(Originally posted on Kriofske Mix, 4/24/2015)
To complement writing about my favorite albums, from this point on I’ll be posting yearly playlists. Although 1989 was actually Year Zero for me in terms of buying music, following the charts, etc; I’ll start with 1990 as it’s a good, round number.
Roughly two-thirds of these songs were favorites at the time (mostly anything here that made the top 40); I became familiar with the rest over the ensuing decade, the tellingly named “Obscurity Knocks” being the lone exception (my husband introduced it to me not long after we first met in ’06). You can already detect the budding Anglophile within, as nearly half the tracks are from UK-based artists; the Americans run the gamut from superstars (Madonna) to super-obscure (Yo La Tengo long before MTV ever played ’em).
You wouldn’t expect Iggy Pop, of all people, to secure two slots on a 1990 playlist, but here he is with “Candy”, his left-field, sole top 40 hit/duet with The B-52’s Kate Pierson, and “Well Did You Evah!”, a gleefully irreverent Cole Porter cover with perfectly acidic support from Debbie Harry which appeared on the wonderful Red Hot + Blue tribute album (an early candidate for my 100 Albums list that missed the final cut). I would’ve ended and started the mix with Iggy if not for Deee-Lite’s immortal “Groove Is In The Heart”, an ideal opener which arguably sounds fresher today than anything else on this list.
In addition to finding room for good artists who never made a great, timeless album (INXS, Sinead O’Connor) and quirky one-hit wonders such as Soho, who scored with a genius-dumb lament built upon a Smiths sample, this format gives me an excuse to spotlight weird one-offs that don’t fit anywhere else: Was (Not Was)’s hilariously cruel and cold character sketch (it’d be unimaginable post 9/11), Prefab Sprout’s beguiling bossa nova/samba end-of-the-world party anthem, DNA’s infamous/genius surprise hit remix of a three-year-old a cappella Suzanne Vega album track. My ultimate goal with these playlists is to cultivate an eclectic but not too jarring listen.
Click here to visit my version of 1990 on Spotify:
1. Deee-Lite, “Groove Is In The Heart”
2. DNA feat. Suzanne Vega, “Tom’s Diner”
3. Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson, “Candy”
4. Yo La Tengo, “The Summer”
5. Morrissey, “Piccadilly Palare”
6. Teenage Fanclub, “Everything Flows”
7. The Sundays, “Here’s Where The Story Ends”
8. Sinead O’Connor, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”
9. They Might Be Giants, “Birdhouse In Your Soul”
10. Jellyfish, “That Is Why”
11. Prefab Sprout, “Carnival 2000”
12. Was (Not Was), “I Blew Up The United States”
13. Soho, “Hippychick”
14. The Darling Buds, “It Makes No Difference”
15. Happy Mondays, “Step On”
16. Madonna, “Vogue”
17. Cocteau Twins, “Heaven Or Las Vegas”
18. Michael Penn, “No Myth”
19. Trash Can Sinatras, “Obscurity Knocks”
20. Concrete Blonde, “I Don’t Need A Hero”
21. Pet Shop Boys, “Being Boring”
22. INXS, “Disappear”
23. Depeche Mode, “Enjoy The Silence”
24. Social Distortion, “Ball And Chain”
25. Iggy Pop and Deborah Harry, “Well Did You Evah!”