I have talked about my love for 90s rap, now my second favorite genre from the 90s, the rock. From Nirvana to the Pixies, the birth and death of real grunge happened in a matter of less than 15 years. A creative time full of talented bands.
Favorite rock albums from the 90s
Where is my mind? - The Pixies
I first want to give my take on this beautifully weird and distorted sounding song and then I'll get into the actual facts. This is the only song I can just lie down on my bed and listen to and never get sick of. A masterpiece from beginning to end, I can only imagine the impact in 1988 when this song dropped, considering how this grunge alternative type music hadn't even been a thing yet. One way to interpret the lyrics to this song is hearing it as a heroin trip. One would not be wrong to believe this as shown in such lyrics as, "With your feet on the air and your head on the ground." Others interpret this song as a way of tripping through life, without drugs, living a care free, no worry life. In actuality Frank Black (lead singer) wrote this song after a snorkeling adventure in the Caribbean where he had small fish all around him.
For those who do not know, the Pixies were formed in Boston, MA, and they are, in my opinion, the best to come out of MA. Another small fun fact that I think I read somewhere, Surfer Rosa was one of Kurt Cobain's favorite albums, you can clearly see the influence in Nirvana's music. For those who have never listened to this song, just lie down anywhere, stare at the sky and put in your headphones, you won't be disappointed.
Hunger strike - Temple of the Dog
There is a lot to unpack with this song, it is such a powerful song that it I am sure it had an impact on so many lives. Temple of the Dog formed when Chris Cornell of Soundgarden wrote two songs to honor his friend, Andrew Wood who died of a heroin overdose in 1990. "Wood was in a promising Seattle band called Mother Love Bone with Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, who were forming their new band that would become Pearl Jam. Cornell teamed up with them and guitarist Mike McCready with the intention of recording some of Wood's solo songs along with Cornell's two tribute tracks." They instead decided to form Temple of the Dog and record 9 original songs to honor Andrew Wood, instead of exploiting his already written songs.
The 10th and final song, written by Chris Cornell was of course "Hunger Strike" he wrote the song because he only had 9 tracks and wanted an even number of songs on the album. Thank god he did write it.
October 8th, 1990. They recorded the song on the day that Eddie Vedder flew into San Diego to meet his new bandmates that would later become Pearl Jam. Vedder was flown in based on a tape he sent in where he added vocals to some of their tracks. "Chris Cornell planned to sing both the high and low parts of the "Going Hungry" chorus by himself with the help of overdubs, but he was struggling with the low register. In a defining moment, Vedder stepped up to the microphone and sang the low parts of the chorus, which made the song click for Cornell."
Personally, I had no idea about the backstory of this song before researching it a little bit. But there was always something about that sound that registered with me. When I downloaded Spotify in 6th grade, I was around 12 or 13 and with my clunky ass laptop and free Spotify this was one of the first 10 songs I really listened to, it had always been one of dad's favorite songs. My dad who was a vocalist a small garage band called Edge of August, could really hit the low notes, I think thats why he was such a fan of Eddie Vedder. I have always wished my dad would start singing again and I think this song is special because I can picturing him singing it.
Bittersweet Symphony -
An all time song, chances are if you haven't listened to this song all the way through you can probably recognize the sound. Released in 1997, the lead singer Richard Ashcroft provides a compelling yet morbid message on this track. This song is a metaphor for life itself, how we all struggle to get by and make a living only to die in the end, raising the question of is it really worth it. One of his lyrics goes something like "Tryna make ends meet, you're a slave to money then you die." Brutally honest and I think the message here is to learn to let go sometimes and not be a product of society.
There is just something so melodically rich about this song and it ages like fine wine. The message and lyrics might not be very optimistic but when I hear this song it does give me a sense of optimism. I think of listening to it after a long night of thunderstorms, when the sun is finally reaching through.