student undercover at school during the day and then the sex crazed cool dude at night on his radio station. Allan Moyle also directed the brilliant Times Square from 1980 and would go on to direct Empire Records in 1995. The soundtrack to this movie is also one of the best. You might not be able to relate to this movie or understand its importance if you didn't grow up in the late 80s & early 90s. But this movie seriously spoke to me and I will never forget the way it made me feel.

#4 Misery
Rob Reiner

Can we talk about Kathy Bates in this movie. Seriously one of the best performances of all time. She also went on to have another perfect performance in 1995 in Dolores Claiborne. Another Stephen King movie! I love Stephen King. In the 80s and 90s there were some amazing Stephen King books made into some equally amazing movies. Cujo, Christine, Children Of The Corn, Stand By Me, Pet Sematary, & then Misery. This movie is creepy and thrilling from start to finish. Both Kathy Bates and James Caan are fantastic in this film. Kathy Bates deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar this year for this performance. I even love Richard Farnsworth and Frances Sternhagen in this movie and could watch a whole movie about them. And Lauren Bacall is perfect as always as Paul Sheldon's book agent. I just love the mood of this film. A perfect movie to me always has the perfect combination of a good script and good acting. But even more important to me sometimes is the mood of the film. I love when the art direction, score, costumes, cinematography & editing all come together perfectly to make the perfect movie. This is one of those movies for me. It is a dark and twisted story. But it is told so brilliantly. Kathy Bates performance is meant to be a bit over the top and obsessive. It could have gone all wrong with someone else in this role. She just handles the character perfectly. She switches between attentive nurse and psycho super fan so easily. This is another one of those movies I just love jumping into the world of. I of course would not want to be trapped in that house with the Kathy Bates character. But I have a thing for snow movies and always love watching movies that take place in the winter snow. I love putting on this movie and becoming part of its world.

#5 Wild At Heart
David Lynch

Wild At Heart was another first for me this year. It was the first film I ever saw directed by David Lynch. But I was already a fan of the man from a little show called Twin Peaks. My love for Twin Peaks and all things David Lynch would only get stronger over the years. But 1990 is when it all started! I was already a huge Nicholas Cage fan because of Valley Girl and Raising Arizona. I have been going back and watching all these films the last couple of weeks. I seriously have not seen this movie in almost 20 years. But I still had almost every line and scene memorized. I forgot how much I loved this movie. The cinematography and art direction of this film is fantastic. And like most David Lynch films, the score and soundtrack are amazing. Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage are both perfect. Sailor & Lula forever! Laura Dern just kills it in her performance as Lula. The film is crazy and fantastic and just a little bit creepy in only that very unique David Lynch way. A sex crazed Lynchian version of The Wizard of Oz! I don't think I had ever seen a film like this before. It is probably one of his more accessible movies but it is still weird and experimental. It is super sexy and dreamy. It is the genius of David Lynch. And I can't even handle Dianne Ladd's performance as Lula's mom. She is just perfection in this movie. I can't get enough of her outfits and here wigs in this movie. And she had some of the best lines ever in this movie. Dianne Ladd even got a Best Supporting Oscar Nomination for this film. The film also has some amazing scene stealing supporting performances from Crispin Glover, Willem Dafoe & Isabella Rossellini. And you will recognize Grace Zabriske, Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn & Jack Nance from Twin Peaks. I always love Grace Zabriske and she does not disappoint in this film. This is one of those movies that I simply can't think of the 90s without.

#6 Trust
Hal Hartley

I am pretty sure that Trust was my first Hal Hartley movie. It might have actually been my first "Indie" movie. My first glimpse of what a film outside the major studios could look like. There were no stars that I had ever seen in this movie. It didn't have a huge budget. It was not flashy. You could tell the story was probably written by the director. It was his baby that he had probably worked on for years. I did fall for Hal Hartley pretty quickly. I went back and forth to the video store and rented all of his films over the early and mid 90s. I watched The Unbelievable Truth, Simple Men, Surviving Desire, Amateur, FlirtHenry Fool. He used a lot of the same cast throughout his movies. And I soon knew Adrienne Shelly, Martin Donovan & Robert John Burke like they were my new best friends. I am not sure how someone would react to seeing these movies for the first time 25 years later. But they still hold up for me. And I have had lots of fun revisiting them. The stories are always a bit wacky and quirky. But they are real stories of somewhat real people in ordinary small towns. They are about real relationships and first meetings. They are about falling in love and how one chance encounter can change the rest of your life. The scripts are always genuine and intelligent. I just love the characters he creates. I don't think these movies could exist in any other time but the 90s. His first movie did come out in 1989. But the era of 90s film really sort of started in 1989.

