Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Adventures in iTunes: Joel's '90s Playlist

photo found at: ( from my shuffled iPod to your computer screen, here's a taste of my recently-completed '90s playlist, taking me back to middle & high school, and the diorama of memories that come with it.

It's kind of funny looking back: I used to think that the radio predominately sucked when I was coming up, and maybe it did, predominately. But as I was going through & constructing this playlist, I was blown away by how many songs I absolutely loved from the flannel decade. It wasn't as bad as I thought while I was there, it seems, and it certainly blows away the majority of what's going on today.

Be careful: not everyone can handle this amount of awesome. You've been warned.

  • Streets Of Philadelphia - Bruce Springsteen 
  • In The House Of Stone And Light - Martin Page
  • Right Now - Van Halen 
  • Good Things, Closer To Free - BoDeans 
Good Things was a song I searched for high and low for a long time before finding it on iTunes. I would hear it playing in stores or on television or something and could never discover what it was. Searching for Closer To Free finally revealed the truth for me. A great '90s-style groove with an amazing melody.
  • Hey Jealousy - Gin Blossoms 
  • Hook - Blues Traveler
  • Water Runs Dry, On Bended Knee - Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight were R&B in the '90s for me. Absolutely amazing melodies, harmonies, and grooves that weren't limited to throwback 808 machines. I still don't think the genre has come close to catching back up to these giants yet.
  • Set Me In Motion - Bruce Hornsby & The Range
  • You Don't Know How It Feels - Tom Petty 
Steve Ferrone laying down an amazing, sick groove: no crash cymbals, no drum fills. It would become the inspiration for the groove on another song on this list: The Wallflowers' One Headlight.
  • Broken Arrow - Rod Stewart
A cover of Robbie Robertson's original, this song magnificently captured the mystic, spiritual vibe that was still cool to hear in the '90s, ala artists like Sting, Martin Page, Enya, & Peter Gabriel. 
  • The World I Know -Collective Soul 
  • Walking In Memphis - Marc Cohn 
  • Hero Of The Day - Metallica 
  • Monkey Wrench - Foo Fighters 
  • All For Love - Bryan Adams, Sting, & Rod Stewart
  • I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
The love song of the '90s, and I don't care what the Titanic sycophants say. Not only the great love song of the '90s, but one of the greatest of all time.
  • If You Could Only See - Tonic 
  • One More Try - Richard Marx 
  • The King of Wishful Thinking, Faithful - Go West 
When pop music was groovy, infused with the tight musicality of fusion & even a little bit of jazz. This band helped prove that you don't need a machine in order to dance.
  • Jessie - Joshua Kadison 
  • November Rain - Guns N' Roses 
  • You Are Not Alone - Michael Jackson 
  • Black Balloon, Iris - Goo Goo Dolls 
The Goo Goo Dolls are marvelous when they're not played 10 times an hour on every radio station in town, which is exactly what happened with Iris. A lot of bands got spun to death in the '90s precisely because the songs were good, (which is more than I can say for most of the artists who get overplayed these days).
  • Sex Type Thing - Stone Temple Pilots 
  • To Be With You - Mr. Big 
  • Push, Unwell - Matchbox Twenty
  • Somebody's Crying - Chris Isaak
  • 6th Avenue Heartache, One Headlight - The Wallflowers 
  • If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, Fields Of Gold - Sting
Two songs from Ten Summoner's Tales, one of my all-time favorite albums and one that should go down in history as one of the greatest albums ever. The writing on this album was thematic, dramatic, musical, and masterful. The drumming of Vinnie Calaiuta was some of pop music's best.
  • The Freshmen - The Verve Pipe
  • Mysterious Ways, One - U2 
Like Ten Summoner's Tales, U2's Achtung Baby is not just one of the greatest albums of the '90s, but of all time. This record, like Joshua Tree before it, changed the game and justifiably cemented U2's place amongst the rock 'n' roll immortals. 
  • Crazy, Livin' on the Edge - Aerosmith 
  • Kiss from a Rose - Seal 
  • I Go Blind, Tucker's Town - Hootie & The Blowfish  
To this listener's ears, Hootie's best stuff came after their smash Cracked Rear View album. And that's saying something, because that record had some good stuff on it.
  • Two Princes - Spin Doctors 
Another one of my favorite '90s drum grooves, mixed with one of the decade's most infectious hooks. Too bad this band disappeared so quickly; Pocket Full Of Kryptonite was a solid record all the way through.
  • Give You Back - Vertical Horizon 
  • The Only One For Me - Brian McKnight
  • Lightning Crashes - Live 
  • All I Want - Toad The Wet Sprocket 
  • Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews 
  • Always - Bon Jovi 
  • Misery - Soul Asylum 
  • Animate - Rush
One of my all-time favorite drum grooves; I must have repeated the first four bars (Neil Peart's count-off along with two bars of solo drums, for the uninitiated) 8 or 10 times before letting the rest of the song play the first time I heard it. Amazing and powerful rock from one of the greatest trios ever to grace the scene. 

(photo courtesy:

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