Sunday, December 27, 2009

Album Of The Decade: The Nineties

This was the decade of the last truly classic rock album, Nirvana's Nevermind. The decade when dance music was the format and DJs were the new gods. The most enjoyable time in history to be young, looking at things from a jealous middle-aged perspective for whom the 80s had been a time of abject misery.

Of course that's how it was.

So the dance single grew into the dance album with the likes of Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, Deep Dish, etc, producing stuff that you could sit and listen to at home. Contrary to the name, you don't have to dance to dance music. Just as my dad never danced to Ted Heath's Big Band but nodded his head like a demented pigeon.

As this was going on, The Aphex Twin, The Prodigy, Faze Action and Goldie were creating complex rhythms and tunes and music was alive again.

But I'm not going to choose any of these artists because I think of the 90s for me as the end of the old.

Britpop was retro music that took its influence from 60s and 70s guitar rock. The bands that did it for me weren't at the heart of the scene and probably would have hated to be lumped in with the Blur, Elastica and Suede family. Manic Street Preachers and Super Furry Animals are still making good albums fifteen years on which kind of goes against the grain for rock bands.

My 90s album harks back, too, to rock, blues and gospel. It is Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized.

Jason Pierce made this album after losing his woman to Richard Ashcroft. Imagine the pain he was going through and the drugs he had to take to blot out the image of seeing the love of his life with that untalented streak of piss. But great art can be produced under the influence of pain and drugs.



  1. Good analysis Geoff!
    Oasis were an over-rated blur and Blur weren't an oasis of talent.
    I must say I didn't realise Edward Heath had a Band fitted, and if my woman had gone off with Richard Arsecroft I'd have topped myself.

  2. And it came in a pill box. Fantastic.

  3. Ooh, spooky. I saw Jason Pierce walking down Brick Lane today, and he did not look well at all.

  4. Rog - Those Britpop years were very strange. But I suppose Blur v Oasis was better than Gay Dad v Menswear.

    Billy - Great concept but a bugger to file.

    Annie - Has he ever looked well? He'll probably outlive us all.

  5. Automatic for the People

  6. Thanks for my continuing education Geoff.
    You should get a job at Salford University - like Johhny Marr.

  7. Vicus - REM were past it in 1987. And they were the most boring band I've ever seen live.

    Kaz - I could be his lab assistant.

  8. It's an education. I had no idea there was such a thing as 'space rock'(had to google these chaps). This is because I was listening to musette and the Louvin Bros. for most of the 90s. Catch up eventually.

  9. The original space rock was Hawkwind. Spacemen 3 were pretenders.

  10. Britpop seemed fairly (and I mean just fairly) good at the time. From a distance it's appalling nonsense - a bit like New Labour.

    By the end of the decade I was sitting alone in a room listening to No More Heroes.

  11. Blur v The Kinks; Oasis v the Beatles?

    No comparison.

  12. I knew that I would hit a nerve if I persevered.

  13. They're not difficult to find but mostly anaesthetised.