#7 Last Exit To Brooklyn
Uli Edel

This movie might be too dark and depressing for most people. But I fell in love with it the first time I saw it. It depicts the dark side of living in Brooklyn in the 50s. It spends equal time developing the stories of a prostitute and a working class closeted union guy. The story of course does not end well for the gay characters in this movie played by Stephen Lang or Alexis Arquette. But I still somehow enjoy this movie. I just love this movie because it seems to offer a more honest portrayal of what it meant to be poor in the 50s. It also portrayed the gay characters realistically for the time period. Most movies that take place in the 50s show an idealistic perfect way of living. The film is based on the famous novel of Hubert Selby Jr. But the most important thing about this movie is Jennifer Jason Leigh! This was really the world's first introduction to the magic of Jennifer Jason Leigh. I was pretty much hooked on her after this movie. She of course went on to become one of my favorite actresses of the 90s in Rush, Single White Female, Short Cuts, The Hudsucker Proxy, Mrs. Parker & The Vicious Circle, Dolores Claiborne, Georgia, Kansas CityBastard Out Of Carolina. She plays the prostitute Tralala in this film. She really becomes this character and completely takes over the film. There is just something about Jennifer Jason Leigh that I can never quite explain. But I really do love everything she ever does. Jennifer Jason Leigh is one of those actresses you either love or hate. Her characters in this film and Dolores Clairborne have stayed with me over the years. This movie also features Ricki Lake who was already known as the star of Hairspray. But this was another one of her first roles. Sam Rockwell also shows up in this movie in his first film role. I always pay attention to the scores of my favorite films and this is another great one. Mark Knopfler creates a great score to go along with this film. This was German director Uli Edel's only big movie of the 90s. But almost 25 years later he directed another one of my favorites. The Baader Meinhof Complex. I can't recommend that movie enough. I think about it often much like Last Exit To Brooklyn.

#8 La Femme Nikita
Luc Besson

I love this movie! I had not seen it since the 90s and was happy to find out that I still love it as much as I did when I first saw it. It has really been fun to revisit all these movies again. It seriously takes me right back to the 90s. This might have been the first foreign movie that I ever saw. It was for sure the first foreign film that got me this excited. Not only did this movie introduce me to the world of foreign cinema but it also introduced me to the director Luc Besson. I would of course become a huge fan of his over the next couple of years with The Professional and The Fifth Element. And I had actually seen The Big Blue a couple of years before this which also starred Jean Reno. I just had no idea who the director was at the time. Anne Parillaud stars as Nikita in this movie. She is fantastic in this movie and on my list of favorite female action stars along with Linda Hamilton in The Terminator and Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies. This movie was remade in 1993 as Point Of No Return. I know most people don't like that remake as much as the original. But I actually really like Bridget Fonda and have a fondness for that movie too. I really love the score to all of these 90s movies on this list. I just love the overall mood and feel of this film. The supporting cast is also great but it is really all about Nikita. I highly recommend revisiting this film if you have not watched it in a while. And you absolutely must watch it if you somehow missed it the first time. I watched a lot of foreign films in the 90s and it makes me happy to know that it all started with this film..

#9 Total Recall
Paul Verhoeven

Like most kids who grew up in the 80s I became a big of Arnold Schwarzenegger at a pretty young age. And he really just became somebody that I would sort of love no matter what. He is really sort of like Disneyland in that way. I became a huge fan of Disneyland and all things Disney at a really young age and now I am a fan for life. They get us when we are young and we never turn our back on them. The Conan movies were my first introduction to Arnold. I still remember the first time I saw them at a sleepover at a friends house. I was obsessed with both Arnold and Grace Jones after those movies. Then came The Terminator, Commando, Predator & The Running Man. 1990 was the year of Total Recall and Kindergarten Cop which I also have no shame in admitting that I loved. Total Recall introduced me to both Paul Verhoeven and Sharon Stone. They would of course work together again in one of my other favorites Basic Instinct. Verhoeven also directed Showgirls, Starship Troopers and RoboCop. Total Recall is just pure fun. It is ridiculous and over the top at times. And this movie will certainly not be everyone's favorite. But I just love it. I have always loved science fiction and action films and anything that takes place in space or involves time travel. This movie has everything you could ever want from a Schwarzenegger film. I will even defend the latest Terminator film because of my love of Schwarzenegger. But there is really nothing like 80s and 90s Schwarzenegger.

#10 Longtime Companion
Norman Rene

This was most certainly the first "gay" film that I had ever seen that depicted normal characters. I had seen gay characters in some movies prior to 1990. But never like this. These dudes were most certainly not the gay guys in Last Exit To Brooklyn. My exposure to gay films had mostly been from films like The Boys In The Band and Come Back To The 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean Jimmy Dean. Longtime Companion is heartbreaking and the most gayest of tear jerkers ever. But I still love it. And I find it sort of comforting at the same time. The characters are all so likable. This movie is also so very 80s. One of the stories is about a gay character coming out on a soap opera. So of course I love that. The film starts in 1981 and ends in 1989. It deals with a group of friends in New York at the outbreak of AIDS. This movie also introduced me to Mary-Louise Parker, Campbell Scott & Dermot Mulroney. This was certainly the first time I had seen Mary-Louise Parker and Campbell Scott. And I became a fan for life of both of them after this. I was already a fan of Dermot Mulroney since I had seen him in some TV movies and Young Guns! Bruce Davidson is also great in this film and even got nominated for a best supporting Oscar. And I can't even explain how great it was to see Michael Schoeffling in a gay role. Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles! I can't resist jumping back into this movie about once a year. I always want to revisit these characters. It was so great to finally see real gay characters having real interactions in a film. And this film certainly put a real face on the AIDS crisis for many of us. It certainly woke me up. The director of this film went on to direct a couple more films after this but died of AIDS in 1996. After this film I went back and discovered some great gay films of the 80s. Another Country (1984), My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), Desert Hearts (1985), Parting Glances (1986), Torch Song Trilogy (1985), Maurice (1987) & Prick Up Your Ears (1987) would all become some of my favorites. But it all started for me with Longtime Companion. And I will  never forget the first time I saw this film.

Up next...1991

The 90s...the best albums of 1992...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 26, 2012 06:00pm | Post a Comment
1992 was a big deal for many reasons. This was my last year of High School. The year I turned 18. My last year living at home. It was also my first year at college. My first year living away from home. And another year that I got even more obsessed with music. And it all happened 20 years ago! Hard to believe. By 1992 I had really worn out my copy of Disintegration by The Cure. So I was ready for the new Cure album. Wish was released in March of 1992. It would really become the album that I most associate with 1992. I can remember listening to it for the first time. It became the album that I would listen to most throughout the summer and well into 1993. I was still primarily listening to cassettes at this point. I don't think I got a CD player until 1993. I held out for a while for some reason. The Cure was one of the first bands whose catalog I upgraded to CD as soon as I got a CD player. 1992 was also the year that I discovered Lush, Curve & Pale Saints! The year I discovered Bjork & The Sugarcubes. The first time I heard PJ Harvey and Red House Painters. These bands would all become a huge part of my musical life throughout the 90s. I became a lifelong fan of both PJ Harvey and Red House Painters. And I seriously can't imagine my life without these guys. I was still listening to a lot of radio in 1992. KROQ was starting to become a bit annoying this year though. It seemed that every other song was Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers or U2. I didn't like any of those bands and had to constantly change the station whenever they came on. But KROQ still played a lot of Morrissey & The Cure. It is where I first heard Lush, The Sugarcubes, The Lemonheads, James, Cause & Effect, Catherine Wheel, Soup Dragons, St. Etienne, Curve & Utah Saints. So I did still manage to listen to it quite a bit. I also watched 120 Minutes every Sunday. Dave Kendall was the host until 1992 when Lewis Largent took over. 1992 was also the first year of Alternative Nation on MTV. I became a big fan of this show and its host Kennedy! She probably annoyed most people. But I loved her. And I loved being introduced to new bands by watching their videos. 120 Minutes was always cooler though. There was too much Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers on Alternative Nation just like on KROQ. Just to give you an idea of what was being played on KROQ in LA here is their top 20 songs of 1992...

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

Continue reading...

The 90s...the best albums of 1991...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 15, 2012 03:33pm | Post a Comment

Things had not changed much from 1990 to 1991. I was still obsessed with all things British. Still listening to a lot of Depeche Mode and The Smiths. Still very much living in the '80s. I had only just been introduced to Morrissey the year before. I listened to Viva Hate and Bona Drag all the time. I was a fan of Morrissey first since The Smiths had broken up before I even knew who they were. So it was fun to go back and discover The Smiths' albums for the first time. I started with Louder Than Bombs which was a fantastic way to introduce myself to the band. I then went back and discovered their studio albums one by one. Queen Is Dead, Meat Is Murder, Strangeways Here We Come and then The Smiths. I was hooked on Morrissey and The Smiths and there was no going back. I became a vegetarian in 1991. I started reading magazines more obsessively and trying to find out as much as I could about my favorite bands.

Both Morrissey and Erasure had new albums in 1991. These albums would both be a big part of my life that year. I can't really think about 1991 without thinking about Kill Uncle and Chorus. Nirvana released Nevermind in 1991. This album would change everything. Not everything exactly, but it did change a lot! I still remember my dad having the conversation with me about grunge. He asked me if I was "grunge." I probably answered "sort of." It was like me coming out of the closet. I also listened to so much Erasure in high school that I should have never really had to come out to my mom! I was still very much obsessed with my British bands. I was still into the goth, shoegaze, grebo and indie bands of the UK. But I also became a huge fan of Nirvana. I really had no choice. I didn't really notice Nirvana until Nevermind came out. But I listened to this album probably more than anything in 1991. Although I was probably still a bigger fan of my UK favorites then all the bands coming out of Seattle. Brit pop was just around the corner and would completely take over my life in the years that followed. But it was nice to actually be into a band from the US for a bit. Nirvana are actually one of three bands on my top ten of 1991 from the US. But the other two I actually always thought were British! They may have come from the US but they fit more into the British sound of the era. Nirvana sort of don't really fit in. But this album was too big to ignore and not put on this list. I couldn't deny its place on this list. I was quite obsessed with it. A lot of us were.

So here it is. My top ten albums of 1991...

my bloody valentine lovelessMy Bloody Valentine - Loveless (Sire)
Loveless was released in 1991. My Bloody Valentine had released Isn't Anything in 1988 and many singles and EPs in between. But I had never heard anything about them until Loveless. I don't really remember a point in my life not liking My Bloody Valentine. But obviously there was life before this band. I think I just fell in love with My Bloody Valentine after a couple of seconds into Loveless. I actually probably just bought this album because of the artwork. "Only Shallow" was the first track on the album and all I needed to know that I had found my new favorite band. They sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. And they got me ready for a whole new type of music. I would soon be obsessed with Lush, Chapterhouse, Slowdive, Curve, Spiritualized and anybody who sounded like My Bloody Valentine. The music was loud and full of feedback and distortion and all sorts of stuff that I really not heard before. Except for maybe Sonic Youth. They were sort of the Sonic Youth of Ireland. The music was somehow beautiful beneath all that noise. I could not get enough Loveless in my life. I have listened to this album so much over the years.  These albums have never not been a part of my life since I first heard them. I picked up Isn't Anything a couple of years after Loveless and collected all the EPs that I could find. Loveless features "Only Shallow," "When You Sleep," "Sometimes" and "Soon." But this album is really just fantastic from start to finish. You can't not listen to the whole thing once you start it. Some of my favorite songs are on the EPs. I love "Cigarette In Your Bed," "Drive It All Over Me," "Honey Power" and "You Made Me Realise." But Loveless will always be one of my favorite albums. It was my introduction to the band. The album cover remains one of my favorites. Where would we be without Loveless and My Bloody Valentine? The band only released two studio albums, but when you create something so amazing sometimes it is better just to stop there. These albums could never be replicated. We finally got some long overdue remastered reissues of the My Bloody Valentine catalog this year.

chapterhouseChapterhouse - Whirlpool (Dedicated)
Whirlpool was the first album released by Chapterhouse. It is another classic shoegaze album that really still holds up. It sounds just as good as it did back then. And it is similar to Loveless in that it is fantastic from the first to last song. I don't even know what to say about this band. They are just one of those bands that I love. I feel like they existed for such a short time but had such a big impact on me. For some reason this album never got as popular as albums by Ride, Lush, Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine. It really should have. The band went on to put out one more studio album a couple of years later, but Whirpool is the album that I always go back to. "Pearl" is the second track on the album and simply one of the best songs of the 1991. I can listen to this song over and over again. It never gets old. The album also features "Breather," "Falling Down" and "Something More." I never had the chance to see these guys live back in the '90s, but I did get to see them last year when they came back to LA for a quick little tour. It was so fun to see a band that I had never seen before performing songs from an album that I was obsessed with from 20 years ago. It seriously felt like it was 1991. I also got to see My Bloody Valentine a couple of years ago. And I also thought I would never see them perform live. This album did get reissued a couple of years ago and I think probably got some new fans along the way. It is one of greatest of the era of early '90s shoegaze.

The Ocean Blue - Cerulean (Sire)
I always had an album like this every year that I was obsessed with. It was The Lightning Seeds in 1990. Years later it would be Belle & Sebastian or Jens Lekman. I needed something from the lighter side of indie music to balance me out. And I can always use some jangly twee in my life. The Ocean Blue are another band that I always thought were British, just like Anything Box and Book of Love. I was really surprised to find out these guys are from Hershey, Pennsylvania! I didn't do any research on these guys back in the '90s. I sure don't remember them ever being covered by any magazine I was reading. I just assumed they were British! I guess I never looked at the liner notes on the album! This band were clearly influenced by the British bands of the '80s like Echo & The Bunnymen and The Smiths.

I think I got into this band by first listening to them at my friends house. I remember borrowing Cerulean and their self titled album. They released that self titled album in 1989. Cerulean was their second album. I was obsessed with Cerulean, like any of the other albums on this list. The album featured "Cerulean," "Ballerina Out Of Control" and "Mercury." They went on to put out 5 studio albums total. I was really only a fan of those first three. But this one is still my favorite. It is just a perfect pop record. They were popular on college radio and developed a small cult following, but never really got that big. I was actually excited when I first heard that band The Drums a couple of years ago. They also sounded British and totally reminded me of The Ocean Blue!

Book Of Love - Candy Carol (Sire)
Book of Love were another band that I got into in the '90s that sounded like they were in the '80s. They had been in the '80s so it made sense that they never really lost that late '80s sound. But it worked for them. They were also another band that I always thought was from the UK. But like The Ocean Blue they were from Pennsylvania! I had no idea. I first probably heard this band in the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles in 1987. I was obsessed with this movie. I still am. And like most John Hughes movies it had a great soundtrack. The Soundtrack featured "Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes)" from their self titled debut album from 1986. That album also featured "Boy." Book Of Love released Lullaby in 1988 and then Candy Carol in 1991. Candy Carol was the first album that I owned from Book Of Love. But I had been a big fan of their songs from the first two albums. They were a new wave band from the '80s, but one of the few popular new wave bands that didn't come from the UK. They transitioned into synthpop in the late '80s and early '90s -  which is pretty much the same. Book of Love had a sort of dark feel to them even though their songs were very much pop songs. I was excited when this band was again featured in another movie in 1991, The Silence Of The Lambs! "Sunny Day" from the Candy Carol album was actually featured in the movie. Lauren Roselli is also featured in the movie while their song is playing in the background! This album featured "Sunny Day," "Counting The Rosaries" and "Alice Everyday." Book Of Love will always have a special place in my heart. I have a lot of good memories attached to these songs and albums.

ned's atomic dustbinNed's Atomic Dustbin - God Fodder (Columbia)
Right before I got into Nirvana and grunge music I got into all the grebo bands of the UK. I don't think that I really knew that it was called grebo at the time. But I loved these bands. Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, Wonderstuff, Pop Will Eat Itself and Carter USM. Grebo was sort of a mix of grunge and hip hop with garage rock and dance music. It was similar to the Baggy sound coming out at the same time. Bands like The Farm, The Soup Dragons and The Happy Mondays. Those bands were perhaps a bit more psychedelic and dancey, while Grebo was a bit more loud and punk influenced. The fashion of Grebo was similar to grunge: baggy clothes and lumberjack shirts, dreadlocks and partially shaved heads. The music also often featured lots of sampling. God Fodder was the debut album from Ned's Atomic Dustbin. And I really got into this album. Are You Normal? was released the next year. God Fodder featured "Kill Your Television" and "Grey Cell Green." I don't remember if I first heard these guys on KROQ or maybe saw their videos on 120 Minutes. I quickly became a fan though. My first roommate in college was a big Ned's fan and we quickly bonded over our mutual love of Grebo! Bands like this definitely got me ready for grunge.

Nirvana - Nevermind (DGC)
This is another one of those albums that I can't imagine high school without. This album was such a part of my senior year. The album was released in September of 1991, the month that my last year of high school started. It seems that somehow over the summer and the next couple of months that everyone had stopped listening to metal and started listening to Nirvana. Or they still liked metal and hated Nirvana. I somehow had never heard Nirvana until that summer before Nevermind came out. Bleach was released in 1989, but I seriously don't remember anyone listening to that album until after Nevermind came out. Obviously somebody listened to it. Just nobody that I knew. Sonic Youth, The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. had sort of gotten me ready for Nirvana. And Ned's Atomic Dustbin! But I really didn't know what I was getting in for when I first bought this album. I listened to this album over and over in late 1991 and all through 1992. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the first single on the album and took over KROQ and MTV. You could not get away from this song. I can sort of understand why people who didn't like the band just got sick of seeing them everywhere. But I was hooked and was happy to hear them everywhere. "Come as You Are" was probably the song that really got me obsessed with this band. Nirvana would be a part of my life for many years to come. They released In Utero two years later in 1993. And of course we all know where we were on April 8th, 1994. Kurt Cobain was my generation's Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix. He died at the height of his popularity. It doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore, but his death had a profound impact on many of us. This album has stayed with me after all those year, like any album on this list. Putting it on brings me right back to this period on my life. I love the album, but Kurt Cobain's death forever changed the way that I listen to it.

Morrissey - Kill Uncle (Sire)
Kill Uncle may not be everybody's favorite Morrissey album, but it remains my favorite of his from the '90s. Kill Uncle was released in March of 1991. I was a junior in high school and right in the early stages of my Morrissey obsession. I had only really gotten into him the year before, but I had already worn out all my Morrissey and Smiths albums. So I was ready for this new album. Your first album that you hear by an artist is always special. But that first album that you actually buy the day it comes out is even more special. I still remember listening to it for the first time while reading the liner notes. The album opens up with "Our Frank." This album is seriously fantastic! You might have forgotten. It also features "Sing Your Life," "Mute Witness," and "(I'm) The End Of The Family Line." "Sing Your Life" is still one of my favorite Morrissey songs. And I always forget how good "Mute Witness" is. The Kill Uncle tour was also the first time that I saw Morrissey live. So this of course is probably part of the reason that I love this album so much. I saw him many times over the last 20 years. But that first time was still the best! I don't need to waste any of your time explaining why Morrissey is so fantastic. You either love him or you hate him. And some of us may just love The Smiths. But I was always a fan of his solo work. And especially the first couple solo albums.

This Mortal Coil - Blood (4AD)
This Mortal Coil! I love anything and everything that this band has put out. Blood was my first This Mortal Coil album. The third album that they released. This Mortal Coil was not really a band. It was basically a super group of the artists from the label 4AD. Ivo Watts-Russell was the founder of the label and the man behind This Mortal Coil. He brought them all together and managed to put out 3 amazing albums. It'll End In Tears in 1984. Filigree & Shadow in 1986 and Blood in 1991. I love all three of them. But this is my favorite. Most of the songs on these albums were covers of folk songs. This my first introduction to the songs of Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen! Blood features Tanya Donelly (Belly/Throwing Muses), Kim Deal (Pixies/Breeders), Deirdre & Louise Rutkowski, Caroline Crawley (Shelleyan Orphan), Anne Garrigues, Alison Limerick, Gini Ball, Heidi Berry, and Dominic Appleton (Breathless). The previous albums had featured members of Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and Cindytalk. I got obsessed with all three of these albums. They became my going to sleep albums. I would often play one of them while I was falling asleep. But I would never want to fall asleep until I got to the last song on the album. These albums introduced me to many of these artists for the first time. I really feel like I need to personally thank Ivo Watts-Rusell for giving us 4AD and these This Mortal Coil albums. I still go back to these albums whenever I need some comfort in my life. It is a sort of therapeutic experience listening to these albums. This Mortal Coil recently released a box set of these albums and they have now also been reissued individually.

Electronic - Electronic (Warner Bros.)
Electronic was like my dream come true. It was basically a supergroup combining two of my favorite bands. Bernard Sumner from New OrderJoy Division and Johnny Marr from The Smiths. They also worked with Neil Tennant from The Pet Shop Boys on a couple of songs. The album sounds way more New Order than The Smiths. I think it allowed Johnny Marr to experiment with new instruments and create different kinds of songs. The name of the band was perfect. The album was perfect. It featured the single "Getting Away With It" which had been released a couple of years earlier. The album also featured "Idiot Country," "Reality," "Tighten Up" and "Gangster." You can't really get better than this album. It might have seemed weird at first that Bernard Sumner and Jonnny Marr would be collaborating on a new project, but it proved to be the perfect match. The album is full of great energy. It is a dance record for sure. But it has the intensity of a really good collection of New Order songs. These are dance pop songs. These guys knew how to write a great song. I still can't turn this album off once it starts. They also went on to create one of my favorite songs, "Disappointed," a couple of years later. That song was featured on the Cool World soundtrack. Electronic went on to create two more albums in 1996 and 1999.

