Liz Sheld recently had an article up titled “The 10 Best ’80s Alternative Songs.”
This is a durn good list. I recollect all of those acts from during their heyday quite well, and I enjoyed them all very much. But I must respectfully disagree with the premise – “Alternative” as a genre is really a phenomenon of the ’90s, not the ’80s. Having been a ’70s rocker turned ’80s New Waver and all, I suppose I can attest to this as well as anyone. Maybe even better than most – me, Ogg, really got around during those early-on Troglodyte days of Punk and New Wave. Rawr! Remind me someday to tell you what CBGBs and “The Underground” were like back when.
To me, here are some of what I might consider as ’90s “Alternative” As usual, this is a highly subjective list in no particular order, some restrictions may apply, batteries not included:
I liked their sound, but they appeared and then pretty much disappeared, just like that. So it goes…
1. Swervedriver – “Duel”
They had their run, head-music for the Alternative set. Wow, I am lost into the song, whoah, Dude…
2. Curve – “Horror Head”
I like Dub Star as well. They got the “Trippy” stuff down, but never went off into that kinda trancy stuff. Kept you active, not staring at6 your navel.
3. Dub Star – “Anywhere”
My friends and I at that time referred to Mazzy Star as angsty Heroin chic. Which, according to popular legend, they basically were, all musically inclined Heroin addicts.
4. Mazzy Star – “Fade Into You”
Expansive, trippy, what a lush sound, late in the Irish music “invasion.” These guys should have done better.
5. Chimera – “Slow Burn”
The story of “Jeremy” says to me that he ultimately took his own life, and that is tragic. But it’s a damned good song, always worth the listen.
6. Pearl Jam – “Jeremy’s Spoken”
Yes, Courtney Love. Like her or not, her band had its run, and did fairly well.
7. Hole – “Violet”
“Sneaker Puimps?” Sounds Like White Boys try to be ‘da Hood, with mixed results.
8. Sneaker Pimps – “6 Underground”
“Do you have to let it linger?” Yes, we humans do seem to be programmed for Drama, aren’t we?
9. The Cranberrys – “Linger”
I never “got” Kay Hanley’s appeal, but the song is good.
10. Letters to Cleo – “Here and Now”
“I Love my Sister, she’s such a Bitch.” I have this same relationship with mine. My older sister is such a Grandee, making humorous but snide proclamations from her Settee with a wave of her hand, but I love her so.
11. Juliana Hatfield – “My Sister”
The Verve Pipe deserved better. They were pretty damned good, and should have gone national in a much bigger way. Regrettably, they came and went, just like that.
12. Verve Pipe – “Villains”
Finally, Catherine Wheel. These guys also should have done much better. What a sound.