Tag Archives: 90s

The Top 25 Best Radiohead Songs

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Let’s reflect for a moment on the beautiful oddity that Radiohead remains one of the biggest rock bands in the world, at a time when the very concept of “biggest rock band in the world” is often looked at as passé. If rock and roll’s moment has indeed passed, what in the name of the Beatles possesses people to follow Radiohead, of all artists, as if members of a religious cult, especially because said religious cult would not particularly worship rock and roll music as most people know it? It would be easy to ascribe the Radiohead following to their shapeshifting, and indeed there is an incredible variety of material across their nine-so-far records and various EPs, live cuts, and so forth. Yet it’s not as if A Moon Shaped Pool, their 2016 album and first in five years, is wildly unrecognizable as the same band that made The King of Limbs, which itself was not so radically different from In Rainbows, and so on, all the way back to the late ’90s (I’ll grant you that, OK, Pablo Honey sounds like a vastly different band, albeit an actually-pretty-good one; better, certainly, than the practitioners of Old Radiohead that cropped up in the early ’00s, a litany of Nerf Herders and Saves the Days to Radiohead’s Weezer).

In fact, it’s their ability to remain recognizably the Radiohead of the ’90s while going in different directions that makes them so exciting. A new Radiohead album, insular and strange and inscrutable as it can be, is still an event, the band’s mutations allowing it to survive the alt-rock boom, the rap-rock bust, the indie gold rush, the death of the album, and on and on. It was a no-brainer, then, that some of the founders, friends, and associates of SportsAlcohol.com would want to pledge our allegiance to the paranoid humanoids of Radiohead once again, through a list celebrating their best songs. Contributors were asked to send a ranked list of twenty; points were assigned accordingly.

In addition to your pals Rob, Marisa, Jesse, Sara, and special guest writer Maggie, we recruited a voting team ranging from people old enough to remember “Creep” playing on MTV to people who were born the year The Bends came out. Here are your Radiohead fans par excellence:

Darian Alexander is an attorney and Radiohead correspondent for Slate.
Emma Bennett is studying psychology and studio art at SUNY New Paltz.
Noah Casner is a drama major at New York University.
Timothy DeLizza is a lawyer, a fiction writer, and a gentleman.
A.A. Dowd is the film editor for The Onion’s A.V. Club.
Derrick Hart is an archivist and music fan.
Kate McKean is a literary agent, writer, and crafter.
Umer Piracha might love A Moon Shaped Pool more than anyone else who voted.
Ben Ross has had Radiohead blurbs locked and loaded for years.

The results heavily favored OK Computer, but well over half of Radiohead’s catalog received votes, including most of the new album. But why discuss the results when you can read a series of varied and passionate tributes to our collective favorites? Sometimes we had such varied and passionate responses that we doubled up the blurbing to get a fuller picture of this band we all love. Surprises, please:

The Top 25 Best Radiohead Songs (So Far)

Continue reading The Top 25 Best Radiohead Songs

’90s Week+!

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!

The dream of the ’90s is still alive at SportsAlcohol.com, and during our thorough examination of the decade, we did the following:

…ranked and wrote about the top 90 songs of the ’90s in three groups (90-51, 50-11, and 10-1), and included a little behind-the-scenes about the voting process. (Before you ask: Yes, there is a Spotify playlist.) The ranked lists are worth clicking on for the era-appropriate photos of our contributors alone.

podcasted about the list so we could gripe about each other’s choices.

…defended some songs that didn’t make the list, including seven tracks that received No. 1 votes, and a few stray others that weren’t No. 1s but should have been in contention anyway.

…put ’90s music in context of music videos, movie soundtracks, and videos from movie soundtracks that specifically featured Elastica (a band that did not make our list).

…remembered that time that Chris wrote Rob an email entirely about Dana from Morphine.

…linked to some other articles that proved we’re not the only website still talking about the ’90s.

No fear.

For Further Reading (Or, We’re Not the Only Ones Who Are ’90s-Obsessed)

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!

We just spent the last week exploring the ’90s through music. I know 2016 seems like an odd time to take on such an endeavor, but the decade seems to be having a moment right now, even outside of SportsAlcohol.com. The ’90s have officially passed through the era where they were embarrassing (which usually happens to a decade at the 10-year mark), and has come around to being cool again.

Don’t believe me? Here is how the Decade of Flannel is rearing its head around the interwebs.