Erasure - Chorus (Sire)
Erasure had already been in my life for many years. In the late '80s I was obsessed with only a couple of bands. They were The Cure, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie & The Banshees, New Order, The Pet Shop Boys, The Smiths and Erasure. I think I had discovered Erasure around their second album, The Circus, in 1987. They just seemed to be getting better and better as the years went on. They released The Innocents in 1988 which featured "A Little Respect" and "Chains Of Love." Then they put out Wild! in 1989 which featured "Star" and "Blue Savannah." Chorus was their fifth album and their last truly great album. It featured "Chorus," "Breathe Of Life" and "Love To Hate You." I had really like Wild! so I was very excited for this album to come out in 1991. It was released in October of 1991, a month after Nevermind by Nirvana. It couldn't be more different than Nevermind, but somehow I loved both of these albums equally. I am sure there were many days when I listened to both Nevermind and Chorus on the same day. Erasure really helped create the whole dance pop sound that influenced tons of bands over the years. I am not sure if we should thank them or not for that. But they did manage to create some brilliant pop songs over the years. Erasure was Andy Bell and Vince Clark. Vince Clark managed to help create three of my favorite bands: Depeche Mode, then Yaz, and finally Erasure. Every once in a while I go back and listen to this album and quickly remember why I fell in love with it in the first place. It is just a perfect album of its genre. Erasure was never able to create an album this consistently perfect ever again. But they sure did create some catchy songs and they have made a lot of us very happy over the years.

Check for these albums here on

Up next...1992

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The 90s...the best albums of 1990...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 6, 2012 10:29am | Post a Comment

I have been thinking about the early '90s a lot lately. I graduated from high school in 1992, and that was 20 years ago! So I have been all sorts of nostalgic this last year about my formative music years. I was born in the '70s. But I really grew up in the new wave '80s. 1984 - 1986 were really the years that I first remember getting obsessed with music. These are the early years of MTV and the years I fell in love with new wave and all things British. The B-52's and Berlin were probably the only bands that I loved that actually came from the United States. Most of my favorite bands and albums throughout the '80s and '90s came from England.

My favorite bands in 1984 are pretty much my favorite bands today. I can't imagine my life without New Order, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Smiths, Human League, Pet Shop Boys, Ultravox, Talk TalkBauhaus. These bands have been a huge part of my life. My British obsession would only get bigger over the years. I got deep into shoegaze and dream pop in the early '90s. Which then led me into Britpop and British dance music in the mid '90s.

I have been obsessively making lists and CD compilations of each year of the '80s and '90s. I have made a playlist for each year and a list of my 10 favorite albums from each year. I will slowly be sharing these with you over the next couple of months. I am going to start with the early '90s since these are the years that have been on my mind the most lately.

I got my musical start in the '80s. But it was really the early '90s when I started to get obsessed with actual bands and albums. I feel like that period in your late teens is the most important time for your musical development. That period when you are 15-20 years old. It was not just watching music videos and listening to songs on the radio anymore. This is the period when I first got a job and starting buying records! These were the albums that I went out and bought for myself.

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out this week 5/1 & 5/8...My Bloody Valentine...Isn't Anything...Loveless...EP reissues...Aphex Twin....

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 11, 2012 06:25pm | Post a Comment
My favorite time period for music will always be the late 80s and early 90s. This was the era in which my high school and college years took place. I know I am not alone in loving this period of music. And I know that most people are sentimental about their high school and college years. These are the years when you really start making up your own mind about what you like. When you start buying your own music and making up your own mind about what albums to listen to and what shows to go see. I was of course very influenced by my friends during this period. But I also made my own informed decisions about what music that I wanted to listen to. I wasn't going to get obsessed with just what was on the radio and MTV. That is what I did throughout most of the 80s. I was searching for stuff that was different. Stuff that made me feel different. Or stuff that somehow made me feel normal. I got really into both shoegaze and dance music in the 90s. And two of the bands that I got most obsessed with both have reissues out in the last couple of weeks. Both My Bloody Valentine and Aphex Twin became a big part of my 90s and have had a huge influence on my life then and now. They are two of those bands that I can't really imagine my life without.

aphex twinSelected Ambient Works Vol. II by Aphex Twin has finally gotten officially reissued on LP this week. Moby Ambient was probably the first album that got me obsessed with ambient music. It came out in 1993. Selected Ambient Works Vol. II came out in 1994. Two years after Selected Ambient Works 85-92. I got into both these albums eventually. But it was really Vol. II that got me obsessed with Aphex Twin. I am not really sure that I could have handled these albums in high school. But I was full on ready for them in my early 20s. I really couldn't even believe that music like this existed. I remember being so excited at the time to hear these albums for the first time. They really did change my life. They sort of became my thinking music. I spent aphex twincountless hours listening to them on my headphones or listening to them before I went to sleep. Every time I listen to these early Aphex Twin recordings they take me right back to that point in my life. I can't even really describe the feeling. But I cherish these albums. I seriously have some crazy obsession with them. They helped me through some tough emotional times. So I sort of feel grateful to them. Like I owe them something in return.  The label 1972 has just reissued Vol. II  as a gatefold triple LP. And I hope that Selected Ambient Works 85-92 will soon get an official reissue as well. It looks fantastic and sounds just as amazing as it did the first time I listened to it. I only ever had this album on CD. So it was exciting to hear it on vinyl for the first time. This album is tragic and heartbreaking and beautiful and dreamy all at the same time. I can't get enough of it. Aphex Twin went into some different directions throughout the rest of the 90s. Some of it I liked and some of it I did not like. But these albums will always be close to my heart and near the top of my list of my favorite albums of all time.

my bloody valentineI wish I could remember the first time that I listened to My Bloody Valentine. But I just can't figure it out. I became a huge fan and quickly bought every CD of theirs that I could find. But I am really not sure when it happened! But I do know it didn't happen until the early 90s. Isn't Anything was released in 1988. And Loveless came out in 1991. And the EPs came out in between their only two albums. They will always be a 90s band to me. Even though most of their stuff was recorded in the late 80s. Loveless was for sure the first time I heard My Bloody Valentine. I was hooked right away. I know I got into This Mortal Coil by just picking up one of their albums at a record store. I was intrigued by the cover. It might have happened the same way with My Bloody Valentine. I was seriously just blown away by this band. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I always think of Isn't Anything as their second album since I heard it for the first time after I had already been obsessed with Loveless. I didn't get the chance to see them in the early 90s and I never thought I would. I was so happy to get the chance to see them a couple of years ago for their reunion tour. And with a new album on the way another tour is probably also on the way.

my bloody valentineThe two albums have both been finally remastered and reissued. The band does not have the best relationship with their American Label. So these reissues will most likely remain imports forever. But they are great to look at and sound better than you remember. They are well worth it. They are only reissued on CD at the moment. But the LP reissues are probably coming later in the year. But maye not. Loveless has been reissued as a 2CD. It includes a remaster from the original tape and a remaster from the original 1/2" analog tapes. The four EPs have also been remastered and finally put together on one CD. EP's 1988-1991 includes the EP's You Made Me Realise, Feed Me my bloody valentineWith Your Kiss, Glider and Tremolo. The new EP collection also includes some instrumental tracks and "Sugar", "Angel", and "Good for You." I really do love this band and it makes so happy to finally have these remastered versions in my collection. I seriously can't really tell the difference between the two versions of Loveless. One of them is slightly louder. Maybe I need to spend some more time with them. I have already spent so many hours of my life with these albums. But they never get old. They are just as good and relevant today. They have influenced a ton of bands over the years. And have had a huge impact on my life as well.

I have so many favorite My Bloody Valentine songs. But this is one of my favorites..."Drive It All Over Me" from the You Made Me Realise EP now included in the collection EP's 1988-1991...

And here is one of my favorite tracks from the Aphex Twin album Selected Ambient Works Vol. II. This is the first track on the album know as track #1 or Cliffs...

out 5/1...

by Allo Darlin'

by Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury

by Brian Jonestown Massacre

Fear Fun
by Father John Misty

Ghost In The Daylight
by Gravenhurst

Light Asylum
by Light Asylum

Born Villain
by Marilyn Manson

EP's 1988-1991
by My Bloody Valentine

Isn't Anything [Remastered]
by My Bloody Valentine

Loveless [Remastered 2CD]
by My Bloody Valentine

Master of My Make Believe
by Santigold

Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything
by The School

Out Of The Game
by Rufus Wainwright

Time's All Gone
by Nick Waterhouse

out 5/8...

Dr Dee
by Damon Albarn

Selected Ambient Works Vol. II
LP by Aphex Twin

by S. Carey

A Different Ship
by Here We Go Magic

by Karmin

World You Need A Change Of Mind
by Kindness

by Led Er Est

by OFF!

Neck Of The Woods
by Silversun Pickups

by Sleep

Stranger Mercy
by St. Vincent

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