It was a toss-up for what Letters to Cleo album to put on this list. I love Aurora Gory Alice and Wholesale Meats and Fish pretty equally, but Aurora Gory Alice is the album that made Letters to Cleo a household name. Letters to Cleo are one of my all time favorites from the 90s. I’m bummed I’ve never had a chance to see them live. It’s great that the band is back together making music again, maybe someday I’ll get to see them.
Most people probably don’t know who Frente! is. They are an Australian band that have been together on and off since the early 90s. They basically only have two studio albums, and I really fell in love with Marvin the Album in college in 1993. I’m listening to it now for the first time in probably 15 years, and it’s still great. I wish I knew how to describe it better, but you know what, you have the internet. You can go listen yourself.
I was a little late at discovering the Pixies. I actually became of fan of Frank Black first, and then went back and listened to the Pixies. Teenager of the Year is the first Frank Black album I discovered. I just love this album. So many quirky, catchy songs. It’s probably one of the most underrated 90s albums.
I discovered the Smashing Pumpkins with the Gish sometime in high school after seeing the video for “Rhinoceros”. While I liked the album, I didn’t love it. Siamese Dream came out the summer after my senior year. From the beginning riff of “Cherub Rock”, I new the Smashing Pumpkins were going to be huge. I love the beginning lyrics of “Cherub Rock”, “Freak out,And give in, Doesn’t matter what you believe in, Stay cool, And be somebody’s fool this year”. The album only gets better from there. Billy Corgan driving around the ice cream truck in the “Today” video is one of the memories from my freshman years of college. “Disarm” got so much air play, I kind of got sick of it. This album probably makes it into my top 10 favorite albums of all time list.
Middle schooler me wanted to be a rapper. I was really into the Beastie Boys, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, and Run DMC. I wrote a couple of rap song, and my rap name was M&M. I spelt it a little different than Eminem, but it was essentially the same. Like Marshall Mathers, my initials are also MM, plus it’s my favorite candy. My brother and I recorded the couple songs I wrote onto a cassette tape using his little Casio keyboard as the only musical instrument to make some noise that we called music. I made artwork and everything for our album titled Too Much Hype. It would be cool to hear how awful it was, but I sure it’s in a landfill somewhere. But anyhow, I am the original slim shady.*
*after writing that I looked up Eminem and he is actually older than me. We were probably both rapping as M&M at the same time, so I guess I’m not the original M&M, I’m just the M&M that sucked.
Today I was thinking, I don’t have any pirated or cracked software on any of my computers. Back when I was a poor college student, I pirated or cracked everything. You name it, I could get it for free. I was the go to guy for free software among my group of friends. It was almost a game. Most of the software I didn’t even use, I just wanted it for free. Nowadays I am so out of the loop, I’m not even sure where to go for it.
Ok, I just went to one of my favorite sites for cracks, astalavista.box.sk, and it looks like it still works. It’s crazy that it’s still around, it’s probably been 20 years since I last used it.
I don’t think people use the amount of software now that they did back then. You can do so much with just a web browser these days, and operating systems are so much more advanced too. About the only piece of software I pay for now is Photoshop. At $10 a month for Photoshop and Lightroom it seems like a great deal. Over time it’s probably not that great of deal, but I don’t really notice it and there isn’t really a comparable free alternate. Everything else I use is either free or low cost, but honestly, I don’t use that much software these days.
I love Frosting on the Beater, but I always seem to forget about The Posies. I have a few other Posies albums, but haven’t really given them much of a listen. I’m not really sure how this album made this list, but then when I think about it, there was a period in 1993 when I listened the hell out of this album in my dorm room. I think it’s a highly underrated album. You’ve probably never even heard of it in fact, but it’s great.
I picked up Exile In Guyville on a whim. I saw Kurt Loder talk about her in a piece for MTV News. Nobody that I knew was really listening to women fronted groups, but I loved them. From Juliana Hatfield Three, Veruca Salt, That Dog, The Breeders, Poe, Jennifer Trynin, Letters to Cleo… I could go on for ever. Loved them all. I had a feeling I would like Liz Phair, and boy did I.
Soon after I got the album they started to play the “Never Said” video on MTV. I don’t know if they ever played it on the radio in our area. Our radio stations always sucked. I honestly don’t really know how big this album went nationally. In my little bubble it was one of the best albums of the year.
Liz is apparently working on new material to be released this year. I can’t wait, and I hope she tours. I saw her once at First Ave, and she is great. It would be great to see her again.