My neighborhood had a ’90s fest, and the fest ignored almost all of what we at SportsAlcohol.com considered good about the decade (save Salt-n-Pepa). The A.V. Club did a good job taking apart how awkward it can be to go to a ’90s fest in 2016, while Flavorwire talks about the decade’s commodification through the event.

Still, that doesn’t stop the sisters Haim from wanting to bring back Lilith Fair.  Maybe they can get some advice on bringing back the ’90s from Sleater-Kinney.

Our Spotify playlist isn’t the only place to hear ’90s music. You can also hear what Kmart was playing in its stores, thanks to a dude who took all of Kmart’s cassettes with him and uploaded them for our pleasure.

“As the ’80s wore on, [music] got less interesting and I think things got more interesting again in the ’90s. So I think it’s just the way it goes.” Who said it? Joe Jackson in Salon.

We talked about the many reasons that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” ranked as our No. 1 song, but we missed one: science! New evidence says the Nirvana tune is the most iconic song ever. (Take that, decades-older classics like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.)

And yet, there’s still no talk of rebooting Dead at 21.

Reliving the ’90s Through 15 Music Videos

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!

One of the major themes that’s emerged from our deep exploration into ’90s music is the link between music and film. Many of us first came to our favorite songs (or several Elastica songs) by hearing them used perfectly in a movie or TV show and, in turn, directors first made themselves noticed by directing some kind of calling-card music video. These intersections really stuck with us; just look over our ’90s song list and see how many of us couldn’t help but talk about the music video when writing about the song.

Now, that cycle is mostly missing a link. Music videos aren’t the cultural drivers they once were. It’s not that there are no videos anymore; it’s just that there are so many other kinds of videos, all vying to eat up our attention and go viral, that music videos no longer get prime placement. I mean, who can focus on them when there are cats vs. shadow cats? Now and then, a music video may break through to the public consciousness—I’m thinking something like the “Single Ladies” video, or “Fancy”—but it’s not like the days when people would come home and turn on TRL.

So, it’s worth going back and revisiting what the 1990s music-video scene was like. I’ve chosen 15 to look at here. I didn’t just want to go and pick out the videos from our Top 90 songs—you can see most of those right in that list. And I didn’t want to talk about the same videos that everyone talks about in the best-of video lists, basically the ones included in the Palm Pictures Director’s Label series. If you haven’t seen those, you definitely should watch all of them. They’re amazing. But you don’t need me to tell you, yet again, that Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry are the best video directors out there, and no one needs another list that says that video where the dude is running and on fire is pretty boss.

To recap: These aren’t the best songs of the ’90s (at least according to this website) OR the best videos of the ’90s. But that’s the thing about that decade: You can lop off the top of the iceberg and there’s still so much left to talk about. So, let’s begin.
Continue reading Reliving the ’90s Through 15 Music Videos

Dana from Morphine is sitting 4 feet away from me…

Chris has always known more about computers than you. You can see the things he made for you at the55.net. You can see the things he blogged about for you at ruinsorbooks.com.
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[ed. note: chris sent me this email years ago and I asked that we be allowed to publish it as part of our ’90s music rundown because it is the best email I’ve ever received]

Dana from Morphine is sitting 4 feet away from me…

at a cafe.

I see Dana from Morphine all the time.

Dana from Morphine is a carpenter or fix-it dude of sorts.
He does work at the bookstore that my boss owns.
He drives a pick up truck with assorted band stickers on the back.
It is parked outside my office building all the time.
One of the stickers is a Twinemen sticker.
The Twinemen suck.
Compared to Morphine, at least.

My office is on the fourth floor.
On the fifth floor is Hi n Dry studios.
Morphine recorded and hung out there all the time.
Various Dana from Morphine related projects record there still.
Sometimes i can hear Dana from Morphine playing the saxamaphone.
Often the same thing over and over again.
For a long time.
That is what recording is all about.
The saxophone carries, so often that’s all i can hear.
wahwahwah, through the ceiling.

Sometimes i pass Dana from Morphine on the loading dock.
Or the stairs.
And i say “hi”,
like he’s not Dana from Morphine,
and he’s just some dude, that plasters ceilings,
carrying a baby car seat,
and i think about telling him that i was way way into Morphine.
That when i was, like, 15,
Morphine, was, like, my fourth favorite band,
between, like, TMBG and Weezer.
That i remember exactly where i was,
and what i was doing,
when i heard that Mark Sandman was dead.
But i think about all that for a sec,
and that he’s got a baby carrier,
and ‘hi’ will have to